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The Dining Room

The Dining Room
Your Price: $12.95 CDN
Author: A.R. Gurney
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 81
Pub. Date: 1982
ISBN-10: 0822203103
ISBN-13: 9780822203100

About the Play:

The Dining Room is a full-length comedic drama by Off-Broadway favourite A.R. Gurney. Formal dining rooms are a special place different than any other. Formal celebrations, grave discussions, flirtations, visitors, secrets, teenage indiscretions and many other occurrences happen within the unique atmosphere of a dining room. In The Dining Room six actors create eighteen unique situations and events that will bring back personal memories, make you laugh and maybe shed a tear.

The Dining Room is a brilliantly conceived and richly humorous theatrical tour de force (and Off-Broadway success) in which six (or more) performers portray a wide array of diverse characters as they delineate the dying lifestyle of wealthy WASPdom, and the now neglected room which was once a vital centre of family life. The play is set in the dining room of a typical well-to-do household, the place where the family assembled daily for breakfast and dinner and for any and all special occasions. The action is comprised of a mosaic of interrelated scenes — some funny, some touching, some rueful — which, taken together, create an in-depth portrait of a vanishing species: the upper-middle-class WASP. The actors change roles, personalities and ages with virtuoso skill as they portray a wide variety of characters, from little boys to stern grandfathers, and from giggling teenage girls to Irish housemaids. Each vignette introduces a new set of people and events; a father lectures his son on grammar and politics; a boy returns from boarding school to discover his mother's infidelity; a senile grandmother doesn't recognize her own sons at Christmas dinner; a daughter, her marriage a shambles, pleads futilely to return home, etc. Dovetailing swiftly and smoothly, the varied scenes coalesce, ultimately, into a theatrical experience of exceptional range, compassionate humour and abundant humanity.

The Dining Room premiered in 1982 Off-Broadway at the Studio Theatre of Playwrights Horizons. His first critical and commercial success, it remains a popular choice for high school and community theatre companies.

Cast: 3 women, 3 men (but more actors may be cast)

What people say:

"…hilarious and touching…as comic sketch crazily succeeds comic sketch a whole pattern of American life emerges…." — New York Post

"The Dining Room serves a banquet of theatrical riches." — New York Daily News

"…a thoughtful and superbly written comedy…." — Variety

"…often funny and rueful and, by the end, very moving." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

A.R. Gurney (1930-2017) is known as one of the most prolific and produced playwrights in America. His work focuses primarily on the issues and realities of middle-class American life and has been produced on international theatre stages for more than 50 years. He is also the author of three novels and a two-time Pulitzer Prize for Drama nominee, the recipient of the Drama Desk Award, and the Award of Merit from the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

 

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