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Plays About Responsibility or Duty

Dark Road by Ian Rankin and Mark Thomson

It’s Isobel’s thirtieth anniversary on the force, making her eligible for retirement. Her daughter, Alexandra, is in her last year of university and still lives at home. Isobel has risen to Chief Superintendent. There’s a little gathering at the office with Detective Superintendent Frank and retired Chief Constable Fergus. Isobel says she’s thinking of writing a book about Chalmers, a killer she put away twenty-five years ago. She’s uncomfortable with the conviction due to notable missing evidence. Her colleagues urge her to stay away from Chalmers and leave the case alone.

The first two scenes of this play can be read in the preview of Dark Road. (20% in)

Beyond the Horizon by Eugene O’Neill (3 Acts)

Robert and Andy live on the Mayo family farm. Robert is a reader and is drawn to life off the farm. He’s leaving tomorrow on a sea voyage with his uncle. Andy is strong and loves farm life. They both love Ruth, who lives on the neighboring farm. She comes to visit for Robert’s farewell. Her comments throw a wrench into everyone’s plans.

The first act of this play can be read in the preview of Plays of Eugene O’Neill. (3% in)

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 Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (7 Scenes)

Tom and Laura, young adults, live with their mother, Amanda. She is critical of Tom, and worried that Amanda cannot support herself and doesn’t have any gentleman callers. She wants Tom to bring home a young man from work.

Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka (5 Acts)

Elesin Oba walks through a village market in Nigeria, accompanied by drummers and singers. The women flirt with him. Elesin proclaims his commitment to the duty he must perform. This is his last day of life. The king died a month ago and is to be buried tonight. As the king’s chief horseman, it is Elesin’s duty to kill himself so the king won’t be alone.

Electra by Sophocles

Orestes has returned to seek revenge over the murder of his father, the former King Agamemnon. He comes up with a plan. His sister, Electra, also has revenge on her mind.

Before Breakfast by Eugene O’Neill (1 Act)

The Rowlands live in a small apartment in New York. Mrs. Rowland comes out of the bedroom. She puts on an apron and starts the coffee. Making as little noise as possible, she gets a bottle of gin and has a drink. She goes through her husband’s vest and finds a letter. After reading it, she starts calling her husband to get up and berates him.

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.

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.

Amadeus by Peter Shaffer (2 Acts)

When Mozart died, there were rumors he had been poisoned by Salieri. We see the progress of their musical careers and rivalry.

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