Play (theatre)

A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of dialogue and singing between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. Plays are performed at a variety of levels, from Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theater, to Community theatre, as well as university or school productions. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference as to whether their plays were performed or read. The term "play" can refer to both the written texts of playwrights and to their complete theatrical performance.[1]

Childrens Nativity Play 2007
Children performing a Christmas play depicting The Nativity


P culture
Symbol of theatre


Comedies are plays which are designed to be humorous. Comedies are often filled with witty remarks, unusual characters, and strange circumstances. Certain comedies are geared toward different age groups. Comedies were one of the two original play types of Ancient Greece, along with tragedies. An example of a comedy would be William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, or for a more modern example the skits from Saturday Night Live.[2][3]


A generally nonsensical genre of play, farces are often acted and often involve humor. An example of a farce includes William Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors, or Mark Twain's play Is He Dead?.


A satire play takes a comic look at current events people while at the same time attempting to make a political or social statement, for example pointing out corruption. An example of a satire would be Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector and Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Satire plays are generally one of the most popular forms of comedy, and often considered to be their own genre entirely.

Restoration comedy

Restoration comedy is a genre that explored relationships between men and women, and was considered risqué in its time.[4] Characters featured in restoration comedy included stereotypes of all kinds, and these same stereotypes were found in most plays of this genre, so much so that most plays were very similar in message and content. However, since restoration comedy dealt with unspoken aspects of relationships, it created a type of connection between audience and performance that was more informal and private.

It is commonly agreed that restoration comedy has origins in Molière’s theories of comedy, but differs in intention and tone.[5] The inconsistency between restoration comedy’s morals and the morals of the era is something that often arises during the study of this genre. This may give clues as to why, despite its original success, restoration comedy did not last long in the seventeenth century. However, in recent years, it has become a topic of interest for theatre theorists, who have been looking into theatre styles that have their own conventions of performance.[6]


These plays contain darker themes such as death and disaster. Often the protagonist of the play has a tragic flaw, a trait which leads to their downfall. Tragic plays convey all emotions and have very dramatic conflicts. Tragedy was one of the two original play types of Ancient Greece. Some examples of tragedies include William Shakespeare's Hamlet, and also John Webster's play The Duchess of Malfi.[2]


An actress performs a play in front of 2 statues from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Room 21, the British Museum, London
An actress performs a play in front of 2 statues from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Room 21, the British Museum, London
NMT Automatic performing a play in front of the Nereid Monument
An actor and actress performing a play in front of the Nereid Monument, Room 17, the British Museum, London

These plays focus on actual historical events. They can be tragedies or comedies, but are often neither of these. History as a separate genre was popularized by William Shakespeare. Examples of historical plays include Friedrich Schiller's Demetrius and William Shakespeare's King John.[7]

Musical theatre

Ballad opera, a popular theatre style at the time, was the first style of musical to be performed in the American colonies. The first musical of American origin was premiered in Philadelphia in 1767, and was called “The Disappointment”, however, this play never made it to production. Around the 1920s, theatre styles were beginning to be defined more clearly. For musical theatre, this meant that composers gained the right to create every song in the play, and these new plays were held to more specific conventions, such as thirty-two-bar songs. When the Great Depression came, many people left Broadway for Hollywood, and the atmosphere of Broadway musicals changed significantly. A similar situation occurred during the 1960s, when composers were scarce and musicals lacked vibrancy and entertainment value.

By the 1990s, there were very few original Broadway musicals, as many were recreations of movies or novels. [8]

Musical productions have songs to help explain the story and move the ideas of the play along. They are usually accompanied by dancing. Musicals can be very elaborate in settings and actor performances. Examples of musical productions include Wicked and Fiddler on the Roof.

Theatre of Cruelty

This theatre style originated in the 1940s when Antonin Artaud hypothesized about the effects of expressing through the body as opposed to “by socially conditioned thought.” In 1946, he wrote a preface to his works in which he explained how he came to write what and the way he did.

Above all, Artaud did not trust language as a means of communication. Plays within the genre of theatre of cruelty are abstract in convention and content. Artaud wanted his plays to have an effect and accomplish something. His intention was to symbolise the subconscious through bodily performances, as he did not believe language could be effective. Artaud considered his plays to be an enactment rather than a re-enactment, which meant he believed his actors were in reality, rather than re-enacting reality.

