cover photo by Jay Thompson
this collection contains three full-length plays:
A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY
A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY:
"Tony Kushner's A BRIGHT
ROOM CALLED DAY...is unabashedly political, thought-provoking, a
little scary, and frequently a good deal of theatrical fun.
...BRIGHT ROOM is...an examination of Nazi Germany in an attempt to shed insight on our own time.
It's brash, audacious, and, depending on your politics, anything from infuriatingly naive to intoxicatingly visionary. In its 1932-33 span, it tells of a group of Berlin artists and friends, with varying degrees of communist leanings, and of the changes in their lives as democracy falls and Adolph Hitler takes over."
Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune
"It's fun to see a show
this engaged. This passionate and ready to talk. Wild, uneven,
pugnacious, ragged, committed, smart, dumb, satirical, and
Always dramatically and intellectually forceful. And most important, always passionately committed. More than a diatribe against Reagan or a falling-into-the-Nazi-abyss history play, A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY is an assertion of the need for commitment."
Anthony Adler, The Reader
originally produced by the Heat and Light Company, New York
4 M, 5 F
THE ILLUSION (an adaptation of Pierre Corneille):
"In a eminently playable,
witty adaptation by Tony Kushner, THE ILLUSION comes across as
downright entertaining, not an adjective anyone who reads
Corneille in college is likely to expect.
Unlike his better known plays, which have heroic subjects, THE ILLUSION is concerned with domestic matters the alienation of parents from children, marital infidelity. While it is serious about these subjects, it puts them in an unusual context: A father has consulted a magician about his estranged son, and the magician shows him scenes from his son's life...
The comedy is elegant, full of depth..."
Howard Kissel, Daily News
"What are the real powers
of sorcery? To alter? To define? To transport? Tony Kushner and
Pierre Corneille before him go for all three, which is only part
of the magic in Kushner's fanciful adaptation of Corneille's
Freely adapted it is, in the best sense. For Corneille, whose later, loftier verse plays earned him the stodgy title of Father of French Tragedy, THE ILLUSION was a mildly satirical precursor to all that a glitch, written when he was only twenty-nine. Yet even then, it was burdened by a ponderous Seventeenth-Century neo-classical style that kept the word comique out of Twentieth-Century range. Kushner's achievement is digging under all the circumlocution to salvage an ageless and universal tale, stripping the nugget of its ornamentation and serving it up to us lingually lucid and lean.
There is some colloquial indulgence in the rewritten language, but it's mostly judicious. We're in on the joke, which never goes too far. Simply put, this the tale of a rigid father, Pridament, who, stricken with remorse for having provoked his son to flee the family home, searches out the magician Aleandre in the hope that he will help him find out what happened to the wayward boy.
Aleandre does, and the ironic twist of the piece is that after several false starts, passionate re-enactments, comic delusions and confusions, the truth is revealed and Papa finds he doesn't like it. The light-hearted ending is a cynical but honest lesson in selective affection.
All the fun, however, is in getting there. THE ILLUSION takes us into territory on which theater thrives: fantasy, witchcraft, transcended place and time...."
Sylvie Drake, Los Angeles Times
"What a fascinating,
totally theatrical excursion we're in for in this 17th Century
fairytale-fable first spun by French classical dramatist Pierre
Corneille. In 1639, L'ILLUSION COMIQUE was a comedy they didn't
know what to make of; Twentieth Century playwright Tony Kushner knows
what to make of it. Triumphantly exhumed and enlivened three and
a half centuries later in Kushner's fresh, free adaptation; it
proves indeed to be...`a prematurely modern play'. Both modern
and ancient, timeless and timely, flippant and profound... It is
a thorough delight....
L'ILLUSION COMIQUE was a masterpiece waiting for its time to happen. Tony Kushner made it happen and made it better. It is essence of theater, essence of archetypal magic. Carl Jung would have loved it."
Polly Warfield, Drama-Logue
originally produced by the New York Theater Workshop
6 M, 2 F
"Tony Kushner bears the curse of all
artists unlucky enough to have captured the zeitgeist. They are expected to
continue on their visionary path, explicating the world's mysteries in each new
play. Or they are tempted to use the stage as a bully pulpit, indicting the
cause of our malaise and dolling out prescriptions to sooth the pain. It is a
mark of Kushner's sophistication that in his newest play he refuses to rest on
his well-earned moral authority. A lesser writer would have followed ANGELS IN
AMERICA with something smug and sweeping. As though Kushner feared such a fate,
he instead has returned to where he started—a place of healthy confusion.
A taut play results: Kushner's humor buoys his political anguish, his lyricism draws dry ideas into rhapsodies and elegies, his interest in character won't let even the most vaudevillian individual conform to type."
Marc Robinson, The Village Voice
"The heaven that Tony Kushner envisions in
the epilogue of SLAVS!, his bracing, rational 80-minute fantasia is a dark,
gloomy place designed to look like a city after an earthquake...
...he has created a rambunctiously funny, seriously moving stage piece that is part buffoonish burlesque and part tragic satire. From beginning to end, it's also shot through with the kind of irony virtually unknown in today's theater, movies and television, where sarcasm passes as wit. There were hints of this exaggerated style in his epic MILLENIUM APPROACHES and PERESTROIKA, collectively known as ANGELS IN AMERICA....
Mr Kushner has emphasized that SLAVS is not to be taken as the work of a historian. Rather, it's a work of a brilliant and restless imagination.
Mr Kushner's words dazzle, sting and prompt belly laughs."
Vincent Canby, The New York Times
originally produced by Actors Theater of Louisville
7 M, 3 F
Plays By Tony Kushner
I S B N: 0-88145-102-9
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