3Ps Play Database
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Your name (optional)TitlePlaywrightGenreContent WarningsWhat's it about?Why do you like it?ThemesOther notesDate Added
Henry ZumbrunnenThe Madwoman of ChaillotJean GiradouxAbsurdist Comedy (with some drama)NoneWhen a bunch of businessmen try to destroy a small French suburb to get at an oil deposit, the local madwoman rallies a whole bunch of crazy people to defend her town. Cue Hijinx.It's absurdist, it's funny, and it's remarkably on-the-nose about the simple joys of life. And there's a character called "Sewer Man". Who wouldn't love it?The simple joys, friendship, mortality and its constant encroachment upon the human existenceThe film is garbage. Don't watch it.10/25/2016
Wei Han LimPeople, Places and ThingsDuncan MacmillanDramaDrugs, addiction, overdosingEmma is a struggling hedonistic actress with a serious addiction problem. After having a freakout on stage during a production of The Seagull, she finds herself in rehab. As Emma tries to hide between constantly shifting veneers, the play charts her reluctant and unsteady journey to recovery as she struggles to deal with her identity, her past, and her family history.Emma is an incredible role, and she remains on stage for essentially the whole play. We experience her story through her eyes, so the play dips in and out of naturalism in startling ways that drag you into her drug-induced lifestyle. While this is a play dealing with recovery, it treats drugs and alcohol as a complex issue, acknowledging why people find them appealing, and portraying the complexity of sobering up. Besides Emma, the play also gives glimpses of other addicts finding themselves falling in and out of rehab. It's a compelling text that refuses to judge or lay down any moral verdicts on the characters, and ends up in a surprisingly unsteady place. (There are also brilliant moments of dark humor sprinkled throughout, and anyone who's read Hedda Gabbler is in for a treat.)Drugs, addiction, acting/meta-theater, identity, familyReally weird things happen in the stage directions. Might cause headaches for potential directors, but they really help to convey Emma's world AND ARE AMAZINGLY CRAZY.10/10/2016
Amanda RoseTribesNina RaineDramaNoneWhen Billy, a deaf man raised in an all-hearing family with no knowledge of the existence of sign language, meets Sylvia, a woman with deaf parents who is slowly losing her own hearing, he is introduced to a new community and way of life. His interactions with her and mastery of sign language impacts his relationships with his family, and prompts him to question what it means to belong to a "tribe" and the intricacies of the rituals and hierarchies that compose them.This play was my first exposure to the deaf theater community, which is a type of performance that we rarely explore at Tufts and is very beautiful. Although the play appears to focus on this specific section of the population, its messages about the complex family and romantic relationships are relatable for all readers; everyone has clashed with those they love at some point and knows what it feels like to be an "outsider."family, belonging, communication, culture, deaf communityProjections are used to "translate" the signed lines in the play for the audience. There's one powerful scene where Billy confronts his family about not teaching him sign language, but he argues with them using sign. Sylvia translates for the family but, as the projections show, some things are purposefully lost in translation. 10/6/2016
Heather NathansWelcome Home Jenny SutterJulie Marie MyattDramaPTSDA female combat veteran returns home to her childhood town and has challenges communicating her wartime experrience to friends and familyIt explores the challenges of FEMALE war vets (often left out of the conversation).PTSD, Healing, Community, national identity10/6/2016
Ethan WhitmanAngels in AmericaTony Kushner"a gay fantasia on national themes"homophobia, transphobia, AIDS, In the midst of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, the prohpet Prior Walter must traverse a world fraught with Republican lawyers, agoraphobia, McCarthyism, AZT, drag queens, and Ethel Rosenberg to fulfill the divine mission given to him by the Angel of America. It blends magical, political, and religious themes to express what it means to be queer in America, what it means to be American in America, and what it means to be both.death, religion, queer identity, Judaism, mental illness"The white cracker who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word 'free' to a note so high nobody can reach it."10/6/2016
