Play Library

The play library was reviewed and edited by university professors with a focus in historic plays by women.

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The play opens with a harlequinade, with the commedia dell’arte characters Pierrot and Columbine on stage performing. Cothurnus, the fifth character, appears and begins to manipulate the action on stage. He clears Pierrot and Columbine off the stage …
 

About the Playwright

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) remains one of the foremost poets of the modern era, and is considered to have crafted some of the finest sonnets ever written. Her poetry was so highly acclaimed that it earned Millay both the 1923 Pulitzer Prize and the Robert Frost Medal, two of the highest honors in the literary world, for her poem “The Harp-Weaver.” Born in Rockland, Maine in 1892, Millay, the eldest of three sisters, was born to a nurse and a schoolteacher. However, her father abandoned…
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1920
Zona GaleComedy
 
The play is set in a small town in the Midwest. The title character is a spinster of thirty-three who does all the work for her sister Ina’s demanding family. Lulu’s chief nemesis is her brother-in-law Dwight Deacon, a petty tyrant who mocks the wome…
 

About the Playwright

Zona Gale
Zona Gale
Zona Gale (August 26, 1874-December 27, 1938) A native of Portage, Wisconsin, Zona Gale was a journalist, novelist, essayist and playwright who often set her work in the Midwest in which she grew up. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, she worked as a reporter for several years before turning her hand to fiction and drama. Gale would eventually publish numerous plays and more than twenty volumes of prose. She lived in New York City for a decade and often visited there, but most …
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1921
 
The protagonist, Claire Archer, is desperately in search of new botanical forms, a symbol of her efforts to go beyond the limitations conventionally placed on women. The first and third acts of the play take place in her greenhouse, Act II in Claire’…
 

About the Playwright

Susan Glaspell
Susan Glaspell
Susan Keating Glaspell (1876-1948) Born July 1, 1876, in Davenport, Iowa, Susan Glaspell published news articles and short stories even before entering Drake University, from which she received a degree in philosophy. Over the course of her career, she wrote more than fifty short stories, nine novels, fourteen plays, and a biography of her husband, George Cram (Jig) Cook. It is difficult to imagine the Provincetown Players (1916-1922) without Glaspell, a founding member who acted as well as w…
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1921
 
Act One is set in 1879 in the Morton household. Silas Morton is being pressured by the town to sell his land for municipal purposes. They offer a good price, but he decides to donate his land instead for the founding of a college. Silas highly values…
 

About the Playwright

Susan Glaspell
Susan Glaspell
Susan Keating Glaspell (1876-1948) Born July 1, 1876, in Davenport, Iowa, Susan Glaspell published news articles and short stories even before entering Drake University, from which she received a degree in philosophy. Over the course of her career, she wrote more than fifty short stories, nine novels, fourteen plays, and a biography of her husband, George Cram (Jig) Cook. It is difficult to imagine the Provincetown Players (1916-1922) without Glaspell, a founding member who acted as well as w…
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Beautiful Nancy Marshall is one of New York’s most celebrated socialites and philanthropists, and while she is happy in her career, she can’t help feeling something—or someone—is missing in her life. She declares “No man on earth could possibly be as…
 

About the Playwright

Rachel Crothers
Rachel Crothers
Rachel Crothers (1878-1958) had nearly 30 plays produced on Broadway between 1906 and 1937; and she directed most of them herself. “In the last 200 years, a respectable number of women have left their mark on American theater, but few of them have had as impressive a career as Rachel Crothers,” wrote the New York Times in 1980, adding “Although it is rare now to find anyone who has heard of her, Miss Crothers at the apex of her career was the symbol of success in the commercial theater.” Born i…
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On a Sunday morning in a Southern town in 1924, a grandmother, Sue Jones, and her two grandsons, nineteen-year-old Tom and seven-year-old Bossie, are sitting down to breakfast before church. A fellow parishioner, Liza Griggs, joins them; as they eat …
 

About the Playwright

Georgia Douglas Johnson
Georgia Douglas Johnson
Georgia Douglas Johnson (c.1880-1966) was a playwright, poet, journalist and musician. She began her professional life as a teacher, working in Atlanta schools for about 10 years after she graduated from college. She left teaching to study music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland College of Music in Ohio, taking classes in harmony, violin, voice and piano. After completing her studies, she returned to Atlanta and resumed her teaching career, working her way up to assistant pr…
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Act I: Margy LaMont, an ambitious prostitute from Montreal, saves the life of wealthy Clara Stanton, who was on a date with Margy’s pimp, Rocky. She does so with the help of her friend/client Gregg, an English naval officer who gives her the idea to …
 

About the Playwright

Mae West
Mae West
Though Mae West (1893-1980) lives on in popular culture as an alternately sultry and comedic sex symbol from twenties and thirties films, her plays challenged the conventional mores regarding homosexuality and female sexuality—even in the ‘libertine’ Jazz Age. Born Mary Jane West in Brooklyn, New York, on August 17, 1893, West dove almost instantly into show business. By age fourteen, she was a well-known vaudevillian under the stage name Baby Mae. At age eighteen, her career blossomed and she …
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1927
Georgia Douglas JohnsonDrama, Folk Play
 
Charity’s daughter Emeline is seriously ill. A pompous doctor advises her that a $50 operation could save Emeline’s life, but that’s a devastating amount for her poor family, and besides, Charity doesn’t trust the man. She faces the heartbreaking dec…
 

About the Playwright

Georgia Douglas Johnson
Georgia Douglas Johnson
Georgia Douglas Johnson (c.1880-1966) was a playwright, poet, journalist and musician. She began her professional life as a teacher, working in Atlanta schools for about 10 years after she graduated from college. She left teaching to study music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland College of Music in Ohio, taking classes in harmony, violin, voice and piano. After completing her studies, she returned to Atlanta and resumed her teaching career, working her way up to assistant pr…
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