His plays dealt with heavy issues such as patients in psych wards, and Nazi Germany. Through these performances, he wanted to “make the causes of suffering audible”, however, audiences originally reacted poorly, as they were so taken aback by what they saw. Much of his work was banned in France at the time.

Artaud did not believe that conventional theatre of the time would allow the audience to have a cathartic experience and help heal the wounds of World War II. For this reason, he moved towards radio-based theatre, in which the audience could use their imagination to connect the words they were hearing to their body. This made his work much more personal and individualized, which he believed would increase the effectiveness of portraying suffering.[9]

Theatre of the Absurd

Theatre of the Absurd: This genre generally includes metaphysical representations of existential qualms and questions. Theatre of the absurd denies rationality, and embraces the inevitability of falling into the abyss of the human condition. Instead of discussing these issues, however, theatre of the absurd is a demonstration of them. This leaves the audience to discuss and question the content of the play for themselves.

One of the main aspects of theatre of the absurd is the physical contradiction to language. Oftentimes, the dialogue between characters will directly oppose their actions.

Famous playwrights within this genre include Beckett, Sartre, Ionesco, Adamov, and Genet.[10]


The term "play" can be either a general term, or more specifically refer to a non-musical play. Sometimes the term "straight play" is used in contrast to "musical", which refers to a play based on music, dance, and songs sung by the play's characters. For a short play, the term "playlet" is sometimes used.

See also



  1. ^ "Play": website. Retrieved on January 3, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "THE ANCIENT GREEK DRAMA & THEATRE HISTORY PAGE". Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  3. ^ "Origin of Comedy". Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  4. ^ Vernon, P.F. (1962). "Marriage of Convenience and the Moral Code of Restoration Comedy". Essays of Criticism: 370–387.
  5. ^ The Ornament of Action. Cambridge University Press. 1979.
  6. ^ Styan, J.L. (1986). Restoration Comedy in Performance. Cambridge University Press.
  7. ^ The Three Richards: Richard I ... - Google Book Search. 2006. ISBN 978-1-85285-521-5. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
  8. ^ Bordman, Gerald (1978). American Musical Theatre (3 ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  9. ^ Finter, Helga; Griffin, Matthew (1997). Antonin Artaud and the Impossible Theatre: The Legacy of the Theatre of Cruelty. MIT Press. pp. 15–40.
  10. ^ Esslin, Martin (2001). Theatre of the Absurd. ISBN 1-4000-7523-8.

External links

2012 Pune bombings

The 2012 Pune bombings was a series of four coordinated low-intensity bombing attacks that occurred on 1 August 2012 across Pune, the ninth-largest metropolis in India. As of October 2012, Indian Mujahideen, a terrorist group based in India, is suspected to be behind the attacks.The explosions occurred at locations within a radius of 1 km in Jangli Maharaj Road: in front of Balgandharva Auditorium, opposite to KFC restaurant near Garware Bridge, Dena Bank branch at Jangli Maharaj Road, and in front of a McDonald's restaurant. A fifth live bomb found on JM Road was later defused. The bombs left one injured. All blasts occurred between 7:27 pm and 8:15 pm.The bombings took place on the evening when the new Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was scheduled to visit the Tilak Smarak Ranga Mandir, a play theatre in the city, for an award ceremony.

BD Wong

Bradley Darryl Wong (born October 24, 1960) is an American actor. Wong won a Tony Award for his performance as Song Liling in M. Butterfly, becoming the only actor in Broadway history to receive the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Clarence Derwent Award, and Theatre World Award for the same role.

He has since gained more notability for playing the roles Dr. George Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Father Ray Mukada on Oz, Dr. John Lee on Awake, Dr. Henry Wu in the Jurassic Park franchise, and Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme in the film Seven Years in Tibet.

As of August 13, 2017, Wong is the host of the new HLN medical documentary series Something's Killing Me with BD Wong. As of the Season 3 premiere of USA Network's program Mr. Robot, Wong has been upgraded to a series regular. He was nominated for a Critic's Choice Television Award for his role as Whiterose in Mr. Robot, also earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

Wong has also done extensive voiceover work and stage acting. The most well known of his voice acting roles is that of Captain Li Shang from the Disney animated film Mulan. He would later reprise this role twice, most notably for the video game Kingdom Hearts II. Beginning in 2016, Wong appeared in the TV series Gotham as Hugo Strange.

