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Thirteen hands : a play in two acts by Carol…
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Thirteen hands : a play in two acts (1993)

by Carol Shields

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This is a short play focusing on the interactions of various women playing bridge. I have only a cursory knowledge of bridge but that did not detract from reading the play. In her introduction she states that she had become very interested in women, 'particularly those whose lives have gone unrecorded'. One group she felt had been 'consistently overlooked', those caught between movements. 'I am reluctant to believe that their lives are wasted or lost'

The play jumps back and forth between various generations of women playing bridge, all sharing similar fear and hopes. It illustrates how the human condition remains similar throughout generations. At one point a granddaughter of one of the members comes in as castigates them for being such wastes as to sit around playing bridge every Wednesday evening. "Pardon me. Pardon me? It's none of my business, but, I wonder, has it ever occurred to you that you could have been doing ... [x,y,z] the four of you? Did you ever stop to think of that? But no, there you were, playing hand after hand every Tuesday night. You could have saved lives. Yes you could have. You could have been..... Useful.

At least you could have talked about something interesting?.. Russian novels? Medieval art?... You could have been learning a foreign language on those Tuesday nights....You could have made something of yourselves"

I see this related not only to how some women view some as more 'valuable' or 'worthy' than others, but also are own internal dialogue. Why waste time socializing when you can be 'useful'?

A short play worth checking out if your library has a copy. ( )
  Bcteagirl | Jun 21, 2011 |
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