Creditors is a tragicomedy by August Strindberg that plumbs the depths of the twisted triangular relationship between Tekla, her husband Adolph, and her ex-husband Gustav.
Lysistrata has had enough. She is tired of the constant war that is ravaging Greece and has come up with a solution: Together with female friends from other Greek cities, she persuades all women of Greece to pledge an oath and refrain from all sexual contact with their husbands and lovers. The idea is that what men really want is sex, and that they are willing to do anything to get it - even abandoning their pride and make peace. And while the Athenian women retreat into the sacred Acropolis, the men gather outside and debate what is to be done...
This famous play by Aristophanes, first staged in 411 BCE, sheds a light on the relation of the sexes in Ancient Greece, and is probably the first instance of a War of the Sexes.
The translator of this version is unknown, but it is rumored to have been Oscar Wilde.
The Beaux Stratagem, 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.
This is Thomas Holcroft's English translation, obtained by attending Pierre Beaumarchais' French play nine times in Paris during its original official staging in 1784. Beaumarchais' play was the basis for Mozart's 1796 opera, and is a satire about lovers' misdoings and French society. Because of its rebellious themes, presented during the troubling times leading up to the French Revolution, Beaumarchais had a very difficult time getting his play past the censors. Once staged, the play was enormously popular with audiences, including the aristocracy despite their understanding of the underlying themes. It was shocking that an commoner could contend directly with a nobleman. Louis XVI was not amused with Beaumarchais and imprisoned him for a few days. In our play, staged in London in 1785, Figaro is engaged to be married to Susan, who has caught the eye of Count Almaviva . . . (Holcroft Anglicized Suzanne's name so that English audiences would better accept her.) The Marriage is part of a trilogy, following The Barber of Seville and preceding The Guilty Mother.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona is the earliest comedy written by Shakespeare (and possibly his first play), probably written around 1590-91. It focuses on two friends, Valentine and Proteus, whose friendship is disrupted by their mutual passion for the lovely Silvia. Proteus jilts Julia in order to pursue Silvia; she responds by enlisting the help of her maid Lucetta to dress as a boy and go after Proteus. The play also includes some wonderfully comic supporting characters, particularly Launce and his scene-stealing dog Crab.
"This remarkable melodrama [The Double Dealer] - for a comedy it can scarcely be called... Is it possible to imagine a more inextricable tangle? No human brain can keep the threads clear for two consecutive minutes.... What wonder if audiences were at first baffled and fatigued by the effort to follow the outs and ins of this Labyrinthine plot. Well may Lord Touchwood say: 'I am confounded when I look back, and want a clue to guide me through the various mazes of unheard-of treachery.' "
A Restoration farce by a successful woman playwright. "Doctor Baliardo, a Neapolitan philosopher, has so applied himself to the study of the Moon, and is enraptured to such an extent with the mysteries of that orb, that he has come steadfastly to believe in a lunar world, peopled, ruled and regulated like the earth. This wholly fills and absorbs his every waking thought, and, in consequence, he denies his daughter Elaria and his niece Bellemante to their respective lovers, the Viceroy’s two nephews, Don Cinthio and Don Charmante, as being men of mere terrestial mould."
The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare's earliest plays, believed to have been written between 1592 and 1594. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play. The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.
The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean tragicomedy co-written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, first published in 1634. Set in ancient Greece during a war between Athens and Thebes, the narrative follows the title characters, Palamon and Arcite, noble youths whose friendship is destroyed by their mutual love for the beautiful Emilia. The subplot deals with the love and eventual madness of the Gaoler's Daughter, who falls hopelessly in love with Palamon. The play is based on "The Knight's Tale" by Chaucer, but also has echoes of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as two of the major characters are Theseus and Hippolyta, who also appear in the earlier play.
The 'Peace' was brought out four years after 'The Acharnians' (422 B.C.), when the War had already lasted ten years. The leading motive is the same as in the former play—the intense desire of the less excitable and more moderate-minded citizens for relief from the miseries of war.
Trygaeus, a rustic patriot, finding no help in men, resolves to ascend to heaven to expostulate personally with Zeus for allowing this wretched state of things to continue. With this object he has fed and trained a gigantic dung-beetle, which he mounts, and is carried, like Bellerophon on Pegasus, on an aerial journey. Eventually he reaches Olympus, only to find that the gods have gone elsewhere, and that the heavenly abode is occupied solely by the demon of War, who is busy pounding up the Greek States in a huge mortar. However, his benevolent purpose is not in vain; for learning from Hermes that the goddess Peace has been cast into a pit, where she is kept a fast prisoner, he calls upon the different peoples of Hellas to make a united effort and rescue her, and with their help drags her out and brings her back in triumph to earth. The play concludes with the restoration of the goddess to her ancient honours, the festivities of the rustic population and the nuptials of Trygaeus with Opora (Harvest), handmaiden of Peace, represented as a pretty courtesan.
