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Life Times Three Paperback – Dec 27 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Faber And Faber Ltd. (Dec 27 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571207383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571207381
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,344,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This clever, light comedy, written in 2000, presents the same basic reality in three different ways in three different acts. Sonia and Henri, a married couple with a small child, are relaxing after putting their recalcitrant son to bed. Suddenly, Ines and Hubert, guests whom they had expected the following evening, arrive for dinner, which, in this emergency, turns out to be "chocolate fingers" and "crisps." Henri is an astrophysicist who has devoted three years to a research project which is about to be published, and Hubert tells him that night that another researcher may have beaten him to the publisher. Hubert, also an astrophysicist, may be able to help Henri professionally.
In each of the three acts, which replay this scenario, one or more characters changes, dramatically affecting the dynamics of the group and the outcome of the evening. In Act I, Sonia is rigid and assertive, while Henri is the opposite, wanting to placate both their screaming son and Hubert, who can help him professionally. In Act II, sexual politics becomes a focus, with Hubert and Sonia agreeing to an assignation, until Hubert's self-promotion and condescension, combined with intemperate remarks by Ines, bring the evening to a disastrous close. In Act III, everyone is more relaxed and is conversing about "unity theory." Both couples are patient with the child upstairs, Henri has more confidence, he is sanguine about the research of the other scientist, and Hubert, while insensitive in his relationships, is not a complete dolt.
As astrophysicists, both Henri and Hubert have been studying "unity theory," a theory connecting the fundamental forces of the universe and explaining interactions, and the author illustrates this visually through the action on stage.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"How can we grasp the world as it is?" June 26 2004
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This clever, light comedy, written in 2000, presents the same basic reality in three different ways in three different acts. Sonia and Henri, a married couple with a small child, are relaxing after putting their recalcitrant son to bed. Suddenly, Ines and Hubert, guests whom they had expected the following evening, arrive for dinner, which, in this emergency, turns out to be "chocolate fingers" and "crisps." Henri is an astrophysicist who has devoted three years to a research project which is about to be published, and Hubert tells him that night that another researcher may have beaten him to the publisher. Hubert, also an astrophysicist, may be able to help Henri professionally.
In each of the three acts, which replay this scenario, one or more characters changes, dramatically affecting the dynamics of the group and the outcome of the evening. In Act I, Sonia is rigid and assertive, while Henri is the opposite, wanting to placate both their screaming son and Hubert, who can help him professionally. In Act II, sexual politics becomes a focus, with Hubert and Sonia agreeing to an assignation, until Hubert's self-promotion and condescension, combined with intemperate remarks by Ines, bring the evening to a disastrous close. In Act III, everyone is more relaxed and is conversing about "unity theory." Both couples are patient with the child upstairs, Henri has more confidence, he is sanguine about the research of the other scientist, and Hubert, while insensitive in his relationships, is not a complete dolt.
As astrophysicists, both Henri and Hubert have been studying "unity theory," a theory connecting the fundamental forces of the universe and explaining interactions, and the author illustrates this visually through the action on stage. Like the four fundamental forces of nature, we have four characters, some weak and some strong, operating independently on some levels while interrelating on others. As we see from the different outcomes in the three acts, minor changes or glitches, even random ones, can affect relationships, future directions, and the whole concept of "unity." The characters are quite different in personality in each of the acts, not really unified as personalities, illustrating dramatically Hubert's observation about the gap between "reality and representation," and between "object and word." Though the conceit is clever, the play stands as a sparkling, light comedy of relationships on its own--familiarity with science is not a prerequisite to its enjoyment. Mary Whipple
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I am thirsty March 18 2009
By H. Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Reza boosted her fame when Czar Cosy asked her to write about him, and she did that during his election campaign, and it was a success and he won the elections. The man is smart. And I like his wife's music.

But let's return to Reza. She was already a famous playwright in France, otherwise the man would not have chosen her.
Apart from that I know little about her.

She wrote a play called, in English, Life x 3. I would never have noticed it, frankly, if not for the following personal reason: my daughter, the younger one, is a gifted amateur actress and theater person with years of track record in school theaters. Her triumph was her direction of Ionesco's Lesson. As an actress, she sparkled as Philomele, her last part before school was over.

Now as a new out-of-schooler in a gap year, her first acting job (after an unfortunately failed attempt to stage Glass Menagerie, where she would have had the role of the daughter) was in Life x 3. It is a 4 persons play. My daughter was the 5th, the little son who cries behind stage. A bit of a let-down after years of fame.

A play about two couples. One visiting the other for a dinner party. The problem is that there was a misunderstanding about dates. The hosts were thinking in terms of tomorrow. Difficult, because the guest is the host's superior in the world of science (cosmology) with presumed influence on career prospects. You can see right away that this is getting difficult. The senior man asks about the forthcoming publication on the halos of milky ways or something like that. It is ready! But have you seen the recent publications by such and such on the same subject? Depression, dejection, accusations, and then the little son acts up in the background and the tense conversations embrace the subject of education, with glee.

The level of the professional chess games (who is important for whom?) is enriched by bitching about child management and about the women's inability to understand what the owners of creation are talking about and by finger food at the improvised disaster party. It ends in hostility and evacuation.

And then we get the same scenario in different permutations. The protagonists change their character, the reaction to situations changes, the guest goes for the hostess, the son goes on interfering from behind the scenes...

The play is restricted by pragmatical considerations to 3 versions of the same starting situation. It could conceivably last much longer with endless variations.

The concluding question must be: so what? This is a funny evening at the theater, but I don't see any depth in the approach to real life.
Unless your daughter plays a part in it, you do not really need to watch it. I can't think of a reason to read it.

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