Thursday, January 10, 2019


In ages past before books or manuscripts were available, people got their entertainment by watching plays. The ancient Greeks wrote comedies and tragedies. For example in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, the women of Athens and Sparta banded together to refuse all sexual favors to induce their men to stop constant wars. Playwrights provide the actors with a script describing the cast of characters, the setting, their lines, and when to enter or exit. With the advent of books, such scripts were published and became available to the reading public.

The point of all this is that anyone can choose to read the script of a play by a well-known playwright. Why would anyone want to read the script of a play as an alternative to reading a novel, a memoir, or other forms of fiction? A major difference between a play and a novel is that the former is almost entirely dialogue whereas the latter often has long pages of narrative, summarizing the character’s thoughts or actions along with dialogue.  Most novels require 17 or more hours to learn the characters and the plot with all its twists and turns. On the other hand, the scripts of most plays can be completed in 3-5 hours with all the benefits of a novel. Listed below are plays that I have enjoyed reading.

Samuel Becket      Waiting for Godot   A tragicomedy in two acts.
Anton Chekhov      The Cherry Orchard 
T.S. Eliot              The Cocktail Party
Henrik Ibsen         A Doll’s House   Norwegian Modernism
Arthur Miller         The Crucible   The Salem Puritan Witch trials
Eugene O’Neill      Long Day’s Journey into Night
Shakespeare         Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet 
G.B. Shaw            Pygmalion  (basis for My Fair Lady)
Neil Simon           The Odd Couple
Thornton Wilder     Our Town
Tennessee Williams  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Try one of the above. You might like it. I’d like to hear from someone who did.