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Naomi in the Living Room and Other Short Plays

Naomi in the Living Room and Other Short Plays
Your Price: $21.95 CDN
Author: Christopher Durang
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 273
Pub. Date: 1998
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: ‎ 0822214482
ISBN-13: 9780822214489

About the Play:

One Minute Play has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female/Male Scenes.

Phyllis and Xenobia has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female/Female Scenes.

Naomi in the Living Room and Other Short Plays is a collection of 20 ten-minute plays by Christopher Durang. The stories range from broadly funny to nearly macabre, with a sometimes-rich sense of parody.

Naomi in the Living Room finds a young couple being badgered by the groom's psychotic mother. Naomi, when visited by John and Johnna, her son and daughter-in-law, is alternately friendly and insulting. Johnna copes her best, but when John changes his clothes to look like Johnna, things start to unravel. Naomi barely notices any differences but throws them both out of the house, then decides she's had a nice time! (First produced in 1988 by Home for Contemporary Theater in New York City; Cast: 2 female, 1 male)

The Book of Leviticus Show is a macabre look at public access television and religious fanaticism. Lettie Lu is broadcasting her own public TV access show from a local motel. Based on Lettie Lu's belief in the Book of Leviticus, the show's interpretation of the story leads Lettie Lu to today's segment's activities of capturing and putting to death a homosexual and an adulteress. All in a day's devotion to God. (Cast: 3 female, 2 male, flexible casting.)

Entertaining Mr. Helms: An extremely conservative father runs a rigid household: the Pledge of Allegiance each morning, his wife does "woman's thing," his daughter gets points for being glad a classmate died of a botched abortion and his son gets in trouble calling sports teams by words with double meanings (instead of Team A and B). They are all happy living in America. (Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

Cardinal O'Connor comes to explain briefly why birth control is always, always, always, wrong. (Cast: 1 male)

Woman Stand Up: A sensitive woman trying to do stand-up comedy has to bring her own laugh track, just in case. Her self-deprecating jokes turn out to be all too real, as is her pain as she senses the truth. (Cast: 1 female)

DMV Tyrant offers the story of a man who must tolerate an unhelpful clerk at the Division of Motor Vehicles as he attempts to get his license renewed with infuriating results. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From: Frank and Joe Hardy change sweaters a lot and look cute. The word "sleuthing" excites them and they're off to investigate what it means that Nancy Drew has "a bun in the oven." (Cast: 1 female, 3 male)

Aunt Dan Meets the Madwoman of Chaillot: Aunt Dan, the title character of Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon, has a discussion with Giradoux' The Madwoman of Chaillot. They discuss it all. (Cast: 2 female or 1 female, 1 male)

Canker Sore and Other Distractions brings to life the story of a man and a woman, previously married who try to reconcile over dinner. The reconciliation is ruined, however, by a canker sore and a talkative waitress. (Cast: 2 female, 1 male)

Medea: A sketch co-authored by Durang and Wendy Wasserstein. Medea and her chorus of three woman try to figure out if it's appropriate to kill your children to punish your husband. Jason shows up; so does a messenger with news of Lady Teazle; and a deus ex machina comes down from the sky to cheer everybody up. (Cast: 4 female, 2 male)

Funeral Parlor tells the tale of a rather peculiar stranger who tries to help a grieving widow deal with the death of her husband in some very bizarre ways. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

1-900-Desperate centers around Gretchen, who is nagged by her mother about her empty love life. She calls a romance talk line to find only other women and one young man named Scuzzy. When a five-year-old child randomly dials by mistake, Gretchen finds his innocent babbling preferable to all the adults on the call. (Cast: 3 female, 1 male, 1 boy)

Women in a Playground showcases two women watching their children play; one of them is pretty normal, the other has a very pessimistic outlook. (Cast: 2 female)

Phyllis and Xenobia: Two oddball sisters quarrel over differing recollections about who did or didn't kill their equally strange mother, and who does or doesn't like pudding. The play is good for character work and has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops. (Cast: 2 female)

Desire, Desire, Desire: Another Tennessee Williams parody, from the author of For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls. Blanche DuBois, her nerves shot, is stuck in a house with a slobby Stanley Kowalski, who keeps yelling "Stella!" Stella left for a lemon Coke six years ago and never returned. Blanche tries to seduce a young census taker, but is interrupted by Big Daddy and Maggie from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A "tart" from The Iceman Cometh shows up as well, irritating Blanche by saying "pipe dream" instead of "illusion." Stella comes back briefly, but departs again, leaving Blanche and Stanley stuck together for eternity. (Cast: 3 female, 5 male)

One Minute Play: Written for a one-minute play festival at American Repertory Theatre. A young man tells his suicidal, despairing thoughts to a cheerful woman who chooses to ignore them. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

John and Mary Doe introduces us to the idealized family: John Doe, his wife, Mary, and their three perfect children. But things aren't as they initially seem. His happy portrayal keeps turning truly dark, as he reveals that his wife has been murdered and dismembered by their insane next-door neighbor, Tommy Psycho Babbit. Then he takes it back, says he's made it all up, and that everything is fine. Mary looks normal, but from time to time her mouth falls off and her eye pops out. John kills his children in a rage, then says he didn't really. Mary and John go to sleep and hope Dr. Kevorkian comes in the morning. (Cast: 2 female, 3 male)

Gym Teacher: An overly macho gym teacher addresses a co ed class of seventh graders, saying inappropriate things and eventually forcing the unlucky class to play a game of "bombardment" (hitting members of the other team with volleyballs), but this time played with bowling balls. (Cast: 1 male)

The Doctor Will See You Now: A raucous Woman Singer, dressed in sequins and boa, keeps bursting into noisy song in a doctor's office. Mr. Wilson is there to see the doctor about an allergy, but the doctor and his nurse insist he has a venereal disease and call up everyone he knows. A public service announcement. (Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

Under Duress: Chris and his friend Stephanie debate global warming. Stephanie's pretentiousness irritates Chris, but they make up, and Chris composes a letter to the President about the subject. Realizing he has to go to the post office to buy a stamp, Chris is overwhelmed, but he gathers his courage and goes. (Cast: 1 female, 2 male)

About the Playwright:

Christopher Durang (1949-2024) was an award-winning American playwright and actor whose plays have been produced on and off- Broadway, in regional theatres around the US and abroad. He earned a B.A. from Harvard College, and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama. He was the co-chair of the Playwriting Program at the Juilliard School in Manhattan from its inception in 1994 to 2016.