Sunday, June 23, 2013

All the books on the shelves - pt1 (Drama)

I am probably not going to list the urban studies and historical books, though I may at some point.  I am going to begin listing all the books in the drama section (only a couple of shelves), then move on to fiction and poetry.  Then I may get around to listing essays and philosophical works, but I think that would be it.  I am only listing books that are on shelves either upstairs or downstairs and not worrying about books in boxes.  I've generally tried to keep the best books on the shelves (ones that I think are worth moving again), though in some cases as I have gotten tight on space, books that have been read (but aren't being donated or discarded) end up in a different pile and not back on the shelves.  I probably have purged 50-100 books over the last year, and probably 200-300 right before moving to Vancouver, though this is a far cry from when I got rid of at least 500 books from my childhood home (only a handful did I decide to acquire a second time).  I am genuinely curious how many books are on the shelves, and what proportion have been read.  A big R will stand for actually having read the book, and in a few cases I will put a small r for the books in the TBR pile that I truly think I will get to by the fall.  (In the case of drama, I will also add an S if I've seen the play live.)

If nothing else, this will be a good opportunity to figure out how far I am from the goal of reading all the books on the shelves.  In general, I am kind of excited that I am getting to some of the more challenging books that I've been hording and planning on reading for a very long time.  Perhaps ironically, this current push won't clear out too many books, since I expect I will hang onto the classics (Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Proust) but probably by the fall I will be back to reading a bunch of books that I think will be one-offs that I will read and then donate.  I'm also a lot more likely to simply stop reading these books if I am not enjoying them and don't think the time will be well-spent.

Ok, onto the list:


