But: suddenly, recently I've found myself ambivalent about them. When reading plays at home I almost invariably put them down as soon as all the crises are in place. Of course I'll pick them up again and almost always be surprised - a good resolution is never a forced march no matter how inevitable it may seem - but nevertheless this is when my attention flags, when the pleasure turns to work.
Greek tragedy (and maybe Roman tragedy even more so) was based entirely on the struggle (moral, emotional, practical) between arguments over the course of action to take when presented with a problem. The conclusion - it's important to remember - was most often the least dynamic part, because, drawn from shared myths or recent past it was certain the audience knew where the story was going.
Today, of course, this is not at all true, and I understand the desire to tell a story with an ending and to watch a question that builds to an answer. Also, I've snarkily diagnosed the cliché of ambiguity that looms with self-satisfaction over the contemporary theater "of ideas."
So what's the problem? I think part of the reason I might find conclusions to be irritating is actually rooted in a different - almost opposite - problem. Specifically, a lot of plays take a long time to get to what the "plot" is going to be. We spend much of the first act meeting the characters only to be presented with the "problem" of the play just before the intermission. The audience activity of the first act is replaced with the passivity of events unfurling in the second act, and this seems a shame.
In The House's Wilson Wants It All (the first play in a while I've immediately wanted to watch again when the lights came up), for instance, the opening video is fantastic and the initial plot device is darling, the acting (particularly John Henry Roberts and Edgar Miguel Sanchez) is precise and exuberant and there's an eleventh hour speech that offers the most perfectly constructed villainy imaginable in America today, but for me the piece suffers in part from a desire to tie up loose ends and pursue the intricate but uncomplicated web it spins.
Why bother? I don't have any solutions for this, but, if theater is about entertainment, if it's about movement or transportation, if it's about recognizing humanity, if it's almost any definition you can offer, it can handily unburden itself from the need to resolve.