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Life Under Water

Life Under Water
Your Price: $14.95 CDN
Author: Richard Greenberg
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 42
Pub. Date: 1985
ISBN-10: 0822206609
ISBN-13: 9780822206606
Cast Size: 3 female, 2 male

About the Play:

Life Under Water is a one-act comedy by Richard Greenberg. A pointed portrait of the bored, self-indulgent denizens of New York's trendy Hamptons retreat, examined through love affairs spanning two generations. Young Kip has a dilemma... everybody has to grow up. But how do you do that without turning into one of the "phonies" you see all around? A bright, sometimes caustic tale from the early pen of playwright Richard Greenberg, Life Under Water sheds a harsh light on coming of age in an idle, self-serving world.

Life Under Water is a story about Kip, a young man who, on a booze influenced whim, runs away from the lavish home he shares with his divorced, domineering, and bitingly sophisticated mother and her narcissistic married lover in order to chase a dream of making it big. He isn't sure how he intends to make his fortune but, is determined to do so without the help of his mother. The setting is the present-day Hamptons, that sun drenched stretch of expensive ocean frontage where the rich and privileged while away their summers. After passing out on the beach, he is found by two attractive college girls, Amy-Beth and Amy-Joy, who are looking for a good time, and think they have found it in the person of Kip. And romance does develop, if not quite in the manner anticipated. He falls in love with one but lusts for the other. The triangular affair of the young people is deftly counterpointed against the vapid relationship of the older couple. But while high comedy and sharp observation prevail, the play yields a lacerating portrait of a contemporary upper-middle-class that is, sadly and humorously, bored, self-indulgent and emotionally reckless.

Life Under Water premiered in 1985 at New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre, as part of their One-Act Play Marathon, and brought immediate popular and critical acclaim to its author while he was still a student at Yale. Since then the play has been mounted by professional theatre and is regularly performed in college theatre productions as a showcase of student talent.

Cast: 3 female, 2 male

What people say:

"Life Under Water is no mere gem. It is a full-bodied 45-minute work that marks the arrival of a young playwright with a big future." — New York Times

"…a fully realized piece of high comedy, sharply observed and rich in feeling." — Village Voice

"Greenberg, like a champion fencer, hits with the fewest, fastest, most economical strokes right to the heart. And with what witty disenchantment, what heartbreaking humor." — New York Magazine

"Greenberg, the author of The American Plan and Eastern Standard, is ... a deft, wonderfully witty writer with a knack for romance that's virtually unequaled today. This early work – a lyrical one-act about the search for love among the country-club set has all the trademark Greenbergisms: dreamy but naive men, fiercely intelligent but self-destructive women, and effervescent, highly literate dialogue." — Chicago Reader

About the Playwright:

Richard Greenberg is an American playwright and television writer, known for his subversively humorous depictions of middle-class American life. One of the most produced playwrights of his generation, he has had more than 25 plays premiere on and off-Broadway and has won the Oppenheimer Award for a debuting playwright, the first PEN/Laura Pels Award for a mid-career playwright and has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

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