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By: Aristophanes (446-389 BCE)

Book cover Clouds

Strepsiades is an Athenian burdened with debt from a bad marriage and a spendthrift son. He resolves to go to the Thinking Shop, where he can purchase lessons from the famous Socrates in ways to manipulate language in order to outwit his creditors in court. Socrates, represented as a cunning, manipulative, irreverent sophist, has little success with the dull-witted Strepsiades, but is able to teach the old man's son Phidippides a few tricks. In the end, the play is a cynical, clever commentary on Old Ways vs. New Ways, to the disparagement of the former.

By: Charlotte M Brame (1836-1884)

Book cover Shadow of a Sin

A story of a young woman in love and the sacrifices she makes in order to save a man's life when he is accused of murder. Has she gone too far and risked too much? Will she ever find happiness again, or is she destined to live a life of secrecy?

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: John Bunyan (1628-1688)

Book cover Pilgrim's Progress (version 3)

Probably the most famous allegory ever written of the Christian life, The Pilgrim's Progress follows the journey of Christian from his first encounter with the Evangelist, through his trials and doubts and as he meets various people who help and hinder him in his journey towards the Celestial City to meet his King. Part 2 follows the journey of Christian's wife and sons as they follow him along the same path past the Slough of Despond, the Castle Despair and Vanity Fair. This version was edited in 1909 by the Rev...

By: John Ford (1586-1639)

Book cover 'Tis Pity She's a Whore

One of the most shocking plays produced in England during the reign of Charles I, 'Tis Pity She's A Whore chronicles the disastrous results of an incestuous affair between fatalistic Italian siblings, Giovanni and Annabella. As suitors vie for Annabella's hand, various webs of deception and revenge intertwine, culminating in a bloody finale. CAST LISTBonaventura, a Friar/ Bergetto, Nephew to Donado: alanmapstoneA Cardinal, Nuncio to the Pope AND Banditti: Algy PugSoranzo, a Nobleman: tovarischFlorio,...

By: Maria Thompson Daviess (1872-1924)

Book cover Heart's Kingdom

Nickols Powers is in love with the beautiful Charlotte and desperate to marry her. Charlotte however, is independent and reluctant to accept his religious views as a good wife should. However, she may still be convinced by the charismatic preacher building a new church in her own backyard.

By: Mary Ella Lyng

Book cover History Plays for the Grammar Grades

A charming collection of 14 short American history plays for the very young - ranging from Christopher Columbus to George Washington to Susan B Anthony.

By: Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899)

Book cover Selected Interviews with Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume 1

A controversial lecturer, brilliant lawyer, and arguably the most famous orator of the mid to late 1800's, Ingersoll railed against the absurdities of the Bible and cruelties of Christianity, particularly the horrific notion of "eternal damnation". He tirelessly supported the arts, education, science, women’s rights, abolition, home, family, children, and human liberty. As a leader of the Freethought movement, his creed was: “Happiness is the only good, Reason the only torch, Justice the only worship, Humanity the only religion, and Love the only priest...

By: Various

Book cover Dramatic Reading Scene and Story Collection, Volume 001

readers present a collection of their favorite chapters and short stories, with the original author’s words all brought to life with different reader voices for each character in our popular Dramatic Reading style. This volume includes Anne's Confession from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Coming Home from Mates of Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce [not PD in Australia or Europe], Scandal in Bohemia from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Tunnel Under the...

Book cover One-Act Play Collection 005

This collection of ten one-act dramas features plays by James M. Barrie, Hereward Carrington, Marjorie Benton Cooke, Alice Gerstenberg, Susan Glaspell and George Cram Cook, St. John Hankin, George Middleton, David Pinski, Frederik Pohl, and an unknown Japanese author. The plays were coordinated by Arielle Lipshaw, Availle, Chuck Williamson, Todd, Peter Yearsley, Caprisha Page, Charlotte Duckett, and Amanda Friday.

Book cover One-Act Play Collection 005

This collection of ten one-act dramas features plays by James M. Barrie, Hereward Carrington, Marjorie Benton Cooke, Alice Gerstenberg, Susan Glaspell and George Cram Cook, St. John Hankin, George Middleton, David Pinski, Frederik Pohl, and an unknown Japanese author. The plays were coordinated by Arielle Lipshaw, Availle, Chuck Williamson, Todd, Peter Yearsley, Caprisha Page, Charlotte Duckett, and Amanda Friday.

