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The Floating Light Bulb

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Written by  Woody Allen
Original language  English
Playwright  Woody Allen
Genre  Drama
3.2/5 Goodreads

Date premiered  April 27, 1981
First performance  1981
Setting  Canarsie
Place premiered  Vivian Beaumont Theater
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Similar  Woody Allen plays, Dramas

The Floating Light Bulb is a 1981 Broadway play by Woody Allen. Semi-autobiographical, it focuses on a lower middle class family living in Canarsie, Brooklyn in 1945.

Contents

Plot

Matriarch Enid Pollack, who once aspired to be a dancer in George White's Scandals, spends her days hounding neighbors with telephone business schemes in order to support the family. Her philandering husband Max is a gambler furtively planning his escape from his marriage. Stuttering teenaged son Paul is a frail, bright, shy boy who tries to perfect magic tricks - including a floating light bulb illusion - in his bedroom. When talent agent Jerry Wexler arrives at the house, seemingly to audition Paul, Enid grasps at the opportunity for him to shine in the spotlight that eluded her, only to have her hopes dashed when she realizes Wexler is more interested in wooing her than signing her son as a client.

Production

The play premiered on Broadway production at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center on April 27, 1981 and ran for 62 performances and 16 previews. Directed by Ulu Grosbard, the cast included Beatrice Arthur as Enid, Danny Aiello as Max, Brian Backer as Paul, and Jack Weston as Jerry. The Magic director was Robert Aberdeen who was responsible for the title effect, the floating lightbulb, and taught all the magic to Brian Backer who won the Tony Award for his performance.

Critical reception

In his review in The New York Times, Frank Rich called the play a "conventional, modest and at times pedestrian family drama" and "nothing to be embarrassed about" although "it could easily be mistaken for a journeyman effort by a much younger and less experienced writer." He added, "There are a few laughs, a few well-wrought characters, and, in Act II, a beautifully written scene that leads to a moving final curtain. But most of the time Light Bulb is superficial and only mildly involving. As a serious playwright, Mr. Allen is still learning his craft and finding his voice. Like so many young American plays, this one is overly beholden to the early Tennessee Williams."

References

The Floating Light Bulb Wikipedia


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