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The Bride of Quietness and Other Plays
Oscar Firkins
University of Minnesota Press, 1932
The Bride of Quietness and Other Plays was first published in 1932. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.Oscar Firkins’ books, posthumously published, are finding what the author, during his reclusive life, never looked for – popularity, that wide appeal which is evinced in the demand for a second edition of this book of plays and the friendly reception that has resulted in putting both his plays and the more recently published Memoirs and Letters on “bestseller” lists.John Keats, in a London twilight finds himself one wit the immortal figures of his Ode on a Grecian Urn. That timelessness of beauty to which he gave serene expression in his famous ode is the theme of The Bride of Quietness, the title play of this volume. The romantically wedded Brownings of Turnpikes in Arcady discover, under the spell of an Italian night, that they are not at all the “practical” persons they have supposed themselves to be. Charlotte, Emily, and the other enigmatic Brontës are vividly revealed in the brief, incisive lines of Empurpled Moors. A sprightly Restoration atmosphere pervades The King’s Vigil, in which Samuel Pepys and Charles II spend a night cloistered behind a massive oak door in hiding from importunate wives and mistresses.

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The Cookie Jar and Other Plays
John Clark DonahueLinda Walsh Jenkins, Editor
University of Minnesota Press, 1975

The Cookie Jar and Other Plays was first published in 1975. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The scripts of three plays by John Clark Donahue, artistic director of the Children's Theatre Company of the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, are published in this volume along with background material and illustrations which, together, provide a look behind the scenes at the company, its personnel, methods, and productions. The company, which has achieved notable success, is regarded as a leading exponent of children's theater in this country.

The plays included in this volume are The Cookie Jar, How Could You Tell?,and Old King of Malfi.All by been presented by the Children's Theatre Company.

Linda Walsh Jenkins provides an introduction and commentary on the plays. There are also a profile of John Donahue and material based on interviews with him and with other theater personnel — directors, composers, designers, and others. This and other information, including a sketch of the history and background of the Children's Theatre Company, will be illuminating and helpful to other theater groups and individuals interested in the development of children's theater. There are sixteen pages of photographs, including four pages in color, showing scenes from Children's Theatre Company productions of the plays. Examples from the musical scores composed for the productions are also reproduced.

Under Mr. Donahue's direction the company has evolved an ensemble approach to production, in which script, music, and acting develop simultaneously throughout the rehearsal period. The dominant theme in his work with the company has been an educational one, based on his belief that the theater should be an educational environment which helps young persons to develop their creative abilities.


front cover of Finished from the Start and Other Plays
Finished from the Start and Other Plays
Juan Radrigan
Northwestern University Press, 2007

This collection of plays comes from one of Chile’s finest voices of the voiceless: Juan Radrigán. A history marked by personal and political hardship has equipped Radrigán to tell the stories of those his nation left behind. Seven years old when his father abandoned his family, he was forced to work from an early age. As an adult, he worked as a manual laborer during a very dark time for Chile: the demise of Salvador Allende and the rise of General Augusto Pinochet. In a time of torture, exile, and political “disappearances,” his plays stood as quietly powerful anti-regime statements that mourned the country’s loss. Translator Ana Elena Puga’s introduction places Radrigán’s work in its historical and cultural context and provides ample background for the six pieces.

The first work, Testimonies to the Deaths of Sabina, features a fruit seller who may lose her livelihood after she is accused of some mysterious infraction; but she doesn’t know what she has done—if she has truly done anything. The Beasts tells the story of three sisters living in the wilderness who, fearing they have been completely abandoned, devise a means of ultimate escape. Funeral Drums for Lambs and Wolves comes in three parts: Isabel Banished in Isabel, a monologue of a woman left to go mad alone; Without Apparent Motive, a monologue by a murderer who laments the spread of violence; and the dialogue The Guest, a confrontational piece that speaks directly to the spectators, implicating them in their silent, passive tolerance of Pinochet. The title play, Radrigán’s 1981 masterpiece, speaks directly to the specter of the many “disappeared” victims of the military regime.


