Allen, Laurie. Comedy Duo Scenes for Teens. Encore Performance Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-57514-022-5. 68 pp. B 6-9 Reviewed by John Dilworth Newman The twenty-five scenes in this anthology are actually two-character “short-act plays” intended to stand on their own in a performance situation. Most of the characters are contemporary teenagers, with a few adult characters interspersed. Teen actors will be able to relate easily to the situations and the characters. This anthology of contemporary scenes could effectively replace the skits and melodramas that predominate in middle school theatre. The scenes are short and manageable, and the situations are readily understood and easily recognizable. Allen, in developing these scripts, worked with students at Hood Junior High in Odessa, Texas, and thus they have been aimed at the middle school drama program. Unfortunately, the characters are mostly one-dimensional, and few of the dialogue-based scenes call for any physical action. The teen characters, although generally better developed than the adult characters, usually fail to develop beyond one apparent attribute. Also, because the scenes are not drawn from full-length works, students cannot seek out the original play and draw more information about characters who appear so briefly in the scenes. The dialogues are quick-moving and fairly engaging, but they do not allow young adolescents the opportunities they need to physicalize characters and situations. While other anthologies from the same publisher carry statements which permit the use of the scripts in educational and contest settings, this anthology has no such statement, making it somewhat ambiguous whether this volume of scenes could be legally used for its most likely purposes.
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