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Drama & Plays

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Everyman and other miracle and morality plays (USED)

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Western drama, having all but disappeared during the Dark Ages, reemerged spontaneously in the liturgy and life of the medieval church. Vernacular miracle plays of England's Middle Ages were performed by lay people -- many by trade guilds -- unschooled in church Latin, but familiar with the biblical events upon which the dramas were based. Morality plays provided moral instruction, their principal characters vivid personifications of virtue and vice. The most durable of the morality plays has proven to be Everyman, whose central character, summoned by Death, must face final judgment on the strength of his good deeds. This venerable drama is reprinted here along with three other medieval classics: The Second Shepherds' Play, Noah's Flood, and Hickscorner.
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Five Plays: Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, Cherry Orchard (USED)

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Chekhov's worldwide reputation as a dramatist rests on five great plays: Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. All are presented in this collection, taken from the authoritative Oxford Chekhov, in Ronald Hingley's acclaimed translation. Hingley has also written an introduction specifically for this volume in which he provides a detailed history of Chekhov's involvement in the theater and an assessment of his accomplishment as a dramatist.
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Glengarry Glen Ross (USED)

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Winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize, David Mamet's scalding comedy is about small-time, cutthroat real esate salesmen trying to grind out a living by pushing plots of land on reluctant buyers in a never-ending scramble for their fair share of the American dream. Here is Mamet at his very best, writing with brutal power about the tough life of tough characters who cajole, connive, wheedle, and wheel and deal for a piece of the action -- where closing a sale can mean a brand new cadillac but losing one can mean losing it all. This masterpiece of American drama is now a major motion picture starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Alex Baldwain, Jonathan Pryce, Ed Harris, and Kevin Spacey.

Henry V (USED)

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Iceman Cometh (USED)

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"Spellbinding--soaring theater--. For reasons that remain mysterious, it seems especially moving today."--The New York Times

Eugene O'Neill mined the tragedies of his own life for this depiction of a seedy, skid row saloon in 1912, peopled by society's failures: worn-out anarchists, failed con artists, drifters, whores, pimps, and informers. The pipe-dreaming drunks of Harry Hope's bar numb themselves with rotgut gin and make grandiose plans, while waiting for the annual appearance of the big-spending, fast-talking salesman, Hickey. But this year's visit fails to bring the expected good times, as a changed Hickey tries to rouse the barflies from their soothing stupor with a proselytizing message of salvation through self-knowledge.

Considered by many to be the Nobel Prize-winning playwright's finest work, The Iceman Cometh exposes the human need for illusion as an antidote to despair. The recent gripping, critically acclaimed Broadway production, starring Kevin Spacey, has highlighted anew the subversive genius of O'Neill's play.

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King Lear (USED)

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A king foolishly divides his kingdom between his scheming two oldest daughters and estranges himself from the daughter who loves him. So begins this profoundly moving and disturbing tragedy that, perhaps more than any other work in literature, challenges the notion of a coherent and just universe. The king and others pay dearly for their shortcomings--as madness, murder, and the anguish of insight and forgiveness that arrive too late combine to make this an all-embracing tragedy of evil and suffering.
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Laramie Project (USED)

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On October 7, 1998, a young gay man was discovered bound to a fence in the hills outside Laramie, Wyoming, savagely beaten and left to die in an act of hate that shocked the nation. Matthew Shepard's death became a national symbol of intolerance, but for the people of Laramie the event was deeply personal, and it's they we hear in this stunningly effective theater piece, a deeply complex portrait of a community.
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Macbeth (USED)

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In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors advised by witches and wizards, echoing James's belief in a connection between treason and witchcraft.

In depicting a man who murders to become king, Macbeth teases us with huge questions. Is Macbeth tempted by fate, or by his or his wife's ambition? Why does their success turn to ashes?

Like other plays, Macbeth speaks to each generation. Its story was once seen as that of a hero who commits an evil act and pays an enormous price. Recently, it has been applied to nations that overreach themselves and to modern alienation. The line is blurred between Macbeth's evil and his opponents' good, and there are new attitudes toward both witchcraft and gender.

The authoritative edition of Macbeth from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:

-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Newly revised explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
-Scene-by-scene plot summaries
-A key to the play's famous lines and phrases
-An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language
-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books
-An up-to-date annotated guide to further reading

Essay by Susan Snyder

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.

