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Paperback | $14.95 Short | £12.95 | 240 pp. | 6 x 9 in | September 2006 | ISBN: 9781584350378
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Essential Info

Tale of 2Cities

An American Joyride on Multiple Tracks


In this second "living novel" by Heather Woodbury, 50 years of New York and Los Angeles history collide in a live mix spun by Manny, a young DJ, in his dead grandmother's Echo Park apartment. Flashing back to 1957, when Brooklyn lost its home-team and LA's Chavez Ravine was razed to build the Dodgers a new stadium, Woodbury enacts a séance among three generations of interwoven characters on both coasts whose lives were changed forever by this single act of urban redevelopment. Writing about a performance of 2Cities in Time Out, David Cote says: "Think of the expansive social criticism of John Dos Passos's USA tempered by the loopy humanity of Lily Tomlin." Using her trademark meta-mix of voices, Woodbury links psychic devastation of Brooklyn fans after the desertion of the Dodgers with the fate of Chavez Ravine, where Mexican Americans in a thriving community were forced to sell their homes to make room for the new stadium. Toggling between 1957 and the present, 2Cities swoops through cities and the minds of a miniseries-worth of major and minor characters. From the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy to the fall of the Twin Towers, 2Cities channels a lost universe of lives otherwise erased, in a style that owes as much to DJ Shadow as it does to John Steinbeck.

About the Author

Heather Woodbury is the author of the critically acclaimed What Ever, which began as a ten-hour theater phenomenon and was adapted as a radio play, excerpts of which were heard on Ira Glass's This American Life. Woodbury's legendary serial dramas were a highlight of the East Village club scene of the 1980s. A fully-staged version of Tale of 2Cities, which won a Kennedy Award for play writing, will have its premiere in Fall 2006 at PS 122 in New York City.


“Entrancing and exhilarating. . . . With her keen observations, she works as a sort of social historian molding gut-wrenching truths and hilarious caricatures into a portrait of the family of manpast and present. [review of the performance]”—Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times
“Ms. Woodbury has built a sweet and sweeping play with breathtaking range: you meet the living and the dead, characters from two coasts in a time period that spans from 1941 to 2001. What's more, she displays the ambition of an artist who is not afraid to make an audience work for its rewardsand trust me, there are many.”—Jason Zinoman, The New York Times
“Parlaying an ace reporter's eye for telling detail and a mimic's ear for nuances of dialect, Woodbury's ability to weave a rich tapestry of Americana is impressively evident. [review of the performance]”—Philip Brandes, The Los Angeles Times
“Woodbury's America is a haunted place, all desire and no memory, searching for redemption in the richness of human experience. [review of the performance]”—Fintan O'Toole, The Irish Times