Jump to content

Plays about stage and screen


Recommended Posts

A friend is an acting teacher, and wants to assign students scene work from plays about the theatre or about the movies. Any suggestions?

Here's the list so far: I'll continue to update it as further plays are posted. Boldfaced titles are notated at the bottom.

PLAYS ABOUT STAGE OR SCREEN

42nd Street musical

The Actor (Horton Foote)

The Actor's Nightmare (Christopher Durang)

After The Fall (Arthur Miller) Marilyn Monroe

Amy's View (David Hare)

Anton In Show Business (Jane Martin)

Apparition (Anne Washburn)

Applause (Betty Comden & Adolph Green)

Beggar on Horseback (Kaufman) ?

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson)

Bobby Gould In Hell (David Mamet)

Book Of Days (Lanford Wilson)

A Bright Particular Star (Ron Reed)

Broadway Bound (Neil Simon)

Butter and Egg Man (Kaufman) ?

Claptrap

A Company of Wayward Saints (George Herman)

A Cry of Players (William Gibson)

Cyrano de Bergerac ()opening scene

Deathtrap

Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth (Tom Stoppard)

The Drawer Boy (Michael Healy)

The Dresser (Ronald Harwood)

Enter Laughing (Joseph Stein, fr Carl Reiner novel)

The Entertainer (John Osborne)

The Fantasticks

The Farndale Avenue... Macbeth. Christmas Carol. Etc.

Follies (Stephen Sondheim)

The Gingerbread Lady (Neil Simon) ?

The Goodbye Girl (Neil Simon) ?

The Great American Musical Disaster

Gypsy

Hamlet (William Shakespeare) players scenes, "The Mousetrap"

Harlequinade (Terrence Rattigan)

Hayfever (Noel Coward) mother is an actress

A History of the American Film (Christopher Durang)

I Hate Hamlet (Paul Rudnick)

The Illusion (adapted by Tony Kushner from Corneille)

The Island (Athol Fugard)

It's All True (Jason Sherman)

Kiss Me Kate musical

Lend Me A Tenor

A Life In The Theatre (David Mamet)

Light Up The Sky (Kaufman & Hart)

A Little Night Music (Stephen Sondheim)

A Long Day's Journey Into Night (Eugene O'Neill) about an actor's family

Look Look (Michael Frayn)

The Man Who Came to Dinner (Kaufman) ?

Marat/Sade (Peter Weiss)

Mephisto (Ariane Mnouchkine, tr Timberlake Wertenbaker)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Shakespeare) the Mechanicals

Moon Over Buffalo (Ken Ludwig)

The Mystery of Irma Vep

Noises Off (Michael Frayn)

Once in a Lifetime (Kaufman) ?

Onion (Dennis Hassel)

Our Country's Good (Timberlake Wertenbaker)

Phantom of the Opera musical

Private Eyes (Steven Dietz)

Privates On Parade (Peter Nichols)

The Producers musical

The Real Inspector Hound (Tom Stoppard)

The Real Thing (Tom Stoppard)

The Road To Nirvana (Arthur Kopit)

Rosencranz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard)

Rough Crossing (Tom Stoppard)

The Royal Family (Kaufman & Ferber)

Scapino ?

The Scottish Play (Lee Blessing)

The Seagull (Anton Chekhov)

Singin' in the Rain stage adaptation of filmed musical

Speed The Plough (David Mamet)

Stage Door (Ferber & Kaufman)

Star Quality (Noel Coward)

Stones in their Pockets (Marie Jones)

Summerstock ?

Sunset Blvd

The Sunshine Boys (Neil Simon) ?

Swansong (Anton Chekhov)

The Taming of the Shrew (William Shakespeare)

This Is A Play (Daniel MacIvor)

Trelawney of the Wells (Pinero)

Two Planks and a Passion (Anthony Minghella)

Two Shakespearean Actors (Richard Nelson)

The Vortex (Noel Coward) mother is an actress

Woman In Black

*

The Actor (Horton Foote)

Highly autobiographical reminiscence (mostly monologue, some interpolated scenes) about a young man in small town Texas who dreams of attending the Pasadena Playhouse. Nice portrait of the conflicted father.

