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WASP and Other Plays

WASP and Other Plays
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Steve Martin
Publisher: Samuel French (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 71
Pub. Date: 1998
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0573603111
ISBN-13: 9780573603112

About the Play:

WASP and Other Plays is a collection of one-act plays by Steve Martin. WASP depicts an archetypal middle-class white Anglo-Saxon Protestant family of 1950's suburbia, so glowingly portrayed on shows like "Father Knows Best." This family is a seething mass of suppressed desire and inner secrets, masking the deep emptiness at the centre of an idealized life. It is a dark and surreal comedy – a broad satire punctuated with insightful and poetic moments of irony. The collection by one of America's favourite funnymen also contains The Zig-Zag Woman, Patter for a Floating Lady, and Guillotine.

WASP – the acronym for White Anglo Saxon Protestant – vibrates with satire and dark lyrical irony as a social-climbing WASP suburban family meanders blindly toward catastrophe. In the fractured landscape of 1950s suburbia, this is an ever-smiling nuclear family with some very modern problems. Dominated by a Creationist Dad who cheats on Mom and regales the children with tales from the golf course, the family muddles through the mundane absurdity of their white-bread existence. (Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

The Zig-Zag Woman: Pushed to amazing lengths to relieve profound loneliness, a weary waitress is standing in a box in an attempt to catch the eye of a customer, but not just any old box – an illusionist's box that shifts her waist to the right so that her body is contorted in a zig-zag fashion. This "Zig-Zag Woman" begins to talk about love and broken hearts with diner regulars: an old man still longing for his past love, a middle aged man who has stopped looking, and a fiery young man who is hungry for a woman in pieces. (Cast: 1 female, 3 male)

Patter for a Floating Lady: A somewhat self-centered magician levitates his female assistant in the hopes of rekindling their relationship. The trick has an unexpected result in which the magician discovers why their relationship failed and must acknowledge the difference between ownership and love. (Cast: 2 female, 1 male)

Guillotine: A fast-talking and sharply dressed customer buys a guillotine from an antique dealer. The customer installs the execution apparatus at his home for "self-protection". His maid's efficiency in dusting it becomes her undoing. (Cast: 1 female, 3 male)

WASP was first presented in 1994 in the Martinson Theater of the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York during the Ensemble Studio Theater's annual one-act-play series. It was then performed at the same theatre in 1995 together with The Zig-Zag Woman, Patter for a Floating Lady, and Guillotineunder the collective title WASP and Other Plays by Steve Martin. Each short play remains a popular choice for fringe and college theatre productions.

What people say:

"If you enjoy the sly humor of actor Steve Martin, then WASP is a great way to get inside his head." — Daily Iowan

"Attaching the name Steve Martin to any project automatically implies that it will be rife with witty comments and crazy stunts. WASP and Other Plays by Steve Martin ... includes that trademark humor." — Theatremania

About the Playwright:

Steve Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician and composer. Since the 1980s, having branched away from stand-up comedy, he has become a successful actor, immensely talented playwright and screenwriter as well as banjo player eventually earning Emmy, Grammy, and American Comedy awards. His writing credits include the plays Picasso at the Lapin Agile and W.A.S.P. which both played Off-Broadway; and the screenplays for Shopgirl, The Pink Panther, Bowfinger, L.A. Story and Roxanne, among others.

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