What are Ken's favorite plays?
My favorite plays are virtually all comedies. They start with the great Shakespeare comedies - and my favorites there are Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing. Each one launched a separate tradition of comedy that exists to this day. And each one is simply jaw-droppingly great.
After Shakespeare, you have to jump to the late Restoration for any really great plays. From the 18th Century, it's Goldsmith's She Stoops To Conquer first and foremost. After Shakesepare I'd say it's the greatest comedy ever written. Then The Rivals and The School For Scandal by Sheridan. I also love The Beaux' Stratagem and The Recruiting Officer by Farquhar, and Wild Oats by O'Keefe.
Once again, there's a big leap in years and for me the next great comedy is Dandy Dick and The Magistrate by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero. Right after Pinero come the great Shaw comedies that I love so much: Arms and the Man, The Devil's Disciple and Pygmalion. And in about the same time period is The Importance of Being Earnest by Wilde.
I dearly love the big 4 by Chekhov (can we call these comedies? well Chekhov does); and I love some of the shorter burlesques as well, especially The Bear and The Marriage Proposal.
Once we get into the 20th Century (well, we were already in it with the later Shaw), I particularly love Noel Coward's Private Lives, Hay Fever and Blithe Spirit. And then there's Terence Rattigan's Harlequinade; Wilder's The Matchmaker and When We Are Married by JB Priestley. And I'm a huge Stoppard fan. I lovely especially Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and On The Razzle.
I'd say that every single one of these plays embodies the true spirit of comedy; and I reread them - and about 25 other comedies - all the time.