Jane Lai Drama Translation Series – Synopsis

Oedipus Rex is collected in Sophocles’s Oedipus Trilogy. The whole story evolves around the Oedipus family, on how destiny shapes their fate and drives them to a whirl of fatal disasters. Oedipus Rex is still highly acclaimed as the most well-written tragedy of our times.

Deadly Ecstasy is an adaptation of Euripides’s Deadly Ecstasy from The Bacchae. Semele, the princess of Thebes, fell in love with Zeus and gave birth to Dionysus, the Bacchae. However, Semele soon died after labor and her sister Agave dishonored her, saying Dionysus is a child with mortal instead. Pentheus successes the throne, Dionysus returns to Thebe for revenge and to regain her mother’s dignity.

Rockaby is the most famous of Samuel Beckett’s last short pieces. It features an old woman rocking mechanically on her chair, staring out of her window and her life just slowly passes between her mechanical rocking.

King Lear is one of the four tragedies of William Shakespeare. The story starts by King Lear distributing dowries to her daughters. The two elder daughters who fawn on King Lear get their share of land and power and Cordelia who speaks frankly and true to her heart is banished. The elder two expels King Lear, Cordelia returns to help her father and wages warfare with her sisters. The play ends in heavy casualties.

After Magritte, written by Tom Stoppard, tells the story about the Harris’s. The Harris’s return from the art exhibition of Rene Magritte and begin to argue what they have seen on their return, following the strange logic of Magritte. In the meantime, police comes and accuses them of a theatre crime. At last the whole incidence turns out to be an absurd joke.

The House of Bernarda Alba is the last part of Federico García Lorca’s rural trilogy and the last work of him. It portrays a tyrannical mother, Bernarda Alba, and her daughters. Bernarda, who just turns a widow, forces her daughters and maids not to see or get in touch with any men in years as a tribute to her husband Mr. Benavides. Most of her daughters turn out falling for the same man, Pepe el Romano and the youngest daughter commits suicide over her love to Romano.

The Comedy of Errors is William Shakespeare’s shortest play in number of lines. This play involves the separation, then reunion, of a couple and two pairs of twin brothers. The twin brothers in Syracuse go to Ephesus in search of their separated brothers. When the four united in Ephesus, everyone is confused with who is who and results in jest after jest.

Look for Rainbow is an adaptation of Look for the Rainbow in Four Short Plays from the Mystery Cycle of Wakefield, by Colin George. The four short plays are The Play of Noah And The Flood, The Annunciation, The Shepherd’s Play and Shepherd’s Song.

Long Day’s Journey into Night is believed to be Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical play. A lot of the details of the characters in the play are a portrayal of O’Neill himself or his family. The play depicts the dysfunctional Tyron family on their summer vacation. It starts with a lovely morning but the alcohol abuse among the men of the family accelerates the tension among the family members. They all finally recognize the brutal realities that they were not willing to face.

What weight has mendacity in life? The Pollitt family is putting on a party for Big Daddy’s 65th birthday. Yet underneath all the merry-making lie suppressed the truth about Big Daddy’s ailments, the lies and deceit in the marriage of Big Daddy and Big Mama, the schemings of Gooper and Mae, the dubious relations between Brick and his deceased buddy Skipper, and the entanglements between Brick and Maggie. The lies are laid bare; will the family bonds still hold?

Having learnt of his wife Stella’s affair with Bill, James knocks at the cuckold’s door. From complete denial, to confession in part, Bill ends up telling a shocking “truth”. Bill’s housemate Harry seeks out Stella for the truth but only obtains another intriguing version of the story. Facts and falsities, realities and fantasies intertwine; where does the truth lie?

Lieutenant Lilian Holiday of the Salvation Army infiltrates a gang of bandits in an attempt to reform them. The Army banishes Lilian as her relationship with Bill, the gang leader, deepens. On Christmas Eve, the gang members find their fresh plunder from the bank missing; meanwhile, the police arrives at the scene, bent on catching the culprits. And amidst all that bedlam the story ends with a boom – a happy end!

Loathing Madame for her contempt, and hating their own inferior role, the maids Claire and Solange nevertheless habour a hint of desire for their mistress. In the great mansion, the sisters indulge themselves in a game of role reversal: Solange as Madame, Claire as Solange. As the roles become tangled and imagination bleeds into reality, the maids find themselves enacting their murder fantasy in life…

In a bamboo grove, a samurai was murdered with his own sword. On one hand, both suspects, Tajmaru the bandit and the samurai’s wife, claim to be the murderer; on the other, the deceased samurai tells a different story through a witchwoman. As the witnesses – the priest, the woodcutter and the wigmaker – discuss the case, the woodcutter overturns his earlier account and confesses yet another version. The contradictions are many: can the truth really be recovered?

The Italian brothers Rodolfo and Marco sneak into America to seek refuge with their aunt Beatrice and her husband Eddie, who gives them a job at the docks. Yet when Eddie finds his niece Catherine, whom he loves with near-incestuous intensity, in a romantic relationship with Rodolfo, the flames of jealousy flared. Eddie becomes obsessed with breaking the couple apart at all costs.

After a party Martha invites Nick and his wife Honey to her house for a late-night get-together. A few glasses and the couples find themselves in a verbal spar, throwing vows to the winds and laying bare the secrets of their spouses; Martha even makes out with Nick in front her husband George. A tale of lust and cruelty spins out before our eyes…

Rescued from a car wreck, Harrison becomes paralyzed from the neck down. The entire hospital staff tries to cheer him up by extolling the meaning and beauty of life, yet Harrison senses the barely-suppressed mood of gloom and helplessness among his carers. He becomes determined to reclaim the rights over his life and hires an attorney in spite of all the objection.

In a hot afternoon in Central Park, Peter is about to do some leisure reading when he comes across the mad Jerry who insists on telling Peter his story: how a lifelong loner exhausted every means possible to build a relationship with his landlady’s pet dog. Jerry finds no pleasure in life and, at last, he…

Three Sisters is a naturalistic play about the decay of the privileged class in Russia and the search for meaning in the modern world. It describes the lives and aspirations of the Prozorov family, the three sisters (Olga, Masha, and Irina) and their brother Andrei. They are a family dissatisfied and frustrated with their present existence. The sisters are refined and cultured young women who grew up in urban Moscow; however for the past eleven years they have been living in a small provincial town. They identify Moscow with their happiness, and thus to them it represents the perfect life.

This drama is one of the great tragedy themed plays by William Shakespeare. Othello is a highly esteemed general in the service of Venice. Iago is Othello’s ambitious friend. Othello promotes the Michael Cassio to the position of personal lieutenant and Iago is deadly jealous. Iago begins an evil and malicious campaign against the hero. Othello elopes with Desdemona but Iago starts to plot against them. Othello becomes jealous and suspicious of Desdemona. He confides in Iago that he plans to poison Desdemona. Plots and murders ensue and Othello returns to the castle to kill his innocent wife. He eventually smothers her to death.

The plot of Betrayal exposes different permutations of betrayal and kinds of betrayals occurring over a period of nine years, relating to a seven-year affair involving a married couple, Emma and Robert, and Robert’s “close friend” Jerry, who is also married, to a woman named Judith.

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