What are examples of modern drama?  

There are several examples of modern drama, such as Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, and many more.

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As other Educators have pointed out, the term “modern drama” typically refers to plays that break from established theatrical conventions. Samuel Becket’s Waiting For Godot and Antonin Artaud’s The Cenci are adequate examples of modern drama because of their explicit deviation from theatrical norms.

Other examples, such as Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, might also be considered modern drama. After all, Streetcar was produced rather recently, in the twentieth century. Yet modern drama does not have a monopoly on passionate, violent love stories. William Shakespeare was staging plays about stormy love affairs centuries before Williams with plays like Romeo and Juliet.

In a more literal sense, modern drama is a way to talk about dramas (i.e, serious, emotional stories) that are being created right now in the present.

Right now, with many people streaming TV shows, it’s possible to consider select TV shows as examples of modern drama. Thus Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and Mad Men might be identified as examples of modern drama. Instead of using the stage to explore problematic characters and complex issues, these modern dramas utilize the screen to draw attention to troublesome figures and difficult themes. It’s not frivolous to give Tony Soprano or Mad Men’s Don Draper the same kind of consideration as, say, Streetcar’s Stanley Kowlaski.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 7, 2021
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Modern drama and modern literature in general refer to the literary works written and created in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century. Some of the most important dramatists and playwrights of this period include Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Anton Chekhov, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, Bertolt Brecht, Eugene O'Neill, Albert Camus, Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter Caryl Churchill, and more. Their works, especially their more popular ones, are good examples of modern drama.

Modern drama is often characterized with realistic themes; playwrights usually focus on ordinary people and their ordinary or even extraordinary lives, combining both tragic and comic elements. When it comes to modern realist drama, the most important playwright, who is also considered the father of realism, is the Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen; his plays, such as A Doll's House and Hedda Gabler, are prime examples of early-modern drama. Ibsen's contemporaries Anton Chekhov (Russia) and August Strindberg (Sweden) are also among the most influential modern realist playwrights; Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, and Uncle Vanya, and Strindberg's Miss Julie and The Father are some of their most popular works.

American playwright Tennessee Williams, who was heavily influenced by Chekhov's writings, stands out as one of the most famous modern dramatists, writing timeless classics such as The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Absurdism and existentialism are also popular themes in modern drama; Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, O'Neill's The Hairy Ape, Miller's Death of a Salesman, Camus' Caligula, and Sartre's No Exit are some of the best examples of modern existentialist and absurdist drama.

Oscar Wilde is often referred to as one of the most prominent English modern playwrights; his works include The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Salome, and more.

Other more contemporary British playwrights include Harold Pinter and Caryl Churchill; Pinter's The Birthday Party and Churchill's Top Girls are some of the most notable English contemporary dramas.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 7, 2021
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I disagree with the definition of "modern drama" being plays written in the 19th and 20th centuries as being too broad.

While the word "modern" implies current art work, the term "modern drama" is frozen into the historical dramatic movement away from Victorian drama, with its exaggerated and non-realistic characters, to the realistic depictions of psychological, genuine characters depicted in realistic settings. 

Ibsen's A Doll's House is often considered the first "modern drama" (see The idea of the modern in literature and the arts, New York, Horizon Press, 1967) and Chekhov's plays are always held up as models of "Modern Drama." Post-modernism began after WW I, so "Modern Drama" flourished between 1800 and 1914.

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Modern Drama refers to plays written in the 19th and 20th centuries whereas contemporary drama refers to plays written today. Modern dramatists include such playwrights as Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde, and Henrik Ibsen. Here are a few quintessential examples of modern drama:

A DOLL'S HOUSE by Henrik Ibsen
One of the best-known modern plays is A Doll's House. In a rich, naturalistic style, Ibsen examined the struggle against the unyielding constraints of social conformity, particularly as they are applied to women in their marriages. Nora, the protagonist, ultimately rejects the marriage that would smother her, something that genuinely shocked audiences around the world when the play first premiered in the late 1800s.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE by Tennessee Williams
This much-beloved play tells the story of faded beauty Blanche DuBois and her enticing, if primitive, brother in law Stanley Kowalski. The play took home the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and is widely regarded to be just as powerful today as it was when it first premiered over half a century ago.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde
This hilarious restoration comedy tells the story of philanderer Algernon and his friend Jack who is caught up in Algernon's web of lies -- as well as his own -- as he proceeds to woo the beautiful Gwendolyn. This is the perfect example of the well-made play, and is constantly revived.

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