Playwright Review



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Playwright Review

Aeschylus-(545BC) Greek TRAGIC playwright.

Sophocles-(460BC) Greek TRAGIC playwright. Wrote Oedipus

Euripides-(460BC) Greek TRAGIC playwright. Questioned the idea of “fate.”

Aristophanes-(420BC) Greek COMEDIC playwright.

Terrance-(170BC) Roman COMEDIC playwright

Plautus-(200BC) Roman COMEDIC playwright

Seneca-(30AD) Roman TRAGIC playwright. He brought violence on the stage.

Shakespeare- (1580) most influential writer of his time. Over roughly an 8 year period, he wrote many of his most famous plays including. The most striking feature of Shakespeare is his command of language, he is credited by the Oxford English Dictionary with the introduction of nearly 3,000 words into the language.

Christopher Marlowe-(1580) Spy for Queen Elizabeth. More popular than Shakespeare during this time.

Moliere – (1650) French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of COMEDY in Western literature.

Henrik Ibsen-(1890) “Father of Realism” His plays hammered away at society’s institutions, encouraging audiences to question their habits and values.

Anton Chekhov-(1890) He placed on stage the lazy chaos of lives that have been crushed by life’s absurdities, missed opportunities, and the steamroller of time. He was deceptively subtle and a master of understatement. He worked with Stanislavski in the Moscow Art Theatre. (Realism)

George Bernard Shaw- (1890) Wrote “high comedies” socially relevant plays that had an intellectual scope so vast they forced audiences to reassess their values. He argued that the prime function of playwrights is to expose the social and moral evils of their time. (Realism)

Oscar Wilde-(1890) Known for writing Comedy of Manners and for his brilliant wit.

Christopher Durang – (1972) American playwright known for satire, dark comedy, parody, funny, absurdist.

Arthur Miller (1940) - an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), and A View from the Bridge (one-act, 1955; revised two-act, 1956). Married to Marilyn Monroe.

LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka - (1960) An African American playwright who is known for many instances of controversies in his work and his passion for social justice.

Lillian Hellman (1930) – An American playwright, Hellman maintained a social and political life as large and restless as her talent. Her plays were a constant challenge to injustice.

Lorraine Hansberry - (1959) an African American playwright and author of political speeches. Her best known work, A Raisin in the Sun, was inspired by her family's legal battle against racially segregated housing laws in the Washington Park Subdivision of the South Side of Chicago during her childhood.

Clifford Odetts- (1930) an American playwright, socialist and social protester. The Group Theatre’s first original playwright.

Tennessee Williams-(1940) an America playwright whose work was simultaneously praised and denounced for addressing raw subject matter in a straightforward realistic way. He is famous for his honest writing style and brilliance in storytelling.

Thornton Wilder-(1930) an American playwright most well-known for writing Our Town and Skin of Our Teeth. He was a well educated man and wrote in many styles of theatre (farce The Matchmaker and Our Town, Expressionism).

Marsha Norman-(1977) Won the Pulitzer Prize for ‘night Mother and continues to write plays, lyrics and musical “books”. (The Color Purple, the Secret Garden)

Brian Friel - (1965) Irish playwright most well know for writing Dancing at Lughnasa (1990)

August Wilson-(1973) was an American playwright. His literary legacy is a series of ten plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Each is set in a different decade, depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the twentieth century.

Athol Fugard- (1958) is a South African playwright, novelist, actor, and director who writes in English, best known for his political plays opposing the South African system of apartheid.

Neil Simon- (1961) an American playwright whose plays have been produced in dozens of languages, and have been blockbuster hits from Beijing to Moscow. He has a unique way of exposing something real in the American spirit.

Eugene Ionesco - (1950) Theatre of the Absurd playwright. Ionesco rejected the logical plot, character development, and thought of traditional drama, instead creating his own anarchic form of comedy to convey the meaninglessness of modern man's existence in a universe ruled by chance.

Jean Paul Sartre – (1920) He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, existentialism, and Marxism, and his work continues to influence fields such as Marxist philosophy, sociology, critical theory and literary studies.

Bertold Brecht- was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director. Well known as an influential theatre practitioner of Epic Theatre.

Sam Shepard-(1965) He is author of several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs, and received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child.



Samuel Beckett- (1940) Famous for his Theatre of the Absurd plays.

David Mamet- (1980) Known for his style of writing dialogue, marked by a cynical, street-smart edge, precisely crafted for effect, is so distinctive that it came to be called Mamet speak. He often uses italics and quotation marks to highlight particular words and to draw attention to his characters' frequent manipulation and deceitful use of language. His characters frequently interrupt one another, their sentences trail off unfinished, and their dialogue overlaps.


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