Monday, July 06, 2009

Playwright! Playwrong?

How well-versed are Realm denizens in the field of play reading? Here's a better question, aside from William Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams - the three playwrights covered in high school (at least for me) - how many plays written by other writers have you read?

On wikipedia, I pulled this exhaustive list of notable playwrights. While I consider myself at least an average reader, I'd say I might know maybe ten percent of this list if I'm lucky, and most of those are from their book writing rather than their plays. Here are some recognizable names that I probably could have named as playwrights:

David Mamet
W.H. Auden
George Bernard Shaw
Ira Levin
Oscar Wilde

but, if pressed, I'm not sure I could name more than a couple plays: Pygmalion, Salome, The Importance of Being Earnest, Deathtrap, Glengarry Glen Ross (the latter trio only because of movies I saw) that any of them wrote.

And here's a fun one I would never have guessed:

Kathie Lee Gifford (who knew???!!!)

and an even better one I never knew:

Wallace Shawn

Mmmmmkay, embarrassingly enough, maybe that 10% I noted above is really more like 2 or 3%. I should probably read a few more plays just to say I did. Chances are, though, since books are what I enjoy writing, I'll probably stick with those. Nonetheless, I think writers, in general, should probably be a little more versed than me in the reading of plays. Probably poetry as well.

Checkout the wikilist of playwrights I linked in the above second paragraph. Here's a chance to impress. Let us know about your play reading and knowledge of playwrights. Pssssst - if you 've read any plays other than Shakespeare, Williams, or Miller, you've already impressed me.


Anonymous said...

Does it count that I've written plays before One was performed in front of my 6th grade health class. And do Puppet skits count as plays? I wrote, produced, and performe some of those, too. Doesn't Wikipedia know me yet?!


Rich said...

I'm sure Wikipedia has you on that list somewhere, Wanda, just as a pen name. Just pick one of the names on the list at random, tell us that's you, and none of us will be the wiser, I assure you.