Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by Michael Bowen & r & 365 Days/365 Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & L & lt;/span & isten up: Brilliant writer -- Mount Holyoke, MacArthur genius grant, Pulitzer Prize, she's da bomb, all right? -- lives with her cats and her blues-musician husband in Venice (that's L.A.'s Venice), wakes up on Nov. 13, 2002, decides it'd be a good idea to write a play every day for a year (no exceptions), and she's honing her craft but this is also the run-up to the war in Iraq so of course a lot of her one-page sketches bash Bush real good; husband says "cool," next thing you know there are theaters doing weeks and months of her 365-play cycle all over the country. (Got it goin' on right now in Seattle.) But in the meantime, you can enjoy this book -- which has its bland patches, sure (I sympathize with whoever has to perform the September plays) -- but Suzan-Lori Parks didn't learn from James Baldwin how to write drama like Topdog/Underdog for nothin'. At their best, Parks' playlets are miniature lessons in how to write for the stage.





Parks has her fixations -- Abraham Lincoln (he lived to age 89!); arms that are frozen before the knife can kill; racial injustice; literalized metaphors (an actual Window of Opportunity that actually closes shut); stage directions that can never be enacted; playing possum; plutocracy ("The Presidents Day Sale"); asshole warmonger dictators -- but it's interesting to watch her ring her themes' changes.





Many plays are startling and compact, with topics like watching over a sleeping stranger as an image of compassion ("The 1st Constant"); spoofing Neil Simon ("Barefoot and Pregnant in the Park"); Bush murdering his own soldier and calling it "poignant" ("House to House"); mothers protecting and relinquishing their children ("Behind the Veil of the Goddess"); breaking the cycle of poverty and crime ("My Father Was a Famous Mother"); women and men always failing to get along ("Epic Bio-Pic," "Vase" and "Bear"); depicting suicidal despair and its cure ("Plenty"); and ridiculing sectarian war ("Everybody's Got an Aunt Jemimah").





Some plays overlap; some plays interrupt others; and some of Suzan-Lori Parks' plays stretch people's minds out to infinity.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • When a Horse Isn't a Horse
  • When a Horse Isn't a Horse

    Gambling machines help Idaho's racing industries limp along — but maybe not for long
    • Jan 28, 2015
  • 'The Time Has Come'
  • 'The Time Has Come'

    Idaho considers protections for sexual orientation; plus, a new Spokane City Council candidate emerges
    • Jan 28, 2015
  • Freeze Frame
  • Freeze Frame

    Some want to limit the release of footage from police body cameras. What would that mean for Spokane?
    • Jan 28, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
PAC Con Palouse

PAC Con Palouse @ Schweitzer Event Center (SEL)

Sat., Jan. 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Say 'No' to Fear

    Why Spokane ought to embrace its roots as an immigrant-friendly place
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • Crossroads

    A high-profile retailer is eyeing a particular block of downtown Spokane; what that might mean for the Central City Line
    • Jan 7, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation