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Four Dogs and a Bone and The Wild Goose: Two Plays

Four Dogs and a Bone and The Wild Goose: Two Plays
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: John Patrick Shanley
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 75
Pub. Date: 1995
ISBN-10: 0822214008
ISBN-13: 9780822214007
Cast Size: 3 to 4 actors

About the Play:

This volume Four Dogs and a Bone and The Wild Goose contains two one-act comedies by John Patrick Shanley. Moral bankruptcy abounds in Four Dogs and a Bone, a satire of filmmaking as two actresses attempt to manipulate a screenwriter for larger roles in a low-budget film, while a take-no-prisoners producer pursues his own agenda.; and The Wild Goose is about three people locked together in a seemingly nonsensical world.

Four Dogs and a Bone is a scathing satire in which a writer dabbling in Hollywood falls into a vortex of vanity and cash. Brenda, a seemingly guileless young actress, takes a meeting with Bradley, a troubled, middle-aged producer, to discuss the film on which they are working. Brenda wants to be a star, she even chants for it! But Collette, the other actress in the film, is in her way, so Brenda must convince Bradley that the film is in serious trouble unless he makes certain changes, one of which is taking out Collette's part. Bradley, knowing full well that the film is seriously over budget, intimates that he will effect Brenda's suggestions if she can convince her stepbrother, a giant movie star, to make a cameo appearance in the film, guaranteeing more capitalization and the cachet of success. Meanwhile, Collette has her own agenda: She knows she's not as young as she once was. She tries to convince Victor, the writer, to alter the film so she can be the heroine, or else, this, his first film, is destined to be lost in art houses or, worse, go directly to video. Victor, a naive young writer from Off-Off Broadway, doesn't know how to handle any of this, and his mother just died. He needs to mourn and to drink himself into a stupor before he changes his screenplay. Later, in the make-up trailer, Brenda and Collette find out they've been trying to stab the other in the back which leads to the kind of cat fight only actresses do and culminates in a mock-bonding. All hell breaks loose in the final scene when Bradley and Victor confront one another over the state of the film and are interrupted by Brenda and Collette, and all the lies and backbiting are exposed as these four dogs go after their bone. (Premiered in 1993 at the Manhattan Theater Club Stage 2; Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

The Wild Goose: When the story opens, we find Jameson and Renaldo amongst table and chairs, deciding if they can live together in the world or not. They share their water and peanuts as they tear each other down to gain the upper hand. Jameson shoots Renaldo dead. Just in time, for Ramona comes in and now Jameson can have her all to himself. But Ramona misses Renaldo and nothing is settled until Renaldo jumps up! Alive again! Aha, now Ramona must choose between them. This presents a problem since Ramona was just about to hang herself. Jameson shoots her instead – to forego the grief of a suicide. Soon the wild goose hovers over the scene with its majestic sound and beauty. Ramona jumps up just after Jameson shoots the bird, and it falls at their feet. Can anything survive in this world? They wonder as they all sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and prod the goose to come alive again, which, in time he does, to join the living. (First presented at The Ensemble Studio Theater (E.S.T.) in its annual Marathon of New One-Act Plays in 1992; Cast: 1 female, 2 male)

What people say:

"If you're going to write a satire about the movie business at this very late date, it had better be very, very funny. In the case of Four Dogs and a Bone… that criterion is most abundantly met." — The New York Times

"Four Dogs and a Bone [is] the funniest play in town, and the neatest, if kinda affectionate, evisceration of that ol' dream factory you will encounter in years." — New York Post

About the Playwright:

John Patrick Shanley is an American playwright, screenwriter, and director. Shanley has written some two dozen off-Broadway plays since the 1970s, but he is best known for Doubt, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award. He has also written extensively for TV and film, and his credits include the teleplay for Live from Baghdad and screenplays for Five Corners and Moonstruck, for which he won an Academy Award for original screenplay.

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