"Sarastic reply!" "Hurt expression."
February 19, 2010 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out the name of a play! Some time over the past few years, my girlfriend and I saw or heard about or read a play in which the dialog was all stage directions (and the like) rather than actual dialog. A few lines would have been something like this ...

Woman: Disappointed remark.
Man: Sarcastic reply!
Woman: Hurt expression.

As you might infer from above, our memory for this is very, very fuzzy. We appreciate any input, or even suggestions for similarly meta theater.
posted by anaphoric to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Israel Horowitz (father of Beastie Boy Adam "Ad Rock" Horowitz) wrote a play called "Stage Directions that is as you describe.
posted by inturnaround at 12:28 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This American Life :

241: 20 Acts in 60 Minutes

Instead of the regular "each week we choose a theme, and bring you three or four stories on that theme" business, this week we throw all that away and bring you twenty stories—yes, twenty—in sixty minutes. Inspiration for this week's show came from the Neo-Futurists, whose long-running Chicago show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind promises 30 Plays in 60 Minutes every single weekend.
posted by The Whelk at 12:30 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Sarcastic Reply!" is one of the Neo-Futurist acts in that show.
posted by The Whelk at 12:30 PM on February 19, 2010

I apologize. It's not Horowitz, it's Horovitz for both Adam and Israel. The text of "Stage Directions" should be available for purchase online.
posted by inturnaround at 12:32 PM on February 19, 2010

That's definitely the Neo-Futurists -- I'm pretty sure that play is on their CD, and probably in one of their books of collected scripts.
posted by xil at 12:42 PM on February 19, 2010

Response by poster: That was fast! It turns out that it ("Sarastic Reply!") was from This American Life (the segment in question is about 25 minutes into the episode). However, I am now also very curious to at least read the Horovitz play, and would not be unsurprised to learn that "Stage Directions" was the inspiration for "Sarcastic Reply!"

Thanks to both of you!
posted by anaphoric at 12:45 PM on February 19, 2010

You have the right answer, but just for completeness sake, there is a scene in the show Community (Communication Studies) where two characters are very hung over after a night of drinking. Because their thinking is so cloudy, rather than thinking of their normal quippy responses, they respond with descriptions of what the response would have been like: Smug Comment or: Pop Culture TV Reference.
posted by willnot at 1:27 PM on February 19, 2010

posted by dhartung at 2:14 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

You would probably also enjoy Da Vinci's Notebook's Title of the Song.
posted by cider at 2:24 PM on February 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

Schizopolis does this gag, too.
posted by glibhamdreck at 2:33 PM on February 19, 2010

If we're cataloging plays that use this technique, I'll add Tarell Alvin McCraney's "In the Red and Brown Water" to the list. All (or most) of the state directions are spoken by the characters, but there is most definitely more dialogue than just the directions. It's a remarkable play.
posted by arco at 2:44 PM on February 19, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the additional suggestions. Da Vinci's Notebook provided lovely accompaniment for breakfast this morning. Schizopolis looks very interesting, and has been added to our Netflix queue. I'll keep my eyes peeled for when In the Red and Brown Water is nearby (it appears that it won't be in NYC in early March when we'll be making a trip there; bad timing). It's likely inevitable that we'll get caught up on Community and see the episode in question, but in deference to the creator's vision, we'll watch them in order.

And to dhartung: Expression of amazement at your memory.
posted by anaphoric at 7:31 AM on February 21, 2010

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