Below you will find an interview that was done with a drama and English teacher.
Q: What would you say is the most influential piece of theatrical literature that has been written and why?
A: Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet. Someone once said that every other play ever written is in Hamlet. It's truely timeless. Its characters, plots, and themes are universal, perfectly crafted, and masterfully worded. As for Romeo and Juliet, I think the same is true, and you have the addition of how many different ways it's been adapted and used (such as West Side Story).
Q: How would you say theater has changed the course of literature today?
A: Perhaps in the expectations we have that literature would be "good theater" and in the illusions (especially from Shakespeare) that are so much a part of the language.
Q: Who do you think is the most effective playwright, and for what reason?
A: Shakespeare! No one understood people for who they are and could craft the characters and their words as he could. The plays have stood the test of time, they have had great influence on all of literature, and they're good theater that can be interpreted and staged in myriads of ways. He is the universal theater genius.
Q: When looking at all the theatrical "periods" throughout history, what period of time would you say had the most impact on the literature and history of today?
Q: What do you think is the most important quality to a piece of theatrical literature?
Q: What piece of theatrical literature has made the greatest impact on you?
A: This is probably the hardest. These are the ones that came to mind: Hamlet, The Glass Menagerie, A Raisin in the Sun, Antigone, Cyrano De Bergerac, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Q: Throughout history what single character has made a great impact on theater, and why?
A: Hamlet. His personality and the issues with which he dealt are ones which people can plug into somewhere along the line. He's just so universal; so "everyman."
Q: In your opinion what makes the tie between theater and literature so great?
A: Theater is literature, it's just a different mode/genre.
Q: Why has theater so easily influenced the history of our culture, and why?
A: We are so visually oriented, and theater is the literature of the visual. Also, "theater is what literature does at night" (quote from a Mill Mountain Theater Playbill)--it's in so many ways more exciting, and there is the mystical connection that can happen between actors and audience that make it have a profound, lasting, influential impact.
Greek Theater - Greek Theater was the first recorded form of theater in history. It began as a competition in a festival organized by Peisistratus, a Greek leader of the sixth century B.C. The festival was held each spring to honor Dionysus; the god of wine, youth, and fertility. Tragic writers competed for the pride in being known as the best playwright. From the years 525-406 BC was the time period of the three great playwrights: Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), and Euripides (480-406 B.C.).
Roman Theater - It wasn't until the third century that Roman theater developed. Roman productions were originally based on religious festivals. Roman drama was souly based on the Roman gods and goddesses. The two great playwrights of this time were Plautus and Terence. Many Roman tragedies have been lost in time, but the tragedies of Seneca have survived. With the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD classical theater ended in the West.
Medieval Theater - In the tenth century, religious drama was reborn in the Roman Catholic church. These religious oriented plays were sometimes called miracle, passion, or saint plays.
Renaissance/Elizabethan Theater - Renaissance theater first appeared in Italy during the 15th century. These early plays were mostly based on Roman figures and styles. Renaissance theater believed the most important concepts were the appearance of truth, emphasizing the ideal, the proper moral order, and a sense of decorum. This type of theater punished evil, rewarded good, and eliminated the use of soliloquies (long narrative dialogues in which the character is expressing his/her internal thoughts to the audience). Comedy and tragedy were not combined. Renaissance theater developed in England while Elizabeth I reigned. Two famous playwrights were Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd. The most famous playwright, however, was William Shakespeare. Shakespeare had a great effect on both literature and history.
Modern Theater - The 20th century brought a very "avant-garde" (risque) style to theater. The use of symbolism quickly declined in the modern theater. Modern Theater brought about many changes, such things as subject matter and stage craft changed. Stage craft was greatly effected with the harnessing of electricity to develop special effects. Along with the special effects the process of set construction greatly changed. In the modern theater the set became an enviroment not just scenery.