Such references as there are to Cleon in this play are noteworthy. The great Demagogue was now dead, having fallen in the same action as the rival Spartan general, the renowned Brasidas, before Amphipolis, and whatever Aristophanes says here of his old enemy is conceived in the spirit of 'de mortuis nil nisi bonum.' In one scene Hermes is descanting on the evils which had nearly ruined Athens and declares that 'The Tanner' was the cause of them all. But Trygaeus interrupts him with the words:
"Hold-say not so, good master Hermes; Let the man rest in peace where now he lies. He is no longer of our world, but yours."
Here surely we have a trait of magnanimity on the author's part as admirable in its way as the wit and boldness of his former attacks had been in theirs.
"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?
Often considered Killigrew's best play, this is a comedy with a bawdy tone where people flirt, trick each other and everyone else. It was the first play in England to be performed with an all female crew.
A. A. Milne
Come, join us on a lovely April afternoon in Devonshire for a breezy frolic in comedy. Milne's light-hearted romance is sure to make you chuckle.
"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."
W. Somerset Maugham
Lady Frederick is a comedy by the British writer W. Somerset Maugham, written early in his career. The play was first seen in London in 1907, and was very successful, running for 422 performances. The title role was played by Ethel Irving. In New York it was first performed in 1908, with Lady Frederick played by Ethel Barrymore, who reprised her role in the play's film adaptation, The Divorcee.In the play, Lady Frederick is an Irish widow, seriously in debt; she must deal with suitors who have various motives for proposing marriage, and with the man with whom she once had an affair.
First produced between 1684-1688, this - as the title says - is Faust played as a comedy. Angels to go along with Mephistopholis and Lucifer and Beelzebub, sure, but also the Seven Deadly Sins and wait a minute - Scaramouche and Harlequin?? (The author Mountfort was also an actor and was killed trying to prevent an attempt to kidnap an actress in a case that ended up in the House of Lords.)
Generally considered one of Shakespeare's problem plays, Measure for Measure examines the ideas of sin and justice. Duke Vincentio turns Vienna's rule over to the corrupt Angelo, who sentences Claudio to death for having impregnated a woman before marriage. His sister Isabella, a novice nun, pleads for her brother's life, only to be told that he will be spared if she agrees to relinquish her virginity to Angelo.
The 1610 edition says it is by Shakespeare, and the play was in a volume of Shakespeare in the library of Charles the Second. But, well, likely not actually a Shakespeare.... Perhaps by Robert Green (1558 - 1592)
This play is mentioned as being popular in the 1611 Beaumont and Fletcher play 'The Knight of the Burning Pestle';. In fact, Mucedorus 'was enormously successful. This absurd play, with the merits and defects of a nursery tale, was acted by strolling companies everywhere till long after the Commonwealth, and passed through seventeen editions between 1598 and 1700, a record unequaled in the history of the pre-Restoration drama.'
By the author of Cyrano de Bergerac, this comic-romance formed the basis for the long-running 1960's musical "The Fantasticks".
Despite its optimistic title, Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well has often been considered a "problem play." Ostensibly a comedy, the play also has fairy tale elements, as it focuses on Helena, a virtuous orphan, who loves Bertram, the haughty son of her protectress, the Countess of Rousillon. When Bertram, desperate for adventure, leaves Rousillon to serve in the King's army, Helena pursues him.
The Mastersons, a wealthy Bostonian family, await the arrival of their cousin Anna in the wake of her grandfather's death. Though born in Boston, Anna, who prefers the name Oceana, spent most of her life on a tropical island in the Pacific with her father. A free spirit, her practices and values surrounding proper dress, romance, and entertainment clash with those of her conservative relatives. What will happen as patience and tolerance wear thin for both parties when alluring Oceana catches the eye of a married man?
Upton Sinclair, though best known for his novel The Jungle, an expose of the meatpacking industry, was also a playwright whose works for the stage reflect the same progressive viewpoints found in his other writing. Published as part of the collection Plays of Protest in 1912, this play was heavily influenced by the character of "Nature Man," an American hippie in Tahiti, from Jack London's book The Cruise of the Snark.
Twelfth Night, or What You Wil is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–02 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as a boy) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man. The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion, with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello. The first recorded performance was on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the formal end of Christmastide in the year's calendar. The play was not published until its inclusion in the 1623 First Folio.
Hidden and mistaken identities, requited and unrequited loves, pranks and jokes abound in this romantic comedy.
Shakespeare's great festive comedy, probably written and first performed around 1601, follows the adventures of twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated from each other by a shipwreck. Viola, believing her brother dead, disguises herself as a page in order to serve the lovesick Duke Orsino, who has been rejected by the Countess Olivia. The ensemble cast includes a roster of wonderfully comic characters: Olivia's drunken uncle Sir Toby Belch, his foolish friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek, the witty serving woman Maria, the social-climbing steward Malvolio, and the clever, riddling clown Feste.
James Sheridan Knowles
In this romantic comedy from 1837, three sets of mismatched lovers bicker, woo, spar, and scheme on their way to matrimonial bliss. James Sheridan Knowles, a cousin of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, seems to take a great deal of inspiration from Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” The humor of the piece derives from witty banter and miscommunication as the couples engage in their “steeple-chase of love.” Who will end up at the altar with who?
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…
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.