By: A. A. Milne (1882-1956)

Once on a Time by A. A. Milne Once on a Time

This version of the book is done as a Dramatic Reading with various people speaking each characters part.When the King of Barodia receives a pair of seven-league boots as a birthday present, his habit of flying over the King of Euralia's castle during breakfast provokes a series of incidents which escalate into war. While the King of Euralia is away, his daughter Hyacinth tries to rule in his stead and counter the machiavellian ambitions of the king's favourite, the Countess Belvane. Ostensibly a typical fairytale, it tells the story of the war between the kingdoms of Euralia and Barodia and the political shenanigans which take place in Euralia in the king's absence...

By: Aeschylus (525/524 BC - c. 455/456 BC)

The Oresteia by Aeschylus The Oresteia

The Oresteia is a trilogy by Aeschylus, one of the foremost playwrights of ancient Greece. It encompasses three plays: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Furies. It tells the tragic tale of the House of Atreus, whose inhabitants have been cursed and are doomed to play out their bloody, vengeful destinies. At the beginning of the first part, the Trojan War has ended and the Greek general, Agamemnon, is returning victorious to his wife Clytemnestra. Yet she finds it difficult to forgive his sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigenia, who was killed to ensure the Greek fleet fair winds in their voyage to Troy...

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: Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

Book cover Rada; A Belgian Christmas Eve

This is not heart warming holiday fare. It is a short (one-act) unsubtle antiwar play by the English poet Alfred Noyes (1880-1958), published in 1915 while World War I is in progress. Part of the work is in verse. Music sung by Duane Steadman.

By: Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919)

Book cover Maid of Maiden Lane

The Maid of Maiden lane is a wonderful love story in which Mrs. Barr intertwines the hot political and social issues that were occurring in America during the last decade of the 18th century with an excellent love story plot. Some of those issues include: the moral dilemma and debate over the French Revolution, and how that event touched the lives of the immigrants in America; the prejudices between the immigrants from England, and those from France or Holland, and how those animosities affected the ordinary lives of the people; and the political debate over titles, foreign policy, and such things(for example)as where the capital of the nation was to reside, New York or Philadelphia...

By: Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

An epistolary novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall follows the courageous journey of the protagonist, Helen Graham, as she struggles to escape her socially imposed role as dutiful wife, while also acting on her moral responsibilities as a mother and self-respect as a woman. Published in 1848, under the pseudonym Acton Bell, the novel provoked much criticism at the time of its release due to its shocking content and atypical portrayal of an English wife, who not only defies the strict conventions of society, but also consciously violates the law that legally represses the rights of women...

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë Agnes Grey

Agnes Grey is the daughter of a minister, whose family comes to financial ruin. Desperate to earn money to care for herself, she takes one of the few jobs allowed to respectable women in the early Victorian era, as a governess to the children of the wealthy. In working with two different families, the Bloomfields and the Murrays, she comes to learn about the troubles that face a young woman who must try to rein in unruly, spoiled children for a living, and about the ability of wealth and status to destroy social values. After her father's death, Agnes opens a small school with her mother and finds happiness with a man who loves her for herself.

By: Anthony Munday (1560? -1633)

Book cover Sir Thomas More

Sir Thomas More is a collaborative Elizabethan play by Anthony Munday and others depicting the life and death of Thomas More. It survives only in a single manuscript, now owned by the British Library. The manuscript is notable because three pages of it are considered to be in the hand of William Shakespeare and for the light it sheds on the collaborative nature of Elizabethan drama and the theatrical censorship of the era. The play dramatizes events in More's life, both real and legendary, in an episodic manner in 17 scenes, unified only by the rise and fall of More's fortunes.

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

The Proposal by Anton Chekhov The Proposal

The Proposal is a one act comic farce by Anton Chekhov. In Chekhov’s Russia, marriage was a means of economic stability for most people. They married to gain wealth and possessions. In this play, the concept of marriage is being satirized to show the real purpose of marriage – materialistic gain rather than true love.

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov The Seagull

The Seagull (Russian: Чайка, Chayka) is the first of what are generally considered to be the four major plays by the Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov. The play was written in 1895 and first produced in 1896. It dramatises the romantic and artistic conflicts between four characters: the ingenue Nina, the fading leading lady Irina Arkadina, her son the experimental playwright Konstantin Treplyov, and the famous middlebrow story writer Trigorin.

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard is Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's last play. It premiered at the Moscow Art Theatre 17 January 1904 in a production directed by Constantin Stanislavski. Chekhov intended this play as a comedy and it does contain some elements of farce; however, Stanislavski insisted on directing the play as a tragedy. Since this initial production, directors have had to contend with the dual nature of this play. The play concerns an aristocratic Russian woman and her family as they return to the family's estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage...

