In his most challenging work to date, Czech playwright Vaclav Havel has given the Faust legend a provocative twist. His setting is the Institute, whose mission is to combat the irrational tendencies in society through its scientific work. Personal and professional relationships at this lighthouse of truthful knowledge are a tissue of lies and sycophancy in which all concerned willingly collude. The only tempest in this teapot of careerism is Dr Foustka, who has lately been smitten by metaphysical doubt and is rumored to be dabbling in the black arts. His mentor, the unlikely Mephistopheles of the piece, is a dwarflike old man with smelly feet and a slippery logic that irresistibly appeals to Foustka's intellectual hubris. With great wit and originality Havel follows the familiar outlines of the story to a unique conclusion at a witches' sabbath garden party organized by the Institute's crafty director in the spirit of modern group-costume therapy. For Havel, the rational carried to surreal lengths of irrationality is not a theatrical technique but a fact of life in Czechoslovakia since the Soviet invasion of 1968. Yet in universalizing his tale through the Faust legend, he forcefully reminds us that under conditions of modern bureaucracy neither East nor West holds a monopoly on the sale of souls.
Pravda (which means "truth") is a comedy of excess which, for the first time puts modern Fleet Street on the stage. "Pravda is an epic comedy - part The Front Page, part Arturo Ui - in which a press baron resembling Rupert Murdoch does battle with over 30 characters as he conquers Fleet Street journalism and by implication, liberal England's soul." (Frank Rich, New York Times) This is Howard Brenton's and David Hare's first collaboration since Brassneck in 1973. It was premiered at The National Theatre in spring 1985 and awarded the London Standard Best Play Award, the City Limits Best Play Award and the Plays and Players Best Play Award."
The three plays collected in this volume demonstrate Sheridan's unerring ability to create unrivalled comedy out of ingenious plots, witty repartee, farcical situations and flamboyant characters. And while he never overtly moralizes, Sheridan uses brilliant comedy to deflate hypocrisy and satirize the manners of his age. In The Rivals, Captain Absolute becomes his own rival for the hand of Lydia Languish--wooing her under another name, while her aunt, the verbally inept Mrs Malaprop, wishes her to marry the real Captain. School for Scandal continues the theme of imposture when Sir Oliver tests his nephews by appearing to them in disguise, and learns that reputation and the approval of society are of little value. And The Critic, featuring the pompous Puff and the arrogant Sneer, is a mocking depiction of the theatre, playwrights and, of course, critics.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm's-eve view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's play. In Tom Stoppard's best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.Tom Stoppard was catapulted into the front ranks of modem playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967. Its subsequent run in New York brought it the same enthusiastic acclaim, and the play has since been performed numerous times in the major theatrical centers of the world. It has won top honors for play and playwright in a poll of London Theater critics, and in its printed form it was chosen one of the "Notable Books of 1967" by the American Library Association.
In Oh Calcutta Kenneth Tynan has assembled a group of sketches which deal with almost every conceivable erotic fantasy and sexual reality that Western man has dreamt up or experienced. The distinguished roster of authors includes Samuel Beckett, Edna O'Brien, Jules Feiffer, Leonard Melfi, John Lennon, and, not to be outdone, Kenneth Tynan himself.
Plautus's broad humor, shown in some of the earliest surviving Latin plays, reflects Roman manners and contemporary life. This briliant collection includes: The Pot of Gold (Aulularia), The Prisoners (Captivi), The Brothers Menaechmus (Menaechmi), The Swaggering Soldier (Miles Gloriosus), and Pseudolus.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
T. S. Eliot's verse dramatization of the murder of Thomas Becket at Canterbury, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
The Archbishop Thomas Becket speaks fatal words before he is martyred in T. S. Eliot's best-known drama, based on the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170. Praised for its poetically masterful handling of issues of faith, politics, and the common good, T. S. Eliot's play bolstered his reputation as the most significant poet of his time.
Set in a landscape stripped bare by civil war, two "independents" forge an alliance of convenience in order to buy their way into the land of the free, the one safe haven in an otherwise lawless landscape. Hiding from marauding armies, they travel the country, gathering great art treasures from crumbling museums. But with the border to freedom in sight, they're captured by forces from the new coalition government. They can still buy their freedom - if they agree to do one little job for the new government.