Tagged: play

The Works of Oscar Wilde

works of oscar wilde abbeydale press golden heritage 2000The Works of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde, 5/5

Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite authors and I have read (and re-read) his major works, such as the entrancing novella, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the impossibly witty play The Importance of Being Earnest.  However, there were a few of his short stories, plays and poems that I’d never encountered before, so this collection was a delightful mix of old favourites and new discoveries.

Why I read it: this collection was a birthday present from my dad.

Medea

medea euripidesMedea by Euripides, translated by Rex Warner, 5/5

This play has a killer plot: when her husband, Jason, dumps her and upgrades to a more royal model, Medea, [formerly] devoted wife and mother of two sons (unnamed in the play, I call them “Collateral” and “Damage”), manages to take the moral high ground, despite being an accomplished murderess, and plots a terrible vengeance.  As you can imagine, tensions run high and there is a lot of deliciously vitriolic dialogue.  Warner’s translation is straightforward and unflowery, resulting in an entertaining read that I would love to see performed some day.

[Why I read it: found it at the thrift store and thought it would fit in well with my plan to read more classics.]

Love’s Labour’s Lost

loves labours lost shakespeareLove’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare, 4/5

Armed only with the ambiguous aid of some humourless footnotes and crusty endnotes, I could sense a veritable jet stream of jokes, puns and witticism blowing right over my head.  How I missed my customary “cheater’s edition,” with its modern English translations on each facing page!  Unfortunately for me and my limited understanding of Elizabethan English, the play is more dialogue- than plot-driven and, though the premise is cute and there were many funny moments, I often found myself quoting one movie-watcher’s insightful comment on A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999): “I can’t understand a damn word they are saying…”

[Why I read it: One day last week, I had an hour to kill while waiting for a ride.  Imagine my horror when I looked in my backpack and found myself bookless (French homework obviously doesn’t count).  Like a literary knight in shining armour, my sister produced her personal copy of Love’s Labour’s Lost, thus banishing my unhappy state.]

Twelfth Night

twelfth nightTwelfth Night by William Shakespeare, 5/5

This lighthearted and unrelentingly witty play is similar to As You Like It and A Midsummer’s Night Dream, but is my favourite of the three.  While I find it distracting to see the modern version of the text side-by-side with the original, in this case, it really helped me to understand a lot of humour that would otherwise have gone right over my head.

[Why I read it: part of the aforementioned long-term mission to read everything by Shakespeare.  I picked this copy up from the thriftstore.]

The Winslow Boy

winslow boyThe Winslow Boy: A Play in Four Acts by Terence Rattigan, 3/5

I have yet to develop much of a taste for plays, finding that they typically (though of course, not always) have shallow plots and lack character development.  This work is no exception, but I enjoyed the 1999 movie version, starring Jeremy Northam, so much that it was still a fun read.