7 Humorous Plays That You Should Read for a Laugh ...

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There are humorous plays that you should read or see acted out if possible. Some are 100 years old, while others are a bit more recent. Despite their age, they all contain hysterical lines that will amuse you. If you’re feeling bored, look up these humorous plays for a laugh:

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1

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde wrote one of his most humorous plays in the 1890s. The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy about couples. It shows just how ridiculous some people’s standards are when it comes to relationships. Some don’t care about personality, and value other unimportant aspects instead. The story contains many different plays on words, which keep the characters confused and the audience entertained.

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Wilde's masterpiece delves into the absurdities of high society during the Victorian era. Jack and Algernon, the male protagonists, engage in the farcical deception of dual identities to woo their beloveds, Gwendolen and Cecily, who are equally smitten with the name Earnest. The play unfurls a satirical tapestry of mistaken identities, exposing the shallow pretenses of the social elite. Wilde's sharp wit ensures a cascade of laughter, as the characters navigate through a maze of trivialities, elevating the trivial to the critical with delightful irony.

2

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream There could be an entire article dedicated to Shakespeare's greatest comedies, but I'll only involve one. Of course, that's no reason to skip his other great works such as Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and All's Well That Ends Well. Although William Shakespeare has written tons of amazing comedies, A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the best. It contains love, magic, and animals. There’s even a play within the play, which helps the audience relate to the characters. The mishaps that occur show how interchangeable men and women can be. In this play, love blossoms quickly and arbitrarily.

3

Private Lives

Private Lives In 1930, Noël Coward wrote this play about a divorced couple. Both of them are on their honeymoons with their new partners, and they end up staying in the same hotel in adjacent rooms. You’d expect them to have a blowout, but instead they reconnect. The play is composed of three acts, each of which are captivating. You won’t be able to stop reading once you begin.

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Coward's genius is evident in the sharp, witty dialogue that continues to sparkle and amuse audiences long after its debut. With Amanda and Elyot—the main characters—exchanging razor-sharp repartees and absurdities, the play becomes a delightful rollercoaster of emotions. Their chemistry is undeniable, and the hilarity that ensues from their unexpected reunion makes for an evening of theatrical gold. It's a masterful mix of sophisticated humor and farcical situations, proving that the heart wants what it wants, propriety be damned! Whether you're in it for the comedy or the poignant observations on love and relationships, Private Lives won't disappoint.

4

Tartuffe

Tartuffe Tartuffe was written by Molière in 1664. It’s a theatrical comedy about a deceptive man. He tricks the main character into believing that he is trustworthy, and gets his way for the majority of the play. Will he get away with his plans or get what he deserves? Read this classical story to find out.

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Molière's Tartuffe is a masterclass in comedic timing and social satire. The play lampoons religious hypocrisy, as the titular character feigns piety to insinuate himself into the affections and household of a gullible bourgeois. With its clever wit and sharp observations, Tartuffe holds a funhouse mirror to society, exposing the absurdity of those who wear virtue as a disguise. Prepare to chuckle and even outright guffaw as the plot twists through schemes, misunderstanding, and comic relief. For anyone who loves a blend of highbrow humor and slapstick, this is a timeless piece that still resonates with audiences today.

5

The School for Scandal

The School for Scandal Richard Brinsley Sheridan created The School for Scandal in 1777. It pokes fun at the upper classes by using stereotypes of the rich. There are several main characters, and many different events that occur. As long as you can keep up with everything that happens, you should enjoy this play.

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Sheridan's satirical masterpiece dexterously intertwines wit with the follies of deception and intrigue. With characters such as the gossip-mongering Lady Sneerwell and the conniving Sir Joseph Surface, The School for Scandal delivers a comedic yet incisive glance at the duplicity of high society. The dialogue sparkles with the sharpness of a rapier, and the plot twists as if in a dance of masks at a ball, delicately embroidered with Sheridan's perceptive humor. If you revel in classic literature that knows how to draw forth a chuckle, you simply can't miss the mirthful machinations of this iconic play.

6

The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps This play was adapted from novels written in the early 1900s. When it was first performed, it only contained four actors, although there were dozens of characters. Each actor would play multiple parts, which showed off their versatility. The play received an Olivier Award, Drama Desk Award, and two Tony Awards. If that doesn’t make you want to read it, what will?

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The 39 Steps is a comedic play adapted from two novels written by John Buchan in 1915 and the 1935 film adaptation of the same name. The play was first performed in 2005 and is written for four actors, although it features dozens of characters. Each actor plays multiple roles, showcasing their versatility and talent.

The play has been critically acclaimed, receiving the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play, and two Tony Awards for Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design. The play has been performed in many countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The 39 Steps follows the story of Richard Hannay, a British gentleman who finds himself embroiled in a mystery involving espionage and murder. He must use his wits and cunning to outwit his enemies and clear his name. Along the way, he meets a variety of colorful characters and experiences thrilling adventures.

7

La Bête

La Bête David Hirson wrote La Bête in 1991. If you enjoy poetry, you’ll love reading this play. It’s written in rhyme to give it a poetic feel. Molière (whom is mentioned earlier) inspired the story to be written. It takes place in France, and revolves around the head of the royal court.

Plays can be just as enjoyable when they’re read as when they’re watched. Have you read any of these plays before? Did you enjoy them?

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