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Macbeth (USED)

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&&LDIV&&R&&LDIV&&R&&LDIV&&R&&LP style="in 0in 0pt"&&R&&LI&&RMacbeth&&L/I&&R, by &&LB&&RWilliam Shakespeare&&L/B&&R, is part of the &&LI&&RBarnes & Noble Shakespeare&&L/I&&R series. This unique series features newly edited texts prepared by leading scholars from America and Great Britain, in collaboration with one of the world's foremost Shakespeare authorities, &&LB&&RDavid Scott Kastan&&L/B&&R of Columbia University. Together they have produced texts as faithful as possible to those that Shakespeare wrote.&&L/P&&R&&LP style="in 0in 0pt"&&R &&L/P&&R&&LP style="in 0in 0pt"&&REach volume in the &&LI&&RBarnes & Noble Shakespeare&&L/I&&R includes: &&L/P&&R&&LB&&RNew Scholarship&&L/B&&R - Premiere scholars introduce each play with contemporary scholarship. An essay on editing the text provides an in-depth look at the quartos and folios used in the edition. &&LB&&RContextualizing Essays&&L/B&&R - Essays on Shakespeare's England, language, and life, along with essays on performing Shakespeare and significant performances frame the play in both historical and theatrical context for readers. A look at the lasting influence of the play on music, art, film, and dance creates an interdisciplinary framework with which to approach the play. &&LB&&RBetter Notes&&L/B&&R - Through one-word margin definitions, facing-page glosses, and longer end notes after the play, our innovative approach to notes pulls readers away from the text fewer times while providing them with more information and comprehensive analysis. &&LB&&RFurther Reading&&L/B&&R - An annotated bibliography of titles, hand-selected by the introduction author, takes readers beyond the edition for further reading.&&L/DIV&&R&&L/DIV&&R&&LDIV&&R &&L/DIV&&R&&LDIV&&RThe only Shakespearean tragedy that has a villain as its hero, &&LI&&RMacbeth&&L/I&&R presents a stark and disturbing view of the psychology of wickedness and guilt. The editor, &&LSTRONG&&RJesse M. Lander&&L/B&&R, draws on the early modern literature of witchcraft and demonology to provide an illuminating context for the play. &&L/DIV&&R&&L/DIV&&R
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Much Ado About Nothing (USED)

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Sparkling with witty dialogue, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's most enjoyable and theatrically successful comedies. This up-to-date edition offers a newly edited text and an exceptionally helpful and critically aware introduction which discusses Shakespeare's social transformation of his source material, and rethinks the attitudes to gender relations that underlie the comedy and determine its view of marriage.
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Much Ado About Nothing (USED)

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This classic play gets a fresh update with the addition of an outline of Shakespeare's life, criticisms, and a new comprehensive stage history of notable productions. Detailed footnotes are keyed to numbered lines within the text.
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Othello, Fully Annotated (USED)

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One of the most powerful dramas ever written for the stage, Othello is a story of revenge, illusion, passion, mistrust, jealousy, and murder. If in Iago Shakespeare created the most compelling villain in Western literature, in Othello and Desdemona he gave us our most tragic and unforgettable lovers.

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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (USED)

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Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm's-eve view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's play. In Tom Stoppard's best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.

Tom Stoppard was catapulted into the front ranks of modem playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967. Its subsequent run in New York brought it the same enthusiastic acclaim, and the play has since been performed numerous times in the major theatrical centers of the world. It has won top honors for play and playwright in a poll of London Theater critics, and in its printed form it was chosen one of the "Notable Books of 1967" by the American Library Association.

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Tartuffe (USED)

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The translation into English verse of one of Moliere's most masterful and most popular plays. "A continuous delight from beginning to end" (Richard Eberhart). Introduction by Richard Wilbur.

The American Dream and The Zoo (USED)

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The Glass Menagerie (USED)

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Menagerie was Williams's first popular success and launched the brilliant, if somewhat controversial, career of our pre-eminent lyric playwright. Since its premiere in Chicago in 1944, with the legendary Laurette Taylor in the role of Amanda, the play has been the bravura piece for great actresses from Jessica Tandy to Joanne Woodward, and is studied and performed in classrooms and theatres around the world. The Glass Menagerie (in the reading text the author preferred) is now available only in its New Directions Paperbook edition. A new introduction by prominent Williams scholar Robert Bray, editor of The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, reappraises the play more than half a century after it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award: "More than fifty years after telling his story of a family whose lives form a triangle of quiet desperation, Williams's mellifluous voice still resonates deeply and universally." This edition of The Glass Menagerie also includes Williams's essay on the impact of sudden fame on a struggling writer, "The Catastrophe of Success," as well as a short section of Williams's own "Production Notes." The cover features the classic line drawing by Alvin Lustig, originally done for the 1949 New Directions edition.
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The Importance of Being Ernest and Other Plays (USED)