Book cover Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya (subtitled “Scenes From Country Life”) is a tragicomedy by Anton Chekhov. It is set on the failing country estate of a retired professor, Serebrakoff, who returns after a long absence with his beautiful young wife, and throws the household into confusion. Rivalry, unrequited love, illicit romance, and attempted suicide are the result, punctuated throughout by Chekhov’s sad, wistful humor.

The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov The Three Sisters

Three Sisters is a naturalistic play about the decay of the privileged class in Russia and the search for meaning in the modern world. It describes the lives and aspirations of the Prozorov family, the three sisters (Olga, Masha, and Irina) and their brother Andrei. They are a family dissatisfied and frustrated with their present existence. The sisters are refined and cultured young women who grew up in urban Moscow; however for the past eleven years they have been living in a small provincial town...

Swan Song by Anton Chekhov Swan Song

In 'The Swan Song' an aging actor reminisces about his life and the parts he's played. The piece takes a tragic look at ambition and the sacrifices that must be made in order to succeed. Chekhov’s ability to capture and explore human nature and experience is showcased here.

Book cover Ivanov

Nicolai (anglicised Nicholas in this translation) Ivanov, a middle-aged public servant, is unhappy. His wife Anna, disinherited by her family after converting from Judaism, is dying of tuberculosis. He is deeply in debt. And his best friend’s daughter is infatuated with him. Comedy and tragedy ensue in truly Chekhovian fashion. An example of the young Chekhov’s maturing style, Ivanov is an early harbinger of themes that would recur throughout his work.

Book cover Ivanov

Nicolai (anglicised Nicholas in this translation) Ivanov, a middle-aged public servant, is unhappy. His wife Anna, disinherited by her family after converting from Judaism, is dying of tuberculosis. He is deeply in debt. And his best friend’s daughter is infatuated with him. Comedy and tragedy ensue in truly Chekhovian fashion. An example of the young Chekhov’s maturing style, Ivanov is an early harbinger of themes that would recur throughout his work.

By: Aristophanes (446BC - 385BC)

Lysistrata by Aristophanes Lysistrata

Lysistrata read by the Classics Drama Company at DePaul. The Classics Drama Company at DePaul is a new gathering of Thespians and Classicists dedicated to performing and understanding ancient literature. If you live in Chicago and attend DePaul University, we welcome new additions to our group. Contact Dr. Kirk Shellko (kshellko@depaul.edu), if interested.First performed in classical Athens c. 411 B.C.E., Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is the original battle of the sexes. One woman, Lysistrata, brings together the women of all Greece, exhorting them to withhold sexual contact from all men in order that they negotiate a treaty...

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: August Strindberg (1849-1912)

Countess Julie by August Strindberg Countess Julie

August Strindberg’s naturalistic one-act drama has only three characters: Julie, a passionate young noblewoman; Jean, her father’s ambitious valet; and Kristin, the cook, who is also Jean’s fiancee. The play is set on Midsummer Eve, when everyone is reveling, and Julie and Jean get a bit too intimate – with tragic results.

Book cover Creditors

Creditors is an 1889 tragicomedy by August Strindberg that plumbs the depths of the twisted triangular relationship between Tekla, her husband Adolph, and her ex-husband Gustav.

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...

Book cover There are Crimes and Crimes
Book cover Dream Play

A Dream Play (Swedish: Ett drömspel) was written in 1901 by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. It was first performed in Stockholm on 17 April 1907. It remains one of Strindberg's most admired and influential dramas, seen as an important precursor to both dramatic Expressionism and Surrealism. The primary character in the play is Agnes, a daughter of the Vedic god Indra. She descends to Earth to bear witness to problems of human beings. She meets about 40 characters, some of them having a clearly symbolical value (such as four deans representing theology, philosophy, medicine, and law)...

By: August von Kotzebue (1761-1819)

Lover's Vows by August von Kotzebue Lover's Vows

Lovers' Vows (1798), a play by Elizabeth Inchbald arguably best known now for having been featured in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park (1814), is one of at least four adaptations of August von Kotzebue's Das Kind der Liebe (1780; literally "Child of Love," or "Natural Son," as it is often translated), all of which were published between 1798 and 1800. Inchbald's version is the only one to have been performed. Dealing as it does with sex outside marriage and illegitimate birth, Inchbald in the Preface to the published version declares herself to have been highly sensitive to the task of adapting the original German text for "an English audience...

