Synopses & Reviews
This one-of-a-kind anthology features thirty-six hilarious short plays by major American playwrights and emerging new voices, all guaranteed to send readers and audiences into peals of laughter.
From the surrealistic wit of Steve Martin's "The Zig-Zag Woman" to the biting political satire of Steven Dietz's "The Spot," from Christopher Durang's wonderfully loopy "Wanda's Visit" to Shel Silverstein's supremely twisted "The Best Daddy," there's something in here to make everyone laugh. There are plays for casts of all sizes, from monologues to large ensembles, with diverse and challenging roles for actors of every age and type. Even the titles are funny: Mark O'Donnell's "There Shall Be No Bottom (a bad play for worse actors)," Elaine May's "The Way of All Fish," and Alan Ball's "Your Mother's Butt." A bonanza for theatergoers, performers, and comedy fans, Laugh Lines will bring down the house.
About the Author
Eric Lane and Nina Shengold are editors of twelve contemporary play collections. Their other titles for Vintage Books include Plays for Actresses, Leading Women: Plays for Actresses II, Take Ten: New Ten-Minute Plays, Take Ten II: More Ten-Minute Plays, Under Thirty: Plays for a New Generation,
and Talk to Me: Monologue Plays.
For Viking Penguin, they edited The Actors Book of Contemporary Stage Monologues, The Actors Book of Scenes from New Plays, Moving Parts: Monologues from Contemporary Plays, The Actors Book of Gay and Lesbian Plays
(Lambda Literary Award nominee), and Telling Tales: New One-Act Plays.
Nina Shengold received the ABC Playwright Award and the L.A. Weekly Award for Homesteaders, published by Samuel French. Her Romeo/Juliet, a five-actor adaptation of Shakespeares play, is published by Broadway Play Publishing. Her ten-minute plays have been performed at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and dozens of other theaters. Ms. Shengold won the Writers Guild Award and a GLAAD Award nomination for her teleplay Labor of Love, starring Marcia Gay Harden; other screenplays include Blind Spot, with Joanne Woodward and Laura Linney, Unwed Father, Double Platinum, and a flm adaptation of Jane Smileys Good Will. She is artistic director of the upstate New York theater company Actors & Writers. Her first novel, Clearcut, was published by Anchor Books.
Eric Lane is an award-winning playwright and filmmaker. Plays include Heart of the City, Times of War, Shellac, Cater-Waiter, and Dancing on Checkers Grave, which starred Jennifer Aniston. Mr. Lane has written and produced two short filims: First Breath and Cater-Waiter. For his work on TVs Ryans Hope, he received a Writers Guild Award. Honors include the Berrilla Kerr Playwrighting Award, La Mama Playwright Development Award, numerous Yaddo fellowships, and a St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity fellowship in Malta. Mr. Lane is an honors graduate of Brown University, and is artistic director of Orange Thoughts Productions, a not-for-profit theater and film company in New York City.
Table of Contents
David Auburn: MISS YOU
Alan Ball: YOUR MOTHER'S BUTT
Gina Barnett: ALONE AT LAST!
Glen Berger: THE GALLOWS MONOLOGUE
—FROM SIDNEY RYAN'S
—GUNPOWDER AND BLOOD
David Cale: POODLES
Eric Coble: TIES THAT BIND
Sharon E. Cooper: MISTAKEN IDENTITY
Laura Shaine Cunningham: OUTSOURCED
Adrienne Dawes: HERITAGE, HER-I-TAGE, & HAIR-I-TAGE
Steven Dietz: THE SPOT
Paul Dooley & Winne Holzman: POST-ITS (Notes on a Marriage)
Christopher Durang: WANDA'S VISIT
Peter Hedges: THE VALERIE OF NOW
Mikhail Horowitz: WE CANNOT KNOW
—THE MIND OF GOD
Seth Kramer: THE TARANTINO VARIATION
Eric Lane: THE STATUE OF BOLÍVAR
Warrent Light: MARS HAS NEVER BEEN THIS CLOSE
Mark Harvey Levine: SURPRISE
David Lindsay-Abaire: HOW WE TALK IN SOUTH BOSTON
Steve Martin: THE ZIG-ZAG WOMAN
Elaine May: THE WAY OF ALL FISH
Mark O'Donnell: THERE SHALL BE NO BOTTOM (a bad play for worse actors)
Jonathan Rand: CHECK, PLEASE
Wayne Rawley: CONTROLLING INTEREST
Jacquelyn Reingold: 2B (OR NOT 2B)
Edwin Sánchez: POPS
Nina Shengold: FORTY TO LIFE
Shel Silverstein: THE BEST DADDY
David Smilow: THE FLYING WOLIMSKIES RETURN
Tommy Smith: STREAK
Richard Strand: ROSA'S EULOGY
Frederick Stroppel: CHOCOLATE
Joyce Van Dyke: THE EARRING
Daryl Watson: THE BLUEBERRY HILL ACCORD
Lauren Wilson: WEDDING DUET
Garth Wingfield: PLEASE HAVE A SEAT AND SOMEONE WILL BE WITH YOU SHORTLY
About the Editors
Permissions and Acknowledgments