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The Power Plays: Gossip, Filthy Rich, and The Art of War

The Power Plays: Gossip, Filthy Rich, and The Art of War
Your Price: $19.95 CDN
Author: George F. Walker
Introduction by: Jerry Wasserman
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 208
Pub. Date: 1999
ISBN-10: 0889224145
ISBN-13: 9780889224148

About the Play:

The Power Plays contains three full-length plays by George F. Walker. Meet Tyrone Power, protagonist of the three plays: Gossip, Filthy Rich, and The Art of War. No, not the 1940s actor, but a burned-out, would-be novelist and sometime "private eye" who, despite his best efforts to retreat from humanity, keeps finding a stream of film noir characters pounding on his door. Satirizing the self-possessed, tough-guy stereotype of classic detective novels, The Power Plays trilogy are more whydunits or howdunits than whodunits.

Gossip explores public fascination with lurid, tabloid-style journalism, as well as our appetite for celebrity and fame in the first play in The Power Plays trilogy. The plot introduces main character Tyrone Power, a powerless political journalist who tries to find out who murdered the darling of the local avantgarde scene after she collapses in the art gallery. Who killed Jane "The Bitch" Nelson while dozens of celebrities sipped champagne? It's a sleazy mystery indeed, implicating many of the city's movers and shakers, and it's a gold mine for any newspaper covering it. Baxter, owner of the biggest paper in town, wants an answer to that question and he tags T.M. Power for the job. "I'm a political journalist" Power protests, "Not a gossip columnist!" But his boss prevails and asks him to write more entertainment news, or "real news" as he prefers to call it, to appeal more to readers. Our hero suddenly finds himself in the underbelly of big city corruption, knee-deep in lawyers, bickering actors, and hookers, all scheming and conniving. It's up to Power to use investigative journalism to find out whodunit. (Premiered in 1977 at Toronto Free Theatre; Cast: 3 women, 6 men)

Filthy Rich is the middle play in The Power Plays and gives us the return of Tyrone M. Power supreme cynic and investigative reporter. The topics covered are timeless – corruption, sex, and murder. The witty dialogue and non-stop action will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Will Tyrone find his man before it is too late? Who's done what to whom? Who really are the good guys? Be prepared for some comic twists and dramatic surprises. (Premiered in 1979 at Toronto Free Theatre, ran Off-Broadway, and remains one of his most popular plays; Cast: 2 women, 4 men)

The Art of War is the third in a trilogy of plays in which Tyrone Power, a broken-down journalist turned unemployed private detective, fights tirelessly but unsuccessfully for truth, justice, and the Canadian way. In this play, Power is taking on international skulduggery. Think of the present scandals in Afghanistan but with Richard Colvin replaced by Sam Spade. It's very intelligent and also very funny. Power's quarry here is retired General John Hackman, who is plotting with Karla Mendez, the daughter of a deposed Central American dictator, to restore her father's regime. Power, his sidekick Jamie and their friend Heather are no match for Karla, the general and his zombie aide, Brownie. Their only strength is innocence, and that isn't much. (Premiered in 1984 at Toronto's Factory Theatre Lab and ran Off-Broadway; Cast: 2 women, 4 men)

What people say:

"Walker has an eye for the ridiculous and an imagination that packs his plays with action." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

George F. Walker is a prolific Canadian playwright with working-class roots in Toronto's hard-luck Cabbagetown, the city's now trendy East End. Instrumental to the 1970s alternative theatre movement in Canada, the self-taught playwright has written more than 30 plays and created screenplays for several award-winning Canadian television series. His plays have been presented across Canada and the United States and in more than 700 productions internationally. His work has been honoured with two Governor General's Awards, eight Chalmers Awards, and five Dora Awards. He is also the recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement and is a Member of the Order of Canada.

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