FIRST ACT by Anne Christie


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Light-hearted, mildly amusing cheerios--as Edinburgh art student Kate Mandel, newlywed to Ben (science teacher and would-be playwright), chats about married life, creative careers, sex frolics, and motherhood. The wedding reception is ""a champagne haze of penguin suits and florid hats, guffaws and teeth, Swedish anecdotes and Jewish recipes."" Then comes the honeymoon in Ireland. But afterwards the couple must return to the depressing regularity of Ben's rejection slips--while Kate plugs on at the Art College. Among her diverting studio-mates: Pete, whose etchings made of string and smudge are erotic muddles revealing ""the odd breast . . . the occasional flailing 'part'""; an earnest goody-goody known as Little Knitters; Myfanwy, a Welsh girl with talent and a curious health regimen; and best chum Zoe, who alternates with Kate in doing gorilla imitations during the nasty critiques of Mr. Angelo, an aesthetic cretin. Then: good news! Ben sells a play at last; rehearsals in Glasgow promise much; there'll be a three-week run only, but producer Abe Bramstein, who has a way of spangling a play far from its modest and intimate essence, will stage another Ben Mandel opus--leading to telly money. Meanwhile, Kate gets pregnant, a situation that's exploited for all the usual bits of comic indignity and trauma. And the baby will arrive along with Kate's Art College Diploma--while (the only sad note) Myfanwy succumbs to leukemia. A newlywed's Happy Book: cutesy, occasionally naughty, pleasantly forgettable.

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's