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GordonCole

Favorite Playwrights

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For me, it's always been Clyde Fitch. I think his plays, particularly any one with the esteemed and renowned Mojeska were superb and speak for themselves.

Now some may like things a bit more modern like those of David Belasco, who brought such realism to the stage, or Chekhov, who if he put a gun in a play, you were sure to hear it go off, as in the wonderful Uncle Vanya with the suicide attempt.

Name your favorite playwright whose works still work in movies.

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Eugene O'Neill, for me, is America's supreme stage talent.

Tennessee Williams, next in line.

Arthur Miller.

William Inge.

I have a few modern playwrights I admire as well: Tina Howe, for example. Her 'Painting Churches' is superb.

Classic playwrights? The Europeans? I've read a heckuva lot of 'em but how many I seen adapted? Disparate number. They can be choppy reading. Anyway well... Luigi Pirandello is fun. Marguerite Duras. Frederich Durenmatt. Sarte: more fun to read than experience, perhaps? Camus: not very well known as Camus' stage plays. They're very fine.

Brits: George Bernard Shaw, I am not much a fan of.

Surpringly, Goldsmith is very readable: 'She Stoops to Conquer', 'School for Scandal'. Oscar Wilde, his foursome of smash hits.

Irish: geez too many. Let's see...whoever wrote 'Shadow of a Gunman'; cant even recall his name. And William Synge of course. 'The Playboy of the Western World'.

Samuel Beckett. Acquired taste. I like his stuff; but don't often muse or reflect on him.

The Greeks? I wouldn't care to open that Pandora's Box...

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In the 1800s, the legendary William Gillette famously played Sherlock Holmes in America for years, became thoroughly identified with Holmes, and also looked so uncannily like Doyle's description of Holmes that his face became synonymous with the detective's. Eventually Gillette wrote a play of his own, a pastiche of several Holmes tales called 'The Mystery of Alice Faulkner' (or something like that) and its actually a heckuva fun Holmes romp. He and Doyle corresponded about it.

The Mercury Theater gave a fine production of this play, with Welles as Holmes.

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another modern: Tom Stoppard. I've seen his 'Fool for Love' adapted on PBS and its grand.

I dont know who wrote it but I've seen Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn in 'The Gin Game'.

Oh! Those Brits John Mortimer and Harold Pinter. And ...Simon Gray? Wonderful talents. Blazing, in the case of Gray.

Huge mention must also be made of 'The Singing Detective' by Dennis Potter which is my favorite mini-series either American or British. Favorite of all time. Its stunning. Same author also gave us 'Pennies from Heaven' which is fun but not quite as good. Bob Hoskins stars.

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Eugene Ionesco was Romanian French.

 I never thought just plays were all that funny-- especially

26 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Oy! Lest us not forget Eugene Ionesco. Frenchman. His comedies are split-your-sides funny.

Rhinoceros and La Cantatrice chauve. But I can see on certain levels some people might find them amusing.

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A lot of the British 'kitchen sink' dramas originated from plays. 'Billy Liar' for example.

p.s. Uncle Joe, hi there. Say, does this list-making of mine weary you? I agree its silly to just itemize things this way without ever reaching a point where a conclusion can be drawn. We're of like mind on that score. Nothing is more mundane; yet this highly picayune predilection is rife in the ranks of filmgoers, isn't it? Its almost like a reflex. Something should be done about it.

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 I would submit for your approval the Pulitzer prize-winning playwright from Kansas, William Inge.

It was only a little unfortunate for him that he came directly after Tennessee Williams who was also a Mentor. Tennessee tended overshadow him a bit. But the work of William Inge is unbelievably outstanding.

Many of his plays have been made into films and he won the Oscar for the screenplay "Splendor in the Grass".

His outstanding plays are:

 Come Back Little Sheba

Picnic

The Dark at the Top of the Stairs

Bus Stop

They actually usually takes place in Kansas. Somehow William Inge never fit into the New York Circle of critics group. But Hollywood  i.e. the movie-going public loved his work .

Actors who are associated with him from the Broadway stage, as well as Hollywood, were Shirley Booth, Pat Hingle, and Shirley Knight.

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I'm very much a fan of Inge. A fine string of hits. Makes it look easy. An overlooked gem is 'dark at the top of the stairs'. I love his Kansas settings!

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re: Ionesco, thanks for that pickup. I can't claim to have read him widely; but one comedy I think is mind-blowingly hilarious is 'The Bald Soprano'. Its one of the only dozen or so books I've read in my entire life which had me convulsed and red-faced with laughter. And you know, its not easy to make Sergeant Markoff laugh, I promise you. :)

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2 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Say, does this list-making of mine weary you?

Actually your predilection for showboating wearies me along with dredging up topics from long dead posts that you seem quite keen to comment on rather than just go with the mundane natural flow and your smug contentedness with carrying on ridiculous conversations on topics again that you start with all the alter egos that you've seem to have created for these boards.

How that for an answer?

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12 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

another modern: Tom Stoppard. I've seen his 'Fool for Love' adapted on PBS and its grand.

I dont know who wrote it but I've seen Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn in 'The Gin Game'.

