Author, cartoonist, songwriter, and playwright Shel Silverstein is best known for his 1960s-'70s children's books that also appealed to adults, The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends. He's less known for his hit songs (Boy Named Sue, Cover of the Rolling Stone, The Unicorn), his 1950s stint as a cartoonist for Playboy, and his 1980s plays for grownups (The Lady or the Tiger Show). The razor wit the idiosyncratic humorist uses to reveal human foibles is in full bloom in these 10 absurdist playlets from the collections Shel's Shorts and Adult Plays of Shel Silverstein. This is not your children's Silverstein! Neurotics, a blind blues man, an angry daughter-in-law, a talking dog, and other linguistic offenders torque themselves and others through slavery, extortion, laundry, birthdays, and other perils. This fun and often hilarious combination clearly suggests there is no escape from our darker passions, and studying the past is no guarantee against repeating its excesses.
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