LOVE, MAX (AND THE ABSURDITIES), PIE, and BEACH NOVEL are three one-act plays. They are interconnected (“a consideration of reality in three movements”), but they can be staged separately. While each of the plays has realistic interactions between characters, they are not realistic in style. LOVE, MAX is labeled “an extravaganza” and calls for dance, mime, and music in addition to the words, and is designed as an “outline” for a collaborative piece. It is built around several people’s reactions to a painting on the side of a building in New York City. There are eighteen characters, and doubling up of parts doesn’t seem likely, though I expect it’s possible, especially because, as the introductory comments to the play state, “while performers and other contributors may wish to employ the outline as is, they should also feel free to discard or add, based on the skills, interests, and creative talents of those involved in the production.” PIE is a four character play (two adult men, one adult woman, and a young man who is presented as a teenager but should be played by an actor who looks older). It takes place in an art museum, though no art work is actually shown. It is slapstick at times (real pies in the face), though mostly it has the characters considering the nature of their lives, all of our lives. BEACH NOVEL is a three character play (a young woman, an old woman, and a young man with little to say but importantly present and physically active for much of the play). It does indeed take place on a beach (though the stage is empty of beach indicators), and the young woman is reading a novel—therefore, the title. The fact that the novel is a romance story, parts of which are read aloud, is central to the play’s actions. The author of these plays, Marty Sternstein, has been writing plays for a couple decades. Also available in three separate books are some of his other one-acts: ARK, the longest of the one-acts; CAN TIMMY COME OUT AND PLAY? (a play for one character) and WHATTA CATCH! (a two character play); and PEOPLE FROM OTHER PLANETS and MAN TALK. Marty Sternstein has also published books of short verse and prose: PERHAPS A RIDDLE. STRAWBERRY GETS IN MY TEETH, and OBLIVIOUS TO SHAPES.
Literature & Fiction, Drama,