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By: Elizabeth Klett (1867-1936)

Six Characters in Search of an Author by Elizabeth Klett Six Characters in Search of an Author

Six Characters in Search of an Author (Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore) is the most famous and celebrated play by the Italian writer Luigi Pirandello. Pirandello, in the preface to the play, says that whenever a reader opens Dante’s Inferno, Francesca will drift down from the dark wind in her circle of Hell and tell the Pilgrim her story; and it will always be for the first time – just as the Mother in Pirandello’s play at one point makes an agonizing cry, always for the first time. Each character sees events and the other characters differently...

By: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson The Alchemist

An outbreak of plague in London forces a gentleman, Lovewit, to flee temporarily to the country, leaving his house under the sole charge of his butler, Jeremy. Jeremy uses the opportunity given to him to use the house as the headquarters for fraudulent acts. He transforms himself into 'Captain Face', and enlists the aid of Subtle, a fellow conman and Dol Common, a prostitute. In The Alchemist, Jonson unashamedly satirizes the follies, vanities and vices of mankind, most notably greed-induced credulity...

By: Various

One-Act Play Collection 003 by Various One-Act Play Collection 003

This collection of ten one-act dramas features plays by Edward Goodman, Alice Gerstenberg, Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy, Anton Chekhov, Frank Wedekind, Moliere, Theresa Helburn, John Kendrick Bangs, and Harold Brighouse.

By: Euripides (480-406 BC)

Book cover Medea

Euripides' tragedy focuses on the disintegration of the relationship between Jason, the hero who captured the Golden Fleece, and Medea, the sorceress who returned with him to Corinth and had two sons with him. As the play opens, Jason plans to marry the daughter of King Creon, and the lovesick Medea plots how to take her revenge.

By: Molière

Tartuffe by Molière Tartuffe

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known works is Tartuffe or The Hypocrite, written in 1664. Though Tartuffe was received well by the public and even by Louis XIV, its popularity was lessened when the Archbishop of Paris issued an edict threatening excommunication for anyone who watched, performed in, or read the play.Tartuffe, a pious fraud who pretends to speak with divine authority, has insinuated himself into the household of Orgon...

By: Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)

The Machine by Upton Sinclair The Machine

Upton Sinclair is best known for his novel The Jungle, an expose of the meatpacking industry. He was also a playwright whose works for the stage reflected the same progressive viewpoints found in his other writing. In The Machine, published as part of Sinclair's 1912 collection Plays of Protest, Socialist activists show a rich man's daughter the truth about the society in which she has been raised.

By: Various

One-Act Play Collection 002 by Various One-Act Play Collection 002

This collection of eight one-act dramas features plays by Eugene O'Neill, George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, Susan Glaspell, William Dean Howells and John Millington Synge. It also includes a dramatic reading of a short story by Frank Richard Stockton.

By: Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen The Wild Duck

The Wild Duck (1884) (original Norwegian title: Vildanden) is by many considered Ibsen's finest work, and it is certainly the most complex. It tells the story of Gregers Werle, a young man who returns to his hometown after an extended exile and is reunited with his boyhood friend Hjalmar Ekdal. Over the course of the play, the many secrets that lie behind the Ekdals' apparently happy home are revealed to Gregers, who insists on pursuing the absolute truth, or the "Summons of the Ideal". Among these truths: Gregers' father impregnated his servant Gina, then married her off to Hjalmar to legitimize the child...

By: Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)

Beyond the Horizon by Eugene O'Neill Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon is a 1920 play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. It was O'Neill's first full-length work, and the winner of the 1920 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play focuses on the portrait of a family, and particularly two brothers Andrew and Robert. In the first act of the play, Robert is about to go off to sea with their uncle Dick, a sea captain while Andrew looks forward to marrying his sweetheart Ruth and working on the family farm as he starts a family.

