This set of 34 comic dramas, many of which would run 15 minutes at most in performance, by contemporary or nearly contemporary Americans, some famous, many not, ranges from the sublime to the tedious. The best pieces in the collection, such as Christopher Durang's divinely insane Wanda's Visit,
are comic gems in miniature. Others, such as Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn's comedy-sketch-sized Miss You,
show the antic side of writers known mostly for more serious work. Other well-known names to be found in the wide-ranging anthology include Alan Ball, David Cale, David Lindsay-Abaire, Steve Martin, and Elaine May, all represented by rarely collected one acts. Still, the real strength of the book arises from editors Lane and Shengold's spirit of inclusiveness, which allows obscure but hilarious writers to appear cheek by jowl with_better-known funny women and men. Jack HelbigCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Eric Lane and Nina Shengold have been editing contemporary theater anthologies for more than twenty years. Eric Lane's award-winning plays have been published and performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and China. Plays include Ride, Times of War, Heart of the City, Dancing on Checkers' Grave, and Filming O'Keeffe. Floating, a PlayPenn finalist, was workshopped at Raven Theatre. Eric's short plays are published in Best American Short Plays, Poems and Plays, and the Foreign Language Press (Beijing). He wrote and produced the short films First Breath and Cater-Waiter, which he also directed; both films screened in more than forty cities worldwide. For TV's Ryan's Hope he received a Writers Guild Award. Honors include the Berrilla Kerr Playwriting Award, the La MaMa Playwright Award, and fellowships at Yaddo, VCCA, and St. James Cavalier in Malta. Eric is an honors graduate of Brown University, and artistic director of Orange Thoughts, a not-for-profit theater and film company in New York City.
Nina Shengold's plays include Finger Foods, War at Home, Homesteaders, and Romeo/Juliet, and have been produced around the world. Her one-act No Shoulder was filmed by director Suzi Yoonessi, with Melissa Leo and Samantha Sloyan. Nina won a Writers Guild Award for her teleplay Labor of Love, starring Marcia Gay Harden; other teleplays include Blind Spot, with Joanne Woodward and Laura Linney, and Unwed Father. Her books include the novel Clearcut; River of Words: Portraits of Hudson Valley Writers (with photographer Jennifer May), and a growing posse of pseudonymous books for young readers. A graduate of Wesleyan, she is currently teaching creative writing at Manhattanville College. Nina lives in New York's Hudson Valley, where she has been books editor of Chronogram magazine since 2004.