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Little Murders by Jules Feiffer

Little Murders

by Jules Feiffer

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Quirky and unusual for its time, this play catalogs the trials of a family as they struggle to accept their daughter's new fiance while dodging bullets on the streets of the city. The play is given a realistic feel, but the over the top quirks of the characters generate a certain surreality. When it opened in London, the play was required to make certain changes by the Lord Chamberlain's office, and the letter from them is included in this edition for an additional trace of historical fun. Also included are two letters from the author to a producer staging the play discussing his intentions for the play. A decent afternoon's read. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Mar 8, 2015 |
A different sort of play by Jules Feiffer, sharply and humorously (darkly so) aiming at the alienation of modern society, and the hopelessness and violence that has resulted from the feelings of powerlessness. It's kind of like an Edward Albee play on acid, in which Alfred, a numbed sort of placid survivor is engaged to the exquisitely strong Patsy, who seeks to remold his non-reactiveness in her own likeness. The marriage speech by the minister they finally settle on is a comic gem and worth the price of admission in itself. An absurd and alienating ending, but perhaps not so jarringly out of place in this book. ( )
2 vote burnit99 | Jan 15, 2007 |
Comedy doesn't get much blacker than this.

Often hysterically funny, with several totally unexpected (and yet consistent) turns in the plot, this is Feiffer's attempt to dynamite the Romantic Comedy once and for all. He fails, of course, but not completely, and in the process produces something far deeper than a mere genre parody.

It starts out as a merely cynical take, a 'romance' between the nihilist Alfred and the optimist Patsy. She has persued him because he was the only man who she hasn't been able to reclaim.

PATSY: You've had it, buster! I'm going to marry you, make you give me a house, entrap you into a half dozen children, and seduce you into a life so remoreselessly satisfying that withing two years under my management you'll come to me with a camera full of baby pictures and say: "Life Can Be Beautiful!"

ALFRED: And ugly. More often ugly.

But surrounding this cliche of a dysfunctional relationship -- recall that this is the author who went on to write Carnal Knowledge -- is not only an equally dysfunctional family, but an even more grossly horrifying society, as we meet the ultraconservative Judge, the existential Priest, the despairing and desparate Police Lieutenant, all with a background of muggings and dodging of bullets.

It was made into a good movie (dir. Alan Arkin), which, even though Feiffer had to do some major rewriting, gives a fair idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the original. [Warning: if you get the DVD, don't look at the leaflet before watching the movie!. The chapter titles thoughtlessly give away a crucial turn in the plot.] ( )
2 vote grunin | Jul 9, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140481184, Paperback)

Jules Feiffer

Full Length, Black Comedy

Characters: 6 male, 2 female

Interior Set

Depressed New Yorker Alfred Chamberlain is engaged to perky, can-do Patsy Newquist. As their wedding day grows near, Alfred finds himself embroiled in an urban nightmare not the least of which is his fiance's family, the possiblity of marriage without Faith, muggings and a sniper's bullet.

"Jules Feiffer, a satirical sharpshooter with a deadly aim, stares balefully at the meaningless violence in American life, and opens fire on it in Little Murders. Devastatingly lethal in some of its coldly savage comic assaults."-New York Post

"Fantastically funny."-The New York Times

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:44 -0400)

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