The play features three interlocking plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, which is set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon.
Mad with jealousy, King Leontes of Sicilia orders his best friend Polixenes killed, his child abandoned, and his wife put on trial for adultery. Sixteen years later, Perdita, raised as a shepherd's daughter, falls in love with Polixenes's royal son and returns to her father's kingdom. (Temporary summary by wildemoose)
Few plays have been seen as a more fitting conclusion to a playwright's career than Shakespeare's The Tempest. Focusing on the aging sorcerer and rightful Duke of Milan, Prospero, we are transported to a remote island where magic and strange music fill the air, and the monstrous slave Caliban roams in bitterness. Seeing an opportunity to restore his slandered name, Prospero conjures a mighty storm to bring down a ship containing his wicked brother and the King of Naples, both of whom had driven him out of Milan twelve years before. By stranding them on a remote end of the island, and with the help of the airy spirit Ariel, Prospero sets out to right the wrongs that had been done to him, before renouncing his magic forever. Featuring some of the most powerful speeches in Shakespeare's canon, and with an incredible grasp on tone and the Neoclassical unities of time, place and action, The Tempest remains a formidable and moving farewell to both the Bard and the timeless works he left behind.
One of the most beloved French plays of all time, Cyrano de Bergerac is a clever and tragic tale of truth concealed and love denied. Its titular character is a proud, daring swordsman and genius poet who has one terrible flaw: an abnormally large nose. Too afraid of rejection to confess his love for the beautiful Roxane, Cyrano helps her brainless but handsome suitor Christian to woo her, providing him with love letters while resolutely keeping his own passion a secret.
Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim
G.E. Lessing, widely regarded by students of theater as the world's first dramaturg, was also one of the first proponents of the German bourgeois tragedy. Miss Sara Sampson, in which a young woman runs off with a ne'er-do-well who is still entangled with his former mistress, was a reaction against the Voltarian verse drama popular in the eighteenth century.
The Winter's Tale—one of Shakespeare's final plays—tells the story of two neighboring kings, Leontes of Sicilia and Polixenes of Bohemia. Friends since childhood, their relationship is put under a grave test when a maddened and jealous Leontes publicly accuses his beautiful wife, Hermione, of infidelity. Turbulent chaos engulfs Sicilia as Leontes' miscalculations devastate his family line, but in an unusual move, Shakespeare quickly turns the needle toward redemption with the growls of a bear and the passage of sixteen years, as announced by a personified Time. Whereas the first half of the play portrays the tragic downfall of a man who lets his emotions severely cloud his reasoning, the second half is one of pastoral revelry and natural reverence, set in the lush Bohemian countryside and marked by the purity of amorous youthfulness. In this setting, past sins are allowed to dissolve, the paths to redemption are opened, and fallen lives are given a glorious renewal, all of which leads to one of the most moving set pieces in the entire Shakespearean canon.
Mackaye, Mary Keith Medbery
Pride and Prejudice, a comedy of manners and marriage, is the most famous of Jane Austen's novels. In this dramatic adaption by Mary Keith Medbery Macakaye some liberties are taken with the storyline and characters, but it is still a fun listen or read. Perhaps a good introduction for someone not ready to tackle the complete novel ~ and for the reader familiar with the work, a laugh can be had at the changes that were made in order to adapt it to the stage
von Kotzebue, August
Lovers' Vows (1798), a play by Elizabeth Inchbald arguably best known now for having been featured in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park (1814), is one of at least four adaptations of August von Kotzebue's Das Kind der Liebe (1780; literally "Child of Love," or "Natural Son," as it is often translated), all of which were published between 1798 and 1800. Inchbald's version is the only one to have been performed. Dealing as it does with sex outside marriage and illegitimate birth, Inchbald in the Preface to the published version declares herself to have been highly sensitive to the task of adapting the original German text for "an English audience." Even so, she left the setting as Germany.
The play was first performed at Covent Garden on Thursday, 11 October 1798, and was an immediate success: it ran for forty-two nights, "making it by some distance Covent Garden's most successful venture of that season," and went on to be performed in Bristol, Newcastle, Bath, and elsewhere. It was likewise successful as a print publication, though it also aroused controversy about its "levelling" politics and moral ambiguity. Anne Plumptre, who translated Kotzebue's play as The Natural Son, wrote (perhaps not disinterestedly as the production of Inchbald's work effectively precluded the production of her own) that Inchbald had transformed the character of Amelia into a "forward country hoyden." Others, however, defended the morality of the play. And indeed, various characters indulge in considerable moralizing about charity, honour, and forgiveness.
James Sheridan Knowles
In this romantic Victorian melodrama, the main characters must learn to see through the deceptive fronts that other present in order to discover their heart’s true desires. Dramatic reversals of fortune prevent Julia, a young lady from the country and her guardian, the embittered Master Walter, from finding happiness and love.
Although the author of this play is now famous for writing the most cliché opening line in literature – “It was a dark and stormy night…” (from his 1830 novel, "Paul Clifford" ), this melodrama by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton was at one time one of the most popular dramas of its day. This story of romance and deception thrilled Victorian audiences. In the 1840’s, the show served as a starring vehicle for the great William Macready and the incomparable Helene Faucit. The plot of “Lady of Lyons’” centers around the proud and beautiful Pauline Deschapelles. She finds herself tricked into a marriage with Claude Melnotte, son of a gardener, by her former suitor, the Marquis Beauséant.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.