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The clients of a French brothel act out their fantasies while a revolution rages in the city.
The setting of Jean Genet’s celebrated play is a brothel that caters to refined sensibilities and peculiar tastes. Here men from all walks of life don the garb of their fantasies and act them out: a man from the gas company wears the robe and mitre of a bishop; another customer becomes a flagellant judge, and still another a victorious general, while a bank clerk defiles the Virgin mary. These costumed diversions take place while outside a revolution rages which has isolated the brothel from the rest of the rebel-controlled city. In a stunning series of macabre, climactic scenes, Genet presents his caustic view of man and society.
Gathered together here for the first time are seven plays that span Havel’s career from his early days at the Theater of the Balustrade through the Prague Spring, Charter 77, and the repeated imprisonments that made Havel’s name into a rallying cry and propelled him to the leadership of his country. They include The Garden Party, The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, Mistake, the Vanek trilogy of Audience, Unveiling, and Protest, and the first fully corrected English version of The Memorandum–the play that won Havel the Obie for Best Foreign Play in 1968.
About the Author
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), one of the leading literary and dramatic figures of the twentieth century, was born in Foxrock, Ireland and attended Trinity University in Dublin. In 1928, he visited Paris for the first time and fell in with a number of avant-garde writers and artists, including James Joyce. In 1937, he settled in Paris permanently. Beckett wrote in both English and French, though his best-known works are mostly in the latter language. A prolific writer of novels, short stories, and poetry, he is remembered principally for his works for the theater, which belong to the tradition of the Theater of the Absurd and are characterized by their minimalist approach, stripping drama to its barest elements. In 1969, Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and commended for having “transformed the destitution of man into his exaltation.” Beckett died in Paris in 1989. At the age of seventy-six he said: “With diminished concentration, loss of memory, obscured intelligence… the more chance there is for saying something closest to what one really is. Even though everything seems inexpressible, there remains the need to express. A child need to make a sand castle even though it makes no sense. In old age, with only a few grains of sand, one has the greatest possibility.” (from Playwrights at Work, ed. by George Plimpton, 2000)
One of the true masterpieces of the century. Clive Barnes, The New York Times One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation, a threnody of hope deceived and deferred but never extinguished; a play suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity; with phrases that come like a sharp stab of beauty and pain. The Times (London) Beckett is an incomparable spellbinder. He writes with rhetoric and music that . . . make a poet green with envy. Stephen Spender Reading Beckett for the first time is an experience like no other in modern literature. Paul Auster [Godot is ] among the most studied, monographed, celebrated and sent-up works of modern art, and perhaps as influential as any from the last century. The nonstory of two tramps at loose ends in a landscape barren of all but a single tree, amusing or distracting themselves from oppressive boredom while they wait for a mysterious figure who never arrives, the play became the ur-text for theatrical innovation and existential thought in the latter half of 20th century. Christopher Isherwood, The New York Times “
The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, compared by critics to the works of Graham Greene, Denis Johnson, and George Orwell, “The Sympathizer” is a blistering exploration of identity, politics, and America, wrought in electric prose. The narrator, a Vietnamese army captain, is a man of divided loyalties, a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist sleeper agent in America after the end of the Vietnam War. A powerful story of love and friendship, and a gripping espionage novel, “The Sympathizer” examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.
About the Author
Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the academic books “Race and Resistance” and “Nothing Ever Dies.” He is a cultural critic-at-large for the “Los Angeles Times” and teaches English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles.