This House (Modern Plays)

Knockouts, nobles and nukes: the 25 best British plays since Jerusalem
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25 Most Important Plays Every Actor Should Read

Email Address. Enter the code as shown below:. Send message Please wait Copy Event URL. Events are social. Allow Facebook friends to see your upcoming events? Yes Recommended Yes Recommended. It sounds as if she has espied a bloody act of ethnic cleansing; the older woman stonewalls unctuously.

Then, by a series of surreal jumps, the play escalates into a blackly hilarious vision of cosmic warfare. Partisan brutality has now spread from humans to the animal and mineral world. A sliver of genius. Paul Taylor. Blasted , Sarah Kane.

follow Holly Williams. Antigone defies her uncle Kreon, the new ruler of Thebes, by burying her brother Polyneices. He had brought an army against his native city and Kreon, in these politically volatile times, wants his corpse left for the dogs as an exemplary desecration. The philosopher Hegel saw this as the quintessence of true tragedy: not a conflict between good and evil, but between right and right.

In fact, productions nowadays tend to come down in favour of Antigone and her self-sacrificing intransigence. The play has been adapted for many modern contexts, including Northern Ireland and South Africa. Instead, we watch her band kill time and spar with one another. Ma Rainey, when she arrives, proves worth waiting for: an immense, haughty presence. You invest in the relationship between Max and Rudy, a decadent gay couple in Berlin in — but after the Night of the Long Knives they flee, before being caught and sent to Dachau.

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Ian McKellen originally played Max, but Richard Gere and Alan Cummings have also taken on the role in what is now seen as seminal gay text — one that proves truth and love may flower in the most horrific, hopeless circumstances. Panic at the possibility of exposure drives these paranoid locals to project a false identity onto this stranger. That would have been a good enough joke. Gogol, though, gives it an inspired, twist.

So when he twigs to their exploitable mistake, he treats their absurd respect not to mention their bribes as long-overdue recognition of his true worth and becomes airborne with grandiosity.

A Doll's House (Modern Plays)

Sanjay L rated it liked it Jul 24, There is a subplot in a madhouse that is designed as a distorted mirror of the main action in its obsession with disguise, lunacy, and sex. Inspiration from the best in the industry. Open Preview See a Problem? It derives its title from the name given to the House of Commons by MPs. Add to Calendar. About Tom Murphy.

The piece is horribly preoccupied with the use people make of selective — and conceivably invented — memories as weapons or a way of gaining the upper hand. In Purgatory , she evokes a stifling Catholic ethos: we see two very different rebels one girl seeks in vain for an abortion who suffer the humiliation of having to crawl back to the pack. Brecht effectively hijacked her second play Pioneers about the contact between the inhabitants and a visiting squad of bridge-builders. Stephen Daldry and Annie Castledine directed a superb version of these plays at the tiny Gate Theatre in Since when, nothing.

The best Jacobean tragedy outside Shakespeare, The Changeling — co-authored by Middleton and Rowley — also seems to anticipate film noir.

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This villain has a disfigurement, but the piece is alert to how perversely attracted we are to what repels us. The assassin demands her virginity as his blood-money and the slide into shadowy corruption becomes inexorable. There is a subplot in a madhouse that is designed as a distorted mirror of the main action in its obsession with disguise, lunacy, and sex. You feel that if ugliness did not exist, we would have to invent it to satisfy our desires. It has fun sending up the pretensions of theatre, but ultimately uses it as means for talking about empathy, communication, and understanding, as relations between the reviled prisoners and the cruel officers thaw.

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A direct piece of storytelling with a huge heart. A play of astonishing breakthroughs. There had been plenty of soliloquies in Elizabethan drama beforehand. But no one had ever talked to an audience like Hamlet.


All his life he played tricksy games with philosophical problems such as the deceptiveness of identity. For 20 years, he has been allowed to live this illusion, attended by flunkies in period-costume. Richard Harris and Ian McDiarmid were the last pair to play Henry in the West End and they relished the chance to interweave the quizzicality and raw pain that the part requires. The predicament of the central character feels more tragicomically stimulating than far-fetched. In this lovely earlier piece, she explores the history of her great-grandmother in early 20th century New York. Esther is a black seamstress — unmarried and illiterate — who sews ravishingly beautiful garments for other women to wear on their wedding nights.

The sensual feel of fine fabric her means of supporting and expressing herself is conveyed with gorgeous descriptive power.

The House on Cold Hill

Intimate Apparel manages to be uplifting without ever losing its irreverent humour. What makes a great play? Many people argue for form matching content. A stage hypnotist encounters the father of a girl he killed in a car accident.

The father truly believes his daughter has been transformed into an oak tree. The actor is transformed before us; we accept that they are now the father and fathers, over the years, have included Mike Myers, Toby Jones, Frances McDormand and even Alanis Morissette. An Oak Tree has a radical honesty which has made it hugely influential. Athol Fugard came to see that the righteous anger of didactic anti-apartheid drama was not as effective as the subversive laughter of the black townships when it came to getting across the harshness of the conditions there.

Certainly, there is nothing moralising or solemn about this piece which was produced in and developed by Fugard from improvisations with the great John Kani and Winston Ntshona who first performed it. A mischievous shaggy dog story, it pulls the audience into an atmosphere of good-humoured sociability.

How does he feel about this administrative rebirth? A deceptively light and humane play that outlasts the apartheid era. Fear and lust rub up against each other, sweatily; few other writers have captured the heat of the South like Williams, and this is the playwright at his most atmospheric. Blanche DuBois — the deluded southern belle who shacks up with her sister and her macho, abusive husband — is a summit part for an actress, and everyone from Vivien Leigh to Tallulah Bankhead, Cate Blanchett to Gillian Anderson have had a go.

And given all interactions in the brain are just chemical, does it even matter? Her characters are fun to spend time with, her dialogue is snappy, but she digs deep too, into both scientific theories and human emotions, taking us from the grey lows of depression to the technicolour highs of new love. The improbable plot of tangled engagements, lost handbags, invented wicked relatives, and real monstrous aunts runs like clockwork.

Our jack-the-lad hero — frantically trying to hold down a pair of jobs, unbeknownst to either boss — is a failed skiffle player. The atmosphere is Joe Orton-meets-the Carry On films. The complications are deliciously warped. One character does a bunk to Brighton disguised as her psychotic twin brother who has been bumped off by her posh twit of a boyfriend in a gangland brawl.

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