- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: BiblioLife (August 14, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0554940981
- ISBN-13: 978-0554940984
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,699,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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He Who Gets Slapped: A Play in Four Acts
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Top customer reviews
In theory, HE WHO GETS SLAPPED is an expressionist and symbolist drama that makes social commentary on the Russia of its era, reimagining it as a circus that mirrors and satirizes both the class system and its failures. In fact, however, it is most memorable as a circus play plain and simple, with both story and atmosphere extremely memorable.
At its most basic, the story concerns a small Russian circus which stars Consuelo, the daughter of a decaying aristocratic family, as a bareback rider--and so remarkable is her talent that both she and the circus have become quite famous. Her father, a classic ne'erdowell, decides to leverage her fame and beauty into a marriage that will restore the family fortune. Into this mix comes a mysterious man who dreams of being a circus clown, and after talking his way into employment emerges as a star in his own right: He Who Gets Slapped, a performer who lectures but whose speeches are always interrupted by blows from the clowns around him.
Romantic complications swirl through HE WHO GETS SLAPPED like cirus confetti: the sultry lion tamer, whose romantic frustration leads her to seek affection from her animals; the horse trainer who loves Consuelo but who believes her social rank places her beyond his reach; and, most importantly, the love that He feels for Consuelo that fuels the plot and drives the play to a conclusion both romantic and tragic. Acrobats, members of the audience, singers, managers, a host of minor characters brighten the scene, making the darkness behind the glitter all the more disconcerting.
Memorably adapted to film for Lon Chaney in 1924, HE WHO GETS SLAPPED is seldom performed on stage today; the large cast, the costumes, and set are beyond the reach of most non-professional and semi-professional groups, while the subject matter places it outside the realm of commercial theatre. It is nonetheless a memorable script by a memorable if increasingly obscure author, and if you enjoy Russian literature or dramatic literature in general you will find it a pleasure to read.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer