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The Monologue Plays Paperback – August 19, 2009
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
A collection of 75 plays reflecting diverse human and literary voices.
Traditionally, monologues serve as a dramatic highlight, not the total theatrical production. Wang presents brief, two-to-four-minute monologues created to stand alone as independent plays or grouped as a series. The plays are written with colorful and engaging voices that range from comical to melancholy. Some supply unexpected inventive scenarios, such as a gondola's lament as it sinks below the surface of Venice's Grand Canal, and Queen Hypsipyle explaining how she and the women of Lemnos suffered at the hands of dishonorable men (but she still welcomes Jason and the hope he represents). A quirky take on Snow White shows her nagging after her drunken husband Prince Charming as he gallops away, supplying a different ending than the typical fairy-tale finale. The author ably delves into the stories of other classic literary characters, including Medea and Hercules, but these aren't the collection's standouts. Wang displays a sharply honed ear for everyday language and situations that shine with humor and authenticity. In "Flirt, With Child," a single mother plays vamp in a grocery store with an Irish-Australian man trying to decide on a pasta sauce, while her little girl obstructs the game. The comical spectacle is heightened when the mom suddenly starts throwing out Italian phrases and her daughter winds up kicking the hapless man in frustration. At the other end of the spectrum, "Room 606" shows a son returning home to thank his father for supporting him, though he didn't understand him. The son recalls all the things his ailing father has done to inspire gratitude, and sadness and pain leap from the page-long play. The book successfully captures the power of the short, one-person performance.
An entertaining read for theater buffs and basic fiction fans alike. --Kirkus Discoveries, November 23, 2009
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