Bal & The Return of Pinocchio & The Vienna Notes
Published by Broadway Play Publishing
9 Male 5 Female
"Conversations with Richard Nelson lead inevitably to two topics: theater and politics. Nelson's anger and occasional pleasure in the political fortunes of his country are deeply felt. Discourse is essential to his insight, and the news of the day can obsess him. He is not without hope, but sees the gap between America's lofty goals and its day-to-day reality as an unacceptable burden of citizenship. America's successes are self-evident to him. Our national failures are what he chooses to confront through the shattered myths, ironic humor and violent imagery of his political plays. Believing that theater and civic argument are not mutually exclusive, he will sacrifice audience ease to confrontational issues: Nelson's political plays can be wilfully disturbing events on stage
This volume contains three of Richard Nelson's earliest political dramas which chart the evolution of Nelson's prolific career as well as his evolution as a major American playwright
THE VIENNA NOTES was first produced Off-Broadway in 1979. Although well-received, it was the fourth Richard Nelson play to be staged in New York in a single year. Its production marked the end of Nelson's presence as a young writer in that city
His next phase of work took place in the inevitably nomadic world of American regional theater. BAL (following CONJURING AN EVENT) was first staged in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1979, and in Chicago in 1980. THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO had a 1982 workshop at San Francisco's Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and a full production at Seattle's Empty Space in 1983 ...
The political plays of those years mark Nelson's intense response to America's evolution from its left-leaning Post-Watergate era to the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan and the country's turn to the right. Outrage is the tone of voice that unifies much of his work from this period. Taken together, these three plays present a downward moral trajectory
THE VIENNA NOTES shows a politician who literally lives by acting, almost in opposition to reality
BAL (loosely based upon Brecht's first play) presents a defiantly evil character whose immoral rampage has political overtones
The sequence ends with THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, in which the familiar Italian folk tale becomes a dangerous Reaganite nightmare
All three plays present victims without redemption - manipulative `players' who are blind to reality and mired in egotism. Nelson warns us about personal and political indulgence, and the threat of greed and selfishness when pitched as a defining social standard"