What should I read next?

Leta mentioned that our friend Amy was looking for scripts to read, just for general background. Everyone else has an idea about what’s important theater to be familiar with, so I figure that I’m entitled to post my own list. Herewith a shortlist of important, entertaining, challenging straight plays (no musicals) from the period 1945 (or thereabouts) to the present. Most were published originally in English. They are marked by psychological complexity and offer staging challenges that can be met in many different ways, depending on the creativity of the team and the resources offered by the performance space. These are in no particular order, just the order that I transcribed them from my scribbled notes.

  • Sarah Ruhl: The Clean House; Dead Man’s Cell Phone
  • Marsha Norman: ‘night, Mother
  • Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot
  • Craig Wright: The Pavilion
  • Christopher Durang: Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You
  • Mary Zimmerman: Metamorphoses
  • Lanford Wilson: The Hot L Baltimore; Book of Days
  • Lynn Nottage: Intimate Apparel
  • Jean Anouilh: Antigone (trans. Lewis Galantière)
  • Tony Kushner: Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika
  • Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman
  • Neil Simon: Barefoot in the Park
  • Nicky Silver: The Food Chain; Fat Men in Skirts
  • Harold Pinter: Betrayal
  • Tom Stoppard: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
  • Alan Ayckbourn: “The Norman Conquests:” Table Manners; Living Together; and Round and Round the Garden: I would love to persuade three local community theaters to produce this trilogy in simultaneous or sequential rep
  • Caryl Churchill: Top Girls: fabulous parts for women, something always in short supply in community theater
  • John Pielmeier: Agnes of God
  • Bertold Brecht: The Good Person of Szechwan
  • Richard Greenberg: The Violet Hour

I made my case for a few of these titles and playwrights for inclusion in Silver Spring Stage’s upcoming season. Decisions have not yet been made. We’ll see.