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Play Suggestions?

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message 1: by Richard S (new)

Richard S | 2 comments Hi everyone! I'm new to the group and wanted to share my thoughts on plays and theater in general.

I'm mostly a fan of great classic plays - the last few I'm read have been by Moliere, Ibsen, Strindberg, and I recently tackled the Richard II to Henry V series (Falstaff). In college I took a course called "O'Neill and Brecht" and am particularly fond of those two. When I lived in New York City, in the Village, I had a huge appetite for off-Broadway theater, my favorite place being The Bouwerie Lane Theater, which played old classic plays, my best memories being Waiting for Godot and Brecht's A Man's a Man.

My question is really - where do I go from here? I feel like I've read all the great classic plays, and have gone into depth on two authors. Also, the way I do plays is - 1) read the play, 2) read it again, 3) watch a taped performance, and then 4) read it a third time. This is particularly effective with Shakespeare and the old BBC videos. So if anyone can recommend plays with good video versions (not film adaptations) that can be combined with the reading that would be particularly helpful. See with places like the Bouwerie converted into condos, it's very difficult to find these plays performed anymore.


message 2: by Brian (new)

Brian (bdwilfong) | 11 comments If you have not read Shaffer's "Amadeus", you should.

He also wrote the adaptation for the film.


message 3: by Mark (last edited Mar 13, 2018 07:38PM) (new)

Mark André | 26 comments Hi Richard, my names Mark and I'm new here too. I'm more of a novel reader, but I was invited to join here so I did. I've also been reading recently some Ibsen's and Strindberg's plays and enjoyed them a lot. I'm also a huge fan of Godot!

Your stipulation that recommendations have good video versions I can appreciate, but that is sort of beyond my ken. If you haven't dabbled with the Greeks lately I would strongly suggest try some of Aeschylus' work: Suppliant Maidens, Seven Against Thebes, Prometheus Bound, and Agamemnon are all good reads.


message 4: by Mark (new)

Mark André | 26 comments Brian wrote: "If you have not read Shaffer's "Amadeus", you should.
He also wrote the adaptation for the film."


The story I heard, probably apocryphal, was that Forman saw the play in London and beat down the author's door to request permission to adapt it for a film. And a kickin film it made!


message 5: by Kenny (last edited Mar 13, 2018 08:00PM) (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Richard wrote: "My question is really - where do I go from here? I feel like I've read all the great classic plays, and have gone into depth on two authors. Also, the way I do plays is - 1) read the play, 2) read it again, 3) watch a taped performance, and then 4) read it a third time. This is particularly effective with Shakespeare and the old BBC videos. So if anyone can recommend plays with good video versions (not film adaptations) that can be combined with the reading that would be particularly helpful. ."

Welcome to the group, Richard! We are happy to have you here.

Your question is fascinating, and I love it. Since you like the scholarly approach to plays I would recommend do you a comparison study of Ibsen / Strindberg / Chekhov. To augment this I would suggest using Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov. Adler's insights into the three masters of modern drama are astounding. The added benefit is that there are a number of BBC productions of the three playwrights productions.

When selecting titles to read, I would suggest you stay with Strindberg's earlier, naturalistic titles when comparing these three playwrights. Perhaps The Father, Miss Julie, The Dance of Death, & The Creditor.

For Ibsen, I would suggest A Doll's House (The Thorton Wilder Translation), Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, & Rosmersholm.

And, for Chekhov, of course you stay with the four major plays.

Later on you may want to do the same type of study comparing Williams to Miller from say 1945 -- 1964. A later work by Miller you may also want to look at is The American Clock.

Another outstanding resource, also by Adler is Stella Adler on America's Master Playwrights: Eugene O'Neill, Thornton Wilder, Clifford Odets, William Saroyan, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee.

I hope this helps. Please keep us posted on your play explorations.


message 6: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Mark wrote: "Brian wrote: "If you have not read Shaffer's "Amadeus", you should.
He also wrote the adaptation for the film."

The story I heard, probably apocryphal, was that Forman saw the play in London and ..."


