Wednesday, April 2, 2008


A few weeks ago, my friend posed the following question to me:
I am teaching a class on English and American drama this fall and have to turn in my reading list soon. The class can include any playwright (excluding Shakespeare) and will be organized around the theme of "Violence and Victims." I still need several plays to fill out my list and would love your suggestions. Anything the touches on violence or victims, as widely understood as possible, can be included.

It's an interesting concept. What is violence and how is it defined? Who becomes the victim? Basic questions, yes, but it's interesting to discuss them in the context of action rather than theory or history.

What plays would you suggest to him?

Here is my list:
1 - Oleanna by David Mamet
2 - Dutchman by LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka)
3 - How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel
4 - The Homecoming by Harold Pinter
5 - Mulatto by Langston Hughes
6 - Natural Affection by William Inge

Other suggestions:
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, All My Sons by Arthur Miller, Elephant Man, Edward Albee: The Zoo Story or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe, The Seafarer by Conor McPhearson, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare, August Wilson: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom or Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Peter Schaeffer: The Dresser, or Equus, Sara Kane, Bent by Martin Sherman, The Pitchfork Disney , Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard, Musicals: Carousel, Oliver, or Sweeney Todd, Stop Kiss: Diana Son, Caryl Churchill

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