Monday, January 16, 2012

Review of a play by Rob Plath: We' re No Butchers.


If a review is a dissective process of a literary work, the play “We' re No Butchers” by Rob Plath needs a radical vivisection. The critical eye can peer straight into the guts of the antagonist and into the mind of the hapless protagonist as they struggle through typical family dilemma. The use of plain language pulls the blinds of social intimacy. Plath becomes master of chaos.

Though the cover of the book spells dark and foreboding scenes, it is not the connotation of the skull artworks on smooth black background which influences the reader's perception. Neither does the sketch of a human skull atop of a canine one on the back page essential to the plot. But; the underdog does come out from the couch cushions to point at the ills of interactions.. Is it the title which draws the reader to the desperate context of this piece? No, it is the poignancy of the dialogue throughout the ten scenes.

While the subjects move from movies to Papal death, the temperature of conversation only cools down between bites of ribs and wings. The palpable details of table hierarchy demonstrate placement within family ethics... “let him grate his own cheese—he may be a faggot but he's not a boy” . No phrase stands out above the din of discord. No thread unravels the strangling fabric of family life in this tightly written text.

The play begins on a Sunday morning; older man smokes, younger one engages in argumentative insults which set the scene for an accurate portraiture of a stratum of America many are aware of but may not wish to visit live...This could be Poland or Greenland, human relations vary little across the socio-economic spectrum. The cultural specifics act as a mat of understated sarcasm under the feet of the players.

Few who have lived through the constrictions of crowded life can honestly describe the active participation of all individuals involved. Narrow walls bounce emotions and reverberate inadequacies in painful distortion; the psychology of idleness exacerbates perceived gender ranking. Enter Butch who becomes irate the instant he believes anything challenges his intellectual standing and privilege table to cable.

Then Dante must adjust his honesty to adapt to new surroundings, he dances around inane issues without losing balance, unless chemistry plays a trick on truth; best not to drink and talk, not healthy!Ah but Mia: dutiful Mama plays her role to perfection. She could explain the rise of obesity to any cardiologist, and pull rank on a social case-worker if need be. She knows her place and maintains it. Mia hangs dearly onto small romantic icons and larger religious ideals as she brews the daily stew..

It is easy to picture Otto in a white T-shirt stretched over excess. His skewed paranoia mimics concern over health and wealth in disproportionate examples. Salt and butter logic overcome rigid conservatism. He and the rest of the world may never budge from the sixties plateau..a veritable sitcom tableau in a single act. Most disconcerting is the collusion to block off care for the living, in word and deed.

These four characters smell ordinary yet breathe universal..Blame makes the rounds to land upon the designated scapegoat. Values arrange themselves about a broken Norman Rockwell knick-knack or the evening news. Moods swing unpredictably predictable in a bar scene. Good times dilute effect long enough to drive the play into its downward spiral. And the last act is achieved at a cost to re-establish status Quo. Welding joints to cement their common strength, feeding each other' s myths and hang ups as relief.

Pack mentality revealed, the kennel behavior of the Alpha group shows the dominant male and the intricacies of the balancing act of the coddling female determined to nurse their illusions to the inevitable conclusion. The caring party once more a renegade always outside the tribe, outnumbered.

Man, the animal will often forgo liberty to protect gain. Solidly entrenched in static holdings, the inflexible party will create chaos rather than lose whatever he identifies it a ceramic angel or a certain song. Vying for position in the family nucleus is a dangerous sport with frigid rules. No matter the face or name on the T-shirt, the strength of the unit is what matters the most afterall, OR is it?.

Rob Plath has been widely published , he now lives in New York..with a cat named Daisy.


  1. any relationship to Sylvia Plath? Just curious.

  2. surely he would have bragged about that one sooner if..but i'll ask..should he be related to Hugues as well? he is poet and writer as well..hello katley..

  3. Nadine, Excellent review -great insight into the complexities and pecking orders of these relationships. Well done!

  4. hey raymond, one more done..i'm running behind a runaway train, great exercise..i've been visiting your blog and writings to get a feel of it after i missed the Morgidoo deadline for the holidays..hey, there is yet to be another season..unless that twelfth date stick to the Mayan principles..quick, back to writing..