A Case-by-Case Basis: Four Short Plays
- Philip Vassallo
- 95 Pages
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A Case-by-Case Basis offers an extraordinary evening of theater: four short plays spotlighting front-page news such as teen suicide, homelessness, law enforcement, justice, language, race relations, immigration, and parenting. Playwright Philip Vassallo, author of the award-winning play collection Questions Asked of Dying Dreams, here has written penetrating two-character studies, all previously produced Off-Off Broadway, which touch a nerve, hold suspense, and resolve unexpectedly.
Ask Me (20 minutes) tells the story of two middle schoolers whose love is doomed when their parents disapprove of their relationship. By inverting the plot and staging a punk bend to contribute to the narrative, Vassallo sheds light on the inexplicable intensity of youthful passion.
How You Get to Main Street? (30 minutes), is about a lawyer who stands up to his suburban town by defending a homeless man’s right to wander the streets of his community. He loses his hard-earned respect from his neighbors and what he had hoped to gain: an ideal kind of justice, which is shattered when his client burglarizes his home.
The Community Service (25 minutes) bends identities to examine cultural perspectives and focus on communication barriers between two people, a resolute candy store owner who recently lost her husband in a race riot, and an unemployed, radical community member estranged from his family.
The Spelling Bee (35 minutes) thrusts onstage two young men, one black and one white, each victimized in different ways by the same crime, each living on opposite ends of the same Bronx avenue that separates residents by their race, class, and culture. The New York Times said of this play, “Mr. Vassallo has taken an interesting approach. … There is some refreshingly honest talk from both characters–no political correctness here.”