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Night and Her Stars

Night and Her Stars
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Richard Greenberg
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 149
Pub. Date: 1997
ISBN-10: 0822215004
ISBN-13: 9780822215004
Cast Size: 2 women, 7 men (flexible casting)

About the Play:

Night and Her Stars is a full-length drama by Richard Greenberg. Take a peek behind the curtain, and step inside the minds of a corrupted 1950's game show, and the contestant who was given all the answers. Night and Her Stars is a probing study of greed and power, exploring America's need for a hero; the transformation of the new medium of television as a subversive power; and the corrupting influence of fame. Aaaaahhh…television.

Night and Her Stars is the cautionary tale of Charles Van Doren, the young academic who made and destroyed his name on the question-and-answer show "21." Herbert Stempel is the first big winner of the game show and one of television's earliest stars. He eventually takes a dive for the show's more famous victor, Charles Van Doren. Orchestrated by game-show producer Dan Enright – a television incarnate, an abstract force of evil who persuades both Stempel and Van Doren to cheat – the audience watch both of the exceptionally gifted contestants fall from grace and analyze each of their weaknesses. Stempel sells his soul for an attempt to be an actor; Van Doren tries to break away from his life governed by strict rules and expectations from a family with ideals he struggles to meet. Enright, also serving as the play's glib, seductive narrator, has the uncanny ability to reveal each of the contestants' vulnerabilities and manipulates them to a profitable end, the audience siding with him at every scheming turn. At the end of Congress' probe into the scandal, Charles Van Doren confesses his guilt as Stempel throws his head back and sobs the bitter laughter of revenge as well as defeat. Van Doren retreats to his father's country house, and in a touching moment, like a stroke victim recovering his use of words, identifies all of the species of trees that surround the house, as he reconnects to his family. Night and Her Stars is based on true-life events surrounding the legendary Congressional inquiry into the Quiz-Show scandals of the 1950s. What was true in the 1950s remains true today: the great reality of television is not so much what's onscreen, but the manipulation of the viewing public. The game is fixed, and the house always wins. A reminder of that fact never hurts.

Night And Her Stars premiered in 1994 at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California and went on to a run by off-Broadway’s Manhattan Theater Club at the American Place Theater in 1995. Since then the play had regional premieres at professional theatres across the US and has been mounted by colleges, and community theatres.

Cast: 2 female, 7 male (flexible casting)

What people say:

"…Greenberg has lavished on his densely themed work some gorgeous language, keen wit, and smart thinking…." — Village Voice

"Mr. Greenberg has provided some lovely, subtly shaded moments for Mr. Van Doren and Mr. Stempel in which the men realize that television has forever changed their sense of what they know and how they know it." — New York Times

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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