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Crimes of the Heart. Paperback – January, 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Drama in three acts by Beth Henley, produced in 1979 and published in 1982. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. Set in a small Mississippi town, the play examines the lives of three quirky sisters who have gathered at the home of the youngest. During the course of the work the sisters unearth grudges, criticize each other, reminisce about their family life, and attempt to understand their mother's suicide years earlier. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (January 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822202506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822202509
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Upon first look, this play may seem silly and unreal. But, you can't help becoming absorbed into the life of a seemingly dysfunctional family of 3 sisters, their obnoxious cousin, a young lawyer caught in the middle, and a crippled old boyfriend. The story is wild and entertaining, yet dramatic and relatable. The only thing better than reading this piece is seeing it performed live.
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Format: Paperback
Being a native Mississippian and also a native of Hazlehurst-the setting of the play- it amazing how realistic the play is about life in the South. Henley's play captures the essence of family relationships, that "crazy" person in everyone's family, the relationships between sisters as friends, and the narrow-mindedness of people in the South. Where else but in the South would a person commit suicide just because "they were having a bad day."
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Format: Paperback
I loved this play from the day I first saw it in the Manhattan Theatre Club before its inevitable switch to Broadway. And I am to direct it early this year. I found the film interesting - I just watched it last night - but Keaton ()who I have always found wonderful) is sadly miscast. Further there was too much casting the minds back in a sentimental fashion - a big mistake. In fact,the flashbacks did the play no great service at all, and to accompany those scenes with a treacly musical score didn't enhance things at alll. Back to the script. I would have liked some photographed scenes of the Broadway production.The page after page after page of props - many of which were to be in cupboards and drawers that never open - had a mystifying, let's give the actors the right kind of 'feel' effect on me. Actors on Broadway should be better equipped technically than having the need for such specious pieces of 'atmosphere'. As it stands, the script, despite all the useful information at the back, is hardly an actor's handbook, and most would, surreptitiously, turn off copies on larger paper in order that the play can be read more easily, with the left hand pages left blank for the actor to insert his or her notes.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished playing Lenny in a college production of this play. It was the most fun I've ever had in any role! I have two sisters myself, and Henley's depiction of that kind of relationship is incredibly real. There are some great scenes and monologues for acting practice, too--one, two, or three women, and a couple for one man and one woman. I recommend it to anyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved the movie and my book club is talking about reading aloud a play so I got this in case we decide to follow through on this idea. It's a great movie for women in general and sisters in particular.
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I know it won a Pulitzer Prize, but this play (written, on stage, and as a movie) comes across as shallow in concept and theme. While the characters are interesting, their motives and psychology seem one-dimensional.
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Format: Paperback
I was lucky enough to work with Henley herself on a production of this show while I was in college, which offered a wonderful opportunity to gain some insight into Crimes of the Heart. Being a native Mississippian with two sisters myself, I was struck by how true-to-life this play is. The script captures that elusive "sense of place" that all the critics talk about when discussing the South - crazy relatives, old friends with haunted pasts, the importance of food and other types of sustenance. The plot revolves around wacky personalities, old wounds, and unplanned events, and even though the characters frequently despair, the show ends on a hopeful note.
As with most plays, it's better to watch Crimes of the Heart than to read it, but I admit that I laughed out loud when I read some of the scenes. Henley won a Pulitzer for her work in Crimes of the Heart, and I think it was well-deserved.
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Format: Paperback
"Teaching" this play to a classroom of Southern Sisters (and Brothers) is a delight. One of the best plays to portray a small Mississippi (Southern) town in the 70's. And the students love the "hell's" and "damn's."
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