It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…insane!

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These plays, plays by Axelrod, Mark, the other Axelrod, not the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, the other Axelrod, his plays, are. And are the plays of Axelrod, no
t the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, and are the plays of Axelrod, Axelrodian.  Yes, in all manner of speaking, speaking high or low, they are and you, the Reader, Reader of Axelrod, not the one who worked for Obama, Obamaless, the other Axelrod, should read these plays with relish. For without relish, they would not be as absurd.
—Samuel Beckett


Can Superman avoid deportation?

Will Van Gogh survive an IRS audit?

Does Donald Trump talk to himself?

Has the world gone mad?

This outrageous and timely collection confronts our contemporary nightmares with devastating wit and insight. In the provocative title play, Superman stands trial as an illegal alien. In “A Colloquy of Birds,” Axelrod takes aim at a flock of notorious Republican women — the “politically effete.” And just when you thought it was safe to applaud, experience the maniacal monologues of Chairman Trump.

Here are eight rousing absurdist dramas destined to be modern classics.

SUPERMAN IN AMERICA & OTHER ABSURD PLAYS
by Mark Axelrod
Trade paperback, 354 pp.,  $16

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ON AMAZON

 


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Monsieur Godeau, party of one, your table is waiting…

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“It is upon this one comedy that Balzac can lay any claims as a dramatic artist.”
—The New York Times

If you missed the limited edition published in 2013, the wait is over. Mark Axelrod’s translation of this obscure comedy by Balzac is now available worldwide on Amazon in a handsome paperback edition.

Originally presented under the title Mercadet or The Good Businessman, this play in three acts appears to have inspired the creation of the unseen character in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Indeed, 102 years before Godot ‘s debut, Mercadet opened at the Theatre du Gymnase-Dramatique in Paris and—curiously enough—featured a character named “Godeau” who never appears on stage.

A comic coincidence? One of life’s little absurdities?

The translator met and corresponded with Beckett, and in WAITING FOR GODEAU we present an unpublished letter from Beckett in which the burning question is answered.

Or is it?

You be the judge.

WAITING FOR GODEAU
by Honore de Balzac
Translated from the French by Mark Axelrod
5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.852 x 19.837 cm)
trade paperback; 154 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0692738108
$12.95

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ON AMAZON

Three Plays by D. Harlan Wilson

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Black Scat Books is proud to add D. Harlan Wilson to its list of luminaries. This is the renegade author’s first collection of plays, and it’s guaranteed to provoke  standing ovations — or perhaps we should say “fistfights in the orchestra” as Jarry’s Ubu Roi did so long, long ago.

Over the last two decades, D. Harlan Wilson has established himself as a writer of avant-garde fiction that has been called many names, ranging from speculative, literary and postmodern to irreal, bizarro, absurdist and “splatter-schtick.” Some say he defies categorization and is a genre unto himself. In THREE PLAYS, Wilson subverts traditional forms of stagecraft, unmans the helm of narrative, and exposes the nightmares that distinguish everyday life in urban and suburban America. Channeling Samuel Beckett and Jon Fosse in one scene, Russell Edson and Alfred Jarry in the next, he subjects actors as much as audiences and readers to mindless violence and torrid irrationality under the auspices of literary theory, psychoanalysis, philosophy and science. These plays belong more to an ultramodern zoo than a modern-day theater. In “The Triangulated Diner,” a Camero fishtails across the stage and runs over actors as jungle animals attack the audience. An elephant is hung onstage by a crane for stomping on the head of an abusive handler in “The Dark Hypotenuse.” “Primacy” finds a husband and wife struggling to write the perfect obituary, ideally one that includes wuxia death matches and flying holy men . . . This collection describes a microcosm that is at once uncanny and familiar, weird and ordinary, comedic and horrific. Wilson puts the human condition on trial and challenges us to view theatrics in a different light.

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The official publication date is March 15th, but ADVANCE COPIES ARE AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon. CLICK HERE to order.

THREE PLAYS BY D. HARLAN WILSON
Trade paperback; 160 pages; $12.95
ISBN-13: 978-0692631539

Cover photograph by Lodiza LePore / DESIGN BY NORMAN CONQUEST

Theatre of the Absurd—Opening Night!

