Plays by Richard Nelson, Early Plays Volume One
This collection includes three full-length plays, CONJURING AN EVENT, JUNGLE COUP, and THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI, and a short monologue, SCOOPING. CONJURING AN EVENT: Charlie, a reporter, intends to break the rules of journalism. He wants not just to cover an event but to create it as well. His girlfriend and his brother attempt to dissuade him, but he disregards them and sets out to make news, with devastating results. JUNGLE COUP: Hopper is covering a military coup in central Africa. Bellows, a rival journalist, arrives to begin his own coverage only to find that Hopper appears to have invented the story. THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI: The story of the murder of a militant United Mineworkers leader by an assassin hired by bureaucrats opposed to change. SCOOPING: A reporter get the scoop on the perhaps the biggest story of his life, himself.
- About the Author(s)
- About the Book
“Richard Nelson has gifts to spare. His talent, skill, wisdom, persistence and faith in the power of theater have led to an unprecedented American career. Irony, which infuses his writing, has come to inform his life. He is one of the most-produced American writers in Europe and England (particularly by the Royal Shakespeare Company), but Nelson’s plays have enjoyed few major productions in the U S A. He writes passionately about his country’s politics and morals, but his prime audiences are foreign. Nelson is able to create plays built upon venomous characters and brutal scenes, but is himself generously loyal to family and colleagues. On stage and in life, there is no one quite like him …. This three-volume collection of Richard’s early plays provides a welcome chance to revisit his exciting young work and the struggles of a writer’s career … The four plays in this first volume (THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI, CONJURING AN EVENT, JUNGLE COUP and the short monologue SCOOPING) were written between 1975 and 1977. An indication of the excitement sparked by Richard Nelson, whose plays first surfaced in informal workshops at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, is that the three full-length works included here were all produced by major not-for-profit New York theaters in back-to-back presentations between February and June 1978. It was a critical trial-by-fire, and a painful time for him, but these darkly comic plays have themes, character traits and theatrical set-ups that Nelson would refine in his acclaimed later work. The Chekhovian spirit that informs Nelson’s mature plays is not yet evident, but many of the basic tenets of his writing are already in place. From the start, Richard has been something of an American contrarian. In common with O’Neill, he often explores the dark side of American myth and bravado. The mid-1970s was the Post-Watergate era. Counter-culture investigative journalism brought down the Nixon White House, and reporters replaced rock stars as gods for the young. These four reporter plays aimed to burst the bubble of admiration that surrounded American journalism at that time.” —Robert Marx, Executive Director of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts