The Pain and the Itch

Overview

In this brief but staggering two-act, playwright Norris demonstrates his skill at drawing out the dark truth that lurks beneath the surface of the "perfect” family. His crackling satire takes dead aim at the self-satisfied, left-leaning American upper-middle class and its many self-delusions.

            On a winter afternoon, Kelly and Clay—an attractive, prosperous, seemingly happy couple with a four-year-old daughter and a newborn baby—must explain to a ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $5.98   
  • New (4) from $9.68   
  • Used (6) from $5.98   
Sending request ...

Overview

In this brief but staggering two-act, playwright Norris demonstrates his skill at drawing out the dark truth that lurks beneath the surface of the "perfect” family. His crackling satire takes dead aim at the self-satisfied, left-leaning American upper-middle class and its many self-delusions.

            On a winter afternoon, Kelly and Clay—an attractive, prosperous, seemingly happy couple with a four-year-old daughter and a newborn baby—must explain to a visitor the events of the previous Thanksgiving, on which, so it seems, someone or something had been gnawing at the avocados on their kitchen table. In the course of this holiday gathering—attended by Clay’s mother, a well-meaning but clueless first-grade teacher who spouts pointless liberal bromides; his brother, a plastic surgeon with a nihilistic streak and a taste for martinis; and his brother's girlfriend, a sexy Balkan immigrant with a love for all things American (racism included)—the recent past is unearthed along with revelations of failed marriages, fraternal hatred, infidelity and venereal disease, in the form of their daughter’s nasty genital infection. And it’s a comedy. As the story is gradually unfolded to their visitor, a Muslim cab driver, his relationship to the events becomes increasingly clear, as does the emptiness of the family’s supposed benevolence and sensitivity.

            With its crashing emotion and cutting humor, this vicious dissection of the comfortable progressive life lays bare the lies that people use to feel righteous even as they veer off a genuinely ethical path.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

NY Observer
The best new play in many a season. There are heady, farcical peaks to this comedy that approach the manic genius of Preston Sturges. But Mr. Norris' real target is that great sentimental sham, the idealized American family.
New Yorker
One of the most satisfying theatrical events available today...Norris writes with a mind that is attuned to the blindness that passes for a shared vision among the emotionally smug and upwardly mobile.
Time Out (Chicago)
A smashing new satire...Norris' uncompromising, cagily crafted cockfight all but leaves blood on the stage.
Time Out
Playgoers hungry for smart, vicious drama will feel like an itch has been scratched.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810124974
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Norris is the author of several plays, including The Infidel, Purple Heart, The Unmentionables, and We All Went Down to Amsterdam, all of which have been produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. The Infidel and Purple Heart were published together in 2005 by Northwestern University Press. Norris lives in Brooklyn.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)