How to Find a Play

Using the library catalog

1. By author: Look up the name of the playwright and note the call number of the particular play (Shakespeare has his own number: 822.33)
2. By title: Look up the title of the play and note the call number
3. By subject: Look up the following subject headings or any heading with the subdivision Drama. (The number following some subjects is the call number for those kinds of plays)

American drama [812]
Children's plays
Choral speaking
College and school drama
Drama-Collections [808.82]
English drama [822]
Folk drama
French drama [842]
German drama [832]
Greek drama [882]
Historical drama
Horror plays
Italian drama [852]
Latin drama [872]
Masks (Plays)
Morality plays
Motion picture plays
Mystery and detective plays
One act plays
Pastoral drama
Radio plays
Religious drama
Russian drama [891.7]
Science fiction plays
Spanish drama [862]
Television plays

Look, as well, for subject headings with subdivision Drama, e.g. African Americans--Drama; Abraham Lincoln, 1809--1865-Drama; Gay men--Drama; Women--Drama; etc.

    The library has the series Best Plays beginning with the 1920-1921 volume. These volumes have abridged versions of the ten "best" plays of each season on Broadway. They are all found at 812.08 BEST. In the most recent volume the library has (1981-1982) there is an index to all the previous volumes starting on page 458. This index tells you which volume to look in for the play.

Using the Play Index
    The most extensive drama index is Play Index (REF 808.82 PLA). The library has volumes which cover the years 1949 through 1992. This is a subject, author, title and cast analysis index to plays published during those years, individually or in collections. The cast analysis section is "designed to help the user locate plays by type of cast (male, female, mixed, etc.) and number of players or readers." Short synopses of each play are found under the author's name. The library does not have every play or collection in these volumes but they do allow you to begin to find out where you might find a particular play.
    Here are sample entries from Play Index:

Sample author entry Sample title entry Sample subject entry
Wilson, Lanford
Abstinence. Dramatists 1989 11 p
Comedic look at Manhattan's "smart set." Chaos reigns at charity party for Liars Anonymous. 1 act 2m 3w 1 interior
In The Best American short plays, 1990
Abstinence. Wilson, L. Easter
  Jones, K. The great Easter egg hunt
  Moore, B. The greatest power
y Shore, S. Easter shoes
c Shore, S. The third day
c Wright, D.A. The Easter egg hunt
This entry shows that a play by Lanford Wilson entitled Abstinence was published by Dramatists in 1989 and contains eleven pages. For full information about the publisher see Part IV, Directory of Publishers and Distributors. The play has one act, and requires a cast of two men and three women plus one setting for production. This play also appears in the collection The Best American Short Plays, in the 1990 annual volume. For full information about the collection cited see Part III, List of Collections Indexed. All plays are also listed under their titles followed by the name of the author. Fuller information about the play is obtained by consulting the author entry. All plays dealing in whole or in part with a particular subject are listed under that subject. Plays in distinctive form, such as masques, mysteries and niracle plays, one-act plays, pageants, pantomimes, puppet plays, plays in verse, radio plays, television plays, etc., are entered under the appropriate form heading as well as under specific subjects. Again, full information about the play will be found by consulting the author entry.
The symbol c preceding the entry indicates the play is meant for children; the symbol y for young people grades 7 through 12.
From Play Index, 1988-1992. Ed. by Juliette Yaakov and John Greenfieldt. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1993

If our library does not have the play or collection, check the  - MARINet catalog -

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Created by the Redwood Cybrary Webspinner: June 8, 2000. Updated Oct. 27, 2003.

©2000-2003 Tom Kaun, Library Media Teacher--Bessie Chin Library @ Redwood High School, 395 Doherty Drive, Larkspur, CA 94939 -- 415.945.3662