By: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare Pericles, Prince of Tyre

Pericles, Prince of Tyre is a Jacobean play written at least in part by William Shakespeare and included in modern editions of his collected works despite questions over its authorship, as it was not included in the First Folio. Modern editors generally agree that Shakespeare is responsible for almost exactly half the play—827 lines—the main portion after scene 9 that follows the story of Pericles and Marina. Modern textual studies indicate that the first two acts of 835 lines detailing the many voyages of Pericles were written by a mediocre collaborator, which strong evidence suggests to have been the victualler, pander, dramatist and pamphleteer George Wilkins.

By: John Webster (1580-1634)

The White Devil by John Webster The White Devil

John Webster's The White Devil (1612) is a Jacobean revenge tragedy, replete with adultery, murder, ghosts, and violence. The Duke of Brachiano and Vittoria Corombona decide to kill their spouses, Isabella and Camillo, in order to be together, aided by the crafty and ambitious Flamineo, Vittoria's brother. Their actions prompt vows of revenge from Isabella's brother Francisco, the Duke of Florence, and Count Lodovico, who was secretly in love with her. The title refers to the early modern proverb that "the white devil is worse than the black," indicating the hypocrisy practiced by many of the characters in the play.

By: Sophocles (495-406 BC)

Book cover Philoctetes

Sophocles' play recounts an episode from the Trojan War, in which the wily Odysseus and Achilles' son Neoptolemus travel to a remote island to persuade Philoctetes to come with them to Troy. A prophet has foreseen that the Greeks will need Philoctetes and his bow (given to him by Heracles before his death) in order to defeat the Trojans. The problem is that years before Odysseus had engineered Philoctetes' abandonment on the island, due to a festering, stinking wound he had received from a snakebite. Will Philoctetes forgive and forget, or will he take his revenge?

By: Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker

Book cover The Roaring Girl

The Roaring Girl is a rip-roaring Jacobean comedy co-written by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker and first published in 1611. The play is a fictionalized dramatization of the life of Mary Frith, known as "Moll Cutpurse", a woman who had gained a reputation as a virago in the early 17th century. (The term "roaring girl" was adapted from the slang term "roaring boy", which was applied to a young man who caroused publicly, brawled, and committed petty crimes.) The play combines the exploits of the cross-dressed Moll with the amorous adventures of a trio of merchants' wives, and the forbidden romance between Sebastian Wengrave and Mary Fitzallard.

By: Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen Rosmersholm

Rosmersholm is a play written in 1886 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In the estimation of many critics the piece is Ibsen’s masterwork, only equalled by The Wild Duck of 1884. As expressed by the protagonist, Rosmer, the theme of the play is social and political change, in which the traditional ruling classes relinquish their right to impose their ideals on the rest of society, but the action is entirely personal, resting on the conduct of the immoral, or amoral, “free thinking” heroine, Rebecca, who sets herself to undermine Rosmer’s religious and political beliefs because of his influential position in the community...

By: Unknown

The Drama: A Quarterly Review by Unknown The Drama: A Quarterly Review

This is a collection of theatrical essays from the American quarterly The Drama, including six non-fiction works -- 3 profiles: Schnitzler, Andreyev, and O'Neill, and 3 articles: Characterization vs Situation, The Actor in England, & The Evolution of The Actor.

By: Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)

The Amazons: A Farcical Romance by Arthur Wing Pinero The Amazons: A Farcical Romance

This 1895 farce inspired by the outlandish idea of women wearing pants, centers around the predicament of the three daughters of the eccentric Marchioness of Castlejordan, who determined to have sons, raised them like boys. She encouraged them to dress and act like boys at home, yet dress like ladies when out. As the girls come of age, they are conflicted. They want to please mother by acting as her sons, but, suddenly smitten with three gentlemen, they are compelled to grow up and be ladies. When their suitors secretly come to woo, they aren’t sure what to do……and what will mother do if she finds out?

