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Lips Together, Teeth Apart

Lips Together, Teeth Apart
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Terrence McNally
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 89
Pub. Date: 1992
ISBN-10: 0822206706
ISBN-13: 9780822206705
Cast Size: 2 female, 2 male

About the Play:

Lips Together, Teeth Apart has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues and Male Monologues.

Lips Together, Teeth Apart is a full-length drama by Terrence McNally. On the elegant deck of a beach house on Fire Island, a brother and sister and their respective spouses attempt to celebrate the Fourth of July with a gnawing uncertainty that makes their affluent habits and petty prejudices sizzle in the summer sun. In this unforgettable comedy, Terrence McNally does for the beach house what Chekhov did for the Russian country estate.

Lips Together, Teeth Apart is an indictment of ignorance and stagnancy in the fight against AIDS, as well as a powerful look inside dissolving marriages, lost hopes and dreams, and the looming, capricious nature of death. A gay community in Fire Island provides an unlikely setting for two straight couples who are discovered lounging poolside, staring out to sea. Sally, married to Sam, a New Jersey contractor, has inherited the house from her brother who died of AIDS. Sam's hyperkinetic sister, Chloe, and her smug, aristocratic husband, John, have come out for the Fourth of July weekend. Amidst the seemingly mundane activities, it becomes apparent that the two men despise each other because John has had an affair with Sally; Sally is panicked and melancholy because she is pregnant and fears miscarriage; and Chloe seems determined to drive them all mad with her incessant babble and enthusiasm for musical comedies. Through monologues unheard by the others, the characters reveal a desperate sense of individual isolation. The only people these four characters find more alien are the gay men partying in the houses on either side of them. As they divert themselves from their own mortality with food, cocktails, the New York Times crossword puzzle, fireworks, charades, and biting jabs at each other and the boys next door, Sally and Sam and John and Chloe find little to celebrate about themselves or their country on its birthday.

Lips Together, Teeth Apart premiered in 1991 at Stage 1 of New York's famed Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC). This off-Broadway triumph transferred to the Lucille Lortel Theatre in 1992 and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award as Best Off-Broadway Play. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional and college theatre productions.

Cast: 2 female, 2 male

What people say:

"A brilliant comedy." — The New Yorker

"One of Mr. McNally's finest plays – and one that hasn't dated, despite its apparently topical subject matter." — New York Times

"McNally's wit and wild comedy invariably score, and his darker intentions resonate, making Lips Together, Teeth Apart one of his most accomplished plays." — New York Daily News

About the Playwright:

Terrence McNally (1938-2020) was an American playwright whose career has spanned six decades. Initially active in the burgeoning Off-Broadway theatre movement in the 1960s, he is one of the few playwrights of his generation to have successfully made the transition to Broadway, and, in the process, passed from avant-garde to mainstream acclaim. In addition to four Tony Awards for his plays, he received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller grant, and was a recipient of the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Tony Awards' Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre Honor. He is considered one of America's great playwrights.

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