Lerner, Erwin H. (American playwright, 1935-____),“Xmas Dilemma,”
a 35-minute comedy of absurdity in English set in the living room of a suburban home, Christmas evening, 1968,
© 1968, 1993, script/rights available from Erwin H. Lerner, 34 Morton Street 2C, New York City, New York 10014-4047, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone (home) 212-924-7282, ELAC http://websites.earthlink.net/~omniverse/elactheatre/workshop/collect.htm, DRAMEX http://www.dramex.org/authors_i-l.html#dilemma. Cited by playwright via ftp, June 19, 1997; Lerner says,
§ Dramatis Personae Wife (f), poet; Husband (m), a psychiatrist; Richard (m), retired professional killer; Boy, a love merchant.
§ Synopsis“‘XmasDilemma’ . . . presents a homey scene. Wife is at the typewriter composing poetry; psychiatrist Husband's smoking his pipe and reading his paper. Both are expert at conjugal torment, the present intolerable issue being a martini. Preceded by various absurdist manifestations, their friend Richard, a freshly retired professional killer, arrives for a visit. Wife seductively protests the distraction. Husband can't get far in conversation with Richard, who is a stupe. All are tense when the second visitor drops in, an idealistic Boy offering love to this trio bent on getting him out so they can continue their merciless and degrading loveplay. Meantime he has them terrified-he's just out of an asylum-and Wife and Richard both pretend to faint, leaving Husband to send him away. . . . The next step is a three-way murder threat. . . . The Boy is . . . apparently a genuine if not yet tribalized love person and possible psychopath, he keeps not turning into a parody of what he stands for. . . . Lerner strands everybody . . . among clashing levels of reality. . . . The writing is lively with ironically predictable surprises. . . . I mean to say that I liked it.”—Michael Smith, The Village Voice, June 22, 1967.
§ Comment“‘Dilemma’ is part of Holidays: Xmas Dilemma & Happy New Year, Love.
madness, marriage, murder, poet, psychiatry.
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Page updated July 2, 1997, and updated November 19,
1998, October 23, 2001, by the site Webmaster.
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