Shel's Shorts

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Lauded poet, songwriter and author of children's books, the incomparable Shel Silverstein also wrote dozens of short plays, which are deeply infused with the same wicked sense of humor that made Silverstein famous.DREAMERS. Nick and Ritchie are plumbers trying to unclog a drain, but Ritchie's worried about a dream he had where he slept with another man. Nick tries to calm his fears. "It's symbolic," he tells Ritchie, just like the dreams Nick had of sleeping with his own mother and daughter. (2 men.) ALL COTTON. ...
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2003-02 Paperback New ~NEW~I HAVE THOUSANDS OF PLAYS AND MUSICALS IN MY LISTINGS~***Fast Delivery***Check out my other listings: BOOKS, CDS, DVDS, VIDEOS, GAMES***

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Overview

Lauded poet, songwriter and author of children's books, the incomparable Shel Silverstein also wrote dozens of short plays, which are deeply infused with the same wicked sense of humor that made Silverstein famous.DREAMERS. Nick and Ritchie are plumbers trying to unclog a drain, but Ritchie's worried about a dream he had where he slept with another man. Nick tries to calm his fears. "It's symbolic," he tells Ritchie, just like the dreams Nick had of sleeping with his own mother and daughter. (2 men.) ALL COTTON. Jill is furious because the guaranteed not-to-shrink blouse she bought shrunk six sizes in the wash, and Rachel, the store clerk, won't give her a cash refund. But Jill, it seems, is a witch, and when she does not get satisfaction, she casts a spell on the store and everything in it. (2 women.) HARD HAT AREA. Pauley and Ed sit on a girder in a construction site. Pauley wears a hard hat, but Ed doesn't. While Ed eats his lunch, Pauley tries to convince him that he should take his destiny in his own hands and wear a hard hat so as not to be killed accidentally or he should kill himself but not just leave it to chance. (2 men.) ABANDON ALL HOPE. Al and Benny stand before a giant portal. A sign above the portal reads "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." Benny is more than a little frightened, but Al has no intention of abandoning his hope, as the two debate the precise meaning of the sign. (2 men.) HANGNAIL. In a long monologue, a woman tries to remove a hangnail on one of her fingers. She has a variety of manicuring options, but each one has its benefits and perils. It's affecting her whole day, and she doesn't know what to do. (1 woman.) NO DOGS ALLOWED. Mr. and Mrs. Q arerelaxing on a beach at an exclusive club, where a sign clearly states "No dogs allowed." Mr. Wills, the manager of the club, confronts Mrs. Q, asserting that Mr. Q is really a dog. Mrs. Q counters with various fantastical reasons to explain his hairy face, big black nose and habit of barking. (2 men, 1 woman.) NO SKRONKING. After reading a sign at the lunch counter that prohibits "skronking," Arnold becomes obsessed and relentlessly interrogates Bertha, a waitress, for its definition. The conversation goes in circles until Bertha suspects Arnold of having the dangerous potential of being a "skronker"…whatever that is. (1 man, 1 woman.) DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL. Ann sits next to Vern on a park bench and notices his tiny box with a sign that reads "Do not feed the animal." She suddenly becomes irate while wondering what is so special about this mystery animal to deny her permission to feed it. As she stuffs a croissant in the box, she painfully finds out. (1 man, 1 woman.) CLICK. Valerie tries to relax by reading a magazine in the bathtub as Leonard irritatingly sits on the toilet seat playing Russian roulette. He tells her the bullet he put in the gun might be a blank. She tells him she switched his bullet with another that may be real. She insists that he finish his game. (1 man, 1 woman.) GONE TO TAKE A…B.J. is enraged when her employee, Arthur, leaves an explicit sign informing patrons that he has gone to take a…Well, B.J. can't even say the word—until Arthur pushes his boss to the limit. (1 man, 1 woman.) DUCK. Burt warns Morgan before entering a low doorway to "duck"—as the sign says. Little does Morgan know that there are actual ducks waiting to bite him on the other side. (2 men, 1 woman.) HAVE A NICE DAY. Ben, Al and Cyrus try to take the symbols for "Peace" and "Have a nice day" and combine them—believing that both of these ideas can coexist in one symbol. Trying to accomplish this leads to conflict and a lousy day. (3 men.) NO SOLICITING. Ed, a sign salesman with a sign for every occasion, tries to convince Nellie to purchase one. He suggests that Nellie and her husband select a sign for any number of occasions. Ed discovers that Nellie has a lot of issues regarding her husband, and he may not have all the signs she's looking for. (1 man, 1 woman.) GARBAGE BAGS. In this monologue, Sarah sits between monstrous stacks of garbage bags, grocery bags and cardboard boxes. As she recites her poem of refusing to take out the garbage, the bags move closer and closer, until she disappears. (1 woman.)"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822218968
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003

