Valparaiso

Valparaiso

3.0 2
by Don DeLillo
     
 

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A man sets out on an ordinary business trip to Valparaiso, Indiana. It turns out to be a mock-heroic journey toward identity and transcendence.
This is Don DeLillo's second play, and it is funny, sharp, and deep-reaching. Its characters tend to have needs and desires shaped by the forces of broadcast technology.
This is the way we talk to each other today

Overview

A man sets out on an ordinary business trip to Valparaiso, Indiana. It turns out to be a mock-heroic journey toward identity and transcendence.
This is Don DeLillo's second play, and it is funny, sharp, and deep-reaching. Its characters tend to have needs and desires shaped by the forces of broadcast technology.
This is the way we talk to each other today. This is the way we tell each other things, in public, before listening millions, that we don't dare to say privately.
Nothing is allowed to be unseen. Nothing remains unsaid. And everything melts repeatedly into something else, as if driven by the finger on the TV remote.
This is also a play that makes obsessive poetry out of the language of routine airline announcements and the flow of endless information.
Valparaiso has been performed by the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Ed Siegel The boston Globe Valparaiso may be the novelist's most satisfying work since White Noise....Valparaiso is art at its finest.

Kane Webb Arkansas Democrat Gazette [A] sugar rush of a story...Valparaiso is a terrific read.

Boston Herald
A fascinating study of celebrity and its dark path to desperation. DeLillo's lyrical, layered language...makes this black comedy an engaging indictment of our tell-all culture. The unsettling power of VALPARAISO comes from DeLillo's ability to repel and attract us at the same time.
Boston Globe
VALPARAISO may be the novelist's most satisfying work since . If art at its finest gets under our skin and changes the way we look at the world, then VALPARAISO is art at its finest. You may never watch television, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper or magazine (not to mention get on an airplane) with the same passivity again. And that makes VALPARAISO, for all its psychic twists and turns, a destination that demands a visit.
Chicago Sun-Timess
An eerily cataclysmic ninety-minute ride into the lower depths of contemporary existence. Devastating and chillingly entertaining. A gorgeous, frightening, stunningly poetic riff on dislocation and guilt, sensation and sensationalism, love and loathing. The language spoken is disarmingly poetic, wickedly funny, surprisingly voluptuous and erotic.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684865683
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
06/13/2000
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
630,473
Product dimensions:
0.26(w) x 5.00(h) x 8.00(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

From Act One

Michael Majeski

Livia Majeski

Delfina Treadwell

Teddy Hodell

The Interviewers

The Camera Crew

The Chorus

Two actors, one male, one female, play all the Interviewers in Act One.

The three members of the Camera Crew double as Chorus.

Act One

Living room of the Majeski house. A large uncluttered space, bare-walled except for a large TV set in a wall unit upstage. The room is largely achromatic but not stylishly so. It is a representation of a living room, more or less anyone's.

In several scenes a sector of this playing area functions as office space or as interview space in a broadcast studio.

Scene 1

The living room in half-light. Livia sits on an exercise bike, facing downstage. She looks into the middle distance, pedaling steadily.

Lights slowly down.

There is a deep pulse of image and sound. A videotape is projected on the back wall and adjacent furniture. It shows a single image, a high-angle shot of a man in a tightly confined space. There is a plastic bag on his head, fastened about the neck. He is seated, a forearm braced against the wall to either side of him. The plastic is thick and frosted, obscuring the man's features.

The tape is crude and marked by visual static. A digital display is inset in a lower corner of the tape. It records the hour and minute, the fleeting seconds and tenths of seconds.

Livia rides her bike, visible in the flickering light.

After the tape has run for twelve seconds, there is an interval of agitation caused either by an unsteady camera or some larger disturbance.

The sound throughout is intense and electronic, a synthesized roaring wind.

Slowly the man on the tape raises his head toward the camera. The shaking becomes more pronounced and the tape abruptly ends.

The projection lasts twenty seconds. Livia is barely visible, pedaling. Then darkness.

Copyright © 1999 by Don DeLillo

Meet the Author

Don DeLillo is the author of fifteen novels, including Zero K, Underworld, Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. His story collection The Angel Esmeralda was a finalist for the 2011 Story Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Westchester County, New York
Date of Birth:
November 20, 1936
Place of Birth:
New York City
Education:
Fordham University, 1958

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Valparaiso 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I go to school in Valparaiso and I read the play based solely on that, but the play ended up being more than a mild read for me...I couldn't put it down...Delillo hit the mark on his social commentary of reality TV...I think that is what his point was anyway