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The Best American Short Plays 2012-2013

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Edited by William W. Demastes. Applause Books. Softcover. 384 pages. Published by Applause Books (HL.123288).

Item Number: HL.123288

ISBN 1480361747. 5.5x8.5 inches.

For over 70 years, The Best American Short Plays has been the standard of excellence for one-act plays in America. From its inception, it has identified cutting-edge playwrights who have gone on to establish award-winning careers, including Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and more.

In this volume, the plays capture the struggle between “hot tempers and cold decrees.” Humans love to think of themselves as rational beings well in control of their lives and surroundings from sunup to sundown, sundown to sunrise. We learn to follow rules of proper behavior and more than happily issue out advice to our friends who just can't get a handle on themselves. Restraint and order, after all, are the cornerstones of human society and civilization. The problem is that human nature bucks and bridles at every attempt to socialize and civilize. Shakespeare got it right when he penned the observation, “The brain may devise laws for the blood, but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree.” In those few words he has managed to capture precisely why it is so difficult to be human; if it were okay simply to let our hot tempers prevail, life would be so much easier. But cold decrees are what prevent us from self-destruction, and so we endure the struggle.