by Aveline MacQuoid on August 2, 2021

in Extras

Greatest Plays That Feature the Game of Chance

Theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of society

—— Yasmina Reza

It is said that theatre is life, cinema is art, and television is just furniture. It is considered the highest form of art that illustrates what is happening in society. The heart doesn’t lament what eyes doesn’t see. Therefore, cinema, plays, and books have served as a conduit of human emotions. They serve a great purpose in shaping popular opinion and stir the crowd with their strong portrayal of social evil.

A theatre is an art form that is neutral to a topic. They show whatever has happened. Sometimes, these plays have to bear with the wrath of some people who benefit from holes in the social structure. It impacts and invokes the conscience to a level that man is compelled to take some action against the persisting dogmatic beliefs.

Plays often reflect on controversial subjects, such as nudity, violence, and gambling. Some of the greatest play writers in the world have experimented with gambling in specific, and their plays turned out to be super successful. You can find any one of these running even today at the Broadway Theatre and if you like it, you may refer to the New york gambling guide for details.

A Streetcar Named Desire

Tennessee Williams real name was Thomas Lanier Williams III. He is considered one of the most successful playwriters of the 20th century among Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller. He chose gambling as a theme for his play A Streetcar Named Desire. The play is set in New Orleans, where Blanche DuBois, a widow devastated with personal loss, arrives to live with her sister Stella and her husband, Stanley.

The play features a poker game at two points, i.e., in the starting and in the end, to emphasise the mental state of Stanley that remains unchanged throughout the play. The poker game serves as an impactful symbol of the inability to change. Many incidents create upheaval in the lives of Stanley and Stella, who later gives birth to a baby. He also suffers a lot when she finds miserable misgivings of her sister. But Stanley is still seen as playing the poker game that shows his indifference.

The Odd Couple

Neil Simon’s comedy was first featured on Broadway in 1965. Simon is another celebrated American playwriter who has won many Tony and Oscar awards. The play presents gambling in a lighter and funnier tone. It opens with a poker game scene which is the driving theme of the play.

The play starts with the protagonist Felix trying to end his life following his divorce. His friends, who usually meet at Oscar’s, Felix’s best friend, apartment for a weekly poker game, are worried. They come to know about Felix’s divorce from his wife, Frances. Oscar suggests Felix move in with him as he is living alone since his divorce. Oscar gradually becomes irritated with the neurotic behaviour of Felix, who cleans everything in the otherwise shabby and smelly apartment. Oscar tries to liven Felix by inviting Pigeon sisters to his apartment, but the date turned out unsuccessful. Oscar becomes mad at Felix and tells him to move out. But he becomes paranoid about Felix health, and after finding him, they both apologize. Felix then promises to join the ceremonial Poker game.

House of Games

David Mamet’s House of Games is a play based on the eponymous movie. The play moves around Margaret, an unsuccessful shrink and Mike, a criminal. Both of them meet at a poker table. Mike starts influencing Margaret and allows her to be a part of a con heist. Later, it is revealed that the whole thing was to dupe her of $80,000. She goes to confront Mike and threatens him to give her money back. When Mike refuses, she shoots him and returns to her life without showing any sign of remorse.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Tom Stoppard has beautifully interwoven Hamlet into this play. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are seen as flipping coins, and the former wins 92 times. The latter believes that it happened because of some supernatural force. The play is written to show the duo’s perspective in Hamlet. They try to outwit Hamlet, who in turn outwits them. They try to change the outcome, i.e., their death, but fail miserably. The play is based on randomness and determination. The duo is made to believe in false reality by the group of tragedians that accompany them to England. The gist is that whatever they do, they cannot run from their fate which is predestined.

All the plays reveal that the game of chance is ruled by randomness that brings chaos and disturbance in life. Therefore, gambling is often employed as a theme of the play to understand and reveal the true nature of a character.

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