A Thousand Clowns Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Herb Gardner
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Whose bathrobe does Sandra use?

2. How many days old is the paper from which Nick suggests several jobs for Murray?

3. What is Albert carrying?

4. What brand of coffee do Sandra and Murray drink?

5. How much does Sandra say it cost her parents for her to go to school?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe what Arnold's office looks like.

2. What is the "situation" at school that Nick needs to discuss with Murray?

3. When Murray calls Margo, what message does she tell Margo to relate to Arnold?

4. What happens during Murray's lunch with Jimmy Sloan?

5. Describe Murray and Nick's "act" that they perform for Leo.

6. Describe the last scene before the curtains close on the final act.

7. What does Arnold tell Murray is the one thing that really bothers Murray and that is his problem?

8. Describe Arnold.

9. What does Leo tell Murray it feels like to flop in front of the children during the show?

10. When Murray's sister, Elaine, showed up at his apartment, what things did she bring with her?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

A Thousand Clowns was nominated for a Tony award for Best Play in 1963. Describe what elements in the story make it a good candidate for a successful play. Why? Also discuss elements that might not be as good or desirable and why you feel this way. Would you want to see a play like this on Broadway? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

By the end of Act 1 in the play, Sandra and Murray have become quite close. Why do you think they "hit it off" so easily? What qualities in Murray do you think Sandra is attracted to? What qualities in Sandra would benefit Murray in a relationship? Is this a relationship that can last? Why or why not? How do you think a relationship between Sandra and Murray would affect Nick? Would it be good or bad for Nick?

Essay Topic 3

In the play, A Thousand Clowns, Nick is in danger of being removed from Murray's care. This is obviously a serious issue and concern for most people, but why do you think the writer, Herb Gardner, took a comedic approach to something that could be so dramatic? What differences would the story have if it were a drama instead of a comedy? Would you have enjoyed the play as much? Which characters would change and which characters would remain the same? Why?

(see the answer keys)

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