Death & Taxes: Hydriotaphia & Other Plays
This collection includes one full-length play, HYDRIOTAPHIA OR THE DEATH OF DOCTOR BROWNE, and five short plays, REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION: SIX PLAYWRIGHTS BURY A SEVENTH, G. DAVID SCHINE IN HELL, NOTES ON AKIBA, TERMINATING OR SONNET LXXV, and EAST COAST ODE TO HOWARD JARVIS. “This is an odd assemblage of plays,” writes Tony Kushner, “for which gathering-together there is no overarching thematic justification. Because several of the plays deal with death, and one of the death-plays deals as well with money, and the last play deals with taxation, we’re calling the book DEATH & TAXES. But all plays, directly or indirectly, are about death and taxes … ” All of the plays in this collection by Kushner are poetic masterpieces. An exploration in form and style, from comedy to farce to what can be called hip-hop theatre, Kushner makes each style his own, writing with the mind of a great social reformer and the heart of a poet. HYDRIOTAPHIA OR THE DEATH OF DOCTOR BROWNE: An epic farce about death and primitive capital accumulation, HYDRIOTAPHIA chronicles the final hours of Sir Thomas Browne, an English physician and writer known for his attempts to reconcile Christian values with scientific knowledge. REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION: SIX PLAYWRIGHTS BURY A SEVENTH: Six playwrights gather to illegally bury a seventh in an exclusive cemetery on Martha’s Vineyard. G. DAVID SCHINE IN HELL: The infamous Roy Cohn and his former lackey G. David Shine meet in hell, a place that “resembles a dinner theater in Orange County,” soon to be joined by Alger Hiss, Richard Nixon, and finally J. Edgar Hoover, in a Chanel dress and stiletto pumps. NOTES ON AKIBA: A fascinating dialogue concerning Jewish traditions and rituals, from Passover to the Seder, between the author and a director that touches on many of the questions and concerns that arise in the practice of them. TERMINATING OR SONNET LXXV: A therapist tries to rid herself of a difficult patient while the pair’s lovers hover in the ether. EAST COAST ODE TO HOWARD JARVIS: The play concerns an elaborate New York tax-evasion scheme involving public employees.
- About the Author(s)
- About the Book
HYDRIOTAPHIA OR THE DEATH OF DOCTOR BROWNE
“… [HYDRIOTAPHIA] shows off its author’s dazzling intellect, wit and ambition to richly enjoyable effect … Subtitled ‘An Epic Farce About Death and Primitive Capital in Five Scenes,’ the play flourishes Kushner’s trademark ability to mix up wildly diverse tonalities and ideas — bawdy humor, theological and class warfare debate, fourth-wall-breaking, dizzying monologues, fantasy and domestic intrigue all whirl like a juggler’s pins.” —Dennis Harvey, Variety