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By: Aristophanes (446-389 BCE)

Book cover Frogs

Athens is in a sorry state of affairs. The great tragedian, Euripides, is dead, and Dionysus, the god of the theater, has to listen to third-rate poetry. So, he determines to pack his belongings onto his trusty slave, Xanthias, and journey to the underworld to bring back Euripides! Hi-jinks ensue.

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: Molière (1622-1673)

Book cover Miser

The Miser is a comedy of manners about a rich moneylender named Harpagon. His feisty children long to escape from his penny-pinching household and marry their respective lovers. Although the 17th-century French upper classes presumably objected to the play's message, it is less savage and somewhat less realistic than Molière's earlier play, Tartuffe, which attracted a storm of criticism on its first performance.

By: Alfred Sutro (1863-1933)

Book cover Mollentrave on Women

Mollentrave has written a “Love Doctor” book for men entitled “Mollentrave on Women” which purports to give any man the “Midas Touch” with the fairer sex. But as King Midas could’ve told us, these things have a way of backfiring… - Summary by Son of the Exiles Cast list: Mr. Mollentrave: azureblue Sir Joseph Balsted, K.C., M.P.: Mike Manolakes Everard Swenboys: Ethan Hurst Lord Contareen: Adrian Stephens Mr. Dexter: ToddHW Mr. Noyes: Alan Mapstone Peters, Sir Joseph’s Butler: Cavaet Martin, Mollentrave’s Butler: David Purdy Lady Claude Derenham: JennPratt Margaret Messilent: Nichole James Miss Treable: Joanna Michal Hoyt Mrs...

By: Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Book cover The Princess

The Princess is a serio-comic blank verse narrative poem, written by Alfred Tennyson, published in 1847. The poem tells the story of an heroic princess who forswears the world of men and founds a women's university where men are forbidden to enter. The prince to whom she was betrothed in infancy enters the university with two friends, disguised as women students. They are discovered and flee, but eventually they fight a battle for the princess's hand.

By: Alice Gerstenberg (1885-1972)

Book cover Alice in Wonderland (Drama)

A dramatization of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass for the stage. In this version, Alice goes through the looking glass and encounters a variety of strange and wonderful creatures from favorite scenes of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland the Through the Looking Glass. Including a conversation with the Red and White Queens, encounters with Humpty Dumpty, the Mock Turtle, the Cheshire Cat, and the Caterpillar, and of course everyone's favorite Mad Tea Party.

By: Anonymous

Irish Wit and Humor by Anonymous Irish Wit and Humor

Excerpted anecdotes from the biographies of Swift, Curran, O'Leary and O'Connell, relating humorous snippets of politics in 18th and 19th century Ireland. For some these may be poignant in addition to being humorous and for others they may be humorous in addition to being poignant. (

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

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 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: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett The Grand Babylon Hotel

Theodore Racksole, a rich American multi-millionaire, buys the Grand Babylon Hotel, a luxurious hotel in London, as a whim – and then finds out there are strange things going on – a German prince is supposed to arrive but never turns up, someone is found murdered in the hotel, but then the body disappears. With the help of his independent daughter Nella and another German prince, Racksole sets out to solve the mystery.Bennett wrote this as a 15-part serial, for a lark, in 15 days, and sold it for 100 pounds. It first appeared in The Golden Penny in 1902, which described it as “the most original, amusing, and thrilling serial written in a decade”.

By: Arthur Shirley (1853-1925)

Book cover Three Hats A Farcical Comedy in Three Acts

By: Barry Pain (1864-1928)

Marge Askinforit by Barry Pain Marge Askinforit

A rollicking parody of the Margot Asquith memoirs, in which Pain’s character, Marge, beguiles us with the most personal details of her dysfunctional family, and delights in relating every cringing, if not wholly accurate, minutiae of her exciting private life.

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...

Book cover Volpone, or, The Fox

Volpone is a comedy by Ben Jonson first produced in 1606, drawing on elements of city comedy and beast fable. A merciless satire of greed and lust, it remains Jonson's most-performed play, and it is among the finest Jacobean Era comedies. Volpone is a Venetian gentleman who pretends to be on his deathbed, after a long illness, in order to dupe Voltore, Corbaccio, and Corvino, three men who aspire to inherit his fortune. In their turns, each man arrives to Volpone’s house bearing a luxurious gift, intent upon having his name inscribed to the will of Volpone, as his heir...

Book cover Every Man in His Humor
Book cover Epicoene: Or, the Silent Woman
Book cover The Poetaster
Book cover Every Man In His Humour

Knowell, an old man - rumor says Shakespeare originally played this part - tries to spy upon the doings of his potentially wayward son. Meanwhile, Kitely, a merchant, worries so much about being cuckolded by his wife that perhaps it has to happen. All this while a swarm of other interesting characters surround them. - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: KNOWELL, an old Gentleman: ToddHW EDWARD KNOWELL, his Son: Rob Marland BRAINWORM, the Father's Man: Zames Curran GEORGE DOWNRIGHT, a plain Squire: Algy...