By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

The Strange Gentleman by Charles Dickens The Strange Gentleman

Before he became a novelist, Dickens wrote several successful plays. This one from 1836, his first, he called, "A Comic Burletta in Two Acts". Characters arrive at a village inn called "The St. James Arms" and much confusion ensues.

By: Various

One Act Play Collection 004 by Various One Act Play Collection 004

This collection of twelve one-act dramas features plays by James Allen, John Kendrick Bangs, Gordon Bottomley, Charles Dickens, Lord Dunsany, Susan Glaspell, George Bernard Shaw, August Strindberg, Marion Craig Wentworth, and William Butler Yeats. The plays were coordinated by Elizabeth Barr, Margaret Espaillat, Amanda Friday, Elizabeth Klett, Kristingj, David Lawrence, Algy Pug, Todd, and Chuck Williamson.

By: Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866)

Book cover Headlong Hall

Headlong Hall is the first novel by Thomas Love Peacock, published in 1815 (dated 1816). As in his later novel Crotchet Castle, Peacock assembles a group of eccentrics, each with a single monomaniacal obsession, and derives humor and social satire from their various interactions and conversations. The setting is the country estate of Squire Harry Headlong Ap-Rhaiader, Esq. in Wales.

By: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Book cover Shakespearean Dialogues Collection

This is a collection of scenes from Shakespeare's plays, mainly comprising dialogues between two characters. The theme for this collection is "Wooing, Wedding, and Repenting" (inspired by a line from Much Ado About Nothing).

By: Moliere (1622-1673)

Book cover The Imaginary Invalid

The Imaginary Invalid is a three-act comédie-ballet by the French playwright Molière. It was first performed in 1673 and was the last work he wrote. The plot centers around Argan, the 'imaginary invalid' who is completely dependent on his doctors and wants to marry his daughter to a doctor against her will, so that he will always have medical care freely available to him. In an ironic twist of fate, Molière collapsed during his fourth performance as Argan on 17 February and died soon after.

By: Thomas Middleton (1580-1627)

Book cover Women Beware Women

Thomas Middleton's masterful 17th century tragedy is packed with adultery, incest, intrigue, revenge, and inventive methods for murder. Leantio elopes with Bianca against her family's wishes and tries to hide her in the house he shares with his widowed mother. Yet the Duke sees Bianca at the window and is powerfully attracted to her, threatening Leantio's security. Livia, a wealthy widow, delights in intrigue, aiding the Duke to satisfy his desires with Bianca, and bringing together her brother Hippolito with her niece Isabella, despite their familial relationship...

By: August Strindberg (1849-1912)

The Ghost Sonata by August Strindberg The Ghost Sonata

The Ghost Sonata (Spoksonaten) is a play in three acts by Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Written in 1907, it was first produced at Strindberg's Intimate Theatre in Stockholm on 21 January 1908... The Ghost Sonata is a key text in the development of modernist drama and a vivid example of a chamber play. In it, Strindberg creates a world in which ghosts walk in bright daylight, a beautiful woman is transformed into a mummy and lives in the closet, and the household cook sucks all the nourishment out of the food before she serves it to her masters...

By: Frank Wedekind

Book cover The Awakening of Spring

The Awakening of Spring is the German dramatist Frank Wedekind's first major play and a seminal work in the modern history of theatre. It is the source material for the contemporary rock musical Spring Awakening. The play criticises the sexually-oppressive culture of fin de siècle Germany and offers a vivid dramatisation of the erotic fantasies that it breeds. Due to the nature of its content, the play has often been banned.

By: Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE - c. 456 BCE)

Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus Seven Against Thebes

In this, the only extant tragedy from Aeschylus' trilogy about the House of Oedipus, Thebes is under siege from Polynices, a former prince of Thebes. After King Oedipus left his city and cursed the princes, Polynices and his brother, Eteocles, decided to rule alternately, switching at the end of every year. However, at the end of his year as king, Eteocles refused to turn power over to his brother and exiled him, fulfilling his father's curse that the two brothers could not rule peacefully. In the action of the play, Polynices and a group of Argive soldiers are attacking Thebes so that he can take his place as ruler...

