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North Shore Fish

North Shore Fish
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Israel Horovitz
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 98
Pub. Date: 1989
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822208318
ISBN-13: 9780822208310
Cast Size: 7 female, 2 male

About the Play:

Finalist for the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

North Shore Fish is a full-length drama by Israel Horovitz. An Off-Broadway success which finds earthy humour – and genuine pathos – in the hard-scrabble lives of a group of unskilled (and underpaid) workers in a faltering fish packing plant. Ostensibly dealing with the mundane events of their working day, North Shore Fish gradually and skilfully exposes the tensions which lurk below the surface: the petty intrigues, sexual longings and fear of losing their livelihoods that affect them all.

North Shore Fish takes place over one day in a fish packing plant in Gloucester, Massachusetts, north and east of Boston. The action of the play centres on the daily routine of the workers, mostly women, who have come to regard North Shore Fish as a way of life. But despite the ribald humour, juicy gossip, and boisterous horseplay that enlivens their working day, the women are aware that there are signs of impending trouble. Once a thriving business that processed the daily catch of the local fishing fleet, hard times have reduced North Shore to little more than a re-packaging plant, removing labels from frozen fish from Japan and rewrapping the "product" with newer ones, and the layoffs have already begun. Despite the bravado of the philandering plant manager, who makes a futile last ditch effort to keep the plant open by attempting to persuade an officious lady health inspector to "look the other way," their worst fears are realized when the manager concedes defeat and announces that North Shore Fish will soon be replaced by a fitness centre. The workers, like so many others across the nation whose jobs have been lost to industrial obsolescence and foreign competition, are shaken but not surprised, and while they accept their fate stoically there is also a sense of helplessness and defeat which brings great poignancy to the final moments of the play. These are good-spirited people, whose hard work and dedication have come to nothing – and they are powerless to do anything about it.

North Shore Fish premiered in 1986 at Gloucester Stage Company in Gloucester, Massachusetts and ran for six consecutive months. It then went on to successful production Off Broadway in 1987 at the WPA Theater in New York City and was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Desk Award as Best New American Play. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 7 female, 2 male

What people say:

"…one of the most absorbing, powerful plays in town." — New York Daily News

"Angry, passionate, raw, funny and sad… Here's a play that cuts right to the bone of its characters." — Variety

"…vivid microcosm of a society confronting the facts of obsolescence." — New York Times

"…humor touched with tears." — BackStage

About the Playwright:

Israel Horovitz (1939-2020) was an American playwright, director, and actor who first came to prominence in the counterculture melting pot of Greenwich Village in the winter of 1967-68, with four critically acclaimed plays produced Off Broadway. Since then, nearly 70 Horovitz plays have been performed throughout the USA, and dozens have been translated and performed in as many as 25 languages, worldwide. He won numerous awards, including the OBIE (twice), the Emmy, Priz du Plaisir de theatre (for Line In Paris), Prix du Jury (Cannes Film Festival), the New York Drama Desk Award, and Award in Literature of The American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Eliot Norton Prize, and many others.

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