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Absurdity Plays: Theatre of the Absurd

Do You Feel Anger? by Mara Nelson-Greenberg

Sofia is an empathy counselor hired by a collection agency. The first employee she meets is Eva, who says she gets mugged at the office. She warns Sofia everyone will hit on her. Eva talks about her ex-boyfriend—she has trouble remembering his name and what he looked like. Sofia then meets the boss, Jon, who’s staggeringly clueless about empathy.

The first two scenes of this play can be read in the preview of Humana Festival 2018: The Complete Plays(51% in)

The Hostage by Brendan Behan (3 Acts)

Pat, an IRA soldier and Irish nationalist, runs a lodging house/brothel with his wife, Meg. They have different views on Irish nationalism. The real owner, Monsewer, is delusional, believing he’s still fighting in the Civil War. There’s a radio report of an IRA prisoner due to be executed by the British. Two IRA guards arrive with a hostage, Leslie, a British soldier.

The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco (1 Act)

Mr. and Mrs. Smith spend the evening in their English home. They talk about their evening and some people they know. Mary, the maid, says she has been out with a man. She also announces the arrival of guests, the Martins.

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (2 Acts)

Estragon and his friend, Vladimir, meet on a country road and make conversation while waiting for Mr. Godot. They are soon joined by Pozzo, a domineering man, and Lucky, the victim of Pozzo’s whims. Mr. Godot has still not arrived.

The Chairs by Eugene Ionesco

A married couple, Old Man and Old Woman, prepare their place for a gathering. The Old Man has an important message to deliver to the world. The guests begin arriving, but they’re invisible.

The Memorandum by Vaclav Havel (12 Scenes)

Josef Gross, an office manager, receives an unreadable memorandum. It’s not in English. It’s in Ptydepe, a new office language authorized by his deputy director, Ballas, that is supposed to be more efficient. Josef tries to get to the bottom of this change and get his memo translated.

The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter (3 Acts)

Stanley is staying at Meg and Petey’s boardinghouse. Two new visitors, Goldberg and McCann, arrive, which causes Stanley some concern. A birthday party is being planned for Stanley, but when confronted by the two new men, he denies it’s his birthday. They question him thoroughly.

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