I'm going to be a senior next year in high school, and I'm going to direct a play put together by my International Baccalaureate Theater class to be performed some time in the winter. As it stands right now, it seems directing the play should be a piece of cake compared to finding the right one! If anyone could give me some suggestions that would be great. I'm looking for a play that, ideally, has these characteristics:
1. A play that is not necessarily "easy" or traditionally used in a high school setting - either a drama/tragedy, or a comedy with a good deal of substance. Of course, although I want it to be pretty intellectually challenging, it can't have any material inappropriate for a high school. (I should note that we can usually get around curse words, I'm more thinking along the lines of a plot that doesn't center around something like sexual abuse.)
2. A cast of around 8-12 people, 15 max.
3. A set and costumes that are manageable on a high school budget (and of a rather poor public school no less). So, no plays that absolutely need 18th century period costumes in the backdrop of a 5-level, 3 section, light-up set.
4. With me thinking about the actors we've got, preferably a major female lead, but this is less important. Of course, it does have to have a pretty equal balance of female and male actors.
Yes, a tall order, I know. One play I've been looking at is Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya." It's a wonderful play, but it doesn't quite satisfy #4 - I have to make sure there's someone willing to play Uncle Vanya first. Most other Chekhov plays have a bit too many people, but it may be possible to double up some parts. I love Brecht, but most of his plays have huge casts. Strindberg and Pirandello were suggested to me, but I have yet to look into their plays. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you!
If you don't mind a contemporary play, try Shun the Heaven available from Playscripts, Inc. (playscripts.com). It might fit the bill. One unit set, lead female, 8-12 characters, high school appropriate.
Antigone, by Jean Anouilh is a great choice. I was in it when I was in high school, and I directed it at a high school a number of years ago. Brecht's version is also interesting.
The Bacchae has several versions, including a modern one by Wole Soyinka that I recall being iimpressive.
Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet, by Ann Marie MacDonald may work. It's been a while since I read it.
If you're as into the Absurd as your name suggests, you might try Giraudoux's Madwoman of Challot. It's more ensemble, though would require lots of double-casting.
The Dragon, by Eugene Schwarz
Good Woman of Szechwan, by Bertolt Brecht
If you do Chekhov, make sure to get a good translation. I really like Lanford Wilson's Three Sisters. I don't know if he's done Vanya, but you might look at Michael Frayn's translation. Stoppard's Seagull is a strong one, too.
Thanks so much Carlblong, that was a great help. My school has actually done Madwoman fairly recently, though it's a great play. Right now, I'm leaning towards Seagull, although Antigone sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out.