By: Myrtle Reed (1874-1911)

A Spinner in the Sun (dramatic reading) by Myrtle Reed A Spinner in the Sun (dramatic reading)

Myrtle Reed may always be depended upon to write a story in which poetry, charm, tenderness and humor are combined into a clever and entertaining book. Her characters are delightful and she always displays a quaint humor of expression and a quiet feeling of pathos which give a touch of active realism to all her writings. In "A Spinner in the Sun" she tells an old-fashioned love story, of a veiled lady who lives in solitude and whose features her neighbors have never seen. There is a mystery at the heart of the book that throws over it the glamour of romance.

By: Euripides (480 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Hippolytus

Eurpides' tragedy tells of Theseus' chaste son Hippolytus, who refuses to worship Aphrodite in favor of Artemis. Aphrodite gets revenge by causing Hippolytus' stepmother Phaedra to fall in love with him, unleashing a chain of tragic events.

By: Henry Fielding

The Old Debauchees by Henry Fielding The Old Debauchees

Young Laroon plans to marry Isabel, but Father Martin manipulates Isabel's father, Jourdain, in order to seduce Isabel. However, other characters, including both of the Laroons, try to manipulate Jourdain for their own ends; they accomplish it through disguising themselves as priests and using his guilt to convince him of what they say. As Father Martin pursues Isabel, she is clever enough to realize what is happening and plans her own trap. After catching him and exposing his lust, Father Martin is set to be punished.

By: Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)

Book cover Orestes

In accordance with the advice of the god Apollo, Orestes has killed his mother Clytemnestra to avenge the death of his father Agamemnon at her hands. Despite Apollo’s earlier prophecy, Orestes finds himself tormented by Erinyes or Furies to the blood guilt stemming from his matricide. The only person capable of calming Orestes down from his madness is his sister Electra. To complicate matters further, a leading political faction of Argos wants to put Orestes to death for the murder. Orestes’ only hope to save his life lies in his uncle Menelaus, who has returned with Helen after spending ten years in Troy and several more years amassing wealth in Egypt...

By: Susan Glaspell (1876-1948)

Inheritors by Susan Glaspell Inheritors

Inheritors, (1921) by American dramatist Susan Glaspell concerns the legacy of an idealistic farmer who wills his highly coveted midwest farmland to the establishment of a college (Act I.) Forty years later, when his granddaughter stands up for the rights of Hindu nationals to protest at the college her grandfather founded, she jeopardizes funding for the college itself and sets herself against her own uncle, president of the institution's trustees (Acts II & III.) Ultimately, she defies her family's wishes, and as a consequence is bound for prison herself (Act IV...

By: Stanley Houghton (1881-1913)

Book cover Hindle Wakes (with accompanying essay)

Alan Jeffcote, son of Nat Hawthorn, Hindle's richest factory owner, meets Fanny Hawthorn, daughter of Nat's 'slasher' and oldest friend, in Blackpool and the two go off for what they believe to be secret fling in Llandudno. But after the death of Fanny's friend, Mary, in a pleasure boat accident at Blackpool the secret is revealed and the the two families are thrown into disarray. The leading light of the so-called Manchester School of realist dramatists, Stanley Houghton wrote Hindle Wakes in 1911 and it was a hit both in Mrs...

By: John Fletcher (1579-1625)

Book cover The Woman's Prize, or The Tamer Tamed

John Fletcher's comedy (probably written and performed around 1611) is a sequel to Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, in which, as the title suggests, the tamer will be tamed. Petruchio, the shrew-tamer, has been widowed, and marries a second wife, Maria, a "chaste witty lady." At the instigation of her cousin Bianca, and with the fellowship of her sister Livia, Maria decides to go on strike for equal rights, refusing to behave as a proper 17th century wife. Fletcher's play addresses the issue of men and women's roles within marriage, a controversial issue for his day.


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