Comedy/ 3 Characters, 1 Man, 2 Women/ Full Length, Two Acts
Against the background of Parisian literary circles, Albert sets out to win the favors of a delectable young lady, Christine, by writing her a “bestseller” . . . using as “plot” the sizzling secrets of his closest friends . . . people like himself: rootless, lost in a big city, clinging to each other as their sole reason for being.
The course of all their lives takes a sharp turn as fragile human relationships are thrust against the creative impulse. Albert’s game of transforming real people into fictional characters turns out to be extremely dangerous. Dahlia decides to get even.
Winner of a New Drama Award from the Centre National du Livre.
“An utterly engrossing play written with shattering lucidity. The author cruelly dissects the darker sides of friendship – it’s merciless but without false pessimism either.”
– France Soir
“Humorously, Alan Rossett shows us that it’s not easy living alongside literary folk… A witheringly accurate comedy.”
– Le Nouvel Observateur
“Why is this such an endearing play? Because its characters are contradictory, rich, changing: in short, very much alive. The author qualifies his comedy as one of ‘caresses and claw marks.’ His consummate craft resembles the tailoring of a great high fashion designer.”
– Valeurs Actuelles
“Alan Rossett has a style all his own: sober themes placed within scrupulously exact backgrounds, then turned every which way by razor sharp wit. With elegance, startling theatricality, intelligence and brio, Rossett lowers us into the bubbling cauldron of the literary world.”
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About the Playwright: “Cocteau meets Woody Allen” was film-director Jean Delannoy’s comment on Alan Rossett, the only American to have French language plays produced regularly in France . . . and to receive awards from the Centre National des Lettres. Born in Detroit, he began his career as an actor in New York, where he appeared for a season with the Living Theatre and also as James Earl Jones’ first Iago. Relocating in Paris, he wrote and directed an evocation of Montmartre Light and Shade with Charles Boyer. Then his comedy High Time went from London to Sydney to New York (at the Actors Studio) and wound up, translated, in a Parisian cafe theatre before transferring to La Bruyere, a Broadway category house.Rossett made the language cross-over into French with two plays set in restaurants which he staged in the midst of diners at a show biz hang-out, running 200 performances. Many other productions followed of his French-language plays, including How It Happened, Cat As Cat Can, Love On Ice, Calamity Jane. Au Pair Girlspremiered in Paris and was revived successfully at the Avignon Festival where it was nominated for a PIAF as comedy of the year.His French plays are published by Avant-Scene Theatre, Editions des quatre-vents, Editions Art et Comedie et Librairie Theatrale. He has adapted into English many of his own works as well as a series of plays by colleagues that have received grants from the Beaumarchais Association of the French Author’s Society. Rossett has done English versions as well of Alain Decaux’s historical pagaents (Chateau Blois Comes To Life and De Gaulle: the Man Who Said NO. As an actor, he has appeared in films of Marcel Carné, Woody Allen, and over 50 others.
How It Happened was first produced by the Théâtre de l’Atalante, Paris, France in May, 2004, in its original French version entitled Les Sans-Attaches. The French text is published by L’Avant-Scène Thèâtre Nº1161 June 1st, 2004.
“Alan Rossett’s plays are ironic, lucid, biting, on a very high level; here rivalry, jealousy, possessiveness, smouldering resentment are the ingredients of a play that’s not only funny and tender – but ruthless. Savour this bittersweet comedy.”
– Actualité Juive
“A black and pink comedy, in which a diabolical trio of talented actors carry us from surprise to surprise.”
– La Terrasse