Blair NodelmanPolaroid StoriesNaomi Iizukasurrealisthomelessness, drugs, violenceInspired in part by Ovid's Metamorphoses, Iizuka's Polaroid Stories takes place on an abandoned pier on the outermost edge of a city, a way stop for dreamers, dealers and desperadoes, a no-man's land where runaways seek camaraderie, refuge and escape. Serpentine routes from the street to the heart characterize the interactions in this spellbinding tale of young people pushed to society's fringe. Informed, as well, by interviews with young prostitutes and street kids, Polaroid Stories conveys a whirlwind of psychic disturbance, confusion and longing. Like their mythic counterparts, these modem-day mortals are engulfed by needs that burn and consume. Their language mixes poetry and profanity, imbuing the play with lyricism and great theatrical force.It uses mythology in a contemporary context and illustrates something incredibly human about these mythic characters. As a group of homeless Baltimore teens traverse throughout life, the poetry and connection to mythology creates and incredible blend of classic and contemporarymythology, teenagedom, homeslessness, idenity, mental illness10/6/2016
Kella Merlain-MoffattI Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from RwandaSonja LindenViolence, warJuliette a Rwandan Genocide survivor talks about loss and love as she attempts to turn the page and move forward. She honors loved ones who she has lost by telling their story, with the hopes that her story will be published with the help of Simon and that new generations will learn from the past. I do not like this piece, I love it. I performed it for a whole year for Speech adn Debate (if you ever want the performance I am more than happy to do it again). There are so many layers to the piece of joy and sadness and more. Truly a must!identiy, depression, love, loss, death, romance10/6/2016
Ben Fuligni Runaways Elizabeth Swados Monologue/vignettesHomelessness, abuse, sexual assault, murderFor one reason or another, millions of children are homeless on the street in the United States. Some have even formed their own communities and societies. This play explores a fictionalized one that is based off of real interviews with homeless children in NYC.The characters are compelling, the dialogue and songs are simple but clever, and the themes are almost never explored anywhere else.Homelessness, belonging, living vs surviving There are some songs, but it should not be beautifully sung. There is dialogue entirely in Spanish and ASL10/6/2016
Justin AnChimericaLucy KirkwoodDramaNoneThe charismatic, heroic photographer of the Tianneman Square protests sets out to discover who this 'tank man' truly was. Approved to tell this story in an American lens, he is convinced the same man has since immigrated to the United States. Moving from the past to present and America to China, this play not only looks at the lives of the reporter and the tank man, but also looks at the complicated global/ideological tensions between China and the United States. Compelling characters, open design concept, relevance to today's society, diversity in character. I feel like 3Ps has not necessarily had the most diverse of shows in the past not just in casting, but also in subject matter. I think this play would be a great opportunity for 3Ps to experiment with cultures of the East. Other than that, this really is a FANTASTIC play; super entertaining and thought-provoking. Everyone should read it. Transparency in media, intercultural relations, modernity/technology, amorality of media, heroism(?)10/6/2016
Justin AnM. ButterflyDavid Henry HwangDramaSuicideA French man falls in love with an actor from the Beijing Opera, thinking he was a woman. After his wife leaves him, they stay together for 20 years until the truth is revealed, and Gallimard is convicted of treason and imprisoned. Unable to face the fact that his "perfect woman" is actually a man, that has been posing as a woman for 20 years to be able to spy, he retreats deep within himself and his memories. The action of the play is depicted as his disordered, distorted recollection of the events surrounding their affair.It's one of the most interesting plays I've read - it deals with concepts of feminitiy and masculinity in both western and eastern cultulres.and challenges how the west often treats different cultures. Written beautifully, engaging story.Orientalism, Gender relations, intercultural relations10/6/2016
