Staging Don DeLillo
The first book-length study to focus on Don DeLillo's plays, Staging Don DeLillo brings the author's theatre works to the forefront. Rebecca Rey explores four central themes that emerge across DeLillo's theatre oeuvre: the centrality of language; the human fear of death; the elusiveness of truth; and the deceptive, slippery nature of personal identity. Rey examines all seven of DeLillo's plays chronologically: "The Engineer of Moonlight" (1979), The Day Room (1986), the one-minute plays "The Rapture of the Athlete Assumed Into Heaven" (1990), and "The Mystery at the Middle of Ordinary Life" (2000), Valparaiso (1999), Love-Lies-Bleeding (2006), and The Word for Snow (2014). Written in clear, accessible language, and interweaving critique of DeLillo's novels throughout, this book will appeal not only to DeLillo scholars but also to anyone working on contemporary literature and drama.
'Gnomic, darkly humorous and strangely moving, Don DeLillo's plays are as distinctive and challenging as his novels. In her smart and lively book, Rebecca Rey proves that she is well up to the challenge. She explores the plays' major themes (games, technology, the media, euthanasia, environmentalism); traces the influence of precursor playwrights such as Pirandello and Pinter; discusses the plays' performance history, including interviews with stage directors; draws mutually illuminating connections between the plays and the novels; and quotes pertinently and liberally from DeLillo's personal notes in the archives. Rey's groundbreaking study shows that DeLillo's plays are indeed worthy of serious scholarly and public attention. Her wide-ranging and accessible book should do much to introduce new audiences to this less-familiar side of one of our greatest writers'.
Douglas Keesey, California Polytechnic State University, author of Don DeLillo