The Great List

It's a list of Great Things!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Great Plays

Tastes lean towards the modern and postmodern, so be aware.

Great Plays

  • The Good Person of Szechwan: My favorite Brecht. The whole thing's superb, but it's the end that gets me. The irony cuts deep.
  • Gross Indecency: A great inquisition of history. Don't we all love Oscar Wilde? Yes. Yes, we do.
  • Hedda Gabler: For all of Ibsen's attacks on the quote-unquote "well-made play," Hedda's one of the well-est made ones. What a character.
  • Krapp's Last Tape: A shorty but a goodie. Very haunting. I especially like it because it capitalizes on the fact (well, fact in my book), that hearing someone's voice on tape is much more uncanny than watching someone on film.
  • Major Barbara: My favorite Shaw. Funny and political. (Now I'm suddenly thinking of the Wilde/Shaw sketch from Monty Python... YouTube it if you're curious.)
  • Waiting for Godot: Deadly funny and tragic, which is exactly what he was going for.
  • The Zoo Story: The first Albee, and I think my favorite. Maybe cause it's not as mean-spirited as his later stuff, and also less self-conscious. And funny, too!
Good Plays

  • Arcadia: Beautiful and complex. My only issue with it was that it was maybe too tight and well-crafted, if you know what I mean. Stoppard sometimes can seem a little too clever. I know, I know. I say that like it's a bad thing.
  • A Doll House: Gets better every time.
  • A Dream Play: Possibly the weirdest thing I've ever read.
  • American Buffalo or Glengarry Glen Ross: Oh, I can't pick. They both do the fast talk/cursing/explosive violence/social criticism Mamet thing to a T.
  • Antigone: Read it again if you haven't in awhile. The parallels to today are absurd. In on translation, Kreon almost comes out and says he's the Decider. Spooky.
  • The Cherry Orchard: Well, you gotta get Chekhov in somewhere, and it might as well be this one. The best part of Chekhov is that his love of people really comes through, I think.
  • Chushingura: Hooray, samurai! Being all loyal and shit...
  • Eurydice: Hey, a new one. So pretty and sad...
  • Homebody/Kabul: Layered, violent, primal. I feel bad that Afghanistan keeps getting used as a metaphor, though. Isn't that kind of, I don't know, unfair?
  • Fefu and Her Friends: Yay, a feminist play actually written by a female! Aren't we happy? And by feminist, I don't mean in the obvious ways you'd think. Also the staging, which could have come off as trying too hard, I find pretty cool and affecting.
  • Joe Turners Come and Gone: My favorite Wilson. Yeah, yeah. I know it's supposed to be Fences or The Piano Lesson or Ma Rainey. No. It's Joe Turners Come and Gone. So there.
  • Lysistrata: Hilarious. Think Family Guy does anti-war in Greece.
  • Oedipus Rex: All the folks from antiquity said it was the perfect play. Does that mean they're going to haunt me for only labeling it "good"?
  • The Oresteia: Blood and gore and Greeks and gods. Classic.
  • Pygmalion: You My Fair Lady fans don't know what you're missing.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: How Stoppard didn't get sued for copyright infringement by Shakespeare or Beckett is beyond me. But still hilarious and tragic, just like Beckett.
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: I only put this under "good" and not "great" because it's so damn exhausting. Which is, I guess, part of the point.


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