The Play's the Thing
April 07, 2011
Do you want to read a good story, but don't have time to invest in a complete novel? Try reading a play. Plays serve as a nice bridge between the intellectual exercise of reading a book and the fast-paced entertainment of watching a movie. When you get down to it, plays are written to be experienced within a matter of hours, but they still pack the same emotional punch as a well-written novel.
Like any other literary form, some plays are longer than others and some are more difficult than others. If you have never read a play before, I suggest starting perhaps with Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw or Our Town by Thornton Wilder. If you want to go historical, read a Greek tragedy like Oedipus Rex or Medea, or maybe one of Shakespeare's comedies such as The Comedy of Errors or Much Ado About Nothing. Some plays--such as Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot or Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead require some deep reading and heavy thinking, while others like Molière's Tartuffe or Arthur Miller's The Crucible are familiar but still powerful. Or how about a musical like Sondheim and Weidman's Assassins or Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I? The possibilities are endless.
The wonderful thing about reading a play is that you get to be the director, set designer, casting agent, and choreographer. The dialogue is there, and you get to fill in the gaps. Let your imagination take center stage and soak up the applause.
Lone Jack Branch