Communication is an important element in these plays. They usually involve miscommunication or some other type of difficulty communicating.
The Proposal by Anton Chekhov (1 Act)
Lomov calls on Chubokov to make a request. He’s wearing formal dress and is excited. Lomov wants permission to marry Chubokov’s daughter, Natalya. Chubokov is very pleased. When Natalya enters, the conversation gets derailed.
This play can be read in the preview of Delphi Complete Works of Anton Chekhov. (65% in)
Sure Thing by David Ives (1 Act)
Betty is reading at a café when Bill approaches, asking if the chair opposite her is taken. She shuts down any interaction. The scene proceeds with multiple iterations of their conversation, as it continually gets reset when they hit a sticking point.
This play can be read in the preview of All in the Timing: Fourteen Plays. (25% in)
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 Clean House by Sarah Ruhl (2 Acts)
Matilde, a Brazilian woman, is hired to clean the house of Lane, a doctor in her 50s who’s married to Charles, also a doctor. Matilde has stopped doing her job and has been medicated. She wants to be funny like her parents were. Virginia, Lane’s sister, loves cleaning and comes to an arrangement with Matilde. They suspect Charles is seeing another woman.
The beginning of this play can be read in the preview of The Clean House and Other Plays.
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.
Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff (3 Acts)
James works at a school for the deaf as a speech teacher. He begins a relationship with Sarah, the cleaning woman, who is deaf. Sarah and James struggle to live in both the hearing and deaf worlds.
Sorry, Wrong Number by Lucille Fletcher (1 Act)
Mrs. Stevenson is a sickly woman who spends her time in bed. When she tries to call her husband, she is mistakenly connected to a wrong number. She overhears a plot to kill someone. She tries to trace the call and get help.
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 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.