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It can be argued that Neil Simon is not only Americas most successfulplaywright but also the most successful playwright in the history of theatre1 Despite being criticized for lack of substance his hugely successful comediesare consistently revived whether on Broadway or in other community ordinner theatres Last week the University of Notre Dames Mainstage seasonopened with the departmental premiere of Barefoot in the Park Thoughthe play originally opened more then thirty years ago the themes ofcompatibility and compromise that it presents are still relevant today Simonmasterfully manipulated the plot of Barefoot in the Park to include all of theelements of a fine play intrigue credibility surprise etc and to create aviable playscript that both emphasizes the plays major themes and just asimportantly makes the audience laughSimon has skillfully constructed the plot of Barefoot in the Park toshowcase and emphasize his themes of compatibility and need forcompromise The plot itself starts out fairly simple In the first act Pauland Corie Bratter wed but six days move into their new apartment on thetop floor of a brownstone in New York City From the very first theaudience can see that these are two very different characters that have verydifferent values and yet Paul and Corie are very much in love The plotprogresses as other characters are introduced First to visit the newlyweds isCories mother Mrs Banks The relationship between Corie and her motheralso involves a clash of very distinct personalities With the appearance ofthe Bratters eccentric upstairs neighbor Victor Velasco Corie sees theopportunity to play matchmaker and inject a little romance into her staidmothers life The first act concludes with Cories plan to bring the twotogether at an upcoming dinner party much to the chagrin of her husbandPaul This creates intrigue--that quality of a play which makes us curioussometimes fervently so to see what happens next2--because the audience isleft wondering whether Cories plan will work Thus the first act providesexposition creates a feeling of suspense and begins to
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