Helena, a ward of the Countess of Rousillion, falls in love with the Countess's son, Bertram. Daughter of a famous doctor, and a skilled physician in her own right, Helena cures the King of France—who feared he was dying—and he grants her Bertram's hand as a reward. Bertram, however, offended by the inequality of th…Read More »
Perhaps the most popular from all of Shakespeare's comedies, humorously celebrates the vagaries of love. The approaching wedding festivities of Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride-to-be, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, are delightfully crisscrossed with in-again, off-again romances of two young pairs of Athenian…Read More »
Wilde's scintillating drawing-room comedy revolves around a blackmail scheme that forces a married couple to reexamine their moral standards. A supporting cast of young lovers, society matrons, and a formidable femme fatale exchange sparkling repartee, keeping the action of the play at a lively pace.
A magnificent drama of love and war, this riveting tragedy presents one of Shakespeare's greatest female characters–the seductive, cunning Egyptian queen Cleopatra. The Roman leader Mark Antony, a virtual prisoner of his passion for her, is a man torn between pleasure and virtue, between sensual indolence and duty …Read More »
When Rosalind is banished by her uncle, who has usurped her father's throne, she flees to the Forest of Arden where her exiled father holds court. There, dressed as a boy to avoid discovery, she encounters the man she loves - now a fellow exile - and resolves to remain in disguise to test his feelings for her. A glo…Read More »
Set in Egypt, Caesar and Cleopatra, is a drama in which the 50-year-old Roman general meets the childish young Queen and exerts a fatherly influence on her.
Delve into a hilarious examination of Victorian love, manners, morals, and marriage written by the author of Pygmalion. In Candida, George Bernard Shaw gives us the story of the misbegotten love triangle that springs up between a reverend, his putatively prim and proper wife, and a love-struck and starry-eyed young …Read More »
The King of Britain, enraged by his daughter's disobedience in marrying against his wishes, banishes his new son-in-law. Having fled to Rome, the exiled husband makes a foolish wager with a villain he encounters there - gambling on the fidelity of his abandoned wife. Combining courtly menace and horror, comedy and m…Read More »
A play written in 1787 and originally with music composed by Beethoven. Egmont is a Flemish warrior whose nemesis is the Duke of Alba. Heeventully ends up in prison, sentenced to death. In his final speech, Egmont calls to his people for freedom and to never give up the fight against their oppressors.
Hamlet is the story of the Prince of Denmark who learns of the death of his father at the hands of his uncle, Claudius. Claudius murders Hamlet's father, his own brother, to take the throne of Denmark and to marry Hamlet's widowed mother. Hamlet is sunk into a state of great despair as a result of discovering the mu…Read More »
Henry V is the most famous and influential of Shakespeare's history plays. Its powerful patriotic rhetoric has resounded down the ages, gaining eloquent expression in Laurence Olivier's renowned film. Henry himself, astute and charismatic, who led his 'band of brothers' to victory in the Battle of Agincourt, could i…Read More »
Displaying the bold vision and growing skill of a young playwright, these are Shakespeare’s first three history plays, covering some sixty tumultuous years of English history. Their pageantry, violence, and stirring speeches excite audiences with action as well as character, and midway through the final play in this…Read More »
Desperate for a son and heir, King Henry VIII risks both his realm and his immortal soul when he divorces Katherine of Aragon in favour of Anne “Bullen.” The last of Shakespeare’s histories, Henry VIII remains famous for more than just its subject matter—a mishap during the performance of the play resulted in the or…Read More »
In King Thaos's kingdom, Iphigenia is the priestess of Artemis who takes the lives of strangers in sacrifice for the gods. Until the day two special strangers are brought to her – strangers who she recognizes: Orestes, her brother, and Pylades, their cousin. To keep the king from sacrificing her family, the three b…Read More »
King Lear, one of Shakespeare's darkest and most savage plays, tells the story of the foolish and Job-like Lear, who divides his kingdom, as he does his affections, according to vanity and whim. Lear’s failure as a father engulfs himself and his world in turmoil and tragedy.
Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s for a performance at the Inns of Court before Queen Elizabeth. It follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to foreswear the company of women for three years of study and fas…Read More »
Being an account from Lycidus to Lysander, of his voyage from the Island of Love: from the French / by the same author of The voyage to the Isle of Love.
The action is set in Sicily, where Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, has recently defeated his half-brother, the bastard Don John, in a military engagement. Apparently reconciled, they return to the capital, Messina, as guests of the Governor, Leonato. There Count Claudio, a young nobleman serving in Don Pedro's army, fa…Read More »
Shakespeare creates a powerful drama of a marriage that begins with fascination (between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona), with elopement, and with intense mutual devotion and that ends precipitately with jealous rage and violent deaths. He sets this story in the romantic world of the Mediter…Read More »
Richard II is one of Shakespeare’s finest works: lucid, eloquent, and boldly structured. It can be seen as a tragedy, or a historical play, or a political drama, or as one part of a vast dramatic cycle which helped to generate England’s national identity. Today, to some of us, Richard II may appear conservative; but…Read More »
A tragedy written early in the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two young 'star-crossed lovers' whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are rega…Read More »
Accused of a crime he didn't commit and unjustly forced from his home town, Silas lives a reclusive and godless life, finding love and companionship only in material objects. It will take the theft of his gold and the discovery of an abandoned infant to remind him of the importance of human relationships and faith. …Read More »
Sir Patient Fancy, a hypochondriacal old alderman, has taken a second wife, Lucia, a young and beautiful woman who, although feigning great affection and the strictest conjugal fidelity, intrigues with a gallant, Charles Wittmore, the only obstacle to their having long since married being mutual poverty. However, th…Read More »
Set in Florence, and preoccupied with the collision of rampant sexuality and women’s virtue, Behn's second play parodies the aristocratic attitudes of Charles II's court, comically exploring the effects of depravity and decadence in the highest echelons of society. The main plot concerns Prince Fredrick's erotic pur…Read More »
Hilarious fun, this early comedy is filled with the merry violence of slapstick and farce. When two sets of twins, separated and apparently lost to each other, all end up in the rowdy, rollicking city of Ephesus, the stage is set for mix-ups, mayhem, and mistaken identity–plus the timeless puns, jokes, gags, and su…Read More »
Sil. Why–I would have thee do–I know not what– Still to be with me–yet that will not satisfie; To let me–look upon thee–still that's not enough. I dare not say to kiss thee, and imbrace thee; That were to make me wish–I dare not tell thee what.
Don Carlos, Governor of Cadiz, has been contracted to Julia, currently married to the rich old Francisco, and in order to gain her, mans a captured Turk galley; and whilst she and her husband are taking a pleasure trip in a yacht, are boarded and made prisoners by the supposed corsairs, who carry them off to a count…Read More »
The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy of manners set in Victorian England. Algernon lives in London and says he has a sick friend in the country. He uses visits to his imaginary friend to get out of things. His best friend, Ernest, is also Jack and is doing the exact same thing. Misunderstandings abound in thi…Read More »
The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, but it remains deeply controversial. The text may seem anti-Semitic; yet repeatedly, in performance, it has revealed a contrasting nature. Shylock, though vanquished in the law-court, often triumphs in the theatre. In his intensity he can dominate…Read More »
Shakespeare's only thoroughly English comedy, created an archetypal literary figure in the shape of the devious, irrepressible John Falstaff. This edition celebrates the play as a joyous exploration of language, but also places elements of its plot firmly in a continental, specifically Italian, tradition of romantic…Read More »