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If you like reading plays, what are some of your favourites?

(34 Posts)
WaterBird Fri 01-Feb-19 07:32:35

They can either be classics or more modern. I've just started getting into them and have been enjoying them, but haven't read too many yet.
Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
FranKatzenjammer Fri 01-Feb-19 07:37:46

A Taste of Honey- Shelagh Delaney

QuaterMiss Fri 01-Feb-19 07:43:20

My list would be a million titles long!

Far Away by Caryl Churchill is a good place to start on modern/contemporary work.

What's prompted your interest OP?

WaterBird Fri 01-Feb-19 07:49:21

@QuaterMiss
I just started taking a univgsity course about reading and writing plays. I read some Shakespeare when I was younger but hadn't really done much with modern plays. So far in this course I have read 4: A Streetcar Named Desire, A Doll's House, Death of a Salesman, and The Stronger. I guess I just really like the unique formatting of dialogue.

OP’s posts: |
shostakovich Fri 01-Feb-19 07:58:16

Pretty much anything by Arthur Miller (The Crucible, Death of a Salesman), Oscar Wilde and Tennessee Williams.

I keep returning to J.B. Priestley - his plays don't get performed much these days (apart from An Inspector Calls) but well worth a read. Try Time and the Conways and Dangerous Corner.

For something more meaty, you could do worse than Ibsen (Ghosts, The Maser Builder).

QuaterMiss Fri 01-Feb-19 07:58:17

It's always a mystery to me why playreading at school level begins with Shakespeare (alone!) and scarcely acknowledges anything beyond the mid-20th century ...

EyesUnderARock Fri 01-Feb-19 08:04:30

I love plays with a rhythm and flow to the words:

Under Milkwood
Anything Brecht, Caucasian Chalk Circle is my favourite.
Lorca

Oscar Wilde for frivolous fun

EyesUnderARock Fri 01-Feb-19 08:05:44

Oh, and Murder in the Cathedral by TS Elliot.

QuaterMiss Fri 01-Feb-19 08:13:15

For unique formatting of dialogue you might like Anatomy of a Suicide by Alice Birch.

I'd also suggest:

Chekhov's First Play - Dead Centre
Brilliant Adventures - Alistair McDowall
Faith Healer - Brian Friel
Angels in America - Tony Kushner (actually better to read than watch for me).

I'll take it for granted that you're deep into Beckett. And Sarah Kane.

WaterBird Fri 01-Feb-19 08:16:49

Thank you all.
I completely forgot tually did read a Wilde play once, "The Importance of Being Earnest."

OP’s posts: |
EyesUnderARock Fri 01-Feb-19 08:20:30

The more the merrier, personally I dislike Beckett and Pinter.
You could go classical as well, many Ancient Greek plays are lovely and worth the time, as are some of Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

eurochick Fri 01-Feb-19 08:34:20

I was going to suggest Earnest!

CherryBlossom23 Fri 01-Feb-19 08:41:52

Translations by Brian Friel if you want something a little different to British playwrights

QuaterMiss Fri 01-Feb-19 09:53:16

Presumably you have a curriculum reading list? How broad is it?

DancelikeEmmaGoldman Fri 01-Feb-19 11:44:33

I love Christopher Fry, especially The Lady’s Not for Burning. He’s considered twee and old-fashioned nowadays, but his limpid humour and compassion are engaging.

Under Milkwood is a miracle.

I enjoy O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey into Night. Angsty and dark, but ultimately satisfying.

I think Shakespeare is better heard and seen than read, but The Tempest is full of terrifically exciting stuff, and great speeches.

I have a soft spot for the rude vigour of English mystery plays. Once you get past the language barrier they’re often very funny.

Have you seen this project? It’s brilliant - there are three sets of six speeches.

www.theguardian.com/stage/series/shakespeare-solos

WaterBird Fri 01-Feb-19 18:52:50

My curriculum list is fairly broad, but I know that there are many good plays that we're not reading.
I've just started Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party" and find it almost commical the way Meg and Petey tiptoe around each other... "Is it nice?" "Yes, very nice."

OP’s posts: |
Annandale Tue 12-Feb-19 12:32:05

My favourite play is Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. I have a personal connection with The Sugar Wife and Fishskin Trousers by Elizabeth Kuti which I love too.

Racecardriver Tue 12-Feb-19 12:35:10

I really like Arthur millers plays for reading, they work quite well as a text.

QuaterMiss Tue 12-Feb-19 12:41:35

My copy of When We Have Sufficiently Torrured Each Other should arrive today. (Hermes delivery. hmm )

I've enjoyed other Martin Crimp texts, though this one has been torn apart by critics. Going to a workshop on it soon though. Had a second shot at the ballot for tickets yesterday - but have lost all inclination to see it.

Gentlemanwiththistledownhair Fri 15-Feb-19 09:36:32

Brecht! Particularly The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, although I also enjoyed The Good Person of Szechwan.

I really enjoy he uses satire is used to explain huge events: Arturo Ui is a Chicago mobster intent on controlling the cauliflower trade and is a (very recognisable) parallel to Hitler's rise, hilarious in places and ridiculous but also really digs into the effects of mass hysteria.

WaterBird Sat 16-Feb-19 02:55:33

Funnily enough, I just read Arturo Ui. It was pretty good. Also impressive that Brecht, being German, knew so much about life in Chicago.

OP’s posts: |
Gentlemanwiththistledownhair Sat 16-Feb-19 09:11:29

From memory, I think Brecht spent a lot of time in the US during the war. He was involved in Hollywood writing scripts at one point. After Arturo Ui, he wouldn't have been very popular in Germany! (It was published during the war, I think that it's fantastic how clear headed the play is given the proximity of the events it's describing. It reads like it was written decades later with the benefit of hindsight)

FairfaxAikman Sat 16-Feb-19 09:14:31

Passing Places by Stephen Greenhorn and Tallys Blood by Anne-Marie Di Mambro are two of my favourites. Both very Scottish and both full of humour.

Parthenope Sat 16-Feb-19 09:22:47

JM Synge, Brian Friel, Marina Carr, Thomas Kilroy, Edna Walsh, Tom Murphy, Martin McDonagh, Teresa Deevy? Seamus Heaney’s versions of classical plays, The Burial at Thebes (Antigone) and The Cure at Troy (Philoctetes).

Anything by Chekhov.

MealyPotatoes Sat 16-Feb-19 19:38:05

As a previous poster said my list would be a million miles long...

Last few plays I read were Ubu by Alfred Jarry, Prometheus Unbound by Aeschylus, collected plays of Joe Orton and DNA by Denis Kelly. Oh and I’ve just started reading the script for the stage version of Made in Dagenham.

One of my favourite plays is Road by Jim Cartwright, probably because I used to do audition speeches from it years ago.

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