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Plays About Choices, Consequences and Decisions

In these plays, someone (maybe more than one person) has made or will make an important decision and has faced or will face the consequences of it. The choices could also have been made over the course of a lifetime.

The Price by Arthur Miller (2 Acts)

Victor, an almost fifty-year-old policeman, is in the attic of his deceased father’s brownstone. The building is being torn down, and the attic is full of furniture that needs to be sold. During the Great Depression, Victor gave up his academic aspirations to help support his parents. His brother, Walter, a successful surgeon who did little to help the family, also arrives to settle the estate. Also present are Esther, Victor’s wife, and Gregory, an antique dealer. They try to settle on a price for the contents of the attic.

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre (1 Act)

A valet leads Garcin, Inez, and Estelle into a drawing room. They have all died and were expecting to be tortured. They talk about why they are there, telling the stories of what they have done.

Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov (4 Acts)

Professor Serebryakov, an older man, and his wife Yelena, a young woman, have come to the Serebryakov estate as they can’t afford to live elsewhere. Vanya dislikes Serebryakov and is attracted to Yelena. Vanya has many regrets about how he has lived.

Machinal by Sophie Treadwell (9 Episodes)

Helen works at an office. George, a wealthy man, asks Helen to marry him. Helen wants to escape her job but doesn’t find George attractive. They eventually get married. Helen is soon unhappy, and after giving birth, even more so. When she goes out with a friend one night she meets Roe, and they are attracted to each other.

Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett (1 Act)

Every year since he was twenty-four, Krapp has made a tape about his life. Now, at sixty-nine, he prepares to make another. First, he listens to a recording from thirty years ago in which he had just listened to one from about ten years prior. We learn of the decisions that have led him to his current state of isolation. He starts a new tape, assessing his younger self.

The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur (3 Acts)

Reporters are hanging out in the press room of the Chicago Criminal Courts Building. They’re waiting for the hanging of Earl Williams, a white man convicted of killing a black police officer. They’re surprised by the news that Williams has escaped from his psychiatric examination.

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