Mini Reviews – 6 Plays I’ve Read

Hello everyone!

In less than two months, I’ve actually read more than six plays for a university module of mine. Some were brilliant, some were ‘meh’, and all were recommended by my lecturer. I haven’t much time to actually properly sit down and analyse all of them word for word, so the following reviews are brief and (more or less) spoiler-free. Though, I might return to them in the future just to review them properly. Maybe.

163330Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman
Published: 1994 by Penguin Books
Pages: 96
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780140246841

3 stars

A play on the psychological aftereffects of the violation of human rights in a country emerging from totalitarian dictatorship, and to some extent, the cycles of violence. This play is a little confusing in the beginning but things clear up when more information is given. I find it clever that the characters can symbolize things and that the play can pretty much be set anywhere. However, I don’t really feel much for the characters despite their solid characterizations.


This Lime Tree Bower: Three Plays by Conor McPherson
Published: 1996 by Nick Hern Books
Pages: 124
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781854592996

2 stars

**Disclaimer: I’ve only read This Lime Tree Bower so my rating and review is based solely on my reading of this one play.

A rather simple play about the possible effects that certain stages of life can have on people, and perhaps masculinity and the ways it can be achieved. Though, it certainly has an interesting way of storytelling which unfortunately, makes it feel a little dissociated and not so ‘active’. By this, I mean that for me, it isn’t as powerful when read as it may be when performed. Nevertheless, the voices of the three main characters who are of different ages but are all male, are differentiated nicely and the whole thing comes about neatly.

9781840028485Wedding Day at the Cro-Magnons’ by Wajdi Mouawad
Published: 2008 by Oberon Books
Pages: 80
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781840028485

2 stars

Despite having themes like ‘The Effects of Continual Exposure to Violence’ and ‘Human Instinct of Finding/Creating Normality in the Midst of Violence/Carnage’, this is an incredibly messy play. It’s definitely better to watch this performed on stage than to read it, or to at least gather friends to read it out loud with you since it can be rather confusing at times. Furthermore, the farce and tragedy do not mix well together until near the end. Also, the humor in this play isn’t my cup of tea, but the twist is a nice touch, and the blend between fantasy and reality is done very well too.

9789810895501-AShorts 2 by Haresh Sharma
Published: 2011 by The Necessary Stage
Pages: 207
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9789810895501

4 stars

**Disclaimer: I’ve only read Lizard so my rating and review is based solely on my reading of this one play.

Despite being more extreme, this is a play that really hits close to home. For Malaysians and Singaporeans (and perhaps just anyone who’s aware of our cultures), the characters are incredibly familiar and yes, this includes the maid who’s characterization is contradictory to general knowledge/stereotypes. A person unfamiliar with the way a number of Asian parents raise their kids, may view this play as horrific and abusive, but there are seeds of truth in here. In fact, it’s because of these seeds that I find this play more enjoyable to read. It makes me wonder if people have had the same realizations as I did as well.

10870384Trilogy by Haresh Sharma
Published: 2010 by The Necessary Stage
Pages: 186
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9789810848

3 stars

**Disclaimer: I’ve only read Fundamentally Happy so my rating and review is based solely on my reading of this one play.

A play that I found initially annoying due to the characters, but disturbing near the end. It deals with the possible complications involved in/the aftereffects of child molestation and to some extent, Stockholm Syndrome. Although less violent/explosive than Lizard, this still gives off a similar vibe. There are also some modern slang and Singaporean slang present, and some Bahasa Melayu, but this play should be understandable enough even with a lack of knowledge of those aspects. Other than that, I found this slightly clichéd because I’ve already encountered this plot in other works of fiction but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy reading this. The way things gradually unveiled themselves is rather mind-blowing.

13105535The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman
Published: 2010 by Vintage
Pages: 130
Format: Kindle

5 stars

“He came into the world premature and left the world premature.”

The play has a unique form that actively reminds the audience that the actors are acting as the real people involved in the real death of Matt, yet it simultaneously succeeds to remove this awareness from the audience’s consciousness when not reminded of it in the dialogue. Interviews with the real townspeople of Laramie were collected and transcribed, then pieced together to form this play—allowing not the playwright(s) to put words in characters’ mouths but for the people the ‘characters’ are based on, to put words into their own mouths. In a way, this can make the play surreal since it challenges the ‘normal’ conception of how plays are created. Moreover, just about every line in this play can be said to challenge the views of the audience since it’s neatly arranged in a clear thought-provoking manner. The portrayal of multifaceted issues such as hate crime not only involving one party that associates itself with a certain social label, but other parties as well is another brilliant aspect of this play. In short, The Laramie Project started out strong, stayed strong and ended strong.

Have you read any of these plays before? If not, would you read any of these? Comment below cause I’d love to know!




2 thoughts on “Mini Reviews – 6 Plays I’ve Read

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