By: Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920)

Book cover Heath's Modern Language Series: Mariucha

By: Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Book cover Androcles and the Lion
Book cover How He Lied to Her Husband
Book cover John Bull's Other Island
Book cover Augustus Does His Bit
Book cover Great Catherine
Book cover The Inca of Perusalem
Book cover Annajanska, the Bolshevik Empress
Book cover O'Flaherty V.C. : a recruiting pamphlet

By: Bill Nye

Comic History of the United States by Bill Nye Comic History of the United States

For American journalist and humorist Edgar Wilson Nye who wrote under the pen name Bill Nye in the late 19th century, facts are not to be presented in their newborn, bare state. They should be properly draped and embellished before they can be presented before the public. Hence, in the Comic History of the United States published in 1894, he gives his readers the facts. But in a bid to make the historical figures more human he describes them as “people who ate and possibly drank, people who were born, flourished and died, not grave tragedians posing perpetually for their photographs...

By: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910)

Book cover Three Comedies

By: Booth Tarkington (1869-1946)

Gentle Julia by Booth Tarkington Gentle Julia

Penrod for girls in the form of Florence, the bratty younger cousin of luminous Julia Atwater, enlivens this romantic comedy set in Tarkington's Indiana of the early 20th Century.

By: C. J. Dennis (1876-1938)

The Glugs of Gosh by C. J. Dennis The Glugs of Gosh

First published in 1917, The Glugs of Gosh satirizes Australian life at the start of the twentieth century – but the absurdities it catalogs seem just as prevalent at the start of the twenty-first. The foolishness of kings, the arrogance of the elite, the gullibility of crowds, the pride of the self-righteous, the unthinking following of tradition – all find themselves the targets of C. J. Dennis’ biting wit.

By: Cal Stewart (1856-1919)

Book cover Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories

A collection of comedic short stories from the perspective of an old country man.

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: Charlotte Endymion Porter (1859-1942)

Book cover Shakespeare Study Programs; The Comedies

By: Douglas William Jerrold (1803-1857)

Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures by Douglas William Jerrold Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures

First serialized in Punch magazine in 1845, and officially published in book form in 1846, Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures presents a collection of 37 lectures delivered by Mrs. Caudle to her husband as a means of reproach for his trivial infractions. Also, the author marvelously incorporates typical elements responsible for disagreements between spouses including the antipathetic mother-in-law, the ne’er-do-well friends, and the jealous outbursts. Jerrold’s charming piece of satire introduces the Victorian married couple, Mr...

By: Edna Ferber (1885-1968)

Roast Beef, Medium by Edna Ferber Roast Beef, Medium

This book follows the adventures of Emma McChesney, a smart and savvy divorced mother who travels the Midwest as a sales representative for a large skirt and petticoat manufacturer. Her many adventures with people, (including predatory salesmen and hotel clerks), are funny and poignant. She is hardworking and able to outsell the slickest of the men salesmen. She has learned to focus on her work and her seventeen-year-old son, Jock. Experience has taught her that it is usually best to stick to roast beef, medium and not get stomach ache with fancy sauces and exotic dishes...

By: Elizabeth von Arnim (1866-1941)

The Princess Priscilla's Fortnight by Elizabeth von Arnim The Princess Priscilla's Fortnight

The Princess Priscilla of Lothen Kunitz finds court life stifling and runs away to England with the elderly court librarian. Her intention is to live a pure and simple life filled with good works. But life among ordinary people in an English village is not what she expects it to be... (Introduction by Tabithat)

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...

Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Pretty but socially clueless Bernice lets her know-it-all cousin push her around, but eventually, something's gotta give! (Introduction by BellonaTimes)

By: Frank Sidgwick (1879-1939)

Book cover The Sources and Analogues of 'A Midsummer-night's Dream'

By: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Book cover Magic: A Fantastic Comedy

By: Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)

More Goops and How Not to Be Them by Gelett Burgess More Goops and How Not to Be Them

Deep in the heart of every parent is the wish, the desire, to have other adults tell us, in an unsolicited way, just how very polite one’s child is! This perhaps was even more the case in 1903, when Gelett Burgess produced his second book on the Goops. With entertaining cartoons – cariacatures of misbehaving children – he described many different breaches of tact and good manners. Burgess wrote several books of poetry on the Goops, each poem describing some significant way in which an unthoughtful or unkind child could offend polite society and often offering the hope that the listener would never behave that way...