By: Baroness Orczy (1865-1947)

Book cover Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel (Dramatic Reading)

The last of the famous "Scarlet Pimpernel" books, the "Triumph" tells the story of the final confrontation between the Scarlet Pimpernel and his nemesis, Chauvelin. Set at the end of the Reign of Terror, the fortunes of all rise and fall along with the French Revolutionary government.

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: Carey Rockwell

Book cover Danger in Deep Space (Dramatic Reading)

The year is 2353. Tom Corbett is a cadet with the Space Academy, training to become a member of the elite Solar Guard. Sent on a top-secret mission across the stars, Tom and his fellow crew members discover the nature of true loyalty, as they battle against danger in deep space.

By: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol

“A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, biting, clutching, covetous old sinner” is hardly hero material, but this is exactly what makes A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens such an unforgettable book and its hero, Ebenezer Scrooge such an extraordinarily enduring character. In the book's celebrated opening scene, on the night before Christmas the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge sits in his freezing cold counting house, oblivious to the discomfort of his shivering young assistant Bob Cratchit. Scrooge is unremittingly rude to relatives and visitors alike who drop in to convey their Christmas greetings or ask for a contribution to charity...

Hard Times by Charles Dickens Hard Times

The shortest novel by far of Charles Dickens', Hard Times is also one of his most idea based works. In it, he launches a scathing attack on the prevailing fashion of believing in Utilitarianism, a philosophy that proposed the goal of society should be “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” Dickens felt that such a philosophy saw people as mere statistics and not as individuals. The novel was published in serial form in his magazine Household Words. It is also the only novel where London is not featured...

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: Charles Goddard (1879-1951)

Book cover The Perils of Pauline

The Perils of Pauline is one of the first damsel in distress serials. The story is complete with undaunted hero, courageous damsel, unscrupulous villains galore, and other worldly interest. Before getting married, Pauline wants to experience the world and have adventures. When her guardian dies and leaves her an estate in trust of his secretary, adventures suddenly become more hazardous. Pauline charters aeroplanes, meets untrustworthy pirates, braves dangerous China Town, flies in a hot air balloon, adventures in the Wild West, encounters international spies, and escapes many other perils with the aid of her would-be fiancé, Harry, and an Egyptian mummy.

By: Charles Goddard and Paul Dicky

Book cover The Ghost Breaker

The Ghost Breaker is a drama and haunted house horror complete with heroes, villains, and a Princess. The Ghost Breaker was originally a screenplay and would later be made a drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille.

By: Charles Lamb

Book cover Mr. H

Mr H is a farce that was first performed at Drury Lane in 1806. The plot is slender and revolves around a single rather feeble joke, but the characters are skilfully drawn and the sharp observations of contemporary fashion do much to divert the listener from the weakness of the central theme. More a comedy of manners rather than a true farce, this short play is best enjoyed as a gentle romp through the eccentricities of the Regency period.

By: Charles Monroe Sheldon (1857-1946)

Book cover In His Steps

In His Steps takes place in the railroad town of Raymond. The main character is the Rev. Henry Maxwell, pastor of the First Church of Raymond, who challenges his congregation to not do anything for a whole year without first asking: “What Would Jesus Do?” (taken from Wikipedia)

By: Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)

Villette by Charlotte Brontë Villette

Villette was Charlotte Bronte's last published novel. It came out in 1853, just two years before her death in 1855. It is a poignant, strangely lonely and sad work, steeped in conflict between society's demands and personal desires. Set in the fictional town of Villette in France, it is the story of the young and intelligent Lucy Snowe, the narrator in the book. She is described by another character in the book as having “no beauty...no attractive accomplishments...” and strangely seems to lack a personal history or living relatives...

By: Charlotte Lennox (1730-1804)

Book cover Henrietta Volume 1 (dramatic reading)

Henrietta is a strong willed young lady who will not give in to her aunt and marry the suitors she proposes. She runs away and adventure ensues. However she meets one young man who she is quite taken with but he does not share all about himself and Henrietta finds herself in some tricky situations.

By: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, normally known simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play.

The Jew of Malta by Christopher Marlowe The Jew of Malta

Christopher “Kit” Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564 – 30 May 1593) was an English dramatist, poet, and translator of the Elizabethan era. The foremost Elizabethan tragedian before William Shakespeare, he is known for his magnificent blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own untimely death. The Jew of Malta (1589) is an original story of religious conflict, intrigue, and revenge, set against a backdrop of the struggle for supremacy between Spain and the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean...

Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlowe Tamburlaine the Great

Tamburlaine the Great is the name of a play in two parts by Christopher Marlowe. It is loosely based on the life of the Central Asian emperor, Timur 'the lame'. Written in 1587 or 1588, the play is a milestone in Elizabethan public drama; it marks a turning away from the clumsy language and loose plotting of the earlier Tudor dramatists, and a new interest in fresh and vivid language, memorable action, and intellectual complexity. Along with Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, it may be considered the first popular success of London's public stage...

Book cover Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1616 version)

The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play. "No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare canon has raised more controversy than Doctor Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the nature of the text and the date of composition...

Book cover Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1616 version)

The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play. "No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare canon has raised more controversy than Doctor Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the nature of the text and the date of composition...

By: Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Book cover Divine Comedy (version 2 Dramatic Reading)

The Divine Comedy (in Italian, Divina Commedia, or just La commedia or Comedia) is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri in the first decades of the 14th Century, during his exile from his native Florence. Considered the most important work of Italian literature, the poem has also has enormous historical influence on western literature and culture more generally. Dante represents the three realms of the afterlife in his three canticles (Inferno--Hell; Purgatorio--Purgatory; Paradiso--Paradise) in a way that reflects and, at the same time, goes beyond Christian tradition of the 14th Century...

By: David Belasco (1853-1931)

Book cover Return of Peter Grimm

By: Edward Sheldon (1886-1946)

Book cover Boss

The Boss centers on the relationship between Michael Regan, an Irish-American businessman, and Emily Griswold, an outspoken American girl bent on saving her father's business. Set during a time when unions fought for wages and bosses fought for more stake in their company, the play's relevance strikes at the heart of economic issues and hardships in modern day America.

By: Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

A Drama of Exile by Elizabeth Barrett Browning A Drama of Exile

In writing her ‘Drama of Exile’, Barrett’s subject was ‘the new and strange experience of the fallen humanity, as it went forth from Paradise into the wilderness’. The bizarre, lyrical scenes that follow powerfully describe the grief and guilt of Eve, the sorrowful pride of Lucifer, and the redeeming power of love.

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: Eugene O'Neill

Anna Christie by Eugene O'Neill Anna Christie

Eugene O'Neill's drama Anna Christie was first produced on Broadway in 1921 and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1922. It focuses on three main characters: Chris Christopherson, a Swedish captain of a coal barge and longtime seaman, his daughter Anna, who has grown up separated from her father on a Minnesota farm, and Mat Burke, an Irish stoker who works on steamships. At the beginning of the play Chris and Anna are reunited after fifteen years apart. Anna comes to live on her father's coal barge, but hides the secret of her past from him. When she meets Mat after an accident in the fog, they almost immediately fall in love - but Anna finds that forging a new future will not be easy.

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: Euripides (480-406 BC)

The Bacchae by Euripides The Bacchae

This tragedy is based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agave, and their punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus' cousin) for refusing to worship him.

The Trojan Women by Euripides The Trojan Women

Euripides' play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves. However, it begins first with the gods Athena and Poseidon discussing ways to punish the Greek armies because they condoned Ajax the Lesser for dragging Cassandra away from Athena's temple. What follows shows how much the Trojan women have suffered as their grief is compounded when the Greeks dole out additional deaths and divide their shares of women.

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.

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: F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A life lived backwards, with events happening in reverse order forms the strange and unexpected framework of one of F Scott Fitzgerald's rare short stories. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was published in Collier's in 1927 and the idea came to Fitzgerald apparently from a quote of Mark Twain's in which he regretted that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst at the end. Fitzgerald's concept of using this notion and turning the normal sequence of life on its head resulted in this delightful, thought provoking fantasy tale...

Porcelain and Pink by F. Scott Fitzgerald Porcelain and Pink

“Porcelain and Pink” is a comic one-act play from the 1922 short story collection Tales of the Jazz Age. The plot involves a young woman in a bathtub and a case of mistaken identity. Characters:Julie – Holly BlissLois – Jc GuanThe Young Man – mbNarration and audio editing – Laurie Anne Walden

By: Florence Holbrook (1860-1932)

Book cover Dramatic Reader for Lower Grades

Despite the title's bland sounding name, this book is a charming collection of 16 plays for children. These little plays—well-known stories done into dialogue—were written for children who like to imagine themselves living with their favorite characters in forest, in palace, or in fairyland. Included are Cinderella, Robin Hood, William Tell, Hansel and Gretel and many more.