You are correct.


message 7: by Mark (new)

Mark André | 26 comments Kenny wrote: "Mark wrote: "Brian wrote: "If you have not read Shaffer's "Amadeus", you should.
He also wrote the adaptation for the film."

The story I heard, probably apocryphal, was that Forman saw the play i..."


Cool! - )


message 8: by Richard S (last edited Mar 14, 2018 07:04AM) (new)

Richard S | 2 comments Thanks. With respect to Strindberg, I recently read Father, Miss Julie and Dance of Death, I will try The Creditor. I tried reading one of his late plays but found it incomprehensible (although it might work in a theater). I also recently read Strindberg's semi-autobiographical novel Confessions of a Fool, which was fabulous (incredible), although his misogyny really comes out in places (as it does in Father).
Chekhov! Yes I recently read The Seagull and I've seen The Cherry Orchard performed at least twice, but I should read the two others of his great four. A bad omission.
Ibsen I'm not as great a fan of, recently read The Doll House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts and Wild Duck. I will try Rosmersholm.
I saw Amadeus performed at the Steppenwolf in Chicago, with Mark Hamill (of all people) playing Mozart.
I've read the Greek plays extensively and still return to the best (is there anything more shocking in theater than The Bacchae?)
I will take a look at the Stella Adler book, although I like very little literary criticism (exceptions for a book like Auerbach's Mimesis and anything by JC Powys).
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply!


message 9: by Gavin (new)

Gavin Stephenson-Jackman | 3 comments I'm currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the Front of House book club at the Stratford Festival Theatre. The theatre is producing the play this season and we have tickets for the on our Anniversary this summer. I've seen the movie many times and it's interesting seeing the parallels and differences between the two. It will be interesting to see the same in the stage production. (www.stratfordfestival.com)

Another great production at the Festival this season is The Music Man. It really is a must see.


message 10: by Gavin (new)

Gavin Stephenson-Jackman | 3 comments Sorry, the website for the Festival is www.stratfordfestival.ca not .com.


message 11: by Brian (new)

Brian (bdwilfong) | 11 comments It is a great film!

Mark wrote: "Brian wrote: "If you have not read Shaffer's "Amadeus", you should.
He also wrote the adaptation for the film."

The story I heard, probably apocryphal, was that Forman saw the play in London and ..."



message 12: by Brian (new)

Brian (bdwilfong) | 11 comments I go to Stratford annually, and see about 10 shows in a little over a week. They did MOCKINGBIRD about 10 years ago and I loved it. Excited to see what this production is like.

Gavin wrote: "I'm currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the Front of House book club at the Stratford Festival Theatre. The theatre is producing the play this season and we have tickets for the on our Anni..."


message 13: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Gavin wrote: "I'm currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the Front of House book club at the Stratford Festival Theatre. The theatre is producing the play this season and we have tickets for the on our Anni..."

Which adaptation are you reading of To Kill a Mockingbird?


message 14: by Gavin (new)

Gavin Stephenson-Jackman | 3 comments I'm reading the original Harper Lee novel, not a stage play version of the story.


message 15: by Greg (last edited Jun 29, 2018 10:41PM) (new)

Greg | 16 comments I went to see The Humans by Stephen Karam last week and it was extraordinary! I will definitely buy a copy to read now, but I'm so glad that the tour had most of the Broadway cast. I found the performances and the play itself equally remarkable!


message 16: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Greg wrote: "I went to see The Humans by Stephen Karam last week and it was extraordinary! "

I have a copy here, I better movie up the reading list. Thank you Greg.


message 17: by Greg (new)

Greg | 16 comments Richard wrote: "Thanks. With respect to Strindberg, I recently read Father, Miss Julie and Dance of Death, I will try The Creditor. I tried reading one of his late plays but found it incomprehensible (although it ..."

I found Creditors intriguing - not a favorite of all time but worth reading. The way Strindberg sees gender often feels a bit kooky to me since it's so foreign to my own experience of the world, but I usually feel like there's a lot to get in his work nevertheless.

