Synopsis

Then and Now

Then and Now $10.99

Willard Simms

Published by Dramatists Play Service

3 Male 1 Female

The first play, Then (subtitled I Love Lucy Who?), takes place in 1957 in a small Theatre in Connecticut, where Neville Smythe, a cape-swinging classical thespian of the old school, offers acting instruction to young hopefuls aiming for careers in television

The present batch of would-be superstars includes a compulsive stutterer (who fancies himself as a future network anchorman); a sexy, foul-mouthed blonde who has appeared in "art" films (meaning soft porn) but wants to move up to bigger (and better) roles; and a handsome, painfully conceited leading man type who aspires to be a talk show host

Neville's method is to plunge them into his beloved Cyrano de Bergerac - which results first in a near mutiny and then in some surprisingly affecting (albeit very funny) moments

In the second play, Now (subtitled Soft Discs Don't Drive Hard Enough) the time is 1987 (or later), the place a high-tech, futuristic employment office in Los Angeles, dominated by a super-computer named "Leslie"

Programmed to give almost human responses, Leslie is both the nemesis and delight (and even the love object) of the office manager, Mr Worthmore, and, more than that, becomes a vital element of the play. In fact Worthmore, his compliant secretary, Miss Bunson, and a luckless job-seeker, Luke Luckington, all find themselves hilariously ensnared in Leslie's toils before the play reaches its ironic - and cautionary - conclusion

A brace of exceptionally imaginative and very funny short plays which, Janus-like, look backward (the first play) and forward (the second play) in time

First produced in Los Angeles as a double bill, the plays can be presented separately with equal effectiveness

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