Frozen Styph

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Author House, Aug 25, 2011 - Fiction - 224 pages
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Frozen foods magnate Maxwell F. Styph has had himself frozen. Now, friends, family, and business associates are coming to a “memorial dinner party” to say goodbye to Max.

This was the premise behind a hilariously funny, audience-interactive approach to theater innovated by psychologist/playwright, Ronald Jay Cohen. The first drafts had been written by Cohen as a funeral, set in a chapel. In these early versions of the play, Cohen tried to write a comedy that answered the question: “What if they gave a funeral, and everyone who came told the truth about the deceased?”

As the play took shape, Cohen began to experience some uneasiness with the material. Despite the fact that portions of the script were riotously funny, the focus of the play was squarely on some very unpleasant realities of life. At least some audience members might have sensitivities about, or even painful associations towards, material that dealt with loss and eulogies. Somehow, the script had to be “lightened-up,” allowing audience members to better distance themselves from the goings-on, and freely laugh at what was taking place. But how could that be done?

Cohen’s solution was to make the situation a little wackier, more atypical, and less realistic. Instead of a coffin prop, a seven-foot, smoking, “cryonic chamber” would be utilized. And instead of being put-up in a traditional theater with a chapel set on stage, the play would run in a restaurant, and be couched as a “memorial dinner party.” In addition to scripted “eulogies” from cast members, audience members themselves would be permitted to construct and verbalize their own, often unflattering or outrageous memories of the person being “honored.” And that is how Frozen Styph was conceived. See the play if you can. For now, enjoy the novel!

 

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Contents

MEET THE sTYPHs
1
LATE FOR DINNER
23
CALzoNE ANYONE?
42
BUBBY IN THE HOUSE
69
THE EARLY YEARs
82
0EY GET YOUR GUN
98
CHAPTER I0 MAXs NOTE
121
CHAPTER I2 ENTER THE RABBI
202
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Ronald Jay Cohen, Ph.D. is a gifted writer who has written widely read trade, professional, and textbooks. His book, Binge! It’s Not a State of Hunger... It’s a State of Mind (Macmillan) was one of the first self-help books to provide readers with a systematic, cognitive-behavioral approach to weight loss and maintenance. His book, Malpractice: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals (The Free Press) is still widely regarded as the definitive work on the subject of what constitutes malpractice in the mental health profession. Dr. Cohen’s textbook, Psychological Testing and Assessment, 7th edition (McGraw-Hill), is perhaps the most widely used textbook in the world on that subject, and it has set a standard by which comparable textbooks are judged. It has been translated into Spanish, and is currently being translated into Chinese.

The author is very well known as a psychologist and a scholar. What is not widely known is that he has a marvelous sense of humor; one he employs not only in his clinical work and professional writing, but in his hobby of writing plays and screenplays. His highly original and hilariously funny show, Frozen Styph, delighted New Yorkers during its Off-Broadway run in New York’s Greenwich Village. Originally produced by The Participatory Theatre Company, this unique show has more recently been seen as a production of the Cracked Wall Comedy Theater, a theater company that “cracks” that imaginary fourth wall between performers and the audience. For readers who have seen the Frozen Styph show, this book will provide some “back story” regarding many of the lovable, offbeat characters. Readers who have not seen the show are advised to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. You will become thoroughly engrossed in, and uniquely entertained by the (frozen) world of Maxwell F. Styph.

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