Recently, many of my performing arts friends have been passing around a list on Facebook, discussing and ranking their favorite (and least favorite) shows. It’s reminded me of shows I haven’t thought about in ages, given me some new ones to check out, and inspired a few laughs at some of the unexpected opinions.
There are multiple variations focusing on musical theatre, plays, or strictly Shakespeare, so I thought it would be fun to devote a couple of posts here to my take on each.
This week, we finish with the plays!
- PLAY I LOVE: The Man Who Came to Dinner
Kaufman & Hart wrote a lot of great plays, but The Man Who Came to Dinner is my personal favorite. I got to perform this one in high school, and I loved that despite how large the cast was, it’s still well balanced so that even those characters that don’t have many scenes or lines still get the chance to make big impressions, because it’s the presence of their constant comings and goings that really makes the play.
- PLAY I HATE: August: Osage County
I don’t understand what was so groundbreaking about this play. An unhappy family yells at each other and everyone is more estranged by the end of it. Nothing is accomplished, I see very little character growth, and it’s just very bleak. And why does it seem like so many contemporary plays set in the midwest incorporate incest into the plot? I really don’t think it’s that common a thing.
- PLAY I THINK IS OVERRATED: August: Osage County
See reasons listed above.
- PLAY I THINK IS UNDERRATED: Arcadia
This is such a smart play. It’s the perfect balance between left-brain and right-brain ideas, analyzing concepts like Classicism vs. Romanticism, thermodynamics and entropy, game theory, and poetry, and tying them together across two separate time periods to tell a tragic story.
- PLAY I COULD SEE AGAIN AND AGAIN: The Importance of Being Earnest
Though I was fairly young when I first caught part of the Reese Witherspoon/Colin Firth adaptation on television, it fascinated me—largely due to the Victorian time period, but also due to the quick and clever dialogue, though plenty of it went over my head at the time. As I got older, my appreciation increased as I was able to read and see the play a few more times.
- PLAY I’D STILL WANT TO DO: The 39 Steps
This show is a hilarious homage to all things Alfred Hitchcock, and with only four actors playing a much larger cast of characters, it would be such a fun experience to push yourself as a performer.
- PLAY THAT MADE ME FALL IN LOVE WITH THEATRE: Hansel and Gretel
I believe I was in the second or third grade when I got to play Gretel at our community theater. I had done a community theater show before, but I was too little at the time to really absorb much of the experience; Hansel and Gretel was my first chance to really perform and showed me how much fun it was to get to play pretend with other people.
- GUILTY PLEASURE: Sabrina Fair
This one is a pretty typical romantic comedy story, but it’s a good one! And I especially like the Audrey Hepburn film adaptation.
- PLAY I SHOULD HAVE SEEN BY NOW BUT I HAVE NOT: The Crucible
Don’t get me wrong, I have read The Crucible—I’ve even used a monologue from it for certain theatre classes—but I haven’t had a chance to see it performed yet.
How about you? What are some plays you love and loathe? Any you wish you could perform in? Leave your thoughts in the comments!