Vote for the December book club book

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Which play would you like to read in December?

Poll ended at Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:34 pm

A midsummernight's dream
1
9%
An Enemy of the People
1
9%
Three Sisters
3
27%
Mother Courage and her Children
2
18%
Six Characters in search of an author
1
9%
Cyrano de Bergerac
0
No votes
The importance of Being Earnest
0
No votes
Waiting for Godot
1
9%
A streetcar named Desire
2
18%
Long Day’s Journey into Night
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 11

Mista
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Languages: Norwegian (N), English (QN). Studied Ancient Greek (MA), Linguistics (MA), Latin (BA), German (BA). Italian at A2/B1 level. Learning: French, Japanese, Russian (focus) and various others, like Polish, Spanish, Vietnamese, and anything that comes my way. Also know some Sanskrit (but not the script) and Coptic. Really want to learn Arabic and Amharic.
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7497
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Vote for the December book club book

Postby Mista » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:34 pm

First of all: we already have a book for December/January: Heaven and Hell by Jon Kalman Stefansson. The last two months we have had one longer book and two shorter ones, and what we are doing now is choosing a smaller one for next month (or two for the two next, in case of a tie).

I suggested earlier that we could read some plays. And since there hasn't been any other suggestions, this is now a "Drama special" edition of the book club.

The nominees:

Shakespeare: A midsummernight's dream
goodreads wrote:Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.


Ibsen: An Enemy of the People
goodreads wrote:In An Enemy of the People, Ibsen places his main characters, Dr. Thomas Stockman, in the role of an enlightened and persecuted minority of one confronting an ignorant, powerful majority. When the physician learns that the famous and financially successful baths in his hometown are contaminated, he insists they be shut down for expensive repairs. For his honesty, he is persecuted, ridiculed, and declared an "enemy of the people" by the townspeople, included some who have been his closest allies.
First staged in 1883, An Enemy of the People remains one of the most frequently performed plays by a writer considered by many the "father of modern drama."


Chekhov: Three Sisters
goodreads wrote:First performed at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1901, The Three Sisters probes the lives and dreams of Olga, Masha, and Irina, former Muscovites now living in a provincial town from which they long to escape. Their hopes for a life more suited to their cultivated tastes and sensibilities provide a touching counterpoint to the relentless flow of compromising events in the real world.
In this powerful play, a landmark of modern drama, Chekhov masterfully interweaves character and theme in subtle ways that make the work's finale seem as inevitable as it is deeply moving.


Brecht: Mother Courage and her Children
goodreads wrote:Widely considered one of the great dramatic creations of the modern stage, "Mother Courage and Her Children" is Bertolt Brecht's most passionate and profound statement against war. Set in the seventeenth century, the play follows Anna Fierling -- "Mother Courage" -- an itinerant trader, as she pulls her wagon of wares and her children through the blood and carnage of Europe's religious wars. Battered by hardships, brutality, and the degradation and death of her children, she ultimately finds herself alone with the one thing in which she truly believes -- her ramshackle wagon with its tattered flag and freight of boots and brandy. Fitting herself in its harness, the old woman manages, with the last of her strength, to drag it onward to the next battle. In the enduring figure of Mother Courage, Bertolt Brecht has created one of the most extraordinary characters in the literature of drama.


Luigi Pirandello: Six Characters in search of an author
goodreads wrote:One of the major figures of modern theater, Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936) wrote dramas and satires that sparked controversy with their radical departures from conventional theatrical techniques. His most celebrated work, Six Characters in Search of an Author, embodies the Nobel Prize-winning playwright's innovations by presenting an open-ended drama on a stage without sets.
First performed in 1923, this intellectual comedy introduces six individuals to a stage where a company of actors has assembled for a rehearsal. Claiming to be the incomplete, unused creations of an author's imagination, they demand lines for a story that will explain the details of their lives. In ensuing scenes, these "real-life characters," all professing to be part of an extended family, produce a drama of sorts — punctuated by disagreements, interruptions, and arguments. In the end they are dismissed by the irate manager, their dilemma unsolved and the "truth" a matter of individual viewpoints.


Edmond Rostand: Cyrano de Bergerac
goodreads wrote:This is Edmond Rostand's immortal play in which chivalry and wit, bravery and love are forever captured in the timeless spirit of romance. Set in Louis XIII's reign, it is the moving and exciting drama of one of the finest swordsmen in France, gallant soldier, brilliant wit, tragic poet-lover with the face of a clown. Rostand's extraordinary lyric powers gave birth to a universal hero--Cyrano De Bergerac--and ensured his own reputation as author of one of the best-loved plays in the literature of the stage.


Oscar Wilde: The importance of Being Earnest
goodreads wrote:Oscar Wilde's madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades.

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack's ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack's country home on the same weekend the "rivals" to fight for Ernest's undivided attention and the "Ernests" to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!


Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot
goodreads wrote:The story revolves around two seemingly homeless men simply waiting for someone—or something—named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree, inhabiting a drama spun of their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett’s language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existential post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time.


Tenessee Williams: A streetcar named Desire
goodreads wrote:Fading southern belle Blanche Dubois depends on the kindness of strangers and is adrift in the modern world. When she arrives to stay with her sister Stella in a crowded, boisterous corner of New Orleans, her delusions of grandeur bring her into conflict with Stella's crude, brutish husband Stanley. Eventually their violent collision course causes Blanche's fragile sense of identity to crumble, threatening to destroy her sanity and her one chance of happiness.

Tennessee Williams's steamy and shocking landmark drama, recreated as the immortal film starring Marlo Brando, is one of the most influential plays of the twentieth century.


Eugene O’Neill: Long Day’s Journey into Night
goodreads wrote:Eugene O'Neill's autobiographical play Long Day's Journey into Night is regarded as his finest work. First published by Yale University Press in 1956, it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and has since sold more than one million copies. This edition includes a new foreword by Harold Bloom.

The action covers a fateful, heart-rending day from around 8:30 am to midnight, in August 1912 at the seaside Connecticut home of the Tyrones - the semi-autobiographical representations of O'Neill himself, his older brother, and their parents at their home, Monte Cristo Cottage.

One theme of the play is addiction and the resulting dysfunction of the family. All three males are alcoholics and Mary is addicted to morphine. They all constantly conceal, blame, resent, regret, accuse and deny in an escalating cycle of conflict with occasional desperate and half-sincere attempts at affection, encouragement and consolation.


Link to the book club:
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 23&t=10009
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lavengro
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Re: Vote for the December book club book

Postby lavengro » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:01 pm

Thanks Mista for the detailed and informative post. I have voted for the Beckett and Pirandello plays, but they all look good.

I've read Waiting for Godot partly in French (En attendant Godot) back when I was working at my French but did not finish (so don't tell me how it ends - my guess is with an exciting car chase!), and I am keen on trying it in Italian (Aspettando Godot) - there are online, legal versions in a number of languages.

I am pleased to find out that there are also multilingual legal versions of Six Characters in Search of an Author online, including naturalmente in the original Italiano (Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore) as that was already on my "to do" list for Italian (though I might have been inclined to start with something easier, like: Just a Couple of Characters Looking for an Author).
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