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Old 10-01-2012, 02:11 AM   #1
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Plays Nominations • October 2012

Help us select what the MR Literary Club will read for October 2012!

The nominations will run for up to three days until October 4 or until five works have made the list.

Final voting in a new poll will begin by October 4, where the month's selection will be decided.


The category for this month is:

Plays


In order for a work to be included in the poll it needs four nominations - the original nomination plus three supporting.

Each participant has four nominations to use. You can nominate a new work for consideration or you can support (second, third or fourth) a work that has already been nominated by another person.

To nominate a work just post a message with your nomination. If you are the first to nominate a work, it's always nice to provide an abstract to the work so others may consider their level of interest.


What is literature for the purposes of this club? A superior work of lasting merit that enriches the mind. Often it is important, challenging, critically acclaimed. It may be from ancient times to today; it may be from anywhere in the world; it may be obscure or famous, short or long; it may be a story, a novel, a play, a poem, an essay or another written form. If you are unsure if a work would be considered literature, just ask!


The floor is now open!

*

Nominations through post 23:


Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - fantasyfan, issybird, paola, Bookworm_Girl

Arms and the Man is a comedy with typically brilliant Shavian wit combined with very serious themes. Among them are the futility of war, hypocrisy, self-delusion, and stereotyping. Most satiric comedy has a dark edge and this play is no exception.

It is in the public domain and free from Project Gutenberg.


The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - Hamlet53, drofgnal, HomeInMyShoes, caleb72

Considered perhaps O'Neill's greatest play. Set in a 1912 Greenwich Village lower class saloon populated with a group of regulars who spend their lives drinking and discussing grandiose ambitions that will never come to fruition, As the play opens they are awaiting the annual visit from Hickey, a big-spending, fast-talking traveling salesman. This visit is different as Hickey brutally forces them to confront the reality of their lives, before making a shocking revelation about himself.

A quick search reveals that his is available as an ebook from Amazon, B&N, and Kobo.


The Oresteia by Aeschylus - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - issybird, fantasyfan, guanaco, caleb72

In the Oresteia—the only trilogy in Greek drama which survives from antiquity— Aeschylus took as his subject the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos, in the aftermath of the Trojan War. Moving from darkness to light, from rage to self-governance, from primitive ritual to civilized institution, its spirit of struggle and regeneration is eternal.

Free ebooks available, although a preference in translation might lead one to purchase the Oresteia.


The Country Wife by William Wycherley - Fully nominated
Spoiler:
In favour - issybird, fantasyfan, Bookworm_Girl, caleb72

A bawdy Restoration comedy.

The Country Wife is a Restoration comedy written in 1675 by William Wycherley. A product of the tolerant early Restoration period, the play reflects an aristocratic and anti-Puritan ideology, and was controversial for its sexual explicitness even in its own time. The title itself contains a lewd pun. It is based on several plays by Molière, with added features that 1670s London audiences demanded: colloquial prose dialogue in place of Molière's verse, a complicated, fast-paced plot tangle, and many sex jokes. It turns on two indelicate plot devices: a rake's trick of pretending impotence in order to safely have clandestine affairs with married women, and the arrival in London of an inexperienced young "country wife", with her discovery of the joys of town life, especially the fascinating London men.

The scandalous trick and the frank language have for much of the play's history kept it off the stage and out of print. Between 1753 and 1924, The Country Wife was considered too outrageous to be performed at all and was replaced on the stage by David Garrick's cleaned-up and bland version The Country Girl, now a forgotten curiosity. The original play is again a stage favourite today, and is also acclaimed by academic critics, who praise its linguistic energy, sharp social satire, and openness to different interpretations.

Free ebooks available.


The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky - 3
Spoiler:
In favour - sun surfer, Hamlet53, caleb72

"The Lower Depths . . . is a remarkable play for a relatively inexperienced dramatist. It entertained but confronted, challenged and divided the auditorium. The Moscow Arts Theatre and arguably Russian theater were never to be the same again." - Cynthia Marsh


From goodreads:

This compelling 1902 play, considered Gorky's masterpiece, centers on a group of wretched souls who congregate to play cards, tell stories, and debate whether it is better to live without illusions or to maintain a romanticized worldview. A powerful, influential drama, hailed for its realistic and memorable characterisations.


