Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays, and among the most powerful and influential tragedies in the English language. This version condenses the entire script into a forty minute one-act... More > play. Perfect for in-class reading or high school and college productions, it retains all of the famous scenes and characters that have made Macbeth an audience favorite for more than 400 years, exposing new students to one of the masterpieces of modern literature in about the time it takes to watch a TV sitcom.< Less
This collection of 10-minute plays will delight readers and audiences alike. From the dark humor of Nick Zagone's "Sixty Years, to Life" to the zany absurdism of Walter Wykes' "Family... More > 2.0" to the disturbing imagery of Laura Elizabeth Miller's "Fugue," each of these short plays expresses the unique vision of an emerging contemporary dramatist. Together, they make an exciting and diverse evening of theatre. Other plays in this anthology include "While the Auto Waits" by O. Henry, "Lures" by Jeanette D. Farr, "The Next Mrs. Jacob Anderson" by Ann Wuehler, "The Chocolate Affair" by Stephanie Alison Walker, "No Such Thing" by Douglas Hill, "Heart of Hearing" by Joseph Zeccola, and "Phone Arts" by LB Hamilton.< Less
One of the most ambitious dramatic poems ever written, Percy Bysshe Shelley's Prometheus Unbound tells the story of the Titan Prometheus who gave mankind the secret of fire in open defiance to the... More > decrees of Zeus, and who, as punishment for this generosity, was chained to the Caucasus Mountains and exposed to horrible tortures. Inspired by the Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus, Shelley's play serves as a sort of sequel, matching its Greek predecessor in stature and pure poetic power. It depicts its philanthropist hero's ultimate triumph over the superstition and bigotry of the gods. As Shelley himself stated in his Defence of Poetry, Prometheus Unbound awakens and enlarges the mind.< Less
Written while Machiavelli was in exile for allegedly plotting against the Medici clan, "The Mandrake" or "Mandragola" details the corruption of Italian society in a series of... More > increasingly comical scenes that culminate in the cuckolding of a powerful Florentine aristocrat. The author depicts human nature just as he has come to know it, and the sinister fruits of his studies have delighted audiences to this day, for we recognize our own failures in Machiavelli’s creations--characters too quick to compromise personal ethics in order to accommodate a corrupt and demeaning world, too easily persuaded to lie, cheat, swindle, and deceive, or close their eyes to deception, in order to ensure some small improvement in their miserable lives, always espousing the mantra that "the end justifies the means." "The Mandrake" is a powerful comic treatise on immorality, a diagnosis of cultural disease, and perhaps the finest surviving example of the Italian Renaissance comedy of intrigue.< Less
This exciting anthology of one-act plays includes classics such as Anton Chekhov's "The Boor" and John Millington Synge's "Riders to the Sea" as well as lesser-known gems such as... More > Alice Gerstenberg's "Fourteen" and Percival Wilde's "The Sequel." Other plays in the collection include August Strindberg's "The Stronger," Moliere's "The Pretentious Young Ladies," Neith Boyce's "Enemies," Horace Holley's "The Genius," Susan Glaspell's "Trifles," and Ferenc Molnar's "A Matter of Husbands."
Best of all, every play in this anthology is in the public domain and may, therefore, be performed without paying royalties, making this a great resource for theatres or schools with limited budgets.< Less
Although known primarily for his poetry, Lord Byron (1788-1824) also had a keen interest in the theatre and wrote a number of verse dramas, mostly during his Italian exile. While these plays went... More > largely unnoticed during Byron's lifetime, they have since been recognized by critics for their sublime poetic and dramatic qualities. This collection brings together six of Byron's finest plays: Manfred, Cain, Heaven and Earth, Marino Faliero, Sardanapalus, and The Two Foscari.< Less
By the time of Lucian, popular religion had ceased to hold much influence over the hearts of the cultured classes. Philosophy was the new God, but there were efforts in some circles to divert... More > men’s minds from the philosophical sects and restore a sort of unorthodox faith in the old religion. Against this artificial revival of mythological faith, Lucian pitted the influence of his tremendous satirical powers. In the “Dialogues of the Gods,” he pulls the curtain aside—exposing the Gods as they engage in private disputes, domestic brawls, and love affairs, with their jealousies and scandals, their paltry strifes and petty motives. The lesson is simple: Can one worship beings with such weaknesses, such foibles, and such scandalous and immoral lives? This new translation by Baudelaire Jones breathes fresh life into ancient deities such as Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Aphrodite, Poseidon, and Athena, revealing complex, contradictory, sex-obsessed creatures that modern mortals can surely relate to.< Less
John Galsworthy (1867-1933) was one of the finest intellects and dramatic forces of the English stage of his time. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932. This collection presents... More > "Strife," perhaps Galsworthy's finest play, which documents the human consequences of a labour strike on both the unemployed workers and the company executives. Also included are three short plays: "Defeat," "The First and the Last," and "The Sun."< Less
In this collection of plays, Walter Wykes creates a series of modern myths, tapping into something in the strata of the subconscious, through ritualism and rich, poetic language. The worlds he... More > creates are brand new and hilarious, yet each contains an ancient horror we all know and cannot escape and have never been able to hang one definitive word on.
"The Profession" follows the experiences of a naïve young man exposed to the inner workings of a secret society of assassins. In "Fading Joy" a young woman finds herself caught up in the intoxicating world of a smooth-talking salesman. When he flees to escape a mysterious group known only as "The Tall Men," she finds it impossible to go back to her old way of life. Finally, "The Father Clock" tells the apocalyptic tale of two actors and a stage manager abandoned by their aging director. As the auditorium begins to fill and the lights dim, they desperately attempt to pull the show together even as a strange illness drifts through the theatre.< Less
In his final play, Henrik Ibsen tells the story of Rubek, an aging sculptor who has lost all interest in the world around him. In spite of his wealth, his fame, and the attentions of his beautiful,... More > young wife, he can find no joy in his existence. He is stagnating, trapped in a spiritual vacuum, when suddenly he is jolted out of his stupor by an unexpected reunion with Irene, a model who once posed for him and whom he idolized. She is now half-mad and literally believes herself to be a walking corpse, a dead woman who roams the earth. In spite of her delusions, however, and in spite of his marriage, Rubek woos the disturbed woman mercilessly. He believes that, together, he and Irene can make each other whole. He will cure her of her delusions of death, and she will restore in him the joy of life. Irene eventually agrees to allow Rubek a few moments of real happiness. She will spend one final night with him ... but there is a terrible price to be paid.< Less