Comedy

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Plays

About A Goth

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A short monologue play about a young man who volunteers in old people’s homes and suffers paroxysms of love and hate for its residents.

Nick is seventeen, a Goth and gay. In between volunteering at his local old people’s home where he conversely gets chatted up and abused by its residents and having to attend re-enactments of Medieval battles with his slightly barmy parents, he finds the time to hang out with best mate, Greg. But a sudden death at the home forces him to confront his fears of coming out as well as perhaps giving his pessimistic mindset a rethink. Wells is well known for his touching comic monologues that are ideal showcases for young actors.

About A Goth was first performed at Òran Mór in Glasgow in 2009.

Absolutely! (Perhaps)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Absolutely! (Perhaps) is a sparkling comedy on the elusive nature of reality, in which truth is negotiable and identity is performed. It is an adaptation of Luigi Pirandello’s first play Così è (Se Vi Pare), and opened at the Wyndham’s Theatre in 2003.

In a small Italian town lives Signor Ponza, his wife and his apparent mother-in-law Signora Frola, who he will not allow to visit. With the neighbours gossiping over his cruelty, Signor Ponza claims that Signora Frola is mad and refusing to accept that her daughter is dead, and that he now lives with his second wife. Signora Frola counters the accusation, claiming that Ponza has unwittingly re-married his first wife. Impossibly, the Signora Ponza in question claims to be both daughter and second wife, plunging the play into a tangle of fractious theatricality.

Acharnians

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It is the fifth century BC and Dikaiopolis, a peasant who is forced by war to live in the city, has secured an unlikely peace for Athens in their war against the Spartans. However, not all his fellow citizens agree with the new détente between themselves and their hated enemies. It is up to Dikaiopolis, in increasingly farcical circumstances, to defend his anti-war stance and save his precious peace.

In their introduction to the play, translator Kenneth McLeish and editor J. Michael Walton write 'If Sophocles' Oidipous Tyrannos is the very model of an 'Aristotelian' tragedy, a kind of template for the form, then Acharnians could serve the same function for the comedy. The agon, parabasis, alazones scenes, and komos are fine examples of how each should be written . . . In particular the formal dialogues between Dikaiopolis and Lamachos demonstrate the maxim that adherence to rules can liberate the imagination - demonstrate it as triumphantly as Bach's Art of Fugue.'

A timely and timeless comedy, Acharnians was first produced in 452BC during one of the sporadic and unreliable ceasefires in the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta.

audio The Actor Retires

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Steppenwolf Theatre Company playwright and actor Bruce Norris presents a hilarious comedy in which an actor decides to end his career, burn his headshots and resumés, and become a serious furniture maker.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Bruce Norris, D.W. Moffett, Lucy Childs, Christopher Donahue, Kevin Hurley, Amy Morton, Susan Nussbaum and William Peterson

Featuring: Lucy Childs, Christopher Donahue, Kevin Hurley, D.W. Moffett, Amy Morton, Bruce Norris, Susan Nussbaum, William Petersen

Adam and Eve

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

'A one-act play is like a confession'. So writes Steven Berkoff in the preface to the collection of his One-Act Plays. In his introduction to the collection, Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting at Central School of Speech and Drama writes: 'It is the one-act play, however, that most profoundly and immediately amplifies Berkoff’s extraordinary literary and theatrical voice. . . In discussion, [Berkoff's] eyes quite literally light up at the mere mention of the one-act construct. With relish, he outlines the bare-knuckled immediacy of its form and fatal but inevitable blow. Perhaps the very real pleasure in reading these nineteen one-act plays by Berkoff should not be about comparing them to his other plays at all, but imagining them newly and in performance. Berkoff’s theatre continues to refuse smallness of theme and narrative, and defies those who wish to collapse the place of theatre into reality-inspired ‘true’. A reading of these pieces will require the need for a performance alertness, ‘real’ at its very threshold.'

Of his cycle of Biblical plays, Berkoff writes: 'There is something so vital and dynamic about our wonderful biblical stories, myths or parables that they lend themselves so easily to a modern interpretation. Of course their passion speaks directly to all of us and few of us are immune from the same problems and obsessions.'