Śakuntalā by Kālidāsa - 2
Spoiler:
In favour - sun surfer, Hamlet53

Also known as The Recognition of Śakuntalā


"Poetical fluency is not rare; intellectual grasp is not very uncommon: but the combination has not been found perhaps more than a dozen times since the world began. Because he possessed this harmonious combination, Kālidāsa ranks not with Anacreon and Horace and Shelley, but with Sophocles, Vergil, Milton." - Arthur W. Ryder


From goodreads:

Kālidāsa's play about the love of King Dusyanta for Śakuntalā, a monastic girl, is the supreme work of Sanskrit drama by its greatest poet and playwright (c.4th century CE). Overwhelmingly erotic in tone and in performance, The Recognition of Śakuntalā aimed to produce an experience of aesthetic rapture in the audience, comparable to certain types of mystical experience.


Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello - 2
Spoiler:
In favour - paola, Bookworm_Girl

The first performance of this 1921 play by Pirandello (who was awarded the Nobel prize in 1934) caused a riot as too odd, and after a new revised edition published in 1925 with a preface/explanation by the author (that you can find translated e.g. here).

The amazon blurb reads:

Luigi Pirandello's masterpiece, "Six Characters in Search of an Author", presents the playwright's views about the isolation of the individual from society and from himself. This play within a play chronicles six characters as they seek an author to tell their story, and to present their real lives on stage. But do their realities make better tales than fiction?

It is available translated in the public domain (including on MR).

Last edited by sun surfer; 10-04-2012 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:18 PM   #2
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I will start this off by nominating The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill.

Considered perhaps O'Neill's greatest play. Set in a 1912 Greenwich Village lower class saloon populated with a group of regulars who spend their lives drinking and discussing grandiose ambitions that will never come to fruition, As the play opens they are awaiting the annual visit from Hickey, a big-spending, fast-talking traveling salesman. This visit is different as Hickey brutally forces them to confront the reality of their lives, before making a shocking revelation about himself.

A quick search reveals that his is available as an ebook from Amazon, B&N, and Kobo.

Last edited by Hamlet53; 10-01-2012 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:01 PM   #3
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I'll flesh these out this evening, but I'm going to get two nominations up now:

The Oresteia tragedy trilogy by Aeschylus


The Country Wife, a bawdy Restoration comedy by William Wycherley
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:10 PM   #4
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Some more on my nominations:

The Oresteia

Spoiler:
In the Oresteia—the only trilogy in Greek drama which survives from antiquity— Aeschylus took as his subject the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos, in the aftermath of the Trojan War. Moving from darkness to light, from rage to self-governance, from primitive ritual to civilized institution, its spirit of struggle and regeneration is eternal.



The Country Wife

Spoiler:
The Country Wife is a Restoration comedy written in 1675 by William Wycherley. A product of the tolerant early Restoration period, the play reflects an aristocratic and anti-Puritan ideology, and was controversial for its sexual explicitness even in its own time. The title itself contains a lewd pun. It is based on several plays by Molière, with added features that 1670s London audiences demanded: colloquial prose dialogue in place of Molière's verse, a complicated, fast-paced plot tangle, and many sex jokes. It turns on two indelicate plot devices: a rake's trick of pretending impotence in order to safely have clandestine affairs with married women, and the arrival in London of an inexperienced young "country wife", with her discovery of the joys of town life, especially the fascinating London men.

The scandalous trick and the frank language have for much of the play's history kept it off the stage and out of print. Between 1753 and 1924, The Country Wife was considered too outrageous to be performed at all and was replaced on the stage by David Garrick's cleaned-up and bland version The Country Girl, now a forgotten curiosity. The original play is again a stage favourite today, and is also acclaimed by academic critics, who praise its linguistic energy, sharp social satire, and openness to different interpretations.


