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Gruesome Playground Injuries; Animals Out of Paper; Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo: Three Plays Paperback – November 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593762941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593762940
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Characters are compelling; messages are apt.
Tiffo
He's a brave writer, willing to create discomfort in audiences to make us confront difficult truths.
RET
These three plays, by young playwright Joseph, were the best I read.
David Keymer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Travis on February 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's extremely difficult to find an author's collection with such consistently good work. Every playwright has their duds, but if Rajiv Joseph has any, they're not here. The book itself, is light and very easy to read, but it's really the plays that make it so special.

I performed Gruesome Playground Injuries as Doug last year and the play captured my imagination completely. I had read it before auditioning and found it to be a completely engaging read. Quick, easy, and memorable. Doug and Kayleen's relationship is so beautiful and easy to relate to that I defy anybody to feel like the story does not apply to them. It's a story that the audience (and the reader) will absolutely care about. Doug, particularly, is a character you instantly fall in love with, which makes the rest of the story so terribly crushing. Kayleen isn't quite as loveable, but you recognize and empathize with her pain. Joseph does a wonderful job of morphing his characters throughout their youth and adulthood. It was a complete pleasure to not only perform this play, but read it as well. It's my favorite of the three.

Animals Out of Paper is more traditionally written. Gruesome jumps around, but Animals Out of Paper is one fluid story. All three characters are incredibly well-written. The story is engaging start to finish and you feel for and understand every single character. There are some great monologues for men and women here and this is definitely worth the read.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo is probably the most abstract of the three, but once the concept clicks for you, it's a wonderful trip from there on out. The Tiger is wonderfully crafted, mixing all the facets of the human condition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jon Stanley on August 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've seen two out of three of these plays performed live (Gruesome Playground Injuries and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), and am currently reading Animals out of Paper. From when I saw Gruesome Playground Injuries, the person that I went with asked me "is this something you'd go see again?" and I said probably not at that point. However, over the next several days things just sunk in and I realized what a brilliant masterpiece it was. Sadly, I saw it towards the end of its run at Second Stage and didn't get to see it again, but it'd be wonderful to see another director conceive the production, because you can go so many different ways with the staging.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was another production that I admired, and I saw it on it's closing weekend on Broadway. Beyond the brilliant writing, the performance was awesome - Robin Williams really did well!

I'm currently reading Animals out of Paper (not quite done yet), and I would LOVE to see a production of it. The relationship between Ilana and Suresh is extremely complex and nuanced, and Suresh is a very interesting character in his own right, damaged yet extremely talented, much like Ilana, but I won't give away much more than that :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Olivia Sather on January 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
I started with Greusome Playground Injuries and read the plays in order. They get better and better. Seriously some of the best play writing I've read. LOVE these plays! And I would LOVE to see them on a stage!
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Format: Paperback
JOSEPH, Rajiv. Gruesome Playground Injuries; Animals Out of Paper; Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo: Three Plays. Soft Skull Press. 2010. 352p. $15.95.
We’ve been conducting play readings at our local theater and I’m responsible for orchestrating them, so I read a lot of plays looking for ones an audience won’t know but will enjoy. These three plays, by young playwright Joseph, were the best I read.

My favorite of the three is the newest, Gruesome Playground Injuries (2010), but all three are first rate –imaginative blendings of reality and fantasy that expose the hopes and hurts of their characters in powerful imagery and poetic prose.

Injuries traces the lives, from eight to thirty-eight, of Doug and Kayleen. Kayleen’s a self-abuser, Doug’s an injury magnet. They’re sad types but somehow you care about them, especially Doug, who has a goofy sense of adventure to him—how many eight-year-olds do you know who would ride their bike off the edge of a roof in imitation of the daredevil feats of stuntman Evel Knievel? Or climb a telephone pole in the middle of a rain storm, lightning crackling all about him? The play’s a bit like Love Letters, A. R. Gurney’s famous dialogue play, but a Love Letters written on Qualudes. By the last meeting of these two damaged creatures, you understand the gift their relationship has given them. The trajectory of their lives may be sad but there’s something positive about it as well.

Animals is a three character play about an origami master who isn’t folding paper any more; a high school teacher who is a fan of her work and is falling in love with her; and a young Indian who is a genius with anything dealing with numbers or planes. There’s been a tragic death in the boy’s family and he has lost interest in school and math.
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By Mahima Saigal on July 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
Great plays!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Extremely well crafted, each play keeps you interested while evoking debate and discussion. I finished each really having a sense of the characters, able to understand their perspectives. Life is complicated, right and wrong get blurred, and this is captured in these plays. People make mistakes and try to figure out how to move forward in an engaging and interesting way. I found I could relate, or at the very least, appreciate, the viewpoint and actions of each character and finished each play thinking about what I just read and what would I have done in those situations. Thought-provoking. Highly recommend.
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