Adam and Eve tells of Eden's first parents in a comically exaggerated London slang.

audio Adam's Rib

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A classic battle of the sexes and a courtroom farce, this peerlessly witty examination of husband and wife attorneys was first crafted for Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Commissioned by L.A. Theatre Works, David Rambo includes never-before-heard original material in this adaptation of the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Adam Arkin, Anne DeSalvo, Paul Eiding, Mary Pat Gleason, Annabelle Gurwitch, Anne Heche, Marvin Kaplan, Loren Lazerine, Robert Lesser, John Pankow, Amy Pietz.

Featuring: Adam Arkin, Anne DeSalvo, Paul Eiding, Mary Pat Gleason, Annabelle Gurwitch, Anne Heche, Marvin Kaplan, Loren Lazerine, Robert Lesser, John Pankow, Amy Pietz

After Easter

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

After Easter is not a political play, rather a psychological play – inevitably funny. It is a contemporary portrait of a woman who reaches that point in her life when she will either grow or fade, when she will either continue to live in her lesser personality or make that inner marriage which will allow her to enter the mainstream of her larger existence, and, hopefully, swim.

The exile, Greta, having turned away from everything that once could have been called her identity – including her religion – allows the ghosts to call her home to the north of Ireland and to her family. In doing so she finds herself confronting the identity that she has wilfully excluded for so long.

audio Aliens in America

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Contemporary satirist Sandra Tsing Loh spins a darkly comic, autobiographical tale of growing up middle class Chinese-German in Southern California. This witty monologue is for sons and daughters everywhere who feel that their parents must have been beamed to earth from another planet.

An L.A. Theatre Works solo performance featuring Sandra Tsing Loh.

Featuring: Sandra Tsing Loh

Alkestis

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

When Apollo was exiled for nine years from his Olympian home, he found shelter and hospitality at the palace of King Admetus. To pay him back, Apollo offers Admetus the chance to live beyond the day that fate has decided he will die. There is only one catch: when death comes to get him, Admetus must find a willing substitute.

Having been rebuffed by his aging (but not ailing) father, Admetus finds a willing proxy in his wife, the eponymous Alkestis, who is brought to Death's door, indeed is led through it, only to be rescued by Admetus's old friend Herakles, who wrestles with Death, and wins.

In his introduction, the translator J. Michael Walton writes: 'as a play that is ahead of its time Alkestis has no parallel in the classical world. It looks forward not only to the more domestic tragedy of later Euripides, but also to the social comedy of Menander and to the romances of the Hellenistic, and later, the Roman, world... Euripides may have changed the face of tragedy. He also reinterpreted and gave a new face to the expectations of comedy.'

All New People

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The dead of winter, Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Charlie has hit rock bottom. Far removed from the rest of the world, this perfect escape is interrupted by a motley parade of misfits who show up and change his plans. An eccentric English real estate agent desperately trying to stay in the country, a fireman, and a hired beauty all suddenly find themselves tangled together in a beach house where the mood is anything but sunny.

All New People is the hilarious and poignant playwriting debut of Zach Braff, writer and director of the acclaimed film Garden State which was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay and won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.

The play premiered at the Tony Kiser Theatre, New York City on 25 July 2011 in a production by Second Stage Theatre, and opened in the UK at the Manchester Opera House on 8 February 2012.

A comedy is a work characterized by humour and a happy ending. The term (Greek: komēōdē) originally meant a village song, referring to Greek rustic merrymakings. Greek comedy appears to have originated from such village revels and from festivities connected with the worship of Dionysus. The use of a Chorus may have derived from the practice of revellers masquerading as birds, frogs, etc. Greek comedy is traditionally subdivided into three periods; the boisterous old comedy of Aristophanes, the transitional middle comedy, and the new comedy of Menander. The latter was the main influence on the development of the comedy of intrigue during the early Roman era. The tradition of classical comedy disappeared during the medieval period (although many mystery plays contain elements of rough farce) to be revived at the Renaissance in the commedia dell’arte. In the 16th and 17th centuries writers such as Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, and Molière, raised the genre to the highest level of literary art, blending poetry and wit with a profound moral and psychological insight.

from Jonathan Law ed., The Methuen Drama Dictionary of the Theatre (London, 2011)