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Favorite Contemporary Playwright

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message 1: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
I'm curious as to your favorite contemporary playwright is and why? The playwright must have been working in actively in the theatre the last 25 years -- from 1993 onward.

My pick is Stephen Adly Guirgis. This guy is brilliant. His plays are honest, funny, brutal and will expand your awareness of contemporary American life.


message 2: by Jesse (new)

Jesse (thebibliosage) | 11 comments John Patrick Shanley and Simon Stephens; their works are pure genius.


message 3: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Jesse wrote: "John Patrick Shanley and Simon Stephens; their works are pure genius."

I'm surprised to hear Shanley's name mentioned here (and I do LOVE Shanley). Which work of his written within the past 25 years so you rate as genius?


message 4: by Jesse (new)

Jesse (thebibliosage) | 11 comments Doubt. It’s my favorite play because it’s impeccably written and thought-provoking.


message 5: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Jesse wrote: "Doubt. It’s my favorite play because it’s impeccably written and thought-provoking."

EXCELLENT choice. I saw Cherry Jones do it. She was amazing.


message 6: by Nat (new)

Nat K (natnoir) From an Aussie perspective Joanna Murray-Smith, Hannie Rayson, Nick Enright & Nick Enright have all written plays with themes that are relevant to the present day. They've really captured the Aussie lingo and perspective.

Also David Hare ("Skylight"), Tom Stoppard ("Arcadia"), Patrick Marber ("Closer"). These are ones that stick in my mind from seeing them performed, and then also reading them afterwards.


message 7: by Abel (new)

Abel | 1 comments Tracy Letts. I love his oddness and black humor, he has quite a unique voice among contemporaries.


message 8: by Scott (new)

Scott (skotf9) | 4 comments Either Ayad Akhtar or Tracy Letts.


message 9: by Doug (new)

Doug | 3 comments Duncan MacMillan, Lucy Kirkwood, Mike Bartlett, Alistair McDowall, Andrew Bovill, J T Rogers, Florian Zeller, Craig Lucas, Philip Ridley, Dennis Kelly, David Harrower, Lucas Hnath, Aaron Posner, Matthew Lopez, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Bruce Graham, Nick Payne ....


message 10: by Trevor (new)

Trevor Nat wrote: "From an Aussie perspective Joanna Murray-Smith, Hannie Rayson, Nick Enright & Nick Enright have all written plays with themes that are relevant to the present day. They've really captured the Aussi..."

Yes, Joanna Murray-Smith is excellent, I've seen several of her plays at the MTC, and thoroughly enjoyed them.


message 11: by Nat (last edited Aug 08, 2018 01:59PM) (new)

Nat K (natnoir) Trevor wrote: "Nat wrote: "From an Aussie perspective Joanna Murray-Smith, Hannie Rayson, Nick Enright & David Williamson have all written plays with themes that are relevant to the present day. They've really captur..."

How wonderful! I saw "Honour" years ago, which had Wendy Hughes in it, and it was such a touching play.


message 12: by Terence (new)

Terence Manleigh (terencemanleigh) Hi, all! New to the group. I wouldn't begin to weigh on who's the best contemporary playwright, because I think playwrights' output is a mixed bag and one great play can count against a string of not-so-great plays. I can, however, name several plays I saw within the last 25 years (during a time when I saw everything on Broadway for free! Sigh.) that I will never forget as long as I live.

Angels in America by Tony Kushner
Oleanna by David Mamet
Master Class by Terence McNally
Love! Valour! Compassion! by Terence McNally
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
La Bete by David Hirson
The Lonesome West by Martin MacDonagh
The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin MacDonagh
A Behanding in Spokane by Martin MacDonagh
The Tale of the Allergist's Wife by Charles Busch
Doubt by John Patrick Shanley
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts
The Weir by Conor McPherson
The Seafarer by Conor McPherson
Dividing the Estate by Horton Foote
The God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza
In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl
War Horse by Nick Stafford
Other Desert Cities by John Robin Baitz
The Lyons by Nicky Silver
Clyborne Park by Bruce Norris
Venus in Fur by David Ives
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Simon Stephens
Three Tall Women by Edward Albee


message 13: by Nat (last edited Aug 07, 2018 07:39PM) (new)

