In celebration of last night’s Tony awards, read some great plays new and old this week, listen to dramatic podcasts, and learn about the history of the top award for American dramatists.
On Your Kindle
War Horse, by Michael Morpurgo
This book, originally written with the aim of teaching children about World War I, spawned a successful play that won five Tony Awards (for scenic design, lighting design, sound design, director, and best play) in 2011 and an Oscar-nominated, Steven Spielberg-directed film of the same name. Set variously in the English countryside and in war-torn France, this is the story of Joey, the beloved horse of an English farm boy, who is sold to an officer and becomes a cavalry horse. Joey misses the constancy of home and Albert’s love as he “fights” for the allies, and then for the enemy when he becomes a POW of the Germans. Through Joey’s unique lens, the reader begins to understand the horrors of war and its devastating arbitrariness.
On Your Smartphone
Who is Tony?, by Ellis Nassour
Without the glamour of the Oscars, the fun of the Golden Globes, and the diva power of the Grammys, the Tonys can often be relegated to the back of the award show queue. But if you’re invested in the Tonys—or if you’re just curious about their origin and their interesting name—read this history of the woman behind the black and white dramatic mask. Antoinette (Toni) Perry was an American actress who forged a path for other women who wanted to develop careers in theater production and business, at a time when business savvy and success were difficult for women to achieve. It’s this woman that the award is named for—and it’s her legacy that lives on during the award ceremony of today.
On a Podcast
If you want to add a little drama to your morning commute, log on to the Audio Drama Directory, an aggregator of dramatic podcasts from around the web. The site only pulls audio clips that cost nothing, so your morning soundtrack will stay free. Choose from various categories, including “Audio Drama Podcasts,” “Comedy,” “Foreign Language,” “Old Time Radio,” and many, many more.
Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles
Perhaps the oldest of old school drama, this Greek great has inspired playwrights, authors, and psychologists alike. When King Laius of Thebes and his wife Jocasta have trouble conceiving a child, the King consults the Oracle at Delphi. The esteemed Oracle tells the king that any son his wife bears will kill him and marry his wife. Jocasta bears a son, Oedipus, and Laius pierces the boy’s ankles before abandoning him on a mountain to die. Laius’ plans are foiled, however, when a servant takes pity on the baby and gives him to a shepherd, who raises him as his own son. The misunderstandings, mistakes, and mishaps that ensue—all told by a wailing, beautifully-penned Greek chorus—result in a classically horrifying tale.