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Adult fiction: Plays

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The Plays Of William Ernest Henley And Robert Louis Stevenson

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Publisher:

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The Saddest Summer Of Samuel S

Author: J P Donleavy

Publisher: Penguin Books (1967)

In this short novel J.P. Donleavy writes of the tiny battle waged for survival of the spirit in bedrooms and hearts the world over. Samuel S, hero of lonely principles, holds out in his bereft lighthouse in Vienna. Abigail, an American college girl on the prowl In Europe, drawn by the beacon of this strange out-post, seeks in her own emancipation the seduction of Samuel S, the last of the world’s solemn failures. Samuel S is the liveliest of loonies.

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The Sea-Gull

Author: Anton Chekhov

Publisher:

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov is a slice-of-life drama set in the Russian countryside at the end of the 19th century. The cast of characters is dissatisfied with their lives. Some desire love. Some desire success. Some desire artistic genius. No one, however, ever seems to attain happiness. Scholars have often said that Chekhov’s plays are not plot driven. Instead, the plays are character studies designed to create a specific mood. Some critics view The Seagull as a tragic play about eternally unhappy people. Others see it as a humorous albeit bitter satire, poking fun at human folly.

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The Slab Boys Trilogy

Author: John Byrne

Part of a series: Penguins Plays and Screenplays

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (1987)

From the 50s to the 70s, through Brylcream and Elvis to fluorescent underpants and hash cookies, this trilogy catches the vibrant idiom of a whole generation - youth all dressed up and looking for somewhere to go.

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The Swan Song

Author: Anton Chekhov

Publisher:

The Swan Song is an 1887 play by Anton Chekhov, based on his own story "Calchas", concerning an elderly actor.

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The Tempest

Authors: William Shakespeare, Cedric Watts

Part of a series: Wordsworth Classics

Publisher: Wordsworth Editions (2004)

The Tempest is the most lyrical, profound and fascinating of Shakespeare's late comedies. Prospero, long exiled from Italy with his daughter Miranda, seeks to use his magical powers to defeat his former enemies. Eventually, having proved merciful, he divests himself of that magic, his ‘art’, and prepares to return to the mainland. The Tempest has often been regarded as Shakespeare's ‘farewell to the stage’ before his retirement.

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The Trial - Metamorphosis - In The Penal Colony - Three Theatre Adaptations From Franz Kafka

Author: Steven Berkoff

Publisher: Amber Lane Press (1988)

These are three dramatic adaptations from Franz Kafka that have been performed all over the world and never fail to move audiences wherever they are played. “In the Penal Colony” was Berkoff's first professional production, performed at London's experimental theatre, the Arts Lab, Drury Lane, in 1968. It is a strange tale of torture and suffering featuring a macabre machine so fiendish and diabolical that it could have been designed in hell (Cast 4m). “The Trial” was first presented at the Oval House in 1970. It’s the story of Joseph K. struggling in the abyss of self-doubt. A ludicrous parable investigating every contingency and nuance of the law (Cast 8+m, 2+f). His adaptation of “Metamorphosis”, in which he originally played the part of Gregor, was first produced at the Round House in 1969. Gregor, the Untermensch, is gradually transformed into an insect which his family reject, then tolerate, then loathe, and finally destroy by neglect. (Cast 3+m, 2+f)

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Uncle Vanya

Author: Anton Chekhov

Publisher:

Along with Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya is credited as one of Chekhov's masterpieces and a significant precursor of modern drama. Set on a country estate in late nineteenth century Russia, Uncle Vanya is in part a study of the enervation of Russian middle-class provincial life. The major dynamics between the characters themselves are centred on two obsessive love affairs that lead nowhere and a flirtation that brings disaster.

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Under Milk Wood

Author: Dylan Thomas

Publisher: Everymans Library (1977)

Commissioned by the BBC, and described by Dylan Thomas as 'a play for voices', Under Milk Wood takes the form of an emotive and hilarious account of a spring day in the fictional Welsh seaside village of Llareggub. We learn of the inhabitants' dreams and desires, their loves and regrets. The play introduces us to characters such as Captain Cat who dreams of his drowned former seafellows and Nogood Boyo who dreams of nothing at all. It is a unique and touching depiction of a village that has 'fallen head over bells in love'. The First Voice narration reveals the ordinary world of daily happenings and events, while the Second Voice conveys the intimate, innermost thoughts of the fascinating folk of Llareggub.

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You Can Never Tell

Author: George Bernard Shaw

Publisher:

The play is set in a seaside town and tells the story of Mrs Clandon and her three children, Dolly, Phillip and Gloria, who have just returned to England after an eighteen-year stay in Madeira. The children have no idea who their father is and, through a comedy of errors, end up inviting him to a family lunch. At the same time a dentist named Valentine has fallen in love with the eldest daughter, Gloria. However, Gloria considers herself a modern woman and claims to have no interest in love or marriage. The play continues with a comedy of errors and confused identities, with the friendly and wise waiter, Walter (most commonly referred to by the characters as "William," because Dolly thinks he resembles Shakespeare), dispensing his wisdom with the titular phrase "You Never Can Tell."

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