Saturday, August 5, 2017

Zap - Paul Fleischman

Where was this book when I was reading for the Alphabet Challenge? If you need a book that starts with Z, this play is a quick read!

I stumbled upon this play at the library and was intrigued by the jacket copy. It's a play that is meant as a kind of pastiche/satire of other types of plays (the English murder mystery, the Neil Simon/New York kind of play, a classic Russian play, and of course Shakespeare, etc.) and it's designed to appeal to high school drama departments. Overall I thought it was OK and the idea was interesting, but it seemed kind of confusing, and there were a couple of instances of dialogue that might have seemed OK in 2005, when the play was written, but strike me as somewhat racist and unnecessary here in 2017.

As a semi-related aside, I recently watched the first season of Lisa Kudrow's 2005 HBO show, The Comeback, and found a similar issue. In one of the episodes, Kudrow's character, who is an actress making a comeback in a sitcom, is given a line that is racist. The character doesn't want to say the line, (and it's ultimately changed) but no one ever identifies that it's a racist thing to say, and at no point does anyone just say, "this line is racist and we shouldn't say something like this on a mainstream sitcom." Were people just this oblivious to stuff like this in 2005? I dunno.

So back to the play at hand, it was a fast read and it wasn't awful, I just think it was sort of jumbled. It might make more sense as a stage production than as a "book" to read.

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