Obooki’s Crazy Playwreading Project

This is going to be my other project for the rest of the year (along with nouveaux romans and Dutch literature), being I suppose driven to it a little by Amateur Reader, but then, after thinking about it a bit, realising there were a whole lot of writers whose novels I’ve enjoyed who are actually more famous as playwrights. Not that having written novels is going to be a necessary criterion here, but it’s certainly an idea that’s present in the first selection.

This is going to be a bit like my (relatively successful) Sci-Fi project (which I think, for now, apart from Stanislaw Lem, I might wind down, except insofar as I’m inclined to read more Sci-Fi in a random manner), if only in that the plays I read (plays being expensive, even secondhand) are going to be determined by the selection in my (rather good) local library.

So this is what I got out today, to start off:

  • Three Plays, by Max Frisch (Methuen) – I’ve really liked Frisch’s novels I’m Not Stiller and Homo Faber (read these!); yet he’s more famous as a playwright
  • The Complete Dramatic Works, by Samuel Beckett (Faber and Faber) – in the public imagination perhaps more famous as a playwright; though I’ve thought of him as a novelist who happened to fall into playwrighting but made no compensation whatsoever for the fact that he was no longer writing novels (it will be interesting to see if there’s any truth in my imaginings)
  • Collected Plays Vol 1, by Luigi Pirandello (John Calder) – I’ve only ever read his novel, The Late Mattia Pascal – again, he is more renowned as a playwright (though, like Beckett, started as a novelist and for a long time was more famous for his novels)
  • The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade, by Peter Weiss – of whom I’ve read one short story

I have other scattered plays in my possession, which I’ll also be reading – and once these are done, I’ll be making another trip down the library.

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8 thoughts on “Obooki’s Crazy Playwreading Project

  1. Definitely a worthwhile project from the little I know of the various authors selected. Especially since you’ll be doing all the hard work yourself. Thank [the deity figure or non-deity figure of your choice] for good libraries!

  2. I am looking forward to it. I don’t think I’ll be able to wait till August, which was my plan. – Also I can discover other writers who just exist in my mind as important names but because they’ve only written plays I know nothing about their work – like, for instance, Racine and Jean Anouilh.

  3. Anouilh’s Anitgone is the worst play I have ever read. It is one of the worst things I have ever read. It is abominably bad.

    You should read it.

  4. My excitement about reading it only increases, though I will only truly be fulfilled if it turns out also to be a travesty of Sophocles.

  5. Sheridan’s plays are actually funny. I laughed out loud once or twice while reading them.

  6. Which reminds me, I really must get back to the 18th century. It was Sterne who made me lose track: – his novel’s all very well but, in small doses.

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