Plays and Operas

Plays and operas that portray trauma:

A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) [1]

  • Description: In this play, suicide and rape lead the main character, Blanche DuBois, to become psychologically unstable. Some believe that this play is loosely based on Rose Williams’ struggle with mental illness.

Bang Bang You’re Dead (1999) [2]

  • Description: This is a one-act play written by William Mastrosimone that focuses on school violence and its causes. The plot focuses on a high school student named Josh who murdered his parents and five classmates. The play was written in response to three different school shootings: Thurston High School (1998), Heath High School (1997), and Westside Middle School (1998).

Death and the Maiden (1990) [3]

  • Description: Ariel Dorfman scripts the struggle of Paulina Salas, a former political prisoner that experienced sexual assault by her captors. Viewers follow her story as she attempts to bring her experiences to light and seek justice against her main perpetrator.

Post Mortem (1930) [4]

  • Description: Post Mortem follows the story of John Cavan, a young English soldier that is mortally wounded by enemy fire in World War I. The play explores the mistreatment of England’s soldiers during the war, the ignorance of the civilian public, and the horror of wars themselves.

Tommy (1975) [5]

  • Description: Tommy Walker develops a psychosomatic inability to see, hear, and speak after witnessing his father murder his mother’s lover. Unable to protect himself or tell anyone about being what is going on, Tommy is abused by his uncle and cousin. Ultimately, Tommy regains use of his senses and becomes a cultish type of spiritual leader, urging others to become spiritually awakened.

[1] Williams, T. (1947). A streetcar named desire. Retrieved from

[2] Mastrosimone, W. (1999). Bang bang you’re dead. Retrieved from

[3] Dorfman, A. (1990). Death and the maiden. Retrieved from

[4] Coward, N. (1930). Post mortem. Retrieved from

[5] Russell, K. (1975). Tommy. Retrieved from