By: Frances Browne (1816-1879)

Granny's Wonderful Chair by Frances Browne Granny's Wonderful Chair

Her most famous work, Granny's Wonderful Chair, was published in 1856 and it is still in print to this day. It is a richly imaginative book of fairy stories and has been translated into many languages. This work, read as a child by Frances Hodgson Burnett, inspired the writings of Little Saint Elizabeth and Other Stories

By: Francis Beaumont (1584-1616)

The Maid's Tragedy by Francis Beaumont The Maid's Tragedy

Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy (first published 1619) is a sensational Jacobean sex tragedy. When gentleman soldier Melantius returns to Rhodes, he finds his dear friend Amintor is recently married - but not to his troth-plight love Aspatia (the maid of the title). Instead, the King has arranged a match between Amintor and Melantius' sister, the beautiful Evadne. On his wedding night, Amintor finds that his new wife has married him under false pretenses - and this unleashes a torrent of dire consequences, sexual, emotional, and ultimately political.

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: Frederick Arnold Kummer (1873-1943)

Book cover Film of Fear

(Written under the pseudonym, Arnold Fredericks.) Ruth Morton is a world-renowned film actress who seems to have it all: youth, beauty, wealth, and a viable career. But she soon becomes the target of a malicious stalker who begins sending her a series of cryptic threats. Dismissed at first, the stalker soon emerges as a legitimate -- and mysterious -- threat. She soon must call for the services of Richard and Grace Duvall, a husband and wife detective team who soon find themselves ensnared in a mystery where everyone soon becomes a target.

By: Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)

Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller Mary Stuart

Schiller's tragedy depicts the final days of Mary, Queen of Scots, who has been imprisoned by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, because of her potential claim on the English throne. The action of the play revolves around an attempt to rescue Mary from prison and Elizabeth's indecision over whether or not to have her executed. The 1801 translation is by Joseph Mellish, a friend of Schiller's.

Book cover Love and Intrigue

Ferdinand is an army major and son of President von Walter, a high-ranking noble in a German duke's court, while Luise Miller is the daughter of a middle-class musician. The couple fall in love with each other, but both their fathers tell them to end their affair. The President instead wants to expand his own influence by marrying Ferdinand to Lady Milford, the duke's mistress, but Ferdinand rebels against his father's plan and tries to persuade Luise to elope with him.

Book cover Love and Intrigue

Ferdinand is an army major and son of President von Walter, a high-ranking noble in a German duke's court, while Luise Miller is the daughter of a middle-class musician. The couple fall in love with each other, but both their fathers tell them to end their affair. The President instead wants to expand his own influence by marrying Ferdinand to Lady Milford, the duke's mistress, but Ferdinand rebels against his father's plan and tries to persuade Luise to elope with him.

Book cover Camp of Wallenstein

This is the first play of Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein Trilogy. Set in a Bohemian camp during the Thirty Years War, it introduces the major characters of the rest of the trilogy, like Albrecht von Wallenstein and Max Piccolomini, from their subordinates' point of view.

By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw Pygmalion

If you've watched and loved the delightful musical My Fair Lady, then you'd love to read the wonderful play on which it is based. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is equally engrossing and as full of charm, wit and underlying pathos. First performed on stage in 1912, Pygmalion takes its title from the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. In the ancient story, a brilliant sculptor, Pygmalion falls in love with one of his own creations, a ravishingly beautiful sculpture whom he names Galatea. He propitiates Aphrodite, who grants his wish that his statue would come to life and that he could marry her...

Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw Arms and the Man

Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw that takes place in 1885, during the Serbo-Bulgarian War. Raina Petkoff is engaged to the gallant Sergius Saranoff, hero of the recent Bulgarian victory over the Serbs. But she is distracted by the abrupt arrival of Captain Bluntschli, a Swiss mercenary who fought for the Serbian army. He takes refuge in her bedroom after the battle and although he is initially threatening, reveals that he carries chocolates instead of bullets. Will Raina marry the posturing Sergius or the chocolate cream soldier? Extra intrigue is provided by saucy servant girl Louka, her dour fiance Nicola, and Raina's hand-wringing parents.

The Admirable Bashville by George Bernard Shaw The Admirable Bashville

The Admirable Bashville is a product of the British law of copyright. As that law stands at present, the first person who patches up a stage version of a novel, however worthless and absurd that version may be, and has it read by himself and a few confederates to another confederate who has paid for admission in a hall licensed for theatrical performances, secures the stage rights of that novel, even as against the author himself; and the author must buy him out before he can touch his own work for the purposes of the stage...

Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw Mrs. Warren's Profession

The story centers on the relationship between Mrs Kitty Warren, a rich woman, described by the author as "on the whole, a genial and fairly presentable old blackguard of a woman" and her daughter, Vivie. Mrs Warren is a middle-aged woman whose Cambridge-educated daughter, Vivie, is horrified to discover the morally questionable way her mother acquired her fortune.

Book cover The Doctor's Dilemma

The Doctor's Dilemma is about Dr. Colenso Ridgeon, who has recently been knighted because of a miraculous new treatment he developed for tuberculosis. As his friends arrive to congratulate him on his success, he is visited by two figures who present him with a difficult decision. He has room for one more patient in his clinic; should he give it to Louis Dubedat, a brilliant but absolutely immoral artist, or Dr. Blenkinsop, a poor and rather ordinary physician who is a truly good person? Dr. Ridgeon's dilemma is heightened when he falls for Jennifer Dubedat, the artist's wife, who is innocent of her husband's profligacy.

Candida by George Bernard Shaw Candida

Candida, a comedy by playwright George Bernard Shaw, was first published in 1898, as part of his Plays Pleasant. The central characters are clergyman James Morell, his wife Candida and a youthful poet, Eugene Marchbanks, who tries to win Candida's affections. The play questions Victorian notions of love and marriage, asking what a woman really desires from her husband. The cleric is a Fabian Socialist, allowing Shaw—himself a Fabian—to weave political issues, current at the time, into the story.

Book cover Major Barbara

George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara focuses on the family of aristocratic Lady Britomart Undershaft and her estranged husband Andrew, a millionaire armaments manufacturer. Their daughters Sarah and Barbara are both engaged to be married, and Lady Britomart decides to ask Andrew for monetary support. Barbara is a Major in the Salvation Army, and agrees to let her father visit the mission in the East End of London where she works. In exchange, she agrees to visit his munitions factory. The conflict between Barbara's philanthropic idealism and her father's hard-headed capitalism clash when he decides he wants to fund the Salvation Army...

Book cover Caesar and Cleopatra

By: George Gissing (1857-1903)

The Paying Guest by George Gissing The Paying Guest

Clarence and Emmeline Mumford are in for a real treat when they take in the young, outspoken Miss Louise Derrick as their guest. Shedding a light on class struggles in the Victorian era, The Paying Guest offers a look at just what "proper society" expects.

By: Gordon Bottomley (1874-1948)

Gruach by Gordon Bottomley Gruach

Gordon Bottomley's verse drama in two scenes is a prequel to Shakespeare's Macbeth. He provides Lady Macbeth with a name - Gruach - and imagines her family life and how she meets Macbeth.

By: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781)

Miss Sara Sampson by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing Miss Sara Sampson

G.E. Lessing, widely regarded by students of theater as the world's first dramaturg, was also one of the first proponents of the German bourgeois tragedy. Miss Sara Sampson, in which a young woman runs off with a ne'er-do-well who is still entangled with his former mistress, was a reaction against the Voltarian verse drama popular in the eighteenth century.

By: Harry Clifford Fulton

Book cover Jean Valjean; or, The Shadow of the Law

A late 19th-century stage adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables in English, The Shadow of the Law dramatizes the struggles of Hugo's legendary characters: Jean Valjean, the former convict; his relentless pursuer, Javert; Fantine, the tragic mother; her daughter Cosette; the greedy Thenardiers; the doomed revolutionaries.

By: Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen A Doll's House

Nineteenth century attitudes towards marriage, the role of women, morality and the search for identity are brilliantly explored in Henrik Ibsen's three act play, A Doll's House. It was highly controversial and received with a sense of outrage among opinion leaders in Europe. Many thinkers like August Strindberg lashed out at Ibsen for portraying the sacred institution of marriage in such a derogatory way. A Doll's House, written in the original Danish, was first performed at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen in 1879...

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen The Master Builder

Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, first published in 1892, is about architect Halvard Solness, who despite personal tragedy (including the death of his two sons) has risen to the top of his profession. He has succeeded partly through ruthless competition and exploitation and partly through a seeming ability to force his will on others. His unhappy wife Aline mourns for their lost life, and resents his interest in various young women, including his bookkeeper Kaia Fosli. Solness disregards the ambitions of other architects, including Knut Brovik and his son Ragnar, and seeks solace in the advice of family physician and friend Dr...

Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen Ghosts

Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts was first published in 1881 and staged in 1882, and like his earlier play A Doll's House, profoundly shocked his contemporaries. Dubbed "a dirty deed done in public" by one of its critics, the play focuses on (among other things) venereal disease, euthanasia, and incest. The original title literally means "the ones who return," and the play is about how we can deal with the awful legacy of the past.

The Lady From the Sea by Henrik Ibsen The Lady From the Sea

The title character in Ibsen's drama, Ellida Wangel, is married to a prosperous doctor, but feels stifled by her roles as wife and stepmother to her husband's two daughters by a previous marriage, Hilde and Bolette. Ten years earlier she had promised to marry another man - and on a sultry summer day, he comes back to her. Ellida must decide whether to choose the safety of her life with Wangel, or to yield to the siren song of the sea.

Little Eyolf by Henrik Ibsen Little Eyolf

Henrik Ibsen's 1894 play Little Eyolf tells the story of the Allmers family: the father, Alfred, his wife Rita, their crippled nine-year-old son Eyolf, and Alfred's sister Asta. As the play begins, Alfred has just gotten back from a trip to the mountains, and resolves to spend more time with his son, rather than on intellectual pursuits. Asta is romantically pursued by Borgheim, an engineer, while the cracks in Alfred and Rita's marriage gradually reveal themselves. The family receives a visit from the Rat-Wife, and are never the same again.

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...

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...

Book cover Pillars of Society

Pillars of Society was Ibsen's first successful realist drama, first performed in 1877. Karsten Bernick is the dominant businessman in a small coastal town in Norway, with interests in shipping and shipbuilding in a long-established family firm. Now he is planning his most ambitious project yet, backing a railway which will connect the town to the main line and open a fertile valley which he has been secretly buying up. Suddenly his past explodes on him with the arrival of Lona Hessel, the woman he once jilted, and Johan Tonnesen, who left town in disgrace fifteen years earlier.

Book cover John Gabriel Borkman

John Gabriel Borkman is the penultimate play of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, written in 1896. The Borkman family fortunes have been brought low by the imprisonment of John Gabriel who used his position as a bank manager to illegally speculate with his investors' money. The action of the play takes place eight years after Borkman's release when John Gabriel Borkman, Mrs. Borkman, and her twin sister Ella Rentheim battle over the future of young Erhart Borkman. Though John Gabriel Borkman...

Book cover Little Eyolf (Mencken Translation)

One of the four profound plays of Ibsen’s late period (along with “The Master Builder,” “John Gabriel Borkman,” and “When We Dead Awaken”), “Little Eyolf” tells the story of Albert Allmers, a writer who has yearned to leave behind a literary or philosophical legacy of some kind, but who finally decides to invest that yearning in the life of his little handicapped son, Eyolf. Rita Allmers loves her husband so obsessively that she hates any rival for his affection, whether it be Allmer’s literary magnum opus, Little Eyolf himself, or Albert’s strangely devoted sister Asta...

By: Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

Book cover An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, or simply Shamela, as it is more commonly known, is a satirical novel written by Henry Fielding and first published in April 1741 under the name of Mr. Conny Keyber. Fielding never owned to writing the work, but it is widely considered to be his. It is a direct attack on the then-popular novel Pamela (November 1740) by Fielding's contemporary and rival Samuel Richardson and is composed, like Pamela, in epistolary form. Shamela is written as a shocking revelation of the true events which took place in the life of Pamela Andrews, the main heroine of Pamela...

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: Henry James (1843-1916)

Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts by Henry James Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts

Daisy Miller is an 1878 novella by Henry James. It portrays the confused courtship of the eponymous American girl by Winterbourne, a compatriot of hers with much more sophistication. His pursuit of her is hampered by her own flirtatiousness, which is frowned upon by the other expatriates they meet in Switzerland and Italy. Her lack of understanding of the social mores of the society she so desperately wishes to enter ultimately leads to tragedy.

By: Hesba Stretton (1832-1911)

Book cover Jessica's First Prayer and Jessica's Mother

Jessica is a little girl who used to be an actress till she grew too big. Now she lives on the streets, mostly starving until she meets Mr. Dan'el. Mr. Dan'el gives Jessica his cast-off crusts and warmed-over coffee. Jessica follows Mr. Dan'el to a building where a bunch of people sing and then listen to a man tell them about someone named God. Jessica wants to know who God is so she sneaks into listen every Sunday, hoping she won't be found out.


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