10 Classic Plays Now Available in the Public Domain

As works of art and culture, plays are a reflection of the times in which they were written, and they continue to inspire and entertain audiences today. Thanks to the public domain, we now have access to a wealth of classic plays that were once protected by copyright. In this article, we will briefly explore ten classic plays that are now available in the public domain, each one offering its own unique insights into human nature and society.

  1. “The Cherry Orchard” by Anton Chekhov is a tragicomedy that explores the decline of the aristocracy in Russia and the rise of the middle class. It tells the story of an aristocratic family who are forced to sell their beloved cherry orchard to pay off their debts. The play is a powerful commentary on social change and the struggles of adapting to new circumstances. View Script
  2. “The Imaginary Invalid” by Molière is a satire on the medical profession and the folly of hypochondria. It tells the story of a wealthy merchant who is convinced that he is seriously ill, despite the fact that he is in good health. The play is a humorous and witty critique of the medical establishment and the absurdity of human behaviour. View Script
  3. “The School for Scandal” by Richard Brinsley Sheridan is a classic comedy of manners that satirizes the gossip and scandal-mongering of high society. It tells the story of two brothers, one of whom is a notorious gossip and the other a model of decorum. The play is a witty and insightful critique of the hypocrisy and superficiality of the upper classes. View Script
  4. “Arms and the Man” by George Bernard Shaw is a romantic comedy that challenges the glorification of war and the romanticization of soldiers. It tells the story of a soldier who is idolized by a young woman, but whose true character is revealed when he is forced to confront the realities of war. The play is a thought-provoking exploration of the illusions and contradictions that underlie our beliefs and values. View Script
  5. “The Playboy of the Western World” by J.M. Synge is a tragicomedy that explores the relationship between identity and reputation. It tells the story of a young man who becomes a hero in his small town after he confesses to murdering his father. The play is a complex and ambiguous exploration of human nature and the ways in which we construct our identities. View Script
  6. “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare s a magical romance that explores the themes of forgiveness, redemption, and power. It tells the story of a sorcerer who conjures up a storm that washes ashore a group of shipwrecked travellers, including his enemies. The play is a rich and evocative meditation on the nature of humanity and the power of the imagination. View Script
  7. “Candida” by George Bernard Shaw is a satirical comedy that challenges traditional gender roles and the social norms that govern relationships. It tells the story of a pastor whose wife is courted by two men, one of whom is her husband’s protege and the other a passionate poet. The play is a witty and insightful critique of the assumptions and conventions that govern our lives. View Script
  8. “The Miser” by Molière is a classic comedy that satirizes the obsession with money and the greed that can consume us. It tells the story of a wealthy miser who is so obsessed with his money that he is blind to the needs and desires of his own family. The play is a humorous and thought-provoking piece. View Script
  9. “The Ghost Sonata” by August Strindberg is a play that explores themes of disillusionment and the darker aspects of human nature. It tells the story of a young student who becomes embroiled in the twisted world of a wealthy and powerful family, ultimately leading to his own downfall. View Script
  10. “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov is a classic play that delves into themes of love, loss, and the artistic process. Set on a Russian estate, it follows a group of characters who are struggling to find meaning and purpose in their lives. The play is notable for its intricate character studies and its commentary on the nature of art and creativity. View Script

The public domain provides us with an opportunity to rediscover and reimagine classic plays that have stood the test of time. These ten plays offer a diverse range of themes and perspectives that continue to resonate with modern audiences. Whether it is the satirical wit of Moliere, the magical romance of Shakespeare, or the thought-provoking insights of Shaw and Chekhov, these plays are a testament to the enduring power of the theatre. By adapting and reimagining these classic works, we can continue to explore the complexities of human nature and society in new and exciting ways.

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