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Theater : Finding & Researching Plays

For THE 136: Using library resources to locate a monologue, dialogue, or scene for performing

IMPORTANT: Hunting for Plays at UC

Several hundred plays (almost all before the mid-1980's) are kept in boxes at the PN6111 call number. Other plays and collections are kept in appropriate "literature" call numbers (PR - British; PS - American).

This can be confusing. Individual plays can be hard to browse, so here are some suggestions. 

Wikipedia has lists of playwrights if you need names...

Step 1: Getting a list of ALL plays at PN6111
a. Go to the UC Library catalog  WorldCat Discovery
b. Enter: PN6111* (an asterisk) in the search box
c. At the results display, on the left, check off Utica College Library and check off Print Book.
    See this in the catalog
d. Explore the titles. Write down the full call number (Example: PN6111.D4 W32) of any of interest
Use STEP 2 to see if we have other plays not in PN6111
Ask for help if you can't locate a particular play.
Note: The PN6111* title list can be sorted by date but not by author or title. 

Step 2: Explore literature call numbers for plays
Wikipedia has good lists of playwrights if you need ideas....
a. Go to WorldCat Discovery
b. Enter and a playwright name in the search box 
c. At the results display, on the left, check off Utica College Library and check off Print Book.
See this in the catalog
The list may also include PN6111 titles, as well as items ABOUT the author.

d. Write down the full call number (Example: PS3564.T4 K43).
Ask for help if you can't locate the play or collection.


This library research guide is designed to help students in the course THE 136 to identify a monologue, dialogue or brief scene for use in class.

  • Select the Finding a Play tab above. The most direct approach is to use a sourcebook or play index.  
  • A very good finding aid is by Ed Hooks: The Ultimate Scene & Monologue Sourcebook (New York: Back Stage Books, 2007).  This is on reserve at the Circulation Desk for THE136 (two hour check out only).  
    You may also want to consult other collections like Voices of Color (Google Books preview)
  • You can also try web sites specializing in plays and scenes under the Web Sites tab above.  Using these web sites is convenient -- since the content is freely available -- but can involve a lot of browsing through examples.  Plus quality may be hard to asses and finding the entire play from which the excerpt is taken is very important.
  • We also have another index entitled The Smith and Kraus Monologue Index. Shelved on the second floor PN2080.S6 1999. 

NOTE: On the second floor, the library has a small selection of sourcebooks with the call number PN2080; see the tab above Sources in the Library. The library once collected hundreds of individual plays (few contemporary examples). Most of these are kept under the call number PN6111 in boxes; others shelved by author in the regular literature collection -- use the book catalog to look up play titles and/or playwrights.

If you are having trouble choosing or finding scenes, be sure to contact your instructor as soon as possible. Don't delay!

Subject Guide

Jan Malcheski's picture
Jan Malcheski
Frank E. Gannett Library
1600 Burrstone Road
Utica, NY 13502-4892

PowerPoint Presentation for THE 441