The Actor's Nightmare (Christopher Durang)

Having casually wandered onstage, George is informed that one of the actors, Eddie, has been in an auto accident and he must replace him immediately. Apparently no one is sure of what play is being performed but George (costumed as Hamlet) finds himself in the middle of a scenes from Private Lives, Hamlet, then a play by Samuel Beckett, and then a climactic scene from what might well be A Man for All Seasons. DPS

Amy's View (David Hare)

In 1979 Esme Allen is a well known British actress caught in a changing West End climate that is trying for performers. A visit from her young daughter with a new boyfriend sets in motion a series of events which only find their shape sixteen years later. SF

Anton In Show Business (Jane Martin)

"Three amateur actresses pursue their dream of performing Chekhov's Three Sisters in Texas. In the tradition of great backstage comedies, Anton in Show Business conveys the joys, pains and absurdities of putting on a play at the turn of the century." SF

Apparition (Anne Washburn)

"a group of five actors in a haunted theatre tell one another scary stories, with Macbeth a primary text"

Applause (Betty Comden & Adolph Green)

The musical version of All About Eve.

Book Of Days (Lanford Wilson)

Small town community production of Shaw's Saint Joan. Actress in the title role begins to suspect the town's authorities of covering up a murder. DPS

A Bright Particular Star (Ron Reed)

George MacDonald's daughter is swept up by the exhilaration of a life in the theatre, spurred on by family friends Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll and even Kate Terry, a luminary of the London stage. Faced with competing family expectations, blossoming romance and a call to serve London's poor, can Lilia justify so frivolous a passion?

Broadway Bound (Neil Simon)

Part three of Neil Simon's acclaimed autobiographical trilogy finds Eugene and his older brother Stanley trying to break into the world of professional comedy writing while coping with the breakup of their family. Their efforts to come up with an idea for a comedy sketch sparkle with hilarity. When their material is broadcast on the radio for the first time, the family is upset to hear a comedy rendition of their trials and tribulations.

A Company of Wayward Saints (George Herman)

"A commedia dell'arte group wanders by mistake into the eye of an allegory. They are far from home and without the means of returning. There is a nobleman at hand who may be their salvation if they would put on a good show for him. The Company chooses to present the whle history of man, from the Garden of Eden through depictions of Everyman in birth, adolescence, amarriage and death. Along the way they enact such other wayward adventures as the assassination of Julius Caesar and the homecoming of Odysseus. It is a fine mosaic of the procession of life, redeemed by humor and human understanding." SF

A Cry of Players (William Gibson)

"Will, a twenty-one year-old man who is married to Anne, a woman eight years his senior, who treats him like a child. Will has distanced himself from her after the birth of the twins and has entered into a series of meaningless affairs. He works for his brother tanning hides, he poaches off Sir Thomas's land for excitement. The oppression he feels is brought to a head when a troupe of players arrives in town -- just as his wife and former schoolmaster are trying to convince him to take a teaching position in another town. Will knows the head of this acting troupe, Kemp, from childhood. The players secure reluctant permission from Sir Thomas to perform their plays for the town..."

Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth (Tom Stoppard)

Two one-act plays often performed together. DH introduces an alternate language (Dogg), which uses English words that have different meanings in Dogg, leading to confusion on the part of the play's characters, who try to communicate in their respective languages, English and Dogg. CH features a living-room theatre production of Macbeth, which gets broken up by an inspector who threatens to arrest the actors and audience members for breaking censorship rules. The English-speaking character from the first play, arrives and teaches the actors Dogg so the inspector cannot arrest them. Found in The Real Inspector Hound and Other Plays.

