This anthology features six plays by celebrated Chicago playwright Mickle Maher, who has been described by the Houston Chronicle as “one of the most original voices in American theater today,” and by the Chicago Reader as “a master at creating complex, paradoxical works that encompass their own contradictions.” Maher’s plays engage classic literature as a jumping off point for seriously unusual comedic dramas, often dealing with the absurdity, difficulties, and rewards of artistic endeavor. His work has been influenced by or compared to Eugène Ionesco, Maria Irene Fornes, Kenneth Koch, and Edward Albee, among others. This edition is designed to be useful for schools and other organizations that wish to mount productions of Maher’s plays, which generally feature small casts and simple scenery and stagings, and thus can be easy to produce.
The anthology includes:
An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on This His Final Evening
On the night Faustus concludes his bargain with Mephistopheles, he apologizes to a group of random people for his failure to keep a diary of his fabulous life.
The Hunchback Variations
Ludwig von Beethoven and Quasimodo present a panel discussion on their failure to create an impossible sound called for in a stage direction in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.
Spirits to Enforce
Twelve telefundraisers with secret identities work to raise money for a superheroic production of The Tempest in a bid to save Fathomtown from Professor Cannibal and his band of evil doers.
There Is a Happiness That Morning Is
Having engaged the evening before in a highly inappropriate display of public affection on the main lawn of their rural New England campus, two lecturers on the poems of William Blake must now, in class, either apologize for their behavior or effectively justify it to keep their jobs.
Song About Himself
In a dystopian future, a woman made extraordinary by her ability to speak relatively clearly tries to connect with others on a mysterious social media site created by a rogue artificial intelligence.
It Is Magic
Deb and Sandy are auditioning Tim for the role of the Wolf in a production of The Three Little Pigs, but there’s a mysterious haze in the basement of the Mortier Civic Playhouse and that, in addition to interruptions from the director of the Scottish play that’s going on upstairs, is making things difficult. Then, Liz shows up and throws the whole room into (further) chaos. It Is Magic reveals the deep, ancient evil at the heart of the community theater audition process.