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The Gospel According to James and Other Plays
Charles R. Smith
Ohio University Press, 2012

This collection of five award-winning plays by Charles Smith includes Jelly Belly, Free Man of Color, Pudd’nhead Wilson, Knock Me a Kiss, and The Gospel According to James. Powerful, provocative, and entertaining, these plays have been produced by professional theater companies across the country and abroad. Four of the plays are based on historical people and events from W.E.B. Du Bois and Countee Cullen to the Harlem Renaissance. Accurate in the way they capture the political and cultural milieu of their historical settings, and courageous in the way they grapple with difficult questions such as race, education, religion, and social class, these plays jump off the page just as powerfully as they come to life on stage. This first-ever collection from one of the nation’s leading African American playwrights is a journey down the complex road of race and history.


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The Hour of All Things and Other Plays
Caridad Svich
Intellect Books, 2018
This book presents four plays by Caridad Svich that explore the rough waters of citizenship under the pressure of globalization and the threads of human connection—often tested, but never wholly severed—across multiple geographic landscapes. Featuring an introduction by Welsh playwright and director Ian Rowlands and essays by practitioners Zac Kline, Blair Baker, Neil Scharnick, Carla Melo, and Sherrine Azab, this wide-ranging, daring collection of plays refuses to pretend that the complex and thorny questions of existence are easily settled.

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Hunting Cockroaches and Other Plays
Janusz Glowacki
Northwestern University Press, 1990
Janusz Glowacki's highly theatrical and often hilarious works concern the immigrant experience of the Eastern European in America, the struggles of the individual in a repressive state, and the manipulations of political and social power. The girls' reform school of Cinders, the Lower East Side tenement of Hunting Cockroaches, and the Norwegian court littered with bodies in Fortinbras Gets Drunk serve as backdrops for Glowacki's tragicomic explorations of the play within the play of contemporary existence.

front cover of I'm Black When I'm Singing, I'm Blue When I Ain't and Other Plays
I'm Black When I'm Singing, I'm Blue When I Ain't and Other Plays
Sonia Sanchez
Duke University Press, 2010
Sonia Sanchez is a prolific, award-winning poet and one of the most prominent writers in the Black Arts movement. This collection brings her plays together in one volume for the first time. Like her poetry, Sanchez’s plays voice her critique of the racism and sexism that she encountered as a young female writer in the black militant community in the late 1960s and early 1970s, her ongoing concern with the well-being of the black community, and her commitment to social justice. In addition to The Bronx Is Next (1968), Sister Son/ji (1969), Dirty Hearts (1971), Malcolm/Man Don’t Live Here No Mo (1972), and Uh, Uh; But How Do It Free Us? (1974), this collection includes the never-before-published dramas I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t (1982) and 2 X 2 (2009), as well as three essays in which Sanchez reflects on her art and activism. Jacqueline Wood’s introduction illuminates Sanchez’s stagecraft in relation to her poetry and advocacy for social change, and the feminist dramatic voice in black revolutionary art.

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mPalermu, Dancers, and Other Plays
Emma Dante
Swan Isle Press, 2019
Emma Dante’s passionate and brutal plays stem from a need to confront important familial and societal realities in contemporary southern Italy. Her twenty-first century tales challenge stereotypes of the country and stage acts of resistance against the social, political, and economic conditions of Sicily. The seven works in this anthology paint a complex image of the peninsula through stories of disenfranchisement, misogyny, deep-set bigotry, and religious hypocrisy that reveal economic disparities between the north and south of the country, oppressive gender relations, and deep rooted mafioso-like attitudes. Dante’s lyrical and visceral storytelling oscillates between the humorous and the tragic aspects of everyday life, undertaking an irreverent subversion of the status quo with its extreme physicality and unsettling imagery.

This exquisite first English translation of Emma Dante’s work enables English-speaking readers, theatre scholars, and directors alike to encounter character-driven “civic theatre” with its portraits of individuals existing at the fringes of Italy. Ultimately, it allows us to “listen” to those who are not given a voice anywhere else.