The Drawer Boy (Michael Healy)

"a young actor who asks two farmers for permission to hang around to research a play about rural life. The play he adapts from a story he overhears while living with the men, turns out to be the tip of an iceberg of frozen memories. The play has its genesis in a project launched some thirty years when a Toronto actors' collective went to a farming community in rural central Ontario to work and live with local farmers in order to collect stories for The Farm Show."

The Dresser (Ronald Harwood)

"As his dresser tries valiantly to prepare him to go on stage as King Lear, Sir is having great difficulty remembering who and where he is, let alone Lear's lines. With a Herculean effort on the part of Norman, the dresser, Sir finally makes it on stage and through the performance no thanks to the Luftwaffe in a World War II era English provincial theatre during an air raid." SF

Enter Laughing (Joseph Stein, fr Carl Reiner novel)

"A stage struck youth works as a delivery boy in a sewing machine factory. His parents want him to be a druggist, but as soon as he's saved enough money he enlists in a hammy, semi professional company that will put anybody in any play for the right amount of money. He is a dreadful actor and the scene of his first performance is hilarious. He proceeds to splash through romantic scenes with the manager's daughter, with another fellow's date and finally with the office girl who was meant for him all the time." SF

The Farndale Avenue... Macbeth. Christmas Carol. Etc.

The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Towsnwomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of...

A series of farces in which a dodgy amateur theatre troupe massacres anything from Macbeth to the Mikado to Dickens' Christmas Carol. SF

A History of the American Film (Christopher Durang)

A hilarious take off on American films, especially from the 1930s through the 1950s. Wild parodies from many Hollywood genres; a silent tearjerker, slum idyll, gangster epic, courtroom melodrama, chain gang social justice thriller, screwball comedy, Busby Berkeley backstage musical, war propaganda canteen musical-- not to forget "Casablanca," "Citizen Kane" and a variety of minor genres. "The special gifts Durang brings to this work, apart from a sharp eye for genre parody are a sense of the misguided way we watch movies-- making stars, ignoring the character in favor of the actor, wallowing in the kitschier moments-- and an equally lethal sense of how Hollywood played on our sentimentalities by using the actor and the kitsch forms to put junky ideas across."---Village Voice. SF

I Hate Hamlet (Paul Rudnick)

"Feather-light comedy deals with TV actor Andrew attempting to tread the stage boards in Hamlet. He moves into the home that once belonged to the great film and stage star John Barrymore where his real estate agent conjures up the ghost of Barrymore. Paul Rudnick's alter ego is Libby Gelman-Waxner, Premiere Magazine. Some great one liners, zingers, and punchlines, but no real substance, subtext, or solid characters."

The Illusion (adapted by Tony Kushner from Corneille)

A man goes to a magician, sees tragic scenes from his estranged son's life and cries for him, but later feels almost cheated to learn that he (the son) is indeed alive and performing in the city as an actor: these are scenes from plays the son has acted in. Instead of reuniting with him, the father goes on his way, even though the scenes revealed his heart.

The Island (Athol Fugard)

"Two prisoners labour in a quarry by day and rehearse for the prison concert scenes from Sophocles' Antigone in their cells at night.

Set on South Africa's notorius Robben Island prison which held Nelson Mandela for 17 years until 1990, is considered one of the most significant plays of the twentieth century."

It's All True (Jason Sherman)

This time, the award winning playwright turns his imagination to the fabled story of Marc Blitzstrein's and Orson Welles' production of The Cradle Will Rock and the controversy which surrounded it in 1937 New York when the US government padlocked their theatre. TheatreBooks

A Life In The Theatre (David Mamet)

"Two actors are seen performing, rehearsing, discussing and arguing over their work. In a series of snippets of plays running the gamut from melodrama to pseudo Chekhov to sheer corn, the two portray the reality as well as the illusion of acting and the theatre. Mishaps of the kind peculiar to the theatre occur with hilarious regularity. The older actor, Robert, is a seasoned professional. John, the younger one, is an eager to learn novice. Gradually their roles of teacher and pupil change and by the end it is the older actor who is deferential to the younger." SF

A Little Night Music (Stephen Sondheim)

Includes some bits about the theatre ; High ho, the Glamorous Life/ Send in the Clowns

Marat/Sade (Peter Weiss)

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of The Marquis de Sade.

