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JB: A Play in Verse Acting Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0573610912
ISBN-10: 0573610916
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 113 pages
  • Publisher: Samuel French Inc Plays; Acting edition (January 1956)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0573610916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0573610912
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,196,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have never written a review before and really don't have much interest in it, but upon reading a few of the reviews of this book, I had to defend it.
This book is not to be read at face value. It is the retelling of perhaps one the hardest stories of the Bible to really digest, and that is the story of Job.
In the Bible, God & Satan make a bet of sorts on just how loyal and wonderful Job is and if he would remain that way in face of all adversity. And God, to prove his point to Satan, makes terrible things happen to Job, everything from killing his entire family to taking away his worldly possessions to afflicting him with a painful disease.
And yet through it all, Job is expected to sing God's praises like a canary.
This is the story of a good man whom terrible things happen to through no fault of his own. A man whose very life and everything he treasures reside soley upon the caprices of otherworldly beings.
JB is multilayered & complex. It starts with Zeuss & Nickles (can we see symbolism in those names, folks?), two tired old men who work in a circus. Zeuss sells balloons, thin plastic filled with hot air, and Nickles sells popcorn.
Zeuss is a great believer that life has meaning. He has Faith. Nickles is angry & sardonic, complaining bitterly about the unfairness of life.
They start arguing about this and one gets the feeling that it is an old argument. And to settle it, they reenact the story of Job, on an empty stage. (All the world's a stage, haha)
Not surprisingly, Zeuss plays God & Nickles plays Satan. And somehow, magically between the two, the story takes on a life of its own.
And in the end, they are both surprised and both come out viewing the reenactment differently.
(On JB...
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Format: Paperback
MacLeish's masterful "play in verse" presents a modern interpretation of the ancient Book of Job. It catches the essence of the tragedy and brings the reader/viewer into a direct experience of the mystery of good and evil.
MacLeish goes beyond the sacred text and dares to present a more satisfying resolution to an eternal question: the "why" of evil. Where the Book of Job fails, JB succeeds.
What is Macleish's answer to the problem of evil? Read JB and weep.
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Format: Paperback
I was asigned this play as a senior in high school (many years ago) and remember it fondly. It is a re-telling of the bibical story of Job, and takes liberities. Anyone who is uncomfortable with the Christian Old Testament in general or re-tellings that take liberities: be forewarned.
Another reviewer suggested reading aloud improves the experience. I would second that suggestion. No need to re-hash the plot. I just wanted to say, in defense of the play, that I found it extremely interesting and thought-provoking. Especially the different ideas regarding what proper religion/spirituality consists of that were brought out by JB, his family and friends.
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Format: Paperback
Like one of the other reviewers, I was also forced to read J.B. for school, but I have an entirely different opinion. Since I had read the book of Job prior to J.B., I had some nice perspective on the play. I also didn't like it much, but for solid reasons- the characters are all extremely one-sided, and the whole thing is obnoxiously incomprehensible, and almost condescending. It's sometimes in prose, sometimes in verse, sometimes in couplet form, sometimes not, and all very confusing. The idea of the play taking place at a circus is a bad choice, and doesn't really fit with the play. There is also a strange inconsistency with the characters of Nickles and Mr. Zuss- they have three separate names apiece, and are referred to by each. The entire play just feels contrived, like the author took a simple story (Job) and tried his best to turn it into something sophisticated and complicated. I mean really, of all the stories to convert to modern day, Job is just a nonsensical choice. In response to the accusation that it is somehow sacrilegious to teach the play in schools, if one simply takes the play as a play, and nothing more, then there is no problem. I attend a public high school, and am being taught several stories from the Old Testament- the Creation, the Flood, etc.- and if taken as stories, just stories, then there is nothing to be outraged about. Overall review- not very good, but not evil either.
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Format: Paperback
I was assigned to read JB to get into an English class. I had hardly any knowledge of what the book was about because I could not find reviews, and most people I talked to never heard of it before. I now know why. J.B., MacLeish's version of the Book of Job is not only unintersting, but the way it perceives god is controversial and offensive. It portrays him as an almighty male figure in the sky. I felt discusted at having been assigned this book to read for school, feeling somebody's religious views imposed upon me. Not only does the book undermine religon in its portrayal of God as an all powerful gypsy in the sky, it is a complete bore to read. I found myself cringing at the drawn out speeches and conversations of Mr. Zuss and Nickles, and hoping that their part would soon be over and I could read the slightly more interesting, yet sparse, dialogue of Job and Sarah. The one thing interesting enough about it is its modern style; it's quite confusing at times, especially when it reveals the deaths of Job's children, and switches back in forth between scenes of Job's suffering and the reflections of Zuss and Nickles. I usually enjoy most books I read, but this is one of the first that I can truly say I dislike. I would recommend this book to someone interested in learning about how Christianity, or religion in general, is portrayed in literature, or as a book to learn about the first modern works, but definetly not as a book to read for pleasure.
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