Family relationships are a strong factor in these plays. Selections that focus on a particular relationship have their own sections after the general “Family” category. For now, there is:
- Mothers & Daughters
- Mothers & Sons
- Fathers & Daughters
- Brothers & Sisters
Plays About Family Relationships
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (3 Acts)
The Younger family lives in a low-end apartment with a shared bathroom and limited space. The grandmother, Mama, is expecting a life insurance check from the death of her husband. Her son, Walter, wants some of the money to buy a liquor store to escape his low-level job. Mama wants to buy a house for the family.
Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon (2 Acts)
Eugene is a fourteen-year-old who wants to be a pro baseball player or a writer. His father works two jobs to support his immediate and extended family – Eugene’s aunt and two cousins also live with them. His beautiful sixteen-year-old cousin Nora has been offered a dancing job. His older brother Stanley is having problems at work. Bringing enough money into the household is a major concern.
The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman (3 Acts)
In a small town in the Deep South, there’s a gathering at the Giddens house. The family has just made a deal with Mr. Marshall, a Chicago businessman, to build and run a cotton mill. The arrangement will make them all wealthy. The Giddens siblings—Regina, Oscar and Ben—are present, along with other family. Regina’s husband, Horace, is in Baltimore due to a heart condition. The siblings have big plans for the money and want as large a share as possible.
Da by Hugh Leonard
Charlie is back in his childhood home after the death of his adoptive father. He sorts through his things, talks to a representation of him, and remembers events from life.
Look Homeward, Angel by Ketti Frings (3 Acts)
In 1916, in North Carolina, the Gant family runs a boardinghouse. The father, a binge drinker, comes home and makes a scene. The mother, Eliza, the matriarch, tries to control everyone. The oldest brother, Ben, feels everyone is trapped. Laura, a new woman in town, comes for a room.
The Family Reunion by T. S. Eliot (2 Parts)
Amy, a widow, is in her drawing room with her three sisters and two of their husbands. Amy’s son Harry is returning after being estranged for eight years. Harry’s wife died about a year ago when she was swept off a ship. When Harry arrives he expresses some opinions that concern his family, including a revelation about his wife’s death. His mental state is questionable. Amy hopes that Harry will continue the family estate.
Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years by Emily Mann
Sadie and Bessie Delaney, elderly African-American sisters, have lived together most of their lives. They invite the audience into their home to talk about their lives. They aren’t rich, but they’ve managed their money well. They talk about their parents, work history, encounters with racism, the Great Depression, and other aspects of life.
Plays About Mothers & Daughters
At Liberty by Tennessee Williams (1 Act)
A middle-aged woman sits up at 2:30 in the morning. Her daughter, Gloria, comes home, escorted by a n ungentlemanly man. Gloria and her mother argue about the people she sees and her health. Gloria is back at her childhood home after her career as an actress has taken a down turn.
This play can be read in the preview of Tennessee Williams: One Act Plays. (53% in)
Amicable by Paige Steadman (1 Act)
Leda, a historian, and Wati, a genetic researcher, are married. They’re at the Marriage License and Divorce Certification Bureau. They clearly love each other but they’re applying for a divorce. Wati has gotten some pressure from her mother.
This play can be read in the preview of The Best New Ten Minute Plays, 2020. (66% in)
‘Night, Mother by Marsha Norman (1 Act)
Jessie Cates takes out her father’s gun and starts cleaning it. She tells her mother that she is going to kill herself. Her mother tries to change her mind. They talk about their history and Jessie reveals why she feels hopeless.
The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca (3 Acts)
Bernarda Alba’s second husband has died. She imposes an eight year period of mourning on her five daughters. They’ll be cut off from the outside world, especially from men. The oldest daughter, Angustias, has some money inherited from her father, Bernarda’s first husband. She has a suitor, Pepe, although he’s only interested because of her money. Bernarda oppresses her household.
Plays About Mothers & Sons
Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams (1 Act)
Heather, a fifth-grade teacher, sits at her desk grading papers. The classroom is empty. There’s a knock at the door. It’s Corryn, a mother who has a parent/teacher conference. Heather directs her to the office to find the right room. Corryn comes back, saying this is the room. Heather doesn’t have anything scheduled. Corryn says it’s about her son, Gidion. Heather is shocked; she thought the appointment was off, even though it wasn’t actually canceled.
Some of this play can be read in the preview of Plays by Women from the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. (30% in)
Plays About Fathers & Daughters
Proof by David Auburn (2 Acts)
Catherine is alone on her birthday, and unmotivated in life. Her father, Robert, did some brilliant mathematical work in his twenties but later developed a mental illness. Hal is a former student of Robert’s who is now going through his notebooks.
Plays About Sisters
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (11 Scenes)
Stanley and Stella Kowalski live in a low-end district of New Orleans. They are visited by Stella’s sister Blanche, who has more genteel tastes. She is a widow, and has lost the family property, Belle Reve. She and Stanley clash. Stanley decides to look into Blanche’s past.
Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov (4 Acts)
The Prozorov sisters live in a Russian provincial town. They used to live in Moscow and want to return. Irina is the youngest sister at twenty-years-old. She believes work is the solution to life’s problems. Masha, the middle sister, is married but is attracted to Vershinin. Olga, the oldest, finds it hard to cope with life.
Tea Party by Betty Keller (1 Scene)
Two elderly women, Alma and Hester, decide where they’re going to sit in their living room. They’re trying to arrange things for their unnamed expected guest. They discuss the refreshments they’ll offer and the story they’ll tell.
Marvin’s Room by Scott McPherson
Bessie has been caring for her bed-ridden father after he suffered a stroke. She also takes care of her eccentric Aunt Ruth. When Bessie is diagnosed with Leukemia, her estranged sister, Lee, comes to be tested as a bone marrow donor. She brings along her two troubled sons. The sisters navigate their strained relationship under these new circumstances.
Plays About Brothers
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.
Plays About Brothers & Sisters
The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams (2 Acts)
Felice and Clare, a brother and sister, are the only two from their acting troupe to arrive at their destination, a run-down little theater. They perform The Two-Character Play. There’s confusion around the audience, the story of the play, and between what’s real and what’s illusion.