Selena GrohThe Last Days of Judas IscariotStephen Adly GuirgisComedy/Theologicalmention of abortionThe Last Days of Judas Iscariot tells the story of a court case over the ultimate fate of Judas Iscariot. The play uses flashbacks to an imagined childhood, and lawyers who call for the testimonies of such witnesses as Mother Teresa, Caiaphas, Saint Monica, Sigmund Freud, and Satan.It looks deeply at forgiveness, love, guilt, and paradoxes in faith while still remaining remarkably real and grounded. Although the questions being addressed and the plot of the play may seem to lend themselves to erudite discourse, the dialogue is sharp and full of, as one person descriped it, "unforced eloquence." Although the characters are some of the most famous names in history, the play is full of rough-hewn simplicity. It's just beautiful and smart and full of crippling existentialism <3 Also the characters come from all walks of life and express the diverse human experienceforgiveness, unconditional love, sin, existentialismJUDAS' MOTHER: "The world tells me that God is in Heaven and that my son is in Hell. I tell the world the one true thing I know: If my son is in Hell, then there is no Heaven--because if my son sits in Hell, there is no God.” (SOMEBODY PLEASE DO THIS SHOW)10/5/2016
Blair NodelmanBenghal Tiger at the Baghdad ZooRajiv JosephMilitary dramaPTSD, violenceIt's about the Iraqi War following both American soliders and Iraqi civilians and the travesty of warIt handles war with a narrative that isn't solely foused on American patriotism and actually addresses the horrors of war we are complicit in simply by being American. It sheds light on the other side of war, illustrating civilian stories. Essentially, no one is portrayed in a perfect light.Iraqi War, PTSD, trauma10/5/2016
Mitchell KatzAugust: Osage CountyTracey LettsDark HumorSexual abuseThe father of a dynfunctional family goes missing and the whole family gathers to figure out what happenedYou watch a completely reasonable, but deeply disturbed, family self implode, but without being too dark and while still being incredibly funnyAddiction, family dynamics10/5/2016
Abby SchmidtCompleat Female Stage BeautyJeffery HatcherHistorical Drama (but with lots of comedy)Sexual content, violence, homophobia and transphobiaIn London in 1661, when women weren't allowed to act, a man named Kynaston was famous for portraying female roles. But when King Charles II changes the law to allow women on the stage (and bans men from playing women), Kynaston's career and life fall apart.Shakespeare's Othello is featured prominently in the story--Desdemona is Kynaston's favorite role, and parts of the play (particularly Desdemona's death scene) are integrated into the script. Compleat Female Stage Beauty uses Othello in really cool way; it sets up parallels in order to explore themes of gender and jealousy.Gender roles, sexual/gender identity, jealousy. Also: when society changes, what happens to the people who are left behind?There's a film version of it called "Stage Beauty" that's complete trash--don't watch it10/5/2016
Abby SchmidtAs You Like ItShakespeareComedyNoneWhen Rosalind is banished from her Uncle's court, she flees alongside her cousin/best friend Celia and the court jester Touchstone into the forest. Rosalind disguises herself as a man in order to ensure their safe travel, and, long story short, *hijinks* ensue.In my opinion, its one of Shakespeare's funniest plays. The main characters have an intelligent, witty sense of humor that leads to some killer lines and scenes. It's also a FANTASTIC play for women: there's a diverse group of female characters, and the whole plot is based around this really strong female friendship between two women who support and love each other.Friendship, love, forgiveness, resiliance10/5/2016
James DavisFencesAugust WilsonDramaViolence, rascism, sexual contentTroy is a middle aged black man struggling to support his family in 1950s pittsburg. Once a great baseball player, he was denied a place in the major leagues at his peak due to his ethnicity. The play explores Troy's conflicts with his family, his neighbors and the wider world. Through realistic characters and beautiful metaphors, the play explores the ugliness and nobility of the human spirit.I like Fences because it's a story about people. It's not trying to make grand political statements about what is right and what is wrong. Each character has their own story, such that each person's struggle is recognizable. Each character teachers the reader/watcher more about themselves. It's also not overly complex in the way it presents the characters, such that I think both seasoned theatre goers and newcomers could get a lot out of the play.Injustice, jealousy, family, hope10/5/2016