I'm much fonder of Chekhov, stories and plays.


message 18: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Greg wrote: "I found Creditors intriguing - not a favorite of all time but worth reading. The way Strindberg sees gender often feels a bit kooky to me since it's so foreign to my own experience of the world, but I usually feel like there's a lot to get in his work nevertheless.

I'm much fonder of Chekhov, stories and plays. "


There is a universality to Chekhov that is lacking in Strindberg. Even the heroes in Strindberg's naturalistic works are unlikable. I do prefer Strindberg's later plays -- Ghost Sonata and A Dream Play. I think these are brilliant works.

Do you have a favorite Chekhov, Greg?


message 19: by Greg (last edited Jun 29, 2018 11:51PM) (new)

Greg | 16 comments Kenny wrote: "Greg wrote: "I went to see The Humans by Stephen Karam last week and it was extraordinary! "

I have a copy here, I better movie up the reading list. Thank you Greg."


I hope you like it Kenny! - I feel like I would've liked it even if I had read it on paper first, but wonderful performances always add something. There's a lot of great humor but also parts that are extraordinarily touching. I won't say more lest I spoil anything.

I read Death of a Salesman in a waiting room last year, and it made me cry a bit, even though I had read and seen it before and knew what was coming. Those plays that manage to touch the heart of human frailty/folly really get to me.

Though I'm often strongly attracted to surrealism, symbolism, and metaphors as well; so my taste varies quite a bit.


message 20: by Jesse (new)

Jesse (thebibliosage) | 11 comments I’m a high school drama teacher and I’m always looking for scenes to use in class. Do you have any suggestions for scenes that are appropriate for high school students?


message 21: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Jesse wrote: "I’m a high school drama teacher and I’m always looking for scenes to use in class. Do you have any suggestions for scenes that are appropriate for high school students?"

Can they be romantic in nature? Do you want to cast them as kids or adults?


message 22: by Jesse (new)

Jesse (thebibliosage) | 11 comments They can be romantic and kids or adults doesn’t matter too much as long as they’re school appropriate.


message 23: by Justin (new)

Justin | 6 comments Jesse wrote: "They can be romantic and kids or adults doesn’t matter too much as long as they’re school appropriate."

Jesse, "Almost, Maine" by John Cariani is perfect for high schoolers. It's a series of thematically related vignettes that challenge the actors to be real and connect with each other and are totally appropriate, without being too difficult. The high school I worked at actually put it on as their fall show!

Some other good sources could be:

"Last Night of Ballyhoo" by Alfred Uhry

"Brighton Beach Memoirs" by Neil Simon

"All In the Timing" by David Ives

"Gruesome Playground Injuries" by Rajiv Joseph (although some of these GPI scenes could be too racy, depends on your school).


message 24: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Deal | 14 comments Jesse wrote: "I’m a high school drama teacher and I’m always looking for scenes to use in class. Do you have any suggestions for scenes that are appropriate for high school students?"

Jesse, I am also a high school drama teacher. Please discover the works of Alan Haehnel and Don Zolidis. Two of the top playwrights that write very strictly for the high school theatre.


message 25: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Jesse wrote: "They can be romantic and kids or adults doesn’t matter too much as long as they’re school appropriate."

"Holiday" x Philip Barry has some nice scenes..."Private Lives" x Noel Coward...."The Circle" x Maugham..."Thieves Carnival" x Anouilh....


message 26: by Ruben (new)

Ruben (rubencarbajal) | 1 comments I'd recommend:
Punk Rock by Simon Stephens
Hazelwood Jr. High by Rob Urbinati

For scene work:
Five Minute Plays by John Capecci & Irene Ziegler
One-Minute Plays by Steve Ansell, Rose Burnett Bonczek

And I'd (not so) humbly suggest The Gifted Program.


message 27: by Jamahl (new)

Jamahl Garrison-Lowe (jamahlgarrison-lowe) | 2 comments Start with Pulitzer winners/ finalists of the last couple decades, then you'll have a feel of which storytellers you are drawn to.


message 28: by Lewis (new)

Lewis J. A. Corbett | 1 comments Late to the discussion but thought I would comment anyway, I've just written this play that might interest you. :D

The Tragic Death


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