There are free ebooks of both available, although a preference in translation might lead one to purchase the Oresteia.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:23 PM   #5
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I'll second The Oresteia. I've always wanted to read Aeschylus and this would be a very good chance to do so.

I'll also second The Country Wife. It sonds like fun!
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:54 PM   #6
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I'll nominate Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw.

Arms and the Man is a comedy with typically brilliant Shavian wit combined with very serious themes. Among them are the futility of war, hypocrisy, self-delusion, and stereotyping. Most satiric comedy has a dark edge and this play is no exception.

It is in the public domain and free from Project Gutenberg.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 10-01-2012 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:07 PM   #7
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I love GBS. Second Arms and the Man.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:33 AM   #8
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I'll nominate two:


The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky
Spoiler:
"The Lower Depths . . . is a remarkable play for a relatively inexperienced dramatist. It entertained but confronted, challenged and divided the auditorium. The Moscow Arts Theatre and arguably Russian theater were never to be the same again." - Cynthia Marsh


From goodreads:

This compelling 1902 play, considered Gorky's masterpiece, centers on a group of wretched souls who congregate to play cards, tell stories, and debate whether it is better to live without illusions or to maintain a romanticized worldview. A powerful, influential drama, hailed for its realistic and memorable characterisations.


Śakuntalā by Kālidāsa
Spoiler:
Also known as The Recognition of Śakuntalā


"Poetical fluency is not rare; intellectual grasp is not very uncommon: but the combination has not been found perhaps more than a dozen times since the world began. Because he possessed this harmonious combination, Kālidāsa ranks not with Anacreon and Horace and Shelley, but with Sophocles, Vergil, Milton." - Arthur W. Ryder


From goodreads:

Kālidāsa's play about the love of King Dusyanta for Śakuntalā, a monastic girl, is the supreme work of Sanskrit drama by its greatest poet and playwright (c.4th century CE). Overwhelmingly erotic in tone and in performance, The Recognition of Śakuntalā aimed to produce an experience of aesthetic rapture in the audience, comparable to certain types of mystical experience.


I'm interested in all the nominations so far too; it's hard to decide what to do with the rest of my noms.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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I will second The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky. It is a long time since I last read this and I am always up for some Gorky.

I will also second Śakuntalā by Kālidāsa. This is a new one to me, but it sounds very interesting.

So how many nominations total are we allowed again?
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:49 PM   #10
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Agreed that all selections so far look enticing - but I have to throw in another one with a little bit of nationalistic pride: Six Characters in Search of an Author, by Luigi Pirandello. The first performance of this 1921 play by Pirandello (who was awarded the Nobel prize in 1934) caused a riot as too odd, and after a new revised edition published in 1925 with a preface/explanation by the author (that you can find translated e.g. here).

The amazon blurb reads:
Quote:
Luigi Pirandello's masterpiece, "Six Characters in Search of an Author", presents the playwright's views about the isolation of the individual from society and from himself. This play within a play chronicles six characters as they seek an author to tell their story, and to present their real lives on stage. But do their realities make better tales than fiction?
It is available translated in the public domain (including on MR).
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:32 PM   #11
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Well this area is having power issues. I'm posting from mobile and can't edit properly so can't update noms for awhile. When it's fixed I'll update; hopefully it'll be by tomorrow.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
Well this area is having power issues. I'm posting from mobile and can't edit properly so can't update noms for awhile. When it's fixed I'll update; hopefully it'll be by tomorrow.
Hope you're not unempowered for long.

I don't think I've ever seen a more intriguing group of nominations. What to do? I'd happily read any of them and I only have one nomination left.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:57 PM   #13
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Thank you issybird. Hamlet53, each poster gets four nominations.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:02 PM   #14
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To begin I feel obliged to third Arms and the Man as I have ashamedly read very little of GBS. Need to think some more, though this time I'll be biased towards ebook versions, as I am travelling quite a bit over the next few weeks.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:10 AM   #15
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I would love to join in, but have to bow out again this month. We are going on a bird-watching holiday to New Zealand on 21 October for a couple of weeks and I need to spend my reading time boning up on the NZ bird books.
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