Mark W. Lee's award-winning plays premiered in New York, London and Los Angeles. Four of these plays can be found in this collection along with essays that describe how - and why - each play was written.
CALIFORNIA DOG FIGHT
Four men and two women meet at an illegal dog fight on the Sacramento delta. Written in the 1980's, the play presaged the growing rage, resentment and violence that dominate American politics and culture in the twenty-first century.
"The best news of the week is the Bush Theatre production of California Dog Fight, a brief but immensely powerful new American drama by Mark Lee." - Sheridan Morley (Punch)
"These characters, descended from similar rural folk in plays by Steinbeck and Inge, acquire in Mark's Lee's taut, short play a cruel credibility that at times grips one like a dog snarling at one's ankles." - Milton Shulman (The London Standard)
REBEL ARMIES DEEP INTO CHAD
Two white journalists and two African prostitutes meet in a house outside Nairobi. Inspired by Lee's work as a foreign correspondent, the play shows how war challenges and compromises the easy moral conclusions of the Western world.
"The best new play Long Wharf has produced in years, and perhaps the best new play of the season." (Hartford Courant)
"...a reverberant ending that embraces many a moral question, including that of the incalculable toll the white race has taken on Africa." (Variety)
A lively comedy that reflects the clash between legend and academic history.
"History rarely has come to life more vibrantly and fervently than in Lee's uncompromising tale of female "pirates," both classical and modern day variety…Like history itself, the story unfolds slowly at first, with hidden rewards in each vignette. The audience is drawn into each woman's perilous journey as their stories are juxtaposed to illuminate striking similarities in the way history so unthinkably repeats itself." Elias Stimac (Drama-Logue)
AN AMERICAN ROMANCE
A comedy set at Brook Farm, the 1840 utopian experiment established by Transcendentalists in Western Massachusetts. Nathaniel Hawthorne and the writer Margaret Fuller deal with love, idealism, desire and the most crucial issue of all - who has to shovel manure.
"With An American Romance Mark Lee has created that rare thing: a national play for a national audience…Does it seem possible that a great American play about American identity got away from the nation's leading regional theaters?" -Robert Koehler (Los Angeles Times)
"Lee reinforces the reputation he gained with Rebel Armies Deep Into Chad as one of our few contemporary writers whose knowledge of human affairs goes beyond suburban angst. An American Romance is a thoughtful, entertaining picture not only of an America that was, but of an America that might have been." -Reed Johnson (Los Angeles Daily News)