Plays are one of the best art forms of expressions in portraying a story about a certain idea and concept. Writers have been so patient and imaginative in creating these plays with twisted and distinct plots, interesting characters and deep messages. Because of their impact on the world, they have been critically-acclaimed, multi-awarded and considered as among the most influential literary works. Here is our list of the top 5 plays of all time:
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
One of the greatest literary pieces is Shakespeare’s Hamlet which dramatizes the tragic story of Prince Hamlet’s revenge towards his uncle Claudius who murdered his brother and married his mother to seize the throne. Shakespeare wrote this tragedy with characters in an abnormal state of mind with Hamlet centered on problems arising from love, death, and betrayal. Hamlet has 5 acts, which is so far the longest play of Shakespeare and is regarded as the most influential work in world literature.
Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill
This autobiographical play written by Eugene O’Neill in 1940s was considered to be one of the finest plays of the 20th century. It followed his own story with his brother and parents. The play centers the pain of family expressing blame, accusations, and resentments. This includes the mother’s addiction to morphine, father’s miserliness, brothers’ illnesses and the family’s addiction to whiskey. This piece received 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
This play written by Edward Albee was first staged in 1962. The title of the play is a pun on the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” from Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs. This examines the breakdown of the marriage of the couple, Martha and George. Their disappointment with their relationship leads to bitterness and frustration between them, making them question the difference between reality and illusion. The play won 1963 Tony Award for Best Play and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play.
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman is a 1949 play written by Arthur Miller. The play premiered on Broadway in February 1949, running for 742 performances. It revolved around the sad story of the sales man Willy Loman and his delusions that barely keep him afloat. The play uses flashbacks to portray Willy’s memory during the reality. His illusion suggests his past and his lost pastoral life. The more he engages into illusion, the harder for him to know and face reality. Death of a Salesman bagged 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play.
Angels in America by Tony Kushner
Angels in America by Tony Kushner was played into two parts entitled Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. The play is a symbolic and metaphorical examination of AIDS and homosexuality in America in America during the 1980s. Its major characters are supernatural beings and deceased persons who play multiple roles, all involving homosexuality. Some of them are the gay couple and the homophobic man, among others. This play won numerous awards including the Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It has also been made into television series and opera.
Have you seen one of these plays performed in your school?