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Catch-22: A Dramatization

Catch-22: A Dramatization
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Joseph Heller
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 106
Pub. Date: 1971
ISBN-10: 0573606854
ISBN-13: 9780573606854
Cast Size: 2 women, 9 men (doubling)

About the Play:

Catch-22 is a full-length comedy by Joseph Heller, adapted from his iconic first novel. The classic spoof of the folly of war and those who make it pay. The story is set in World War II and focuses on a group of US Army Air Force men – one in particular called Captain John Yossarian. The men do what they can in order to survive so they can go home to their families but their rank superiors keep throwing obstacles in their paths to try and keep them longer.

Catch-22 represents the idea of a "no-win" situation – no decision or course of action a person makes or takes will result in resolution, but rather a continuation of the confusion one tried to clear up in the first place. The term itself has entered the language as a description of a ridiculously cyclical situation. The story centres on the incomparable, artful dodger, Captain John Yossarian ("Yo Yo"), a US Air Force bombardier in World War II who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. He is convinced his number is up. But his real problem is not the enemy, but rather his own army. He is dealing with the absurdity of war, particularly the bureaucracy and rules that run counter to logic. Every time Yo Yo reaches his quota of missions, the requirements are increased. He'd like to get out but there's always a catch... If Yossarian makes any attempt to avoid his military assignments, he'll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule which specifies that a request to be removed from duty is evidence of sanity and therefore makes him ineligible to be relieved from duty. This superb stage dramatization of Joseph Heller's classic satire offers actors multiple opportunities portraying the unforgettable characters from the novel: a C.O. bucking for general, a mess officer who runs an international cartel in scarce commodities, the ex PFC who really runs the war by deciding which mail should go from one general to another, undercover agents who end up investigating each other, a Roman prostitute trying to kill Yossarian, the Army nurse with whom he is briefly in love, and the lads who die too young all are splendidly presented with dramatic immediacy.

Catch-22 is a modern American classic. The best-selling novel by Joseph Heller has been dubbed one of the greatest literary works of the 20th Century. The book was published in 1961 and immediately caused a huge furor in the literary world, inspired a 1970 movie, as well as this stage adaptation by Joseph Heller himself that was first produced in 1971 at the John Drew Theater in East Hampton, New Jersey.

Cast: 2 women, 9 men, with doubling (Expandable casting: 2 to 8 women, 9 to 36 men)

What people say:

"A masterly portrait of war's inherent inanities… a bold undertaking… imaginative and faithful in spirit to Heller's novel.” — New York Times

About the Playwright:

Joseph Heller (1923-1999) was an American satirical novelist, short story writer, and playwright. He is best known for his novel Catch-22, which became a bestseller and, in 1970, a film. He went on to write four other novels and the play We Bombed in New Haven. He also wrote scripts for television series and worked on film screenplays.

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