Baby with the bathwater, and, Laughing wild: two plays

Front Cover
Grove Press, 1989 - Drama - 166 pages
3 Reviews
“Laughing wild amid severest woe” perfectly describes the fiercely ironic comedy of Christopher Durang’s Laughing Wild (which takes its title from this Thomas Gray quotation via Samuel Beckett) and the previously unpublished Baby with the Bathwater. In Laughing Wild, two comic monologues evolve into a man and a woman’s shared nightmare of modern life and the isolation it creates. From her turf battles at the supermarket to the desperate clichés of self-affirmation he learns at his “per­sonality workshop,” they run the gamut of everyday life’s small brutalizations until they meet, with disastrous inevitability, at the Harmonic Convergence in Central Park.

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Review: Laughing Wild and Baby with the Bathwater: Two Plays

User Review  - Marissa - Goodreads

I first encountered these plays when I was in high school and Christopher Durang was a favorite among the theater kids. I laughed at the irreverent, naughty absurdities of "Baby with the Bathwater ... Read full review

Review: Laughing Wild and Baby with the Bathwater: Two Plays

User Review  - Henry - Goodreads

During the afterword, Durang likens himself to Ionesco and Albee - ?? - unfortunately Durang does not live up to these comparisons. Though his career has a few highlights, Durang's absurdism is ... Read full review

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About the author (1989)

Reared in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, Christopher Durang spent his childhood acting out plays that he based on television and movie characters. His 12 years in repressive Roman Catholic schools as well as traumatic elements in his home life became the basis for the dark humor of his later plays. Known as one of America's angry young playwrights, Durang has focused his satirical wit on Hollywood's myth-making cinemas, the Catholic church, contemporary psychoanalytic practices, and the problems of individual and family identity. Although he has enjoyed only limited success on Broadway, he has become a major voice off-Broadway and in America's burgeoning regional and university theaters. Durang developed as a playwright during the early 1970s while working under Robert Brustein at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Much of his work during this period brought him little critical attention. However, in 1976 his satirical play, A History of the American Film, was read at the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. The following year the play was premiered at the Hartford Stage Company, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and the Arena Stage in Washington. By the close of the decade, the play had become a regional theatre favorite. Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You opened in 1979 at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York as a companion piece to works by David Mamet, Marsha Norman, and Tennessee Williams. The play begins with a simple catechism delivered by a seven-year-old student but soon turns into a deadly confrontation between the nun, Sister Mary Ignatius, and a number of her former students. The play, which is concerned with censorship, won the coveted Obie in 1980. The wildly humorous The Actor's Nightmare served as a curtain raiser for the controversial Sister Mary Ignatius when these two plays were presented in 1981 at off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons. Beyond Therapy opened off-Broadway in 1981 and enjoyed a less successful run the following year on Broadway. This screwball comedy concerns two people who are seeking meaningful relationships but who are hampered by the efforts of their respective therapists. The story shows the patients sorting it out and learning to live beyond beyond therapy. As with other Durang plays, it has enjoyed strong regional support. The Marriage of Bette and Boo, first produced in 1973, was rewritten to open at the Public Theatre in 1985. A brilliant and satirical dissection of the modern American family, the play is Durang's most autobiographical work. Durang himself played the role of Matt, Bette and Boo's son, in the New York production. The play, which earned an Obie, enjoyed critical and popular success and has been viewed as an important breakthrough in Durang's career.

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