Cover Image: This Is My Office and Notes on My Mother’s Decline

This Is My Office and Notes on My Mother’s Decline

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Member Reviews

I love both of these plays about the human spirit.  Evocative, smart, and transcendent.  I highly recommend .
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Andy Bragen’s book contains two short, autobiographical and quietly powerful plays entitled “This Is My Office” and “Notes On My Mother’s Decline”. 
“This Is My Office” is an unconventional, metafictional work where the fact that the play features an actor playing a character in a play is freely acknowledged. We follow Andy Bragen himself who delivers a monologue while taking the “audience” on a tour of his office space, and ultimately of his life. He often breaks the fourth-wall (or whatever it’s called in a stage-play) to address the audience, regretting his failure to get to the point of the play. Andy talks about unfinished screenplays, his childhood, his parents; sleeping in his office and binging on doughnuts. Along the way there is a funny reference to the film “Naked Gun”, personal confessions and a final reconciliation with his father which culminates in a very moving ending. 
“Notes on My Mother’s Decline” is a two-handler, equally unconventional in written form in that the text isn’t structured like a play. There is only one stage direction -  “Mother” speaks the lines in bold and “Son” speaks the lines that aren’t. The son speaks short sentences about what his mother is doing in her apartment - smoking, sleeping, drinking coffee - while the mother’s lines narrate her steady decline in health in the form of one-sided conversations, both on the phone and in person. This is only changed at the end of the play, when the mother and son are finally “together”. Like its predecessor, this play is incredibly personal, often embarrassingly so, with a shocking twist towards the end. The end itself is, once again, intensely moving. 
I found reading both plays an incredibly moving experience. They must be very powerful when performed. I haven’t encountered Andy Bragen’s work before but I am immensely glad that I took a chance on this wonderful book.
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