For more than 70 years, The Best American Short Plays has been the standard of excellence for one-act plays in America. From its inception, it has identified cutting-edge playwrights – Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and others – who have gone on to establish award-winning careers.
The Best American Short Plays 2013-2014 takes a look at our changing times. “Uncertain” seems to be the watchword of today's world, full of surprises, shocks, and even a few delights. Uncertainty brings with it fear and insecurity, as well as nostalgic longing for the good old days, but for some, uncertainty means opportunity and along with it the prospect of change for the better. This volume explores various experiences of uncertainty and includes a series of nine plays gathered by Daniel Gallant, entitled Nine Signs of the Times, as well as short plays by Neil LaBute, John Guare, Laura Shaine Cunningham, Daniel F. Levin, Quincy Long, Halley Feiffer, Caridad Svich, and Clay McLeod Chapman. This collection will be complemented by a range of plays from around the country by playwrights likewise observing and digesting the signs of the times. Together the plays of this volume work as a time capsule, capturing the fears and longings of a world on the verge and in the midst of big changes, hopefully for the better – but quite possibly for the worse.
William W. Demastes (Baton Rouge, LA) is alumni professor of English at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He has published widely on modern theater and drama, including Comedy Matters, Spalding Gray's America, Staging Consciousness, and Theatre of Chaos.