Mephisto (Ariane Mnouchkine, tr Timberlake Wertenbaker)

"Examines how a group of committed theatre artists in Hamburg reacted to the rise of Nazism in Germany in the '20s and '30s. Hendrik H

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to post
Share on other sites

A Company of Wayward Saints

Singin' in the Rain (or do stage adaptations of filmed musicals count?)

I Hate Hamlet

Opening scene of Cyrano de Bergerac

Play within a play in Hamlet

Stage Door (wasn't that a play first?)

The Fantasticks

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Link to post
Share on other sites

An actor buddy adds...

Is the two-hander you're thinking of The Mystery of Irma Vep?

The Dresser by Ronald Harwood

Two Shakespearean Actors by Richard Nelson

Harlequinade by Rattigan

Look Look by Michael Frayn

Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig

Mephisto by Ariane Mnouchkine (translation by Timberlake Wertenbaker)

Trelawney of the Wells by Pinero

Star Quality by Coward

Players scenes in Hamlet

The Entertainer by John Osborne

Privates on Parade by Peter Nichols

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Drawer Boy

A Cry Of Players

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that a few years back there was a movie about a production of a Clifford Odets play. Anyone remember what that movie was?

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to post
Share on other sites

JM

Rough Crossing (Tom Stoppard)

Summerstock the musical (is that the title? with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland)

JT

Gypsy

Hayfever by Noel Coward (mother is an actress)

The Vortex by Noel Coward (mother is an actress)

A Life in the Theatre (Mamet)

A little Night Music

This is a Play (Daniel MacIvor)

Stage Door is a play

CB

Anton in Show Business (Jane Martin)

A Life in the Theatre (David Mamet)

A Long Day's Journey into Night (Eugene O'Neill) (about an actor's family, anyway)

Marat/Sade (Peter Weiss) (a play within a play)

The Road to Nirvana (Arthur Kopit's reply to Speed-the-Plow)

Rosenkrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (Tom Stoppard)

The Royal Family (Kaufman & Ferber)

Stage Door (Ferber & Kaufman)

Stones in their Pockets (Marie Jones)

A Company of Wayward Saints, by the way, is by George Herman

TO

Scapino? (My memories of a production of it were like a troupe putting on a play, but I can

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to post
Share on other sites

AWT

How about some Neil Simon? The Gingerbread Lady - The Sunshine Boys - The Goodbye Girl - Broadway Bound...

Also - Barbara Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever... not exaclty about the real "Theatre" but it is about folks "putting on a show"!

DS

There's a wonderful little one act by Chekhov - "Swansong" (a precursor to

The Dresser)

and some 'bits' about the theatre in "A Little Night Music" Stephen Sondheim

(High ho, the Glamorous Life/ Send in the Clowns)

Follies by Sondheim

Applause music by Charles Streusel Book- Betty Comden and Adolph Green (the

musical version of All About Eve)

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to post
Share on other sites

CB

The Scottish Play -- Lee Blessing ("a troupe of actors mounts a calamitous production of the tragedy")

Apparition -- Anne Washburn ("a group of five actors in a haunted theatre tell one another scary stories, with Macbeth a primary text")

TO

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW starts with a troupe putting on a play. Often that part is cut.

JM

The Illusion adapted by Tony Kushner from Corneille (sp?). A man goes to a magician and sees scenes from his estranged son's life and cries a tear, only to later learn that they were scenes from plays he's been in and he's an actor.

RR

The Farndale shows

one by Lanford Wilson, about a small town production of Saint Joan.

Early Stoppards, DAGG'S HAMLET and CAHOOT'S MACBETH (titles approximate)

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to post
Share on other sites

Private Eyes - Steven Dietz

? - Dennis Hassell

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...