Because I really love all the titles below, I ordered them by the date of publication. It helps to keep the timeline as well, just in case you are planning to read one play from different periods.
1. "Antigone" by Sophocles (approx. 441 BC)
This is my favorite Greek tragedy. Not because of its plot (which is intriguing, especially for the audience of those times) but because of the character. Antigone is a strong woman, who will challenge the law, even the death, to do what she thinks is right and fair.
2. "As You Like It" by Shakespeare (1623)
I have a huge problem with deciding between "As You Like It" and "The Taming of the Shrew." Both are comedies that make me laugh for the situations and the characters, and they have been part of many modern adaptations and the inspiration to other famous movies like "10 Things I Hate About You" and "She's The Man."
3. "A Doll’s House" by Ibsen (1879)
Ibsen puts on the stage the story of many women’s lives. He exposes the struggle of being a "good" wife, and a "good woman." This is what I call bold. If you haven't read it, give it a chance; it will definitely move something inside you.
4. "The House of Bernarda Alba" by Garcia Lorca (1936)
Bernarda - just like the phonetic of her name - is a strong character, a Spanish widow who rules in a traditional house full of women. There are five sisters, daughters of Bernarda, and Lorca gives each character a problem and a desire; Bernarda will keep appearances of the family, but at what cost?
5. "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller (1949)
Enough about women - men also have their own struggles, and I bet many can feel a connection with Willy Loman and his family. Willy is a worker man, but he puts on himself a social pressure, the need to be what he isn’t. The other family members have their own problems, like keeping a secret, or living in the shadow of an older brother. Miller puts us in the house of a dysfunctional family, a real family.
6. "Incendies" by Wajdi Mouawad (2003)
A powerful play that narrates the story of Nawal and the difficulties (tragedies) that she has to overcome while living in the Middle East. The images that come from the scenes and dialogues are raw and sour, but Wajdi found the way to make them beautiful.
7. "D.N.A" by Dennis Kelly (2007)
Some people don’t like it, others do (which is my case). "D. N. A." has fun with the rhythm of each character. They are always moving; they always come from different places to the scene, and you can notice the differences between all the teenagers and how they deal with the tension in each scene.
I leave you with a quote from Waiting for Godot, hoping you read the whole piece:
ESTRAGON: Who believes him?
VLADIMIR: Everybody. It's the only version they know.
ESTRAGON: People are bloody ignorant apes.