By: George Ade (1866-1944)

Fables in Slang by George Ade Fables in Slang

While a columnist for The Chicago Record humorist George Ade penned numerous “fables” which were subsequently collected into books. Fables in Slang is the first of these collections. It contains 26 satirical stories that lampoon phrenologists, idealists, snobs, fanatics and other ignorant fools of the day, most of which still wander through our modern lives. Jean Shepherd considered Ade a predecessor who made writers like James Thurber, Mike Royko, and himself possible. Fables in Slang was first published in 1899 by Herbert S. Stone and Company.

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.

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 Heartbreak House

On the eve of World War I, Ellie Dunn, her father, and her fiancé are invited to one of Hesione Hushabye’s infamous dinner parties. Unfortunately, her fiancé is a scoundrel, her father’s a bumbling prig, and she’s actually in love with Hector, Hesione’s husband. This bold mix of farce and tragedy lampoons British society as it blithely sinks towards disaster.

By: George Colman (1762-1836)

Book cover John Bull Or, The Englishman's Fireside: A Comedy, in Five Acts

By: George Grossmith (1847-1912)

The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith The Diary of a Nobody

Grossmith’s comic novel unveils the daily chronicles of the pompous and clumsy middle-aged clerk Charles Pooter, who has just moved to the London suburb of Holloway with his wife Carrie. Nonetheless, the family’s fresh start is not quite what they had in mind. Set in the late Victorian era, the diary accurately documents the manners, customs, trends and experiences of the time. First appearing in Punch magazine through the years 1888-89, The Diary of a Nobody was first published in book form in 1892 and has entertained readers ever since...

By: George Kelly (1887-1974)

Book cover Torch-Bearers

"The cold, historical fact is that at about 9:15 o’clock on the evening of August 29th, 1922, five or six hundred average New Yorkers, two or three hundred friends of the management, and about fifty sophisticated first-nighters were in grave danger of rolling off their seats in hysteria because of The Torch-Bearers." How can you resist a play with a review like that? - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: Mr. Frederick Ritter: Adam Bielka Mr. Huxley Hossefrosse: larryhayes7 Mr. Spindler: KHand Mr. Ralph Twiller: Matthew Reece Teddy Spearing: DrewStarmer Mr...

By: George Meredith (1828-1909)

Book cover An Essay on comedy and the uses of the comic spirit
Book cover The Sentimentalists

By: Gideon Wurdz (b. 1875)

The Foolish Dictionary by Gideon Wurdz The Foolish Dictionary

“The Foolish Dictionary” was written by “Gideon Wurdz” and was published in 1904. According to the beginning of the book, it is “An exhausting work of reference to un-certain English words, their origin, meaning, legitimate and illegitimate use…” This a a short but amusing dictionary which “redefines” words in some interesting ways. Funny and sometimes bizarre observations are sprinkled throughout. In keeping with the policy to read, rather than attempt to rewrite, books – even those with offensive content – nothing has been omitted...

By: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781)

Book cover Minna Von Barnhelm

By: Hannah Cowley (1743-1809)

Book cover Belle's Stratagem

The Beaux Stratagem, already in the catalog , was written by George Farquhar in 1707. The Belle's Stratagem, "a Ladies' response" to the Beaux Stratagem play with strong female characters, was written by Hannah Cowley in 1780. - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: Doricourt: A D Latheron Hardy: Alan Mapstone Sir George Touchwood: ToddHW Flutter: Larry Wilson Saville: Mike Manolakes Villers: Marya James Courtall: Greg Giordano Silvertongue: Son of the Exiles Crowquill: qthemusic123 First Gentleman: Adrian Stephens Second Gentleman: Tomas Peter Mountebank: Sandra Schmit French Servant: Rémi Porter: Sonia Dick : David Purdy Letitia Hardy: Jenn Broda Mrs...

Book cover Bold Stroke for a Husband

"Plays, where the scene is placed in a foreign country, particularly when that country is Spain, have a license to present certain improbabilities to the audience, without incurring the danger of having them called such; and the authoress, by the skill with which she has used this dramatic permittance, ... has formed a most interesting plot, and embellished it with lively, humorous, and affecting incident.... Here is contained no oblique insinuation, detrimental to the cause of morality—but entertainment and instruction unite, to make a pleasant exhibition at a theatre, or give an hour's amusement in the closet...

By: Harry Leon Wilson (1867-1939)

Merton of the Movies by Harry Leon Wilson Merton of the Movies

Merton of the Movies is a comedy that centers around Merton Gill, an aspiring dramatic artist from Simsbury, Illinois who makes his way to Hollywood to become a serious actor. How could Merton fail in attaining his dreams after finishing a correspondence course from the General Film Production Company of Stebbinsville, Arkansas, certifying him to be a competent screen actor? Harry Leon Wilson, the author, was a very popular humor writer in the first decades of the 20th century. This book was made into film several times, the last in 1947 starring Red Skelton.


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