In Sunday's New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote about sitting down to read the four plays nominated for best play this year, having seen none of the productions. His story reminded me of the joy I once had reading plays. I was an English major who concentrated in drama, so plays were the thing for me. I wrote my thesis on George Bernard Shaw, and first came to love Alan Ayckbourn (whose brilliant Norman Conquests just won best revival of a play!), Noel Coward, Peter Shaffer, Harold Pinter and others by reading them, not by watching productions of their plays. Reading those plays led me to wonderful worlds and on my first literary pilgrimage (to Ayckbourn's Stephen Joseph theater in Scarborough, England the year after I graduated from college). And just this week, I was heartened to hear from my reluctant reader daughter that she LOVES READING SHAKESPEARE.
So I'm not sure why I've never thought to suggest reading a play at book club, especially since there are so many to choose from, and, well not to put too fine a point on it, but they are quick to read! There would really be no excuse for not finishing. I plan to scour my shelves for some good options. In the meantime, of the four examined by Garner, I think that God of Carnage (winner of Best Play tonight), in its examination of two disfunctional marriages whose fissures are revealed when the couples are brought together by an altercation between their sons, would be a terrific book club choice. I plan to pick it up asap (well, right after I finally get my Norman Conquests tickets-still trying to figure out to explain to my husband why I need to see three plays in one day ;)).