It is a general observation that actors hardly read plays until it is offered to them, says Peter Salzano, a famous playwright. As an actor, your experience can add value to the play, but the experience is not just acting in plays but reading and understanding the thoughts of a playwright.
When it comes to theatre, we normally watch the performance on stage, even the actors see the popularity and avoid the great work of the playwright. There are times where some of the best playwrights were unable to showcase their talent, just because they were not famous at that point in time.
As a playwright, Peter feels that reading plays helps an actor to grow, develop creative skill, expand imagination, learn the roots of acting etc. Reading here is limited to the play scripts that they are offered, but the history of theatres, background, great contributors, etc. Information that is beyond their work but close to the theatre world.
Based on the observation here are some suggestions on “What the Actors Must Read” shared by Peter Salzano. Let’s take a look:
- The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
The Cherry Orchard is by Anton Checkhov, a famous playwright and this is his last but one of the best plays, which first opened in 1904 in Moscow.
- The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl
It is a romantic comedy that first premiered in 2004 at Yale’s Repertory Theater. The play is still popular and has been produced in many cities in the United States.
- A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams is an American playwright who won the “Pulitzer Prize”. The play was written in 1947, but still, counts to have a great presence in the theatre scene even today.
- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? By Edward Albee
This amazing play was written by Edward Albee back in 1962. The story is about the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple. George and Martha.
- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
This play was written in 1895 and it’s a trivial comedy for senior people. The play focuses on the Victorian ways in London of those days.
- In the Blood- Acting Edition by Suzan- Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks is an American playwright. The play was written back in 1999 and the story is about a particular gift of Parks.
- Death of a Salesman
Death of a salesman is a very well known play finished in 1949 by an American playwright “Arthur Miller.” It received the Tony Award for Best Play and the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
There are some more recommendations from Peter Salzano that as an actor you can consider reading:
- Machinal by Sophie Treadwell
- Agamemnon by Aeschylus
- The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht
- Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill
- A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
- Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw
- The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
- Medea by Euripides
- Miss Julie by August Strindberg
- Oedipus the king by Sophocles
- American Buffalo by David Mamet
- Our Town by Thornton Wilder
- Private Lives by Noel Coward
- Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe