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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
The Seagull is the first of Anton Checkov's four full-length plays. It explores the romantic and artistic tension in the relationships between a young woman, a fading older lady, her playwright son and a popular story writer. The play references Shakespeare's Hamlet both in text and content. It has a cast of eclecti…Read More »
Renowned as Shakespeare's most boisterous comedy, The Taming of the Shrew is the tale of two young men, the hopeful Lucentio and the worldly Petruchio, and the two sisters they meet in Padua. Lucentio falls in love with Bianca, the apparently ideal younger daughter of the wealthy Baptista Minola. But before they can…Read More »
Materially founded upon George Wilkins' popular play, The Miseries of Enforced Marriage. Sir Timothy himself is moulded to some extent upon Sir Francis Ilford, but, as Geneste aptly remarks, he may be considered a new character. In the older drama, Clare, the original of Celinda, dies tragically of a broken heart….Read More »
First published in 1877, these three stories are dominated by questions of doubt, love, loneliness and religious experience, and together form a triumphant conclusion to Flaubert's literary career. Includes "The Dance of Death," "The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller," and "A Simple Soul."
A wealthy citizen of ancient Greece, Timon delights in entertaining his friends and lavishing them with extravagant gifts. His largesse ultimately exceeds his means, and when creditors begin to press him for repayment, the open-handed host is devastated to discover that the guests — who gladly accepted everything he…Read More »
An embittered Roman General returns from war, having captured the Queen of the Goths and her three sons. Sacrificing the eldest, in memory of his own sons killed in battle, he provokes the queen's unending hatred.
Set in a topsy-turvy world like a holiday revel, this comedy devises a romantic plot around separated twins, misplaced passions, and mistaken identity. Juxtaposed to it is the satirical story of a self-deluded steward who dreams of becoming Count Malvolio only to receive his comeuppance at the hands of the merrymake…Read More »