Rachel CanowitzCloud NineCaryl ChurchillDark HumorSexual harassment, homophobia, protagonist may remind you of our 45th presidentThe first act takes place in British Colonial Africa (intentionally ambiguous, I'm not just blithely forgetting the country) in the mid-19th century at the height of Nationalism and Victorian social repression. The second act takes place in London in 1979, although for the characters in the story only 25 years have passed. Actors play different characters between Acts 1 and 2, and a handful of characters are cast genderswapped (male actors portray female characters, etc). Military man Clive struggles to keep his "ideal" family together in the name of Mother England as the other characters quietly fight back against social norms to explore their own sexual urges. In the end, both "generations" of characters find little fulfillment in what the world has offered for them. The two acts draw a parallel between the eras of colonialism and of 70s second-wave feminism, forcing us to question whether or not our "liberated" world is actually any better than what came before it.I. LOVE. This play. I can talk about this play for DAYS. Although it is true that by today's standards, the stage gag of men playing women to highlight the absurdities of gender roles is a bit reductive, much of what it has to say about the binaries in which we hold ourselves are still incredibly salient. This is not a play of "oh, look at how repressed we once were and look how happy we are now," this is a play of "our problems are the same, they just have different names." When we fight to be seen beyond what society has told us we can be seen as, we still confine ourselves to what we understand as "normal." And, in fact, what we may see as normal, however deviant, still may not be healthy for ourselves or the people around us. In order to truly liberate ourselves from our social confines, we must look beyond where we have been to find our answers. Also, it's really funny, AND it takes a bit heaping shit on aggressive nationalism, which ... is relevant today. (..... omg sorry I wrote so much in comparison to other people I just think everyone should have the pleasure of reading this play). Queer theory, feminism, toxic masculinityThis play is often included in the Drama 4 curriculum!1/29/2016
Red NosesPeter BarnesDark HumorA riff on the black death. Father Flote sees people around him suffering from the plague and receives a message from God to create a comedy troupe that goes around entertaining the dying. They wear red noses to satyrize the buboes found on plague victims.The language is beautiful and the message of the play communicates sucinctly the reason I started to do theatre in the first place. "God wants peacocks not ravens." The play pokes fun at the hyperserious nature of the church and of faith and encourages people to spread joy and love and laughter while there is still time left. It made me cry.Corruption, the church, death1/20/2017
Sara KimbleRegarding ElectraMaurice ValencyHistorical DramaViolence, MurderThis play is a modernized version of Aeschylus' Oresteia. It takes place at the ruins of Agamemnon's palace in Mycenae, and it begins with a tour guide explaining the history of this site. One boy on the tour falls behind and talks to a young girl, and, almost magically, the centuries melt away. She is Electra and he is Orestes, and the well-known tale of crime and retribution begins to unfold. Electra has been waiting patiently for her brother to return home so he can exact vengence on Clytemnestra for killing their father, and this play mixes the ancient Greek tale with more modern aspects, showing how some themes transcend time.I like how this play is a creative retelling of the Greek classic. It reinvents the story in a novel way, and it really focuses on strong female characters. Electra is given a much more dynamic role than she plays in the original story, and Clytemnestra clearly holds power over Aegisthus and the other men in this play. The juxtoposition of present day and ancient history creates a fascinating dramatic effect, and it shows how themes such as betrayal and revenge have existed as part of human nature for centuries. Revenge, despair2/3/2017
Ben NissanCrossfireMichel AzamaSurrealistWar, Death, Sexual ViolenceA series of vignettes exploring the realities of those caught in the crossfire of war, focusing specifically on the checkpoint between life and death.This play is a devastating collage of what happens to those thrust into war, those caught within war, and those left behind by war. It draws extra attention to the intersection of the horrors of war with youth, and as someone with friends and family serving in the military and living in warzones, living daily through the realities of war, it speaks to my worst fears while injecting enough dark comedy to make it bearable.War, youth and growing up, ethnic and religious conflict2/20/2017