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“Witkiewicz takes up and continues the vein of dream and grotesque fantasy exemplified by the late Strindberg or by Wedekind; his ideas are closely paralleled by those of the surrealists and Antonin Artaud which culminated in the masterpieces of the dramatists of the absurd—Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Arrabal—of the late nineteen forties and the nineteen fifties.” -Martin Esslin

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz  (pen name: Witkacy) was desperate to get out of revolutionary St. Petersburg after the Bolsheviks seized power. Back in Poland, eager to make money and a name for himself, Witkacy began to write plays in a style that he called “Pure Form,” which foreshadowed the Theatre of the Absurd. By the time that he wrote VAHAZAR (1921), Witkacy had achieved a dreamlike dramaturgy:  centered on the paranoid and crazed despot, Vahazar, and spiraling outwards through an anthill society of automatons, religious cults, and quack scientific and social theories, this play is about being trapped in nothingness.

This translation of the play by Celina Wieniewska was commissioned by Stefan Themerson in 1967, and later announced as a forthcoming title by the legendary Gaberbocchus Press. Somehow the project was sidetracked and has never appeared until this Black Scat Books publication. Paul Rosheim, publisher of Obscure Publications and scholar of Themersonia, provides a sublime introduction with biographical information about Witkacy and the story of this translation. The book also includes an appendix featuring Franciszka Themerson’s “Vahazar: A Few Suggestions for Design.”

“…Witkiewicz, Bruno Schulz and myself, the three musketeers of the Polish avant-garde.” —Witold Gombrowicz

Available now on Amazon in the U.S. and Europe.

Click here to order this masterpiece of the absurd.

 

 

 

In the wings, some special things (eighth edition)…

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On the 4th of July, Black Scat Books celebrated three years of publishing. In that short span of time we’ve released nearly 100 titles, which may make us seem bigger than we are. We’re still a small, independent press that barely scrapes by each month. Word of mouth is very important to us as that’s how most of our readers discover us, i.e., a friend whispers in their ear. We invite you to pass the good word along. And if you aren’t following this blog, please enter your email address on this page and subscribe— that way you’ll always know what’s waiting in the wings.

Remember, good lit happens here.

Summer Scatastic!

Here’s a look ahead at some of the goodies coming your way in the next few months.

In August we’re bringing you a major new novel by Tom Whalen, The Straw That Broke—a stunning work of speculative metafiction— filled with wordplay and literary hijinks. This is seminal post-cyberpunk fiction with wicked Oulipian twists, crafted by a master of experimental fiction.

On Labor Day, Mao Zedong’s clandestine Long March reaches its revolutionary climax in The Little Red Book of Commie Porn. A collaboration between California artists Terri Lloyd and Norman Conquest, this outrageously funny collection of satirical art & text is unlike anything we’ve ever published. Indeed, the book is nearly  impossible to describe and must be seen to be believed.

Another literary event you won’t want to miss: the first English translation of the Selected Plays of Alphonse Allais, compiled and translated by Doug Skinner. This special illustrated edition makes a nice companion volume to Allais’s Captain Cap: His Adventures, His Ideas, His Drinks. This new collection includes 24 works: eight monologues, three one-act plays, plus short skits, dialogues, and burlesques. For fans of the absurd, this is a must-have.

For armchair travelers who enjoy going nowhere in wickedly clever fashion, there’s  David Slavitt’s absurdist chapbook Walloomsac: A Week on the River. It has already received advance praise from R. H. W. Dillard: “…I haven’t had this kind of significant fun since I stayed up ‘til dawn…breathlessly reading Pale Fire for the very first time.” This one’s a real treat.

Coming in September. we’re thrilled to be publishing Suzanne Burns’ experimental novel Sweet and Vicious. This new work by the gifted young author of Siblings and Misfits and other Heroes, is sure to enhance her reputation as one of the most innovative contemporary American writers.

And just in time for Halloween… the third volume of Oulipo Pornobongo: Anthology of Erotic Wordplay. The collection includes works by Maria Schurr, Paulo Brito, Tom La Farge, Lucy Selleck, Doug Skinner, Ellen Nations, Paul Forristal, and others.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on these and other forthcoming titles.