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Metropolitan Operas: 27 Short Plays

Metropolitan Operas: 27 Short Plays
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Joe Pintauro
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 227
Pub. Date: 1997
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 082221508X
ISBN-13: 9780822215080

About the Play:

Metropolitan Operas is a collection of very short plays by Joe Pintauro. These 27 vignettes, unified by the theme of hearts on the mend, are expressions of the human condition. Each one, though brief, is complete on its own and unique from the others.

Part I opens with Seymour In The Very Heart Of Winter. It's Christmas Eve; Viv, a disinterested fading actress, is reminiscing about her ex-husband and her life before, to Bob, the young working-class boyfriend who currently loves her. With a fancy restaurant as her stage, Viv rants about her past, as Bob must find a way to pull her back to reality if he is to save their love. (Cast: 1 female, 2 male)

Swans Flying: Ben, a patient in a hospital, hears the sound of swans flying, though his nurse hears nothing. When Ben drifts off to sleep, he is visited by Eddie, who holds his hand and waits for any words of hope. (Cast: 1 female, 2 male)

Rosen's Son: Mr. Rosen unexpectedly shows up at a dinner party at his dead son's lover's home to comfort him as well as himself. Finding him with a new lover Harrison trying to move on after his son's death, Mr. Rosen is enraged, until the tears of his son's lover compensate for his own loss. (Cast: 3 male)

Benjamin Falling: From his hospital bed, Benjamin envisions his own death – he jumps from a plane into a bright blue ocean. But his fantasies are eroded when the word of his lover berates him back into a reality where he can cling to life. (Cast:1 male)

Two Eclairs: Three can live as cheaply as one until Maude can't take her little sister, Beth, living with her and her husband, Mark. When Mark balks, however, light shines on a devastated Maude. She moves out and Beth takes over her role – as she'd been doing for some time. (Cast: 2 female, 1 male)

Birds In Church: Two priests attempt to catch a pair of exotic birds flying in the sanctuary. Is it a visitation from God, or just someone dumping unwanted birds? While debating whether these creatures are sent from God or even represent him, they find the note that asks that someone find these pets a good home. (Cast: 2 male)

Rex: The humorous story of Eric and Jenn who are a married couple and happen to be vegetarians. Jenn runs over a pheasant with her car and cannot clear her conscience of the accident. Naming the dead bird Rex, she feels that to relieve her guilt she must cook it and serve it for dinner to her husband Eric, hoping this gesture will return Rex to the natural order of nature. Eric, a very reluctant meat-eater, cries foul. In the end the couple ends up burying the bird in the oatmeal coffin. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Dirty Talk: In a rural bar an alluring young woman causes a stir with the locals. When the bar closes, she stays behind with the redneck bartender who sees in her something strangely familiar. She does her best to get him aroused, then reveals she is his son, changed, but back for revenge on a neglectful father. (Cast: 1 female, 2 male)

Charlie's Farewell: A priest leads a congregation – perhaps only of one – in appreciating life after one of the congregants is taken from their midst. (Cast: 2 male)

Men Without Wives: Pop visits his son, Boomer, to attempt to console him on the recent death of his wife. The two are very different and resentments flare, even getting the better of them. The common bond between them, the deaths of each of their wives, brings them closer together, if only temporarily. (Cast: 2 male)

Parakeet Eulogy: When we fail to find God in our everyday lives, can we declare ourselves God over smaller creatures if we care for them always? (Cast: 1 male)

Easter Night: When Kristen's mother dies, she comes home to her father and his friends. Their differing ways of mourning affects them all, as Kristen unleashes her anger. Boomer, her father, defends himself, through his own anger and grief, and only after they are all spent, does Kristen find the magic of her mother return to her. (Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

Fiat: Ken is a hairdresser who wants to commit suicide in his salon. When a flamboyant Virgin Mary enters the salon and disrupts his plans, he puts it off – until he realizes she is there to escort him to the other side he seeks. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Part II opens with Lightning: A woman sits alone, outside, during a violent rainstorm. When it passes, her young daughter retrieves her, praising the Lord her mother is alright. The woman had again challenged God, and he spared her. (Cast: 1 female, 1 girl)

Bird Of Ill Omen: Doreen, a prostitute, is visited by a mysterious former customer who can't speak, but has something important to tell her. Upon his revelation, that he is terminally ill, Doreen tries to hide her emotions with her anger. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Rules Of Love: A woman goes to confession seemingly to be absolved for the sin of having a sexual relationship with a priest. Her priest hears the awkward confession, and to his dismay, she gives him the ultimatum of her love or God's. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Lenten Pudding: For the first time, Ency has neglected to bake the annual Lenten puddings for her family. Her niece, Megan, attempts to pry the recipe from her stubborn aunt, and when talk of the family's history surfaces, the recipe Megan held so dear might not be that important after all. (Cast: 2 female)

