Reading List: Famous Plays

theater

While plays are ultimately meant to be acted out, you do have to read them first! The library has a broad collection of famous plays throughout history. Click on the links to see where each play is located in the library.

*Some of these play descriptions are provided by the publishers via the library website.

 

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

The embattled Wingfield family: Amanda, a faded southern belle, abandoned wife, dominating mother, who hopes to match her daughter with an eligible “gentleman caller;” Laura, a lame and painfully shy, she evades her mother’s schemes and reality by retreating to a world of make-believe; Tom’s sole support of the family, he eventually leaves home to become a writer but is forever haunted by the memory of Laura.

 

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

A troubled young prince of Denmark comes to terms with his father’s murder and his mother’s new husband.

 

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

A three-act play concerned with the tensions in a black middle-class family in Chicago

 

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

In this foundational classic play, Christopher Marlowe beautifully retells the legend of Doctor Faustus in a masterful combination of verse and prose.

 

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a middle-aged man’s emotional turmoil due to being past his prime and failing to reach success.

 

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Toys in the Attic by Lillian Hellman

A study of the moral effects of wealth. The setting of the play is New Orleans.

 

Fences by August Wilson

Follows an African American man’s goals, family, and struggles in the 1950s.

 

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard

“Hamlet” as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play.

 

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

The dark secrets of a married couple come to light as a murder is investigated.

 

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Ibsen’s seminal play, which changed modern drama, is a searing view of a male-dominated and authoritarian society, presented with a realism that elevates theatre to a level above mere entertainment. The reverberations of Nora’s slamming the door as she leaves Torvald continue to the present day.

 

 

 

 

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