Quiz on theatre

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on November 24, 2017

On the 65th anniversary of the longest-running play in history, a quiz on theatre.

On November 25, 1952, Agatha Christie’s murder mystery play, The Mousetrap opened in London. On the 65th anniversary of the longest-running play in history, a quiz on theatre.

1 While still studying at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, he wrote his first play Yayati, about a mythological king. However, it was his second play about a medieval Indian ruler that established his reputation as a playwright. Name this actor, director and playwright and the work that catapulted him to fame.

2 Eighteenth-century playwright John Dennis is credited with first using a three-word phrase after he saw a particular sound effect he used for his play Appius and Virginia being used in another stage production. Which is the phrase?

3 Which celebrated play do the novels By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie, Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury get their title from ?

4 Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy starred in the first Broadway version of this play in 1948. The London production was directed by Sir Lawrence Olivier and starred Bonar Colleano and Vivien Leigh. Name this celebrated play which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948.

5 Which play, originally written in French and subtitled, ‘A tragicomedy in two acts’ features Pozzo, Lucky and ‘A Boy’ as the three secondary characters?

6 Fill in the missing words from Miranda’s speech in The Tempest for the title of a famous 20th-century novel:

“O wonder!

How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is! O ____ ____ _____,

That has such people in’t.”

7 Which 20th-century masterpiece, first staged in 1966, expands on the exploits of two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet?

8 Which celebrated Edward Albee play’s name is a pun on a song from Walt Disney’s film, Three Little Pigs?

9 In 1972, which Indian playwright wrote of a corrupt police chief in Pune who bartered his daughter to win the favour of the local diwan?

10 Nil Darpan was a celebrated 19th-century Bengali play about the exploitation of indigo workers in Bengal, and caused the publisher of the English version, Reverend James Long, to be tried for libel. Who is believed to have translated Nil Darpan into English?


1. Girish Karnad, Tughlaq

2. Stealing my thunder; Dennis had used metal balls in a wooden bowl to replicate the sound of thunder, which was borrowed by the producers of Macbeth. He famously said, “Damn them! They will not let my play run, but they steal my thunder.”

3. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

5. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

7. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

8. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, a pun on ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf’

9. Vijay Tendulkar; Ghashiram Kotwal was his allegory on the rise of sectarian politics in Maharashtra

10. Michael Madhusudan Dutt

Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster and Project Director, FIFA U-17 World Cup; Follow Joy on Twitter @joybhattacharj

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Published on November 24, 2017
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