Balinese people

The Balinese people (Indonesian: Suku Bali) are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the Indonesian island of Bali. The Balinese population of 4.2 million (1.7% of Indonesia's population) live mostly on the island of Bali, making up 89% of the island's population. There are also significant populations on the island of Lombok and in the easternmost regions of Java (e.g. the municipality of Banyuwangi).

Ed Mirvish Theatre

The Ed Mirvish Theatre is a historic film and play theatre in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was initially known as the Pantages Theatre, then became the Imperial Theatre and later the Canon Theatre, before it was renamed in honour of Ed Mirvish, a well-known businessman and theatre impresario. The theatre was first opened in 1920 and is located near Yonge-Dundas Square.

Félicien Marceau

Félicien Marceau (16 September 1913 – 7 March 2012) was a French novelist, playwright and essayist originally from Belgium. His real name was Louis Carette. He was close to the Hussards right-wing literary movement, which in turn was close to the monarchist movement . He was born in Kortenberg, Flemish Brabant.Marceau received the Prix Goncourt for his book Creezy (ISBN 0714507083) in 1969. On 27 November 1975 he was elected to the Académie française, succeeding Marcel Achard. In 1974, Goudji created the academician's sword for Félicien Marceau.


Interlude may refer to:

a short play (theatre) or, in general, any representation between parts of a larger stage production

Entr'acte, a piece of music performed between acts of a theatrical production, or a short play-within-a-play within a larger theatrical work

a section in a movement of a musical piece, see: Bridge (music) or Break (music)

a piece of music composed of one or more movements, to be inserted between sections of another composition: see also intermezzo, and for the Baroque era, sinfonia

Live performance

live performance may refer to:

A play (theatre) or musical

A concert, a live performance (typically of music) before an audience

A dance performance, dance performed for an audience.

Live radio, radio broadcast without delay

Live television, refers to a television production broadcast in real-time, as events happen, in the present

Live Performance, a 1971 live album by Jake Thackray

Neptune Theatre (Halifax)

The Neptune Theatre is the largest professional theatre company in Atlantic Canada with a capacity of 458 and is located in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It performs a mixture of new and classical plays. It is named after the play Théâtre de Neptune, which was performed at Port Royal, Nova Scotia as the first theatrical production in North America.

The Neptune was originally opened on the site of a former cinema in 1963 during Canada's drive to create regional theatres. Its first Artistic Director was Leon Major, later to become the Artistic Director of Boston Lyric Opera and Cleveland Opera. Its first President of the Board was local surgeon and CBC writer Dr. Arthur L. Murphy. The building was renovated in 1997 and now has two theatres and incorporates a theatre school.

From April to July 2007, the theatre staged its longest running production Beauty and the Beast. The play was performed 127 times, breaking a record previously held by Cats in 2004. Beauty and the Beast was directed by Ron Ulrich and starred Julie Martell as Belle and George Masswohl as the Beast. It also featured Rejean Cournoyer, Martha Irving, and Hank Stinson.

The most successful play of the 2008/2009 season was the comedy Skin Flick. This production marked the second time Neptune presented a mainstage play by Canada's most successful playwright, Norm Foster, after the 2008 production The Love List. The production was directed by Walter Learning.

For their final production of 2009, Neptune Theatre produced the Canadian Premiere of the stage adaptation of the Disney sensation High School Musical, directed by Canadian director/choreographer David W. Connolly. Starring the three actors from the hit children's series The Doodlebops, along with Aaron Kyte and Elena Juatco, the production premiered 17 April 2009 and broke several box office records for the theatre.

Oberammergau Passion Play

Oberammergau Passion Play is a passion play performed since 1634 as a tradition by the inhabitants of the village of Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany. It was written by Othmar Weis, J A Daisenberger, Otto Huber, Christian Stuckl, Rochus Dedler, Eugen Papst, Marcus Zwink, Ingrid H Shafer, and the inhabitants of Oberammergau, with music by Dedler. Since its first production it has been performed on open-air stages in the village. The text of the play is a composite of four distinct manuscripts dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.The play is presented in German; visitors that do not speak German are given a book that translates the spoken words into their own language so they can follow the play throughout.

The play is a staging of Jesus' passion, covering the short final period of his life from his visit to Jerusalem and leading to his execution by crucifixion. It has been criticized as being anti-semitic, but it is the earliest continuous survivor of the age of Christian drama.