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Oscar Wilde created his final and most lasting play, comic masterpieces of all time, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, in 1895. Considered one of the greatest THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is a farce, playing with love, religion, and truth as it tells the tale of two men. Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, who bend the truth in order to add excitement to their lives. Jack invents an imaginary brother, Ernest, whom he uses as an excuse to escape from his dull country home and gallavant in town. Meanwhile, Algernon follows Jack's scam, but his imaginary friend, Bumbury, provides a convenient method of adventuring in the country. However, their deceptions eventually cross paths, resulting in a series of crises that threaten to spoil their romantic pursuits. Hailed as the first modern comedy in England, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is Wilde's most famous work. This collection also features two other plays that Wilde penned earlier in his career, LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN and AN IDEAL HUSBAND, that also display his ability to convey warmth and wit through his hilarious characters and their outlandish situations.

The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles: A New Translation by Paul Roche (USED)

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The Tempest (USED)

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Designed for teaching the conflicts, this critical edition of Shakespeare's The Tempest reprints the Bevington text of the play along with critical essays representing major critical and cultural controversies surrounding the work. The play and essays are supported by distinctive editorial material -- including introductions to Shakespeare's life and work, to critical conflicts in literary studies, and to each controversy that helps students grapple not only with the play's critical issues but also with cultural debates about literature itself.
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The Tempest (USED)

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This joyous play, the last comedy of Shakespeare's career, sums up his stagecraft with a display of seemingly effortless skill. Prospero, exiled Duke of Milan, living on an enchanted island, has the opportunity to punish and forgive his enemies when he raises a tempest that drives them ashore--as well as to forestall a rebellion, to arrange the meeting of his daughter, Miranda, with an eminently suitable young prince, and, more important, to relinquish his magic powers in recognition of his advancing age. Richly filled with music and magic, romance and comedy, the play's theme of love and reconciliation offers a splendid feast for the senses and the heart.
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Three Plays: The New Tenant, Victims of Duty, Amedee (USED)

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The author of such modern classics as The Bald Soprano, Exit the King, Rhinoceros, and The Chairs, Eugène Ionesco is "one of the most important and influential figures in the modern theater" (Library Journal). This crucial collection combines The New Tenant with Amédée and Victims of Duty--the plays Richard Gilman has called, along with The Killer, Ionesco's "greatest plays, works of the same solidity, fulness, and permanence as [those of] his predecessors in the dramatic revolution that began with Ibsen and is still going on."

In Amédée, the title character and his wife have a problem--not so much the corpse in their bedroom as the fact that it's been there for fifteen years and is now growing, slowly but surely crowding them out of their apartment.

In The New Tenant a similar crowding is caused by an excess of furniture--as Harold Hobson said in the London Times, "there is not dramatist . . . who can make furniture speak as eloquently as Ionesco, and here he makes it the perfect, the terrifying symbol of the deranged mind."

In Victims of Duty, Ionesco parodies the conformity of modern life by plunging his characters into an obscure search for "Mallot with a t." In these as in all his plays, Ionesco poses and solves his tragicomic dilemmas with the brilliant blend of gravity and hilarity that is the hallmark of the absurdist theater.

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Three Theban Plays (USED)

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The heroic Greek dramas that have moved theatergoers and readers since the fifth century B.C.

Towering over the rest of Greek tragedy, the three plays that tell the story of the fated Theban royal family--Antigone, Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus--are among the most enduring and timeless dramas ever written. Robert Fagles's authoritative and acclaimed translation conveys all of Sophocles's lucidity and power: the cut and thrust of his dialogue, his ironic edge, the surge and majesty of his choruses and, above all, the agonies and triumphs of his characters. This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction and notes by the renowned classicist Bernard Knox.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Two Plays:An Ideal Husband & A Woman of No Importance (USED)

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Written in the late 1800's, "An Ideal Husband" and "A Woman of No Importance" are peppered with the unmistakable wit and satire that made Oscar Wilde one of the most famous literary figures of his era. Now available together for the first time in this unique Signet Classic edition, both plays--centered on characters hiding terrible, scandalous secrets--offer dark foreshadowing of the dramatic course Wilde's own life was to take.