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Zap: A Play Paperback – Aug 8 2006

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From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–For practiced young thespians bored with chestnuts like Grease or Romeo and Juliet, Fleischman dishes up a hilarious pastiche that mixes speeches from Shakespeare with original scenes done in the styles of Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, Agatha Christie, Samuel Beckett, and Neil Simon–plus the occasional babble from Marsha, a neurotic performance artist. Working from the conceit that everyone in the audience gets a remote control to switch channels when interest lags, the author creates an increasingly rapid-fire sequence that has the various casts scuttling on and off stage, sometimes cut off in mid-line. Soon, they're losing their respective threads, falling out of character, and ultimately blending together in a general melee: Whoa. Chekhov meets WrestleMania, as Marsha sardonically puts it. Requiring a large cast and players (not to mention audiences) sufficiently versed in stage history to get the array of theatrical conventions Fleischman's spoofing, this script will challenge and reward in equal measure any company courageous enough to take it on.–John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. In a natural extension of his works for readers' theater (Joyful Noise, 1988; Seek, 2001), Newbery Medalist Fleischman offers his first "bona fide play." Framed as a performance for an imaginary audience armed with remote-control "zappers," this is actually seven plays mashed into one: a turgid rendition of Shakespeare's Richard III alternating at audience's whim among six spoofs of other dramaturgical biggies, among them, "The Russian Play," "The English Mystery," and "The Southern Play." Playgoers and actors alike, particularly those with some experience of the less-mainstream genres lampooned (for example, absurdist theater, in which a crossword player's request for "a three-letter word for despair" might reasonably be answered with artichoke), will relish the irreverent chaos as the boundaries between the plays gradually erode. Not every adult will agree that the way to invigorate students' interest in the stage is to reinforce the perception of tedium surrounding theater's greatest works. Still, it's easy to imagine student actors tackling this with verve. Mature references and on-stage consumption of "whiskey" limit this to high-school casts. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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