Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" Written for an Introduction to Theatre class after viewing the play. Shows why Simon's plays are popular comedies despite lacking much substance

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 1996

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'It can be argued that Neil Simon is not only America's most successful

playwright, but also the most successful playwright in the history of theatre.'1

Despite being criticized for lack of substance, his hugely successful comedies

are consistently revived, whether on Broadway or in other community or

dinner theatres. Last week the University of Notre Dame's Mainstage season

opened with the departmental premiere of Barefoot in the Park. Though

the play originally opened more then thirty years ago, the themes of

compatibility and compromise that it presents are still relevant today. Simon

masterfully manipulated the plot of Barefoot in the Park to include all of the

elements of a fine play (intrigue, credibility, surprise, etc.) and to create a

viable playscript that both emphasizes the play's major themes and, just as

importantly, makes the audience laugh.

        Simon has skillfully constructed the plot of Barefoot in the Park to

showcase and emphasize his themes of compatibility and need for

compromise. The plot itself starts out fairly simple. In the first act, Paul

and Corie Bratter, wed but six days, move into their new apartment on the

top floor of a brownstone in New York City. From the very first, the

audience can see that these are two very different characters that have very

different values, and yet Paul and Corie are very much in love. The plot

progresses as other characters are introduced. First to visit the newlyweds is

Corie's mother, Mrs. Banks. The relationship between Corie and her mother

also involves a clash of very distinct personalities. With the appearance of

the Bratter's eccentric upstairs neighbor, Victor Velasco, Corie sees the

opportunity to play matchmaker and inject a little romance into her staid

mother's life. The first act concludes with Corie's plan to bring the two

together at an upcoming...