Oh! Those Brits John Mortimer and Harold Pinter. And ...Simon Gray? Wonderful talents. Blazing, in the case of Gray.

Fool for Love is by Sam Shepard, unless Stoppard wrote a play of the same name with which I am unfamiliar.

In terms of British playwrights, I do like Simon Gray. I worked with him once. Alan Bennett is a particular favorite of mine. I also worked with Peter Shaffer, and I absolutely adored the man and love his work. Of an older generation, I am fond of Harley Granville Barker.

And of course dear Noel and Terence. I like John Osborne, particularly A Patriot for Me and Inadmissible Evidence. And I like Albee and McNally.

Of the current crop of Brits, I like Mike Bartlett and Richard Bean.

Gay playwrights (i.e. who write about gay themes) that I like: Kevin Elyot, Matthew Lopez, Peter Gill, many others. I'm not wild about Tony Kushner, though I do like his plays up to a point.

Of course there are many many more!

 

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I always confuse those guys names! Thank ye

Simon Gray is searing; livid. Nitroglycerine.

John Osborne. He did 'Look Back in Anger', yes?

Pete Schaffer, 'Eqqus'?

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21 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Actually your predilection for showboating wearies me along with dredging up topics from long dead posts that you seem quite keen to comment on rather than just go with the mundane natural flow and your smug contentedness with carrying on ridiculous conversations on topics again that you start with all the alter egos that you've seem to have created for these boards.

How that for an answer?

Works for me.  👍

(Oh, and it's EqUUs, although Milos Forman did his best to keep Schaffer from ruining the theatrical cut of "Amadeus".  Only to see the, quote, "Director's Cut" undo it.)

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along with dredging up topics from long dead posts

--Uncle Joe

But in all cordiality my good man, I haven't committed this affront, in some time now. You're behind events. Please remove this item from the list of accusation you'd like to lay at my door, 'ole cork!

Quote

conversations on topics again that you start with all the alter egos that you've seem to have created for these boards.

--Uncle Joe

My confrere, I can't be responsible for dispelling these strange suspicions you harbor. They're positively Poe-like. It almost sounds as if you want to lead me down into your family catacomb to show me some rare Amontillado you've just come into possession of.

Truly, I've only got one account. This is something else you should remove from your mounting grudges against me. Listen, you know I bear you no ill-will, right? You're a grand old patriarch, in my view. I assure you.

Your views on noir are outrageous--and I've railed against them--but I have nothing to say about you personally. You're well-spoken and innocuous as far as I'm concerned. We happen to disagree on a few topics, but I have nothing but esteem for you. So let's not let things get out of hand here.

Quote

Actually your predilection for showboating wearies me

Oh, you kid!  :)  23-skidoo!  :D

 

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Going with Chekhov, though I can't say if his plays work as movies. It's not the

short, occasional melodramatic outbursts that I appreciate, but the tragicomic

landscape of genteel every day futility. Add in Brecht, Pinter,  and the usual 20th

century American suspects.

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Interesting subject. So many examples already listed.

Did no one mention Shakespeare?

I like Robert Anderson's plays.

Oh, and August Wilson. Another great playwright.

screen-shot-2019-02-11-at-11.05.33-pm.jp

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8 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

I always confuse those guys names! Thank ye

Simon Gray is searing; livid. Nitroglycerine.

John Osborne. He did 'Look Back in Anger', yes?

Pete Schaffer, 'Eqqus'?

Simon was not that well when I worked with him. And he smoked and smoked! I remember working with him in his hotel room, late at night, along with his wife (Victoria Rothschild), tweaking a script.

John Osborne did indeed write Look Back in Anger. It was a landmark play, but I think it's kind of dated now. 

Peter Shaffer wrote Equus, Amadeus, Five Finger Exercise, many other plays. A particular favorite of mine is The Royal Hunt of the Sun, which did not really get a good movie treatment. But the play is amazing, and the death and (non) resurrection of Atahualpa is one of the great scenes in contemporary drama.

Of the Brits, Peter Nichols is another favorite.

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21 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

 I would submit for your approval the Pulitzer prize-winning playwright from Kansas, William Inge.

It was only a little unfortunate for him that he came directly after Tennessee Williams who was also a Mentor. Tennessee tended overshadow him a bit. But the work of William Inge is unbelievably outstanding.

Many of his plays have been made into films and he won the Oscar for the screenplay "Splendor in the Grass".

His outstanding plays are:

 Come Back Little Sheba

Picnic

The Dark at the Top of the Stairs

Bus Stop

They actually usually takes place in Kansas. Somehow William Inge never fit into the New York Circle of critics group. But Hollywood  i.e. the movie-going public loved his work .

Actors who are associated with him from the Broadway stage, as well as Hollywood, were Shirley Booth, Pat Hingle, and Shirley Knight.

Of William Inge's three plays that are considered "Broadway failures" - "A Loss Of Roses", "Natural Affection" and "Where's Daddy?" - these three plays are worth reading - and much better than their "reputations" would suggest. 

 

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10 hours ago, Swithin said:

John Osborne did indeed write Look Back in Anger. It was a landmark play, but I think it's kind of dated now. 

Although Monty Python may have inaccurately pegged that play as a target when they satirized English "working class" theater of the 60's:

 

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