from plays by various authors

This page:

Anton Chekhov: Three Sisters
Oliver Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer
Joseph Heller: We Bombed in New Haven
Joseph Kesselring: Arsenic and Old Lace
Heinar Kipphardt: In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Thomas Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy
Luigi Pirandello: Right You Are If You Think You Are

Category:

Drama

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Three Sisters
by Anton Chekhov

Translated by Elisaveta Fen

Act One

Vershinin:
[...] It’s strange to think that we’re utterly unable to tell what will be regarded as great and important in the future and what will be thought of as just paltry and ridiculous. Didn’t the great discoveries of Copernicus—or of Columbus, if you like—appear useless and unimportant to begin with?—whereas some rubbish, written up by an eccentric fool, was regarded as a revelation of great truth?

Vershinin:
[...] Life will swallow you up, but you’ll not quite disappear, you’ll make some impression on it. After you’ve gone, perhaps six more people like you will turn up, then twelve, and so on, until in the end most people will have become like you. So in two or three hundred years life on this old earth of ours will have become marvellously beautiful. Man longs for a life like that, and if it isn’t here yet, he must imagine it, wait for it, dream about it, prepare for it, he must know and see more than his father and his grandfather did.

Topic:

Progress

Vershinin:
You know, I often wonder what it would be like if you could start your life over again—deliberately, I mean, consciously. . . . Suppose you could put aside the life you’d lived already, as though it was just a sort of rough draft, and then start another one like a fair copy. If that happened, I think the thing you’d want most of all would be not to repeat yourself.

Act Two

Andrey:
You can sit in some huge restaurant in Moscow without knowing anyone, and no one knowing you; yet somehow you don’t feel that you don’t belong there. . . . Whereas here you know everybody, and everybody knows you, and yet you don’t feel you belong here, you feel you don’t belong at all. . . . You’re lonely and you feel a stranger.

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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She Stoops to Conquer
by Oliver Goldsmith
Act II

Hardcastle:
[...] There was a time, indeed, I fretted myself about the mistakes of government, like other people; but finding myself every day grow more angry, and the government growing no better, I left it to mend itself.

Topic:

Government

Act IV

Tony Lumpkin:
[...] It’s very odd, I can read the outside of my letters, where my own name is, well enough. But when I come to open it, it’s all—buzz. That’s hard, very hard; for the inside of the letter is always the cream of the correspondence.

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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We Bombed in New Haven
by Joseph Heller

Copyright © 1967 by Scapegoat Productions, Inc.

Act One

Ruth:
[...] You know, Starkey, just about the only time you want to see me is when you want to see me.

Starkey:
It’s my unselfish nature. I do that only for your own good. I would be pretty bad company if I began hanging around you when I didn’t want to see you.

Topic:

Rationalizing

Ruth:
[...] Do you love me, or don’t you?

Starkey:
Okay. I’ll tell you. Do you want the truth, or do you want a lie?

Ruth:
Which is better?

Starkey:
If I were you, I would go with the lie.

Ruth:
No. I want the truth. Do you love me?

Starkey:
No.

Ruth:
Let’s have the lie.

Starkey:
Yes, I do love you, Ruth, more than words could ever say.

Ruth:
Darling!

Topic:

Lies

Act Two

Starkey:
I will weep for you. I will cry: “My son . . . my son! Would God I had died for thee!”

Starkey’s son:
But will you mean it?

Starkey:
I won’t know. I won’t ever really know.

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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Arsenic and Old Lace
by Joseph Kesselring

Copyright © 1942 by Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
Copyright © 1941 by Random House, Inc.

Act I

Dr. Harper:
[...] But a dramatic critic is constantly exposed to the theatre, and I don’t doubt but what some of them do develop an interest in it.

Topics:

Theater

Critics

Mortimer:
For a minister’s daughter you know a lot about life. Where’d you learn it?

Elaine:
In the choir loft.

Mortimer:
I’ll explain that to you sometime, darling—the close connection between eroticism and religion.

Elaine:
Religion never gets as high as the choir loft.

Topic:

Religion

Mortimer:
[...] I can save time if I write my review on the way to the theatre.

Act II

O’Hara:
I never go to the movies. I hate ’em! My mother says the movies is a bastard art.

Mortimer:
Yes, it’s full of them.

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer
by Heinar Kipphardt

In der Sache J. Robert Oppenheimer

Copyright © 1964 Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main

Translated by Ruth Speirs

Translation copyright © 1967, 1968 by John Roberts

Part One Scene 2

Evans:
[...] But how can a thought be new, and at the same time conform? What is the difference between us and the dictatorships with their enforced conformity, if we go on as we do now?

Scene 3

Robb:
[...] why did you not join the Party?

Oppenheimer:
Because I don’t like to think the thoughts of others. It goes against my idea of independence.

Scene 4

Robb:
We are speaking about work on secret war projects and about the possibly disagreeable measures we have to take in order to protect our freedom, Doctor.

Oppenheimer:
I know. There are people who are willing to protect freedom until there is nothing left of it.

Topics:

Totalitarianism

Freedom

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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The Spanish Tragedy
by Thomas Kyd

c. 1585
Edited by Charles T. Prouty

Edition copyright © 1951 by Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc.

Act IIScene V Revenge:

Thou talkest of harvest, when the corn is green:

The end is crown of every work well done;

The sickle comes not till the corn be ripe.

Topic:

Vengeance

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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Right You Are If You Think You Are
by Luigi Pirandello

Così è (se vi pare)
(1917)
Translated by Stanley Appelbaum

Copyright © 1997 by Dover Publications, Inc.

Act TwoScene One

Laudisi:
[...] You are the ones, not me, who need solid facts and records in order to confirm or deny! I have no use for them, because for me the reality doesn’t dwell in them, but in the minds of those two people, which I can’t conceivably enter into, except to the extent that they tell me about it.

Topic:

Belief

Scene Three

Laudisi:
[...] Without noticing the illusion they carry along with them, within themselves, in their wild curiosity they chase after other people’s illusions! And they think it’s something totally different.

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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