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Third

Third
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Wendy Wasserstein
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 49
Pub. Date: 2008
ISBN-10: 0822222752
ISBN-13: 9780822222750
Cast Size: 3 female, 2 male

About the Play:

Third has become a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues.

Third is a full-length drama by Wendy Wasserstein. College professor Laurie Jameson accuses one of her students, an outwardly stereotypical jock nicknamed "Third" of plagiarism. As a result, her seemingly well-ordered life as wife, mother and daughter, as well as educator, is thrown into disarray. What follows forces her to question the very values and ideals she has clung to for so much of her life.

Third takes place at a small prestigious New England college during one academic year. The story focuses on Laurie Jameson, a professor who has made her name teaching feminist literary criticism. She believes a student has plagiarized a paper. His name is Woodson Bull III, but you can call him "Third." The professor and the polite, white, male student from the Mid-West have deeply divergent personal and political views. He is, as she puts it, "a walking red state." Believing that Third's sophisticated essay on King Lear could not possibly have been written by a guy like him, she reports his plagiarism to the college's Committee of Academic Standards based on that notion alone. But is Jameson's accusation justified? Or is she casting Third as the villain in her own struggle with her relationships, her age and the increasingly polarized political environment? Third presents a candid, uncompromising portrait of a woman at a crossroads.

Third is the final play written by noted 20th-century American playwright Wendy Wasserstein. It was first staged in 2004 as a one-act play at Washington D.C.'s Theater J. The expanded, full-length version of Third premiered in 2005 off-Broadway at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts complex in New York City, and has become a popular choice for college and community theatre productions.

Cast: 3 female, 2 male

What people say:

"It's the certainty of uncertainty in life that makes Third so affecting… Third exhales a gentle breath of autumn, a rueful awareness of death and of seasons past, that makes it impossible to dismiss it…A gracious air of both apology and forgiveness pervades its attitude to its characters." — The New York Times

"[Wasserstein] is in a reflective mood here. Funny and occasionally biting, the playwright poignantly marks the passage of time, not only for her conflicted heroine but for several of the other lovingly drawn characters on stage…There are no outright villains in ThirdBut there certainly are shades of gray, some darker than others." — Associated Press

"Wasserstein's new play — her best in years — is thematically richer and more emotionally satisfying than any mere political screed…[a] story of a woman's self-reassessment as she heads into the third part of her life." — Variety

"…displays Wasserstein's gift for dissecting the emotional and social states of a certain breed of upscale, highly educated women…Wasserstein's trademark wit — at one point Jameson describes her student as a 'walking red state' — is very much in evidence…." — New York Post

"[Wasserstein's] play about a college professor who accuses a student of plagiarism is timely and provocative." — Broadway.com

About the Playwright:

Wendy Wasserstein (1950-2006) was an American playwright, novelist, and an Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. She received the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1989 for her play, The Heidi Chronicles, often touted as a precursor to the HBO television series, Sex and the City. Over the course of her career, spanning four decades, she wrote eleven plays and is one of those rare playwrights whose work is performed regularly in schools and community theater as well as commercial venues. She was admired both for the warmth and the satirical cool of her writing; each of her plays and books captures an essence of the time, makes us laugh, and leaves us wiser.

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