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. What does Sandra look for while Murray is calling Arnold to discuss interviews?

2. How much does Murray say the double features cost at the movie theater?

3. What is Sandra's last name?

4. In Act 1, Part 1 where does Nick say he's been staying?

5. Who is the protagonist in <i>A Thousand Clowns</i>?

Short Essay Questions

1. When Nick enters from the bathroom, what does Leo present to him?

2. Why does Sandra consider herself not to be a leader?

3. When Albert takes Sandra aside to have a private conversation, what do they talk about?

4. Describe some of the funny parts of Leo's routine that Nick doesn't think is funny.

5. What happened to the stuff that Elaine brought by?

6. What is Murray and Arnold's discussion about in Act 2, Part 1?

7. What does it mean when Arnold tells Murray that he floats around like a balloon and everyone is waiting around with a pin?

8. Describe the opening scene as the play begins in Act 1, Part 1.

9. Describe what is happening at the beginning of Act 1, Part 2.

10. What type of game do Murray and Nick play while Albert and Sandra are at the apartment?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

In the play, A Thousand Clowns, characters mask their insecurities in specific ways. Name three characters from the play that put on a mask of protection. Discuss each character in detail. What do they do to protect themselves from the outside world? Are the methods each of these characters use always effective? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

The play takes place in Manhattan around the 1950s and 1960s. What elements does Herb Gardner add to the play to make you believe that you are looking in on someone living in Manhattan? Discuss ways that Gardner makes this believable. Discuss other people, places, or objects that are and could be included in the play that fit right in with the time period and place.

(see the answer keys)

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