Meet the Author

Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein
Not only was Shel Silverstein one of the funniest children’s book authors, he was also one of the most subversive. Through his irresistible rhymes, poems, and drawings, Silverstein made children feel like they were being spoken to as adults; and adults the chance to remember what it felt like to be a child.

Biography

If there is such a thing as a "bad boy of children's literature," it would have to be Shel Silverstein. Though often compared to Dr. Seuss for his ability to blend humor and nonsense into irresistible rhymes, Silverstein also ventured into macabre territory that the good Doctor wouldn't have touched with a ten-foot Sneetch. Silverstein broached such unsavory topics as nose-picking, the consumption of children, and winds so strong they could decapitate a man right out from under his hat.

It's a testament to Silverstein's abilities as a cartoonist and storyteller that he was able to endow such subjects with just the right silliness and humor, endearing him to both children and adults. In collections such as the classic Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up, Silverstein makes poems into page-turners -- aided in no small part by his grungy, whimsical black-and-white drawings. He also displays a tenderhearted understanding for kids' fears and peccadilloes; one poem in A Light in the Attic, for example, all but endorses nailbiting: "It's a nasty habit, but ... I have never ever scratched a single soul."

A lifelong writer and illustrator, Silverstein had been a cartoonist for an army newspaper in Korea in the 1950s, and then a contributor to magazines. Like many succesful writers for children, Silverstein never planned to author children's books. Ironically, his first attempt at the genre -- the book that established the one-time Playboy cartoonist as a school library fixture -- is something of an anomaly in his ouevre: The Giving Tree. This bittersweet story of a tree that ultimately sacrifices itself -- down to the stump -- to the boy she loves over the course of his life was initially rejected by Silverstein's editor. Of course, it has gone on to be a great, if sentimental, success. But it was Where the Sidewalk Ends, Silverstein's straightforward collection of crooked poems, that cemented his place as a must-read for the young and young at heart. Silverstein bristled at comparisons to fellow "nonsense poet" Edward Lear, preferring instead to cite his former teacher, Robert Cosbey, as an influence.

It's worth looking at some of Silverstein's less well-known picture books, such as Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? and Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back, as examples of how funny (and how subversive) Silverstein could be. In Lafcadio, the ultimate anti-hunting story, a lion learns to become such a good marksman that he provides "hunter rugs" for his fellow lions and ends up touring as a celebrity. Lafcadio soon gets bored with his opulent life, and what used to be thrilling no longer is: "This morning I went up and down in the elevator 1,423 times," he cries at one point. "IT'S OLD STUFF!"

In later years, Silverstein turned more attention to dramatic writing. Titles such as The Lady and the Tiger, Wild Life and The Devil and Billy Markham were produced with varying degrees of success, and some are still being staged by small theater groups. Silverstein also wrote a well-received screenplay, Things Change, with pal David Mamet in 1988.

Still, Silverstein's poetry is what remains his most popular contribution. His verse gave kids permission to be a little grown-up for a while, and (just as importantly) let adults experience the not-always-simple perspective of children.

Good To Know

Silverstein was a soldier in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea in the '50s and drew cartoons for Stars and Stripes, the American military publication. His next cartooning gig was for Playboy.

Silverstein wrote several songs. His country-western song "A Boy Named Sue" was a hit for Johnny Cash in 1969. His song for Postcards From the Edge, "I'm Checkin' Out," was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Sheldon Allan Silverstein (full name)
      Shel Silverstein
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 25, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      May 10, 1999
    2. Place of Death:
      Key West, Florida

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