Drama as Literature (EL 250)

5 Oct 2005

Lindsay-Abaire, Fuddy Meers

Read the whole script. Make plans to see the SHU production. (Quiz.)

For fun:

Head-bonk-induced amnesia—in which victims lose recollection of their identity after suffering sharp, zany blows to the cranial cavity with such household items as ladders, paint buckets, anvils and oversized novelty mallets—has long baffled science," Yates said. "Our research now indicates that this condition, long considered incurable, may possibly be reversed with the application of a second head-bonk of equal or greater severity. It is our hope that millions of amnesiacs across the U.S. will one day have their memories of themselves and loved ones restored through such revolutionary, nutty treatment." -- Doctors Closing in on 'Second Head Bonk' Amnesia Cure"


"You know those desperate nightmares, the ones in which somebody says something you urgently need to hear- but you cannot quite make out the words? Well, that's nothing compared to a day in the puzzling life of sweet Claire, psychogenic amnesiac, who awakens each morning with just hours to understand her plight before going to sleep and forgetting it all again… and so it goes in Fuddy Meers, David Lindsay-Abaire's amusing little American-gothic-outlaw-absurdist- nightmare farce."
Linda Winer, Newsday

David Lindsay-Abaire’s Fuddy Meers is reminiscent of the non-sensical, anti-cyclical cycle, absurdist work The Sandbox by Edward Albee. According to “AN Overview of Edward Albee’s Career” (http://www.curtainup.com/albee.html) , “Albee can be classified with theatrical experimenters whose work jumped the boundaries of American drama. His style embraces existentialism, abusurdism as well as the metaphysical. His plays tend to puzzle. While not easy "night out" fare they are also full of satirically witty and sharp dialogue. The Albee audience consists of those who value being challenged and appreciate theater that, if it existed, would fit into the School of Anti-Complacency. His failures at the box office are as well known as his critical successes. As described by the playwright himself his plays are" an examination of the American Scene, an attack on the substitution of artificial for real values in our society, a condemnation of complacency, cruelty, and emasculation and vacuity, a stand against the fiction that everything in this slipping land of ours is peachy-keen."
It is interesting to note, that according to “Notes on Fuddy Meers” (http://www.northern.edu/wild/0102Season/fmnotes.htm) , “Among his influences, Lindsay-Abaire lists playwrights John Guare, Edward Albee, Georges Feydeau, Eugene Ionesco, and George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, 1930's screwball comedy films My Man Godfrey and Twentieth Century or "anything by Preston Sturges, Frank Capra, the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello." Walking a fine line between grave reality and joyous lunacy, the world of his plays is often dark, funny, blithe, enigmatic, hopeful, ironic- and somewhat cock-eyed. "My plays tend to be peopled with outsiders in search of clarity." Albee is one of Lindsay-Abaire’s early influences. Perhaps his ideas came from one of his absurdist works.
Much like Albee’s works, Fuddy Meers produces the same puzzling, laugh aloud aftershock. According to the playwright, his title was central to thematic elements of the play. All characters in the play, as well as in life, are funny mirrors – fuddy meers, after all. Our self, our history, our memories are skewed in to obscurity and slowly pieced back together by those involved in the stories of our lives. Claire, the play’s protagonist, learns about her life through the other characters who are trapped in her mother’s house with her. Though her past recollections are estranged to her, they are clear to those involved; it is only in the telling of the history that the audience is left to fetter out facts and fictions. Without the critical overlapping of other people’s lives into our own, our recollections would not be as rich, as vivid, or as zany. We would become fuddy meers.
Even the zaniness of the setting helps us to realize the cycle of life: the crazy throwing of bacon, the escaped inmate in the basement, the pseudo-cop in the kitchen, the dope smoking dyslexic wielding a gun…life really can be absurd. Perhaps not to these extremes, but looking back – we all have inmates in the basement.

Besides the cyclical nature of life, what can we as an audience learn from Absurdist comedy?

Posted by: Katie Aikins at August 17, 2005 6:36 PM

It didnt post when i used MT quick post soo go to my website, Its called Who really is that man behind the mask?http://blogs.setonhill.edu/DenamarieErcolani

Posted by: Denamarie at October 4, 2005 10:15 AM

It didn't post when I used MT quick post either so here is my website...http://blogs.setonhill.edu/SeanRunt/2005/10/lindsayabaire_f.html#more

Posted by: Sean Runt at October 4, 2005 12:17 PM

Quiz? Quiz on what? To make sure we read the script?

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 4, 2005 3:54 PM

Hey everybody! I posted last night and my trackback didn't work. I know how much you all wanted to read my blog and I'm sorry that I let you down.

You can vist my website, it's called "Are you therious?"

Posted by: Andy LoNigro at October 4, 2005 5:15 PM

Sorry I didn't leave the URL...


Posted by: Andy LoNigro at October 4, 2005 5:18 PM


Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at October 4, 2005 8:44 PM

Lorin, yes, the quiz is to reward those who are keeping up with the readings.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at October 4, 2005 9:06 PM

Check out my blog http://blogs.setonhill.edu/KevinHinton/2005/10/a_daily_struggl.html

Posted by: KevinHinton at October 4, 2005 9:17 PM

Mine didn't work either--


Posted by: David Denninger at October 4, 2005 11:10 PM
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