Friday, January 30, 2015

Happy Are The Happy-Yasmina Reza

Happy Are The Happy
Yasmina Reza
Other Press, Jan 27 2015, $20.00
ISBN: 9781590516928

In Paris “Robert Toscano” and his wife Odile argue at the supermarket over the tons of sugar products she placed in the cart for the children and the wrong cheese he purchased.  Odile’s tante Lycee Spanish Professor “Marguerite Blot” looks back over the years to when her now adult children were young and her fear of becoming lonely Madame Compain before the tall female companion and the dog joined the lonely woman.  Odile’s septuagenarian father “Ernest Blot” knows love or even companionship is not why his wife “Jeannette Blot” wants them buried together as even after death his spouse needs the gossips to believe the image of a happy couple.  Meanwhile “Odile Toscano” wonders when her husband became an anxious opinionated pest instead of the the delightful relationship that Lionel and “Pascaline Hunter” share (or not with their son Jacob institutionalized because he claims to be Celine Dion.

The 21 extremely short cleverly interrelated yet brilliantly independent vignettes provide the audience with a contemplative look at the good, the bad and the ugly in the various relationships the eighteen characters have forged.  Using everyday life in Paris as a backdrop, the cast desperately seeks affection in diverse ways; deals with loneliness even when residing with a spouse or other family members; and above all else insures the proper public image.  Amusing yet melancholy Yasmina Reza asks the Peggy Lee question:” Is That All There Is?” while spinning Jorge Luis Borges: “… Happy are the happy” except frequently the happy wear a clown’s smiling face to conceal the unhappy.

Harriet Klausner

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