Nat K (natnoir) What a fabulous selection of plays you've seen Terence! Great mix of topics and genres. The STC (Sydney Theatre Company) have done a fair chunk of these plays, so I agree that they're amazing representations of incredible (play) writing. You've also ignited my memory of some of them, such as "Oleana" & "Masterclass" which I saw so long ago.


message 14: by Inkspill (new)

Inkspill (runinkspill) Seriously, I can't choose - I mean there are just too many

Recently, I reread Becket's 'Waiting for Godot', William's 'A Streetcar Named Desire', Chekhov's 'A Cherry Orchard', a retelling of a play by Moliere, and 4, could be 5, plays by Shakespeare.

What stands out for me is their very different voices and how they use this form to tell a story.

So, I'm sorry - I just can't say who are my favourite - good question though - I guess for me it's more about when or what part of a play does not work. And that may not necessarily be down to the writing / playwright


message 15: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Nat wrote: "From an Aussie perspective Joanna Murray-Smith, Hannie Rayson, Nick Enright & Nick Enright have all written plays with themes that are relevant to the present day. They've really captured the Aussi..."

Thank you for giving a different perspective. I will check some of these authors out.


message 16: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Abel wrote: "Tracy Letts. I love his oddness and black humor, he has quite a unique voice among contemporaries."

Let's so good. I'm excited to read his adaptation of Three Sisters.


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul | 11 comments Shout-outs to Suzan-Lori Parks ("Topdog/Underdog"), Lynn Nottage ("Ruined), and especially Annie Baker ("The Flick"). You either love or hate "The Flick." Neutrality is impossible.


message 18: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "Shout-outs to Suzan-Lori Parks ("Topdog/Underdog"), Lynn Nottage ("Ruined), and especially Annie Baker ("The Flick"). You either love or hate "The Flick." Neutrality is impossible."

Thank you Paul -- I was wondering when someone would bring up these three. I like all three of them, & think Nottage is amazing.


message 19: by Paul (new)

Paul | 11 comments I loved "The Flick." I know people who hated it so much that they cancelled their subscription to the regional theater that produced it. I say anything that can get such a strong reaction is, by definition, worthwhile, but I don't think that's a universal sentiment.


message 20: by Jason (new)

Jason (jeddins) | 1 comments Martin MacDonagh for me. I’ve seen six or seven of his plays on stage, and a handful of his movies. He’s dark, hilarious, and always brings a twist that keeps me talking for days.


message 21: by Justin (new)

Justin | 6 comments If I had to pick one, I'd say Sarah Ruhl. Her characters are complex and idiosyncratic, her writing is beautifully poetic without being hifalutin, and just like life, her plays expertly interweave comedy and pathos together. There's a reason she won a McArthur Genius Award and has been nominated for two Pulitzers! "The Clean House" is perhaps the best introduction to her writing style.


message 22: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Justin wrote: "If I had to pick one, I'd say Sarah Ruhl. Her characters are complex and idiosyncratic, her writing is beautifully poetic without being hifalutin, and just like life, her plays expertly interweave comedy and pathos together."

Is The Clean House her favorite work of Ruhls, or do you have another?


message 23: by Justin (last edited Aug 10, 2018 11:16PM) (new)

Justin | 6 comments Yes, I think "The Clean House" is my favorite of Ruhl's plays. Followed closely by "Dead Man's Cell Phone."


message 24: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Justin wrote: "Yes, I think "The Clean House" is my favorite of Ruhl's plays."

OK ~~ I will make a point of revisiting it soon. Thanks, Justin.


message 25: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Deal | 14 comments August Wilson. Hands down. His century plays—may be the single greatest collection of plays ever written


message 26: by Kenny (new)

Kenny | 168 comments Mod
Finally ~~ I was wondering why Wilson had not been brought up yet. Wilson achieved what O'Neill was unable to with this collection.


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