Ten-Dollar Drinks: Star, a recent Oscar winning actress, has reluctantly agreed to meet her still-struggling actress pal Bete for a cocktail. Star knows her old friend is jealous of her success, and through the torturous reunion that is anything from congenial, makes her confess it. (Cast: 2 female)

Frozen Dog: Vinny and Kevin, two Catholic priests, have just had a spat. Vinny, has just found out that Kevin had asked to be stationed with him for the last ten years and feels his goals have been compromised. But love between friends is strong and may have leanings they both now discover. (Cast: 2 male)

Soft Dude: Doll is a prostitute who has a problem with her boyfriend, Dude, who was also one of her 'customers'; he can't get it up and she needs to work hard for the money. Afraid he'll lose her, Dude makes chicken for dinner in an awkward attempt to get close with her – for all he really wants is to hold her hand. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Watchman Of The Night: Mike returns home in a bad state; he's been drinking after he and his girlfriend had a fight. She's left many messages on his answering machine and when the phone rings he refuses to answer it, until he hears the message of a male caller, a wrong number, that may change the way he thinks about love. (Cast: 1 female, 2 male)

Uncle Chick: Brian, a recently out gay young man, pays a surprise visit to his distraught Uncle Chick, who is packing up the belongings of his deceased lover. Brian reveals to his uncle that he's gay, just like him, and Chick warns him against living a gay life. But through the bitterness he hears, Brian ultimately seeks to console Uncle Chick with a warm embrace. (Cast: 2 male)

His Dish: James and Edna are newlyweds who visit William, James' brother, at his country home. After a king's breakfast made by the adoring Edna, James leaves the table for a moment. Then William tells her she married a man she didn't know. When James returns, the evidence surfaces and Edna escapes. (Cast: 1 female, 2 male)

Butterball: The table is set for a feast, only the meal served is human and the family members are turkeys, or mostly so. This family of humans has turned into turkeys – by various political factors and maybe a few genetic mishaps, as the traditional Thanksgiving dinner takes a twisted turn. (Cast: 2 female, 3 male)

House Made Of Air: Matilda Neruda, wife of the famous poet, tells of the last few days of the life of Pablo Neruda. A haunting memoir to the world. (Cast: 1 female)

Fur Hat: Janet is to give a lecture at a University. As she goes over her notes in the cafeteria, her ex-husband, Don, a professor, unintentionally sits down at the same table. Their hatred and resentment for each other surfaces in their conversation and comes to a head when she almost leaves her fur hat at the table, and he at first refuses to give it back. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Bus Stop Diner: Martin has watched the dress rehearsal of his play and is stunned by how bad it is. When he tries to dissuade the producer/director from opening, he is surprised again at the reason for its production, and is hilariously and lovingly persuaded to help fix it before opening night. (Cast: 3 male)

The 27 short plays that comprise the entirety of the Metropolitan Operas were commissioned in 1985 by The Circle Repertory Company in New York City and produced in three-evening cycles, under the collective title Rapid Fire. In 1995, Dolphinback of Chicago presented the entire 27-play collection in marathon, day-long productions under the collective title American Divine. That production was nominated for six Jeffersons, which are Chicago's closest equivalent to the Tony Awards, appeared in four major "Year End Best" Lists, and was called "Best Play of 1995". Since then Metropolitan Operas has been produced in various languages worldwide, and was produced at the Commedia dell'Arte in Venice under Carla Poli.

What people say:

"So sublime is this production, I left the theatre in an altered state. In play after play of this beautiful, hopeful evening, we see the alienated enlightened and the estranged reunited." — New City (Chicago)

"Pintauro reveals a talent for dramatizing grand passions with almost operatic vigor. He unleashes a volcanic uproar of affection, obscenities and physical abuse worthy of Raging Bull." — New York Times

"[The pieces focus on the] saints and sinners and the dreamers and destroyers of Pintauro's sacred and profane world. There are bursts of unforgettable poetry. Pintauro's greatest strength is his poetic impulse – a lush blend of lyricism and mean streets rage. All of Pintauro's characters are torn between sinning and penitence." — Chicago Sun-Times

About the Playwright:

Joe Pintauro (1930-2018) was an award-winning American author, poet and prolific playwright in late 20th century New York. A former priest, he graduated from Fordham University in New York City with an M.A. in American Literature before studying Theology for four years at Niagara University. He is the acclaimed author of two novels, several volumes of poetry, and a plethora of plays. He is best known for works such as Raft of the Medusa, Cacciatore, and Men's Lives.

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