Saturday, November 21, 2009

Four Plays - Gunter Grass

I havent read any works of Gunter Grass and he is not famous for his plays. Nonetheless, I have this book with me and it had been a while since I read a play. Gunter Grass started his writing career as a poet and a play write prior to his popularity as a novelist. These four plays were written during the 50s , as Germany was recovering itself from the WW II.

Flood: Noah with the help of his co-sister are trying to rescue what is the only valuable he has from the raising flood. His daughter and her boyfriend are on the floor above unconcerned about the events down frolicking and multiplying ( as Noah puts it), waiting for the flood to recede. Still above in the on the terrace are two mice, staying hungry. To this comes Noah's estranged son and his friend, for a temporary relief from rain. Against the natural disaster is where the team trying to cop up with. There is anguish, there is also hope of the stop of rain with receding of flood. 4 pairs are in act against the odds affecting their life. For Noah and his co-sister, it is recovering what they have earned over the years, for Yetta and her girlfreind, it is time to be together, waiting for the sunshine days, for the rat couple it is the survival , for Leo and his buddy, it is the temporary halt from their adventure, to start again from where it began.

Mister, Mister : Loosely based on a serial killer, who gets himself tormented by the innocence of childhood. Cunningly, constructed, moving from scene to scene with Broilin playing his acts of a murderer. It is in front of the youngsters where he is out of his wits, unable to handle the questions of two teenagers.

Ten minute to buffalo, is a short play about two engine drivers, in their stationary wagon, with the illusionary speeding across the landscape.
Wicked cooks, talks about the remedial recipe, to bring back the days of glory of the set of cooks. The Count, is supposed to have the secret. They will go to any extend to get it. They are willing to separate the lovers Sheen and the Nurse to achieve this. All the plotting and planning to get this does not yield result, even after sending the nurse to tender to The count as his lady. But the effort ends with the suicide of the count by shooting himself and the nurse ( presumably, as there were two shots heard !), with only input, that the ingredient of a good recipe, is "experience of a lifetime".

Four absurdist plays from the initial days of the writing career of a prolific author of twentieth century. Typical of plays, use of the minimum use of words, each sentences carry its own power and weight.
Four Plays ( Flood, Mister Mister, Only ten minutes to Buffalo, The wicked cooks)
Gunter Grass ( Translated from German by Ralph Manheim and Leslie Willson)
Harvest Books
289 Pages
Few reviews about the on stage adaptation of these plays ; mister,mister ; flood ; the wicked cooks

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