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The Black Monk has been called a singular "collaboration" between two writers: Anton Chekhov and David Rabe. Based on Chekov's novella of the same name, Rabe's brilliant stage adaptation tells the story of Kovrin, the young philosophy student who returns from Moscow to the estate owned by Pesotsky, where he spent his youth. Kovrin and Pesotsky's daughter, Tanya, soon fall in love and plan to marry. But the appearance of an emissary from the unknown -- the black monk -- threatens to have a devastating effect on all of them. Trouble starts in when Teresa tells her brother Joey that this guy Ray did something to her with his dog in bed. Nobody seems to know exactly what happened, but they do know that somebody's got to pay. So what is The Dog Problem? It starts with being born into a world where the wrong thing said to the wrong person ignites a chain reaction of misplaced passions and galloping sentences that race to a deadly conclusion. The playful title is revealed to be a wry pun on the Cartesian mind/body problem, as Uncle Mal, the aging mobster, must face his turn to be the dog in this darkly funny play about men, women, sex, betrayal, and ghosts. Vastly different in their aesthetic, these two recent and highly praised plays embody all of the celebrated hallmarks of David Rabe's writing and art: unflinchingly honest and perceptive themes, starkly luminous dialogue, and the unsettling humor that have made him an icon of the American theater for more than forty years.
In Dinosaurs on the Roof, acclaimed author and playwright David Rabe delivers a singular work that reaffirms his extraordinary range and talent, and introduces a story and a collection of characters whose genuine audacity will echo with readers for years to come. In the town of Belger, Iowa, recently divorced Janet Cawley is attempting to find some peace and quiet, and perhaps a solitary place where she can finally fall apart. She's quit her job teaching fourth grade, though with the money she has, she will probably get along fine for another six months. She still needs to extricate herself from an affair with an ex-colleague that has the neighbors talking, but after that she can spend her time alone, jogging, drinking, and making the occasional trip into town. Her plans are interrupted one morning by the sudden appearance of her now-deceased mother's oldest friend, Bernice, who has an urgent matter to discuss. Bernice's preacher, it seems, has informed his congregation that they are to be visited by the Rapture that very evening -- and Bernice's first question, and most pressing fear, is how her dogs and cats will be fed and cared for after she's gone. Through that night and into the next, the lives of these two women will become inextricably woven together as they struggle to find reason in the incomprehensible and sometimes ludicrous events that unfold, and search for tangible signs of faith in themselves and the world around them. Dinosaurs on the Roof is a magnificent novel that speaks volumes about spirituality in the twenty-first century and explores the intimate, everyday gestures of the strangers closest to us with unforgettable humor and remarkable humanity.
David Rabe's award-winning Vietnam plays have come to embody our collective fears, doubts, and tenuous grasp of a war that continues to haunt. Partially written upon his return from the war, Girl by the Road at Night is Rabe's first work of fiction set in Vietnam--a spare and poetic narrative about a young soldier embarking on a tour of duty and the Vietnamese prostitute he meets in country.Private Joseph Whitaker, with Vietnam deployment papers in hand, spends his last free weekend in Washington, DC, drinking, attending a peace rally, and visiting an old girlfriend, now married. He observes his surroundings closely, attempting to find reason in an atmosphere of hysteria and protest, heightened by his own anger. When he arrives in Vietnam, he happens upon Lan, a local girl who submits nightly to the American GIs with a heartbreaking combination of decency and guile. Her family dispersed and her father dead, she longs for a time when life meant riding in water buffalo carts through rice fields with her brother. Whitaker's chance encounter with Lan sparks an unexpected, almost unrecognized, visceral longing between two people searching for companionship and tenderness amid the chaos around them.In transformative prose, Rabe has created an atmosphere charged with exquisite poignancy and recreated the surreal netherworld of Vietnam in wartime with unforgettable urgency and grace. Girl by the Road at Night is a brilliant meditation on disillusionment, sexuality, and masculinity, and one of Rabe's finest works to date.