Jean Anouilh Plays v. 2 & v. 3 (including Ardele, Mademoiselle Colombe, The Lark, Thieves' carnival, Medea, The Orchestra and Traveler without Luggage)
   (At one point I had v. 1 & 2 but purged them.  Then later re-acquired v. 2 & 3 (but haven't found v. 1).  Anouilh has definitely fallen out of fashion and perhaps I will only read once and discard.)
Jean Anouilh It's Later Than You Think
Samuel Beckett RS Krapp's Last Tape
Samuel Beckett RS Waiting for Godot
Samuel Beckett S Endgame
Brendan Behan The Complete Plays (including The Hostage, The Quare Fellow and Richard's Cork Leg)
Brecht (S The Good Person of Szechwan, S Mother Courage and Her Children, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich)
Brecht (Life of Galileo, The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, S The Caucasian Chalk Circle)
   (I thought I owned Brecht's Three-Penny Opera (S) but perhaps it has been relegated to a box.)
Bulgakov Six Plays (The White Guard, S Madame Zoyka, Flight, Moliere, R Adam and Eve, and The Last Days).
Chekov The Major Plays (S Ivanov, RS The Sea Gull, RS Uncle Vanya, RS The Three Sisters, RS The Cherry Orchard)
Caryl Churchill Plays 1 (including Owners, Traps, S Cloud Nine)
Caryl Churchill Plays 2 (including Softcops, S Top Girls, Fen, Serious Money)
Maria Fornes Plays (including Mud, The Conduct of Life and S Sarita)
Michael Frayn Copenhagen
Jean Genet S The Balcony (saw an amazing midnight production of this in Chicago)
Jean Genet The Blacks
Vaclav Havel The Garden Party and Other Plays (including S The Memorandum, S The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, Unveiling, Protest and Mistake)
Vaclav Havel Selected Plays (Largo Desolato, Temptation, Redevelopment)
Vaclav Havel Leaving
Tomson Highway The Rez Sisters (just missed a chance to see a college production of this)
Tomson Highway Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing
Israel Horovitz The Wakefield Plays
David Henry Hwang S Chinglish
David Henry Hwang FOB and Other Plays (including R FOB, RS Family Devotions, R Rich Relations)
David Henry Hwang S Yellow Face
Ibsen Four Major Plays (S A Doll's House, Ghosts, S Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder)
Ibsen Plays (An Enemy of the People, S The Wild Duck, Rosmersholm)
LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) Dutchman and The Slave
Ben Jonson Three Plays (S Volpone, Epicoene, S The Alchemist)
Ben Jonson Three Plays v. 2 (Sejanus, Every Man in His Humour, R Bartholomew Fair)
Dennis Kelly Plays One (Debris, Osama the Hero, After the End, R Love and Money)
Ninaz Khodaiji RS Insomnia (helped bring this to Chicago in a staged reading)
Larry Kramer S The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me
Tony Kushner Death and Taxes (including Hydriotaphia)
Tony Kushner S Angels in America pts. 1 & 2
Tony Kushner RS Homebody/Kabul
Tony Kushner  S Thinking About the Longstanding Problems ... (Slavs)
Robert LePage S La face cachee de la lune (LePage himself performed this in Vancouver (in English: The Far Side of the Moon))
Tracy Letts S August: Osage County
Christopher Marlowe Complete Plays (including Tamburlaine the Great, Doctor Faustus, S Edward the Second and The Jew of Malta)
Tarell McCraney S The Brother/Sister Plays
Martin McDonagh The Beauty Queen of Leenane (including R A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West)
Terrence McNally S Love! Valour! Compassion! and A Perfect Ganesh
Thomas Middleton Five Plays (A Trick to Catch the Old One, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, Women Beware Women, The Changeling, and The Revenger's Tragedy)
Arthur Miller Collected Plays 1944-61 (including S All My Sons, RS Death of a Salesman, RS The crucible, S A Memory of Two Mondays, A View from the Bridge)
Arthur Miller Plays Two (S After the Fall, Incident at Vichy, The Price, The Creation of the World, Playing for Time)
Arthur Miller The American Clock and The Archbishop's Ceiling
Arthur Nesesian East Village Tetralogy
O'Neill Complete Plays 1913-20 (including Beyond the Horizon, Gold, R Anna Christie and R The Emperor Jones)
O'Neill Complete Plays 1920-31 (including The Hairy Ape, S Desire Under the Elms, Lazarus Laughed, Strange Interlude and S Mourning Becomes Electra)
O'Neill Complete Plays 1932-43 (including Ah Wilderness, Days without End, R A Touch of the Poet, More Stately Mansions, R The Iceman Cometh, RS Long Day's Journey into Night, S Hughie, R A Moon for the Misbegotten)
Joe Orton The Complete Plays (including Funeral Games and S What the Butler Saw)
Eric Overmyer Collected Plays (including S On the Verge, In a Pig's Valise, S In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe, Dark Rapture)
Penny Penniston S Now Then Again
Luigi Pirandello Five Plays (including S Henry IV, S Six Characters in Search of an Author and Each in His Own Way)
Dennis Potter Karaoke and Cold Lazarus
Ramu Ramanathan Mahadevbhai
Jose Rivera Marisol and Other Plays (RS Marisol, Each Day Dies With Sleep, S Cloud Tectonics)
Paul Rudnick Collected Plays (including Jeffrey, Valhalla, I Hate Hamlet, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and The New Century) (hope to catch The Most Fabulous Story)
Sarah Ruhl In the Next Room
Oren Safdie R Private Jokes, Public Places
Robert Schenken The Kentucky Cycle
Shakespeare The Riverside Shakespeare (I'll list elsewhere but I have read and seen essentially all of the comedies and tragedies and roughly 75% of the romances and history plays)
Ntozake Shange RS For colored girls who have considered suicide ...
Tom Stoppard The Coast of Utopia Trilogy
Tom Stoppard The Invention of Love
Tom Stoppard RS Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Tom Stoppard Plays 4 (including Undiscovered Country, S Rough Crossing, On the Razzle)
Tom Stoppard Plays 5 (including S Arcadia, The Real Thing, S Night & Day, Indian Ink and Hapgood)
Tom Stoppard S The Real Inspector Hound
Strindberg Miss Julie and Other Plays (The Father, A Dream Play, S Miss Julie, The Ghost Sonata and Dance of Death)
Jean-Claude van Italie America Hurrah and Other Plays
George Walker Suburban Motel
Naomi Wallace In the Heart of America and Other Plays (including S One Flea Spare, Slaughter City and S The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek)
John Webster & John Ford Selected Plays (S The White Devil, S The Duchess of Malfi, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, The Broken Heart)
Tennessee Williams Plays 1937-55 (including 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, RS The Glass Menagerie, RS A Streetcar Named Desire, Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, R Camino Real, and RS Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
Tennessee Williams Plays 1957-80 (including R Orpheus Descending, RS Suddenly Last Summer, S Sweet Bird of Youth, S The Night of the Iguana, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, Small Craft Warnings and Vieux Carre)
Tennessee Williams The Theatre of Tennessee Williams vol. 7 (including In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel)
Tennessee Williams The Traveling Companion and Other Plays
August Wilson S The Piano Lesson
Lanford Wilson S The Hot L Baltimore
Lanford Wilson Collected Works vol. 1 (including Balm in Gilead, Rimers of Eldritch and Lemon Sky)
Lanford Wilson Collected Works vol. 3 The Talley Trilogy
Divine Fire Eight Plays Inspired by the Greeks (including Margraff - The Elektra Fugues; S. Ruhl - S Eurydice; C. Svich - S Iphigenia Crash Land Falls ...; and Yankowitz - Phaedra in Delirium)
Drama for a New South Africa (including R Sophiatown)
Four English Comedies (B. Jonson - S Volpone; Congreve - S The Way of the World; Sheridan - S The School For Scandal; Goldsmith -S She Stoops to Conquer)
Four Jacobean City Comedies (Marston - The Dutch Courtesan; Middleton - A Mad World, My Masters; Jonson - The Devil Is An Ass; Massinger - A New Way to Pay Old Debts)
Women on the Verge (including Drexler - Occupational Hazard; Malpede - Us; and M. Fornes - S What of the Night?)

So I've crunched the numbers and have read and/or seen 39% of the plays.  Had I included Shakespeare in the calculations, it probably would have hit 40%, so that's what I am going with for the moment.  Not too shabby, given how much is stashed away on those two shelves.

Probably the single most annoying omission on this list is Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle where Grove had been promising for almost a year to bring out the entire cycle in one omnibus edition and kept delaying and finally canceling the title.  Then they expected me to buy the plays in three separate volumes (at three times the price of the canceled title!).  Even if I had the shelf space, I don't think I would bite, so I'll just have to wait to see if they ever do publish this as promised.  It doesn't look like any part of the cycle is going to be produced anywhere near me, so reading it is probably the only way I'll get acquainted with these plays.

No question that in general I have done better watching plays than reading them, but that was only possible when living in a theatre mecca like Chicago (and hopefully soon Toronto).  I'm fairly close to wrapping up my project of scanning all the theatre programs I've collected over the years and will get that list up fairly soon (at some point after the books on the shelves project is completed).

Vancouver doesn't compare at all in terms of live theatre.  I actually traveled to SF last month to watch Stoppard's Arcadia and if all goes well I will make the trek again next April to see his entire Coast of Utopia Trilogy in Berkeley.  That would be worth another special trip.  (The biggest question is whether the entire family makes the trip to do some tourism in SF though my wife would have to keep the kids occupied in the evenings!  The second biggest question is whether I read the plays ahead of time or leave the plot to be revealed on stage.)  I kept thinking that it would be done next in Chicago or Minneapolis (after London and New York) but it will be this upstart company in Berkeley.  Who knew?

A minor update.  While this doesn't change the overall picture, I am somewhat surprised that Ensemble Theatre Company here in Vancouver is about to put on Middleton's Women Beware Women.  This may be the first Middleton play I've ever seen!  (I'm definitely going.)  I did catch The Roaring Girl in Chicago, but that is more frequently attributed to Dekker and Middleton (and it was a fairly loose adaptation besides).

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