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Est Marathon '98: The Complete One-Act Plays (Contemporary Playwrights Series) 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1575251653
ISBN-10: 1575251655
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The '90s haven't been a great time for short one-acts. Except for a handful of anthology shows, most productions, on and off Broadway, have been of full-length plays, including 90-minute one-acts. New York^-based Ensemble Studio Theater's annual one-act marathon has become one of the last venues for professionally produced one-acts. Thus the festival's planners must encourage new talent as well as accommodate established playwrights. This collection of all the plays in the 1998 marathon showcases a good mixture of untried and veteran writers, with new work from greats like David Mamet and the late Shel Silverstein and plays by people who may never become household names. As in past years' collections, the best work turns out to be that of unknowns and nearly unknowns. The most moving play in the anthology, Scrapple, about a father and daughter talking in the middle of the night, was written by a sometime actor, sometime playwright still struggling in New York City, Jennifer Mattern. Jack Helbig

About the Author

Marisa Smith is the Owner and Publisher of Smith and Kraus, a leading publisher of theater books since 1990. She has edited many books for Smith and Kraus and is the author/playwright of "Book Group" and "The Devine Comedy", recently presented at Eclipse Grange theater by Signal and Noise Productions.
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Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary Playwrights Series
  • Paperback: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Smith & Kraus Pub Inc; 1 edition (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575251655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575251653
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,618,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

It's a mixed bag (so's every collection) however some of them - most notably "Killing Hand" and "Scrapple" are really really worth your time. If you've been looking for energetic new American playwriting, you should buy this collection. "Killing Hand" especially impressed me... It's a smart scary 5 person play set at a Brooklyn dinner party and is concerned with crimes that may or may not have taken place in Bosnia. It was funny but with a real moral panic underneath keeping the Hitchcock-esque plot bubbling forward. I was lucky to see the play and I am thrilled that I can purchase it now. Also "Scrapple" broke my heart - it seemed a bit old fashioned but deeply felt ( and a great part for a young woman). Both seem ideal for college scene study and one act festivals. Other plays in the bunch are nearly as good - for instance "Plan Day" and "Dream", and as with all collections, some are less exciting to me. But that's a play collection for you.
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If students or small theatre companies are looking for new one-acts that will be challenging fun to produce -- yet won't break the bank for sets or require a huge cast -- I'd highly encourage then to get this collection of plays!
They make good reading, too -- bite-sized theatre reading for the hectic 90s. I predict that some of the lesser known names in the book will be big someday. At least they will if there's any justice in this wacky post-theatrical era...
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"EST Marathon '98: The One-Act Plays," edited by Marisa Smith, is a fine anthology of short theater pieces. The plays in here include a one-character piece as well as two- and multi-character plays. The collection shows diversity in both form and content. There are 10 plays altogether.
My favorites from this collection are as follows: "Mary MacGregor," by Keith Alan Benjamin, a 2-character piece about love and loss; "How to Plant a Rose," by Elizabeth Diggs, a 1-person piece that combines family history and gardening; "Donut Holes in Orbit," by Prince Golmolvilas, about a conflict between a Chinese-American woman and her immigrant mother; "The Trio," by Shel Silverstein, an intriguing play about musicianship; "The Hundred Penny Box," by Barbara Sundstrom, about conflict within a multigenerational African-American family (this play has an unforgettable character in 100-year old Aunt Dew); and "Killing Hand," by David Zellnik, an unsettling play that deals with the aftermath of atrocities committed during the war in the former Yugoslavia.
This anthology shows just how potent the genre of the one-act play is. Thanks to the Ensemble Studio Theatre (that's the "EST" of the title) for promoting this genre.
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