Olive Wilton

Olive Dorothea Graeme Wilton (1883–1971) was an English-born stage actor who worked extensively in England and Australia. She came to Australia in 1906 and decided to settle there. She played the title role in the 1910 Australian silent film The Squatter's Daughter. The last years of her life were spent in Tasmania, where she became a noted figure in education, radio and the arts.


A playwright or dramatist (rarely dramaturge) is a person who writes plays.

Shadow play

Shadow play, also known as shadow puppetry, is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses flat articulated cut-out figures (shadow puppets) which are held between a source of light and a translucent screen or scrim. The cut-out shapes of the puppets sometimes include translucent color or other types of detailing. Various effects can be achieved by moving both the puppets and the light source. A talented puppeteer can make the figures appear to walk, dance, fight, nod and laugh.

Shadow play is popular in various cultures, among both children and adults in many countries around the world. More than 20 countries are known to have shadow show troupes. Shadow play is an old tradition and it has a long history in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia. It has been an ancient art and a living folk tradition in China, India and Nepal. It is also known in Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Germany, France and the United States.

South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory (SCR) is a professional theatre company located in Costa Mesa, California.

Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is led by Artistic David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely regarded as one of America's foremost producers of new plays. In its three-stage David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, SCR produces a five-play season on its Segerstrom Stage, a four-play season on its Julianne Argyros Stage, plus one annual holiday production. SCR also offers a three-play Theatre for Young Audiences series, and year-round programs in education and outreach. It also is home to the Pacific Playwrights Festival, an annual three-day new play festival.

Stella Southern

Stella Southern was an Australian actor best known for her performances in the silent films A Girl of the Bush (1921) and The Bushwhackers (1925).

Originally from Sydney, she was working for a milliner when discovered by Beaumont Smith who cast her in The Man from Snowy River (1920). He let her select her own stage name (her real name was Lucy Emma "Billie" Winks)

and she chose "Stella Southern" which means "star of the south".On 4n October 1921 she married New Zealand film director Harrington Reynolds in Auckland; she had starred for him in The Birth of New Zealand (1921). She also appeared in a number of productions on stage in Brisbane.

Steve Passeur

Steve Passeur, pen name of Étienne Morin, was a French dramatist and screenwriter. His plays with scathing replicas often depicted cynical characters.

Prior to 1940, Steve Passeur was considered as an author of the avant-garde, whose works were staged and played by Louis Jouvet, Charles Dullin, Georges and Ludmilla Pitoëff.

He was married to the comedian Renée Passeur.


Tragicomedy is a literary genre that blends aspects of both tragic and comic forms. Most often seen in dramatic literature, the term can variously describe by either a tragic play which contains enough comic elements to lighten the overall mood or a serious play with a happy ending.

Ustinov Studio

The Ustinov Studio is a studio theatre in Bath, England. It is the Theatre Royal's second space, built in 1997 at the rear of the building on Monmouth Street. It is named after the actor Peter Ustinov who led the fundraising programme for the Studio's creation in the early 1990s.

In 2006 it closed for a £1.5million, 15-month refurbishment undertaken by Haworth Tompkins. The Ustinov Studio re-opened in February 2008, following a period of closure for refurbishment, with their own production of Breakfast With Mugabe starring Joseph Marcell, Miles Anderson and Nicholas Bailey.As of 2015, the studio is led by the Artistic Director Laurence Boswell. In the 2012 American Season at the Ustinov Studio, Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) was the winner of the Best New Play — Theatre Awards UK 2012 and nominated for three Tony Awards. The Ustinov Studio was also nominated for the prestigious Empty Space ... Peter Brook Award 2012.[51] The Daily Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish praised the venue as a "constantly bubbling fount of marvels" at the awards ceremony. The Ustinov also received a second consecutive nomination for the 2013 awards.

In Autumn 2013, the Ustinov presented The Spanish Golden Age Season, three new translations of rarely seen plays. These included the tragedy Punishment without Revenge, and the romantic comedies Don Gil of the Green Breeches and A Lady of Little Sense, which ran in repertory with a cast of ten actors in all three plays between September and December 2013. It was later transferred to the Arcola Theatre.

In Summer 2014, the Ustinov Studio presented a new comedy, 'Bad Jews', and in November of the same year, a black comedy by Florian Zeller, 'The Father' starring Kenneth Cranham. Both of these plays have gone on to huge national and international success in following two years, running almost continuously on several tours and West End transfers, culminating in Kenneth Cranham winning the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Play at the 2016 Awards Ceremony.

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