Megan RivkinLaramie ProjectMoisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater ProjectDocudramaAIDS, Extreme Violence, Death, Hate crimes, Violent homophobiaThe murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998. The play is made up almost entirely of interviews that the members of TTP gathered in Laramie after Shepard's death, including interviews with the families of Matthew and the criminals.On a campus like ours that's very liberal and in general very accepting, it is easy to forget about how much homophobia exists in other places around our country and how violent it can become. Major social changes always come with huge backlash, and the story of Matthew Shepard is one example of that backlash. I like docudrama like this play because it means delving into a very real story and having opportunity to do research as an actor/director in order to portray the story authentically. Hate crimes, media, country-wide reactions to violence, how communities react to tragedy, queerness 3/6/2017
Megan RivkinThirdWendy WassersteinSlice-of-life dramaCancer, DeathA professor at a very liberal New England university has extremely strong opinions on everything. However, when she begins fighting with her daughter, her best friend gets very sick, and she gets a new student who challenges her beliefs, she starts to question everything. She takes out her anger and confusion on the student whose political views conflict with her own, trying to accuse him of plagarism. She truly believes a Republican can't be a smart person.I think it is a play that will make sense to Tufts students or people in liberal settings. It grapples with the challenge of maintaining strong beliefs, especially politically, while also pausing to hear other's. It also has to do with college-age students challenging what their parents have always told them to believe.Family, relationships, death, politics, open-mindedness vs close-mindedness3/13/2017
Sean MurphyWakey, WakeyWill EnoExistentialist tragicomedyDyingWakey, Wakey opens on Guy, an elderly man, musing on the realities of his finite and ending life. His ramblings range from philosophy, to stories, to YouTube videos, and even to fictions from a life he hasn't lived. He stays onstage by himself for more than half of the one-act, two person play in a way that forces him to make a strong connection with the audience, and flutter lazily between a broad array of topics and emotions, including but not limited to life, death, influence, and gratitude, all the while maintaining a tone of wit and wonder. His performance is eventually interrupted by Lisa, a nurse, who guides his winding monologue back to reality.This is the most uplifting play I've read about death. True to Will Eno's style, it is an absolute holler to read or watch, but doesn't let the audience forget the meat of the story. It's somehow absurd and just a little harrowing. Wakey, Wakey plays on the relationship between playwright, actor, and audience in a way that is fun for the theatre regular and the newcomer, without diluting the other contents of the play. Wakey, Wakey is a weird, absurdist, existentialist, dramatic, comedic hodgepodge of high-class theatre that speaks comfortably to an audience at any stage of life or death.Death, reflection, influence, legacyWakey, Wakey had its world premiere this spring, running from February seventh to April second at the Signature Theatre in New York City.3/27/2017
Wei Han LimAnatomy of a SuicideAlice BirchDramaSuicide, self-harm, bodily injury, mental health, depressionThree generations of young women grow up and struggle with life, family, responsibilty, childbirth, and themselves.The three narratives play out simultaneously on stage: Birch has structured and formatted the text so that you know when moments happen in relation to moments in the other narratives. It seems intense at first, but it isn't overwhelming (it isn't three Sorkin conversations happening at once), and it shows the way traumas reawaken and repeat themselves in each generation, albeit with new variations each time. It's understandably a heavy, challenging, and heartbreaking play, but it is also incredibly tender and compassionate and even maybe a little optimistic.Trauma, family, gender, suicide, death, mental healthBirch won the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for this play. Katie Mitchell directed the first (and only professional) production at the Royal Court in 2017, and I'm just saying this because a) it's an outrage no one else has staged this play since, and b) I <3 ALICE & KATIE1/23/2019