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Whisper into My Good Ear and Mrs. Dally Has a Lover

Whisper into My Good Ear and Mrs. Dally Has a Lover
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: William Hanley
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 77
Pub. Date: 1963
ISBN-10: 0822212447
ISBN-13: 9780822212447

About the Play:

Mrs. Dally Has a Lover has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female/Male Scenes.

Whisper into My Good Ear has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Male/Male Scenes.

The volume contains two one-act plays by William Hanley: The Vernon Rice Award-winning Whisper into My Good Ear, a portrait of two old men who share their loneliness living in a fleabag hotel and plan to commit suicide together; and Mrs. Dally Has a Lover, about a mature woman disappointed in life, who finds impossible love and a reawakened passion in a sensitive boy years younger than herself.

Whisper into My Good Ear: According to Howard Taubman in The New York Times, the play "is a study of two old pensioners who find surcease from their fleabag of a hotel and their loneliness in meeting near the edge of a park lake. This time they have met to carry out an agreement to commit suicide together. Charlie is almost blind and full of truculence, the kind of man who resents the tree behind his back because it has been around 100 years and will outlast him. Max is gentle, introverted and, it develops, gay. Nothing happens between them, but the two talk – amiably, impatiently, bitterly – and reveal themselves and the sources of their despair." In the end the suicide pact is abandoned, at least for the present, for both men become aware that it is often enough just to be alive and to search each day for the values that even the most wretched can perceive." (Cast: 2 male)

Mrs. Dally Has a Lover: New York Newsday says: "It has something of the quality of a Dorothy Parker sketch with its keen observations and deft portrait of a woman in love, knowing that this love cannot last. Mrs. Dally is well into her thirties, married to a man she despises and carrying on an affair with the teenaged son of a family living in the same tenement building. Despite its theme and its 'kitchen sink' locale, there is nothing sordid about Mr. Hanley's play. It has humor and an equal share of pathos. The boy is affectionate but inarticulate; the woman has larger dimensions in her efforts to sow romance and harvest beauty in barren soil. Her simple recital of the death of her only child, her reading of one of Donne's love poems, her performance on a trombone which she once played professionally, mix drama and comedy with skill and sensitivity. To me there was no false note in the touching one-acter." (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Whisper into My Good Ear and Mrs. Dally Has a Lover were produced Off-Broadway in 1962 at Cherry Lane Theatre as a double bill and have been a been a staple of acting classes every since. The plays heralded the arrival of an important American playwright, earning William Hanley a Drama Desk Award in 1963. Mrs. Dally Has a Lover played on Broadway in 1965 at John Golden Theatre. Each play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been performed in fringe festivals, and by college and community theatre groups at one-act festivals.

What people say:

"Remember the name, William Hanley ... he is an uncommonly gifted writer ... His style is lean and laconic, shading almost shyly and unexpectedly into tenderness and poetry ... His perception of character is fresh and individual." — New York Times

"William Hanley writes stunning dialogue." — New York World-Telegram & Sun

"William Hanley's 1962 play, Mrs. Dally Has a Lover, is the sort of talky 'kitchen sink' drama that gives actors a chance to bite down hard on roles that offer rich opportunities for finely detailed characterization." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

William Hanley (1931-2012) was an American playwright and screenwriter. He was educated at Cornell University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, though he never pursued an acting career. He won critical acclaim as a Broadway and Off Broadway playwright in the 1960s. He turned to television and went on to write more than two dozen television made-for-TV movies and miniseries over the next 30 years, receiving six Emmy nominations and winning two Primetime Emmy Awards during his career. He is the author of a number of novels and television, radio, and stage plays including Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.

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