Brighton Beach Memoirs (1984)

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I have been wanting to go to a real-life play for a while, but not being able to find one that I was interested in locally, saw this in a thrift store (hooray for thrift!) and snapped it up. Reading a play would be almost as good as attending a play and this was on the old TBR, so win-win and perfect timing.

This is a well-known U.S. play written by Neil Simon and set in the Depression year of 1937 in New York. This small Jewish family is in the middle of a poor immigrant neighborhood right at the start of WWII and with family over in continental Europe, there was a lot to worry about from almost every angle, both on the home front and abroad.

Extended family are living together in tight quarters so with money short and not much space, tempers can flare. Seen through the POV of 15 year old Eugene (these are his memoirs, after all), the audience travels through his adolescence when he is on the cusp of growing up, vacillating between being a kid (he’s a huge NY Yankees fan), and being an adult (puberty is hitting hard with regards to interest in the opposite sex).

I think I got a lot more from the play this time around for some reason. I saw the Matthew Broderick film when it first came out in 1986, but reading the actual script was a different experience. And, after having been a dedicated Seinfeld fan for decades, there were obvious echoes between the characters of Frank and Estelle Costanza and the family in this play. I wonder if there is any clear connections between Neil Simon and either Seinfeld or Larry David (who directed the series).

So – good read for a nice Spring day.

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One thought on “Brighton Beach Memoirs (1984)

  1. Pingback: Suggested Summer Reading…. (Part One) | Just One More Page…

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