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The Revealing Moment and Other Plays
Oscar W. Firkins
University of Minnesota Press, 1932

The Revealing Moment and Other Plays was first published in 1932. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

"Sparkling wit, brilliancy of phrase, vivid character portrayal, erudition, taste, a delicate sense of proportion, and a genuinely felicitous style"—these are only a few of the critics' judgments on Mr. Ferkins' previously published plays.


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The Theatre of Sabina Berman
The Agony of Ecstasy and Other Plays
Sabina Berman. Translated by Adam Versenyi. Essay by Jacqueline E. Bixler
Southern Illinois University Press, 2003

The Theatre of Sabina Berman: The Agony of Ecstasy and Other Plays introduces and makes accessible to an English-speaking audience the work of the contemporary Mexican playwright Sabina Berman. The book contains translations of the four plays that established Berman’s career: The Agony of Ecstasy, Yankee, Puzzle, and Heresy. An introduction by Adam Versényi provides a critical assessment of each play, a discussion of the specific problems of translation involved, and placement of Berman’s work in the larger Mexican and Latin American context.

It is evident that Sabina Berman’s theatrical acumen matches the depth of her dramatic design whether it is the sheer variety of techniques from song to staged tableau that appear in The Agony of Ecstasy; the physicalization of what it means to be interrogated and to interrogate in Yankee; the final enigmatic image of a soldier alone on stage, silently aiming his firearm at an undefined threat that potentially emanates from the audience in Puzzle; or the manner in which the family narrates its own “heretical” actions in Heresy. It is the combination of theatrical technique with universal themes of self-definition that cuts across cultures and ultimately makes these plays translatable.


front cover of The Value of Names and Other Plays
The Value of Names and Other Plays
Jeffrey Sweet
Northwestern University Press, 2008

Spanning a quarter of a century, this collection of plays demonstrates author Jeffrey Sweet’s eye for the drama of human relationships. Sweet works with sensitivity and irony to confront both personal politics and the impact of historical change. These nine works, taken together, present a playwright who extends the struggles of his small circles of characters to his audience and humanity in general.

The title work, first mounted in 1982, is a comedy-drama about the aftermath of the blacklist whose continued relevance makes it a frequently produced play today. The family drama Porch suggests larger social changes through the interaction of a small-town shopkeeper and his defiant daughter. The lauded American Enterprise, set in the Chicago of the robber barons, is a song-filled true story about a millionaire whose stubborn idealism leads to disaster. Stay Till Morning is a rueful comedy about sex and accommodation in the Florida Keys. The three plays that grew out of his fascination with the effects of World War II­—Berlin ’45, Court-Martial at Fort Devens,­ and The Action Against Sol Schumann—dramatize the ways in which that conflict transformed private fates. Each script is accompanied by an extended introduction from the playwright as well as complete performance notes.


front cover of Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays
Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays
Willy Conley
Gallaudet University Press, 2009

After spending three years in The National Theatre of the Deaf performing plays by hearing authors featuring hearing characters, Willy Conley realized that he wanted to write plays with deaf, hard-of- hearing, and hearing characters created from the Deaf perspective. Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays presents the result of his desire in twelve masterful plays.

“I write for the eye, always searching for live, mobile, provocative images that would fill and illuminate the entire stage space with the complexities, the pathos, and the humor involved when deaf and hearing cultures merge or collide,” writes Conley in his introduction. His plays depict a wide range of Deaf characters, including two brothers locked in a tragic rivalry familiar to families of all backgrounds; the broadly comedic Deaf Guide and hearing Techie interspersing laughs with cultural lessons in their Museum of Signs for People with Communication Disorders; Everyone searching for her Good Deeds as she faces imminent Death in an updating of the classic morality play, plus many others. These works explore a broad palette of circumstances with and without hearing characters, allowing Deaf characters to interact minus the direct influence that the dominant culture might exert. Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays presents the drama and passion of a master playwright who, through his perceptions, reveals facets of the Deaf character in all of us.


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