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 2014-2015 is the next installment from series editor William W. Demastes. This volume takes a look at the trinity Shakespeare coined as “the lunatic, the lover, and the poet.” The works in this volume explore whimsical, imaginative, humorous, and romantic themes.
In the introduction, Demastes writes, “What really hits home in Shakespeare's plays is how he uses his own seething brain to put things onstage that cool reason will never be able to comprehend. He shows us that the world is more than facts and figures, that humans are connected by more than a balance sheet, and that life is more than biology.” The wonderful short plays in this collection delve into the spectrum of emotions that bubble beneath “cool reason” and remind us about the some of the aspects that make life worth living for better or worse – the insanity, the beauty, the unbridled joy, and the mystery.
William W. Demastes (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) 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.