Composers and their stage works 


Abducting Diana. Play. Dario Fo adapted by Stephen Stenning
M5 F2. An apartment, a warehouse.

Millionaire media boss, Diana Forbes-McKaye, is kidnapped - but the ruthless magnate proves more resourceful than her clumsy abductors. Are things what they seem? Who masterminded the abduction? Who has the television rights to this premier media event? Into this cocktail of chaos, Fo adds a gun-toting priest, a deranged altar boy, a kidnapper hiding in the fridge, pyromania and an explosive climax. This adaptation was presented at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994.

Abelard and Héloise
Play. Ronald Millar - M 12 F9. Extras. Multiple skeleton set.

The famous love story of Abelard, the renowned teacher who fell in love with Héloise, a girl half his age, had a child by her, married her, was cruelly punished and was eventually received into the Church, is told in flashback. Throughout looms the presence of the Church, the monasteries and convents of twelfth-century France, with the monks and nuns who watch and silently comment on the action. Keith Michell and Diana Rigg starred in the original production at London's Wyndham's Theatre.
ISBN 0 573 01013 7

Abigail's Party. Play. Devised by Mike Leigh
M2 (30s) F3 (30s, 40). A living-room and kitchen.

First performed at Hampstead Theatre, London, and subsequently produced for BBC TV, this sharply wicked social satire on lower-middle-class suburbia starred Alison Steadman in an award winning role as the formidable hostess, Beverly, entertaining new neighbours. The evening's initial good-will, clichés and fatuous small-talk only serve to create a rising tension which finally snaps with a dramatic denouement.
ISBN 0 573 11016 6

The Absence of a 'Cello
Comedy Ira Wallach. 3 men, 4 women. Interior.

The story is about a physicist who needs money so badly he turns to the $60,000-a-year job offered by a big corporation. He wants the job but does the company want him? Mr. Personnel is sent to find out. What seems to be starting out as a shopworn target - individually versus conformity - turns out to be an ingeniously conceived comical discussion of honesty and truth. After being coached by a gray-flanneled collegiate on how to be what every company wants, the scientist is prepared to confront the enemy (after quickly trading in his rolled-up trousers and flapping shirt for a neat brown suit) ... He hides the cello he plays with pick-up quartets, he hides the medieval history books his wife writes, he hides all but the acceptable three liquor bottles. He hides, in fact, everything that he and his wife are. And hauls out the television set ... What follows is a literately comical playaround with industrial conformity that for sheer humour is, well, wonderfully adult.
ISBN: 0-8222-0003-1

About Alice. Play. Charles Laurence
M2 (31, 60) F2 (30s). A sitting-room.

Alice, the second wife of a famous sculptor, has indomitable humour and a lusty spirit that never let her down. So, when Peggy, a businesslike publisher, arrives with a sexy young gigolo in tow and a proposal to publish the renowned sculptor's memoirs, Alice has no trouble in dispatching the publisher but retaining the young man. That is, until Peggy returns with some news which will stun Alice. An ingenious comedy thriller which twists and turns and maintains the suspense until the very end.
ISBN 0 573 62632 4

About Time
Play: Tom Cole. : 1M, 1F. Interior

About Time takes place in the condominium kitchen of an old married couple. Over the course of the day from breakfast and lunch to dinner and a late snack, the couple talk about everything under the sun, especially food, sex, children and ageing. She is getting slower than she used to be; in fact, it takes all morning to chop vegetables. He cannot move around quite as fast as he once did. Neither see their children as much as they would like. Yet both certainly have their wits about them as the dialogue snaps and crackles its way through the four scenes. Faced with the thought of mortality, they grapple with what it means to share and to come to the end of a life together.
ISBN: 0-8222-0002-3

Absent Friends. Play. Alan Ayckbourn
M3 (young, middle-age) F3 (20s, 30s). A living-room.

Colin's friends are determined to comfort him in his grief over the death of his fiancée - a girl they have never met. They arrange a tea-patty for him and are understandably on edge wondering what to say to him as they await his arrival. Their unease, however, has deeper roots as they are all kept together by a mixture of business and cross-marital emotional ties and by the time Colin arrives their tension contrasts dramatically with his cheerfully relaxed air.
ISBN 0 573 01331 4

Absolute Hell. Play. Rodney Ackland
M11 F10. Extras. A drinking club.

This fascinating evocation of Bohemian life in London in 1945 was presented at the Orange Tree, Richmond, in 1988 and is a revision of the play The Pink Room originally staged at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, in 1952. A world-weary hostess runs a drinking-club where the members gather to drink and, variously, escape, dream, seek, bitch, mock and destroy. 'This is not only an archaeologist's treasure, but is among the most convincing, moving pieces to hit London yet this year.' Independent

An Absolute Turkey - Farce. Georges Feydeau, adapted from Le Dindon, by Nicki Frei and Peter Hall
M 10 F8 (with doubling) A drawing-room, a hotel room, a study.

Georges Feydeau's elegantly complex play is brought to life in this witty; seamless and acutely funny translation by Peter Hall and Nicki Frei. Feydeau, the supreme master of farce, displays all his dramatic tricks as his characters are pulled back and forth spinning dizzily in a surrealistic climax of complications. This translation received its London premiere at the Globe Theatre in 1993 starring Felicity Kendal and Griff Rhys Jones.

Absurd Person Singular. Play. Alan Ayckbourn
M3 (30s, 40s) F3 (30s, 40s). Three kitchen settings.

We visit three couples in their three kitchens on the Christmas Eves of three successive years: the lower-class Hopcrofts; their bank manager and his wife and their architect neighbour with a suicidal wife. Running like a darker thread through the wild comedy of behind-the-scenes disasters at Christmas parties is the story of the advance of the Hopcrofts and the declines of the others.
ISBN 0 573 01023 4

Drama. Beth Henley. 3 men, 2 women. Unit set

Bess Johnson and Macon Hill are mail-order brides who meet while waiting for their husbands to pick them up to start life in a small town in the Wyoming Territory in the 1860s. Bess is a romantic while Macon Hill is exuberant and determined about getting on with life in the West, one that promises to be full of possibility. The husbands arrive. Bess, expecting Mike Flynn,.gets his bother, Jack. Macon's husband is William Curtis, a widower with one eye and a scarred face. Life becomes very difficult for Bess and Jack, and Bess is constantly abused and totally unappreciated. They struggle-and fail-to make ends meet. On the other hand, Macon is hardly tolerant of William, although the couple is affluent. One Christmas Eve, in a rage, Jack burns down the cabin. Macon and William take the couple in and start living together for a longer time than expected. Bess and Macon, having forged a strong bond, decide that some day they will strike out on their own, though Macon is reluctant to actually do so. Some time, later, while celebrating their mutual wedding anniversaries, Jack and Macon become lovers at the same time Bess is abducted by Indians! Macon, Jack and Will continue to live together over the years, believing that Bess has been killed. However, Bess returns, having escaped death by becoming assimilated into Indian life, and now seems incapable of resuming a normal life. During her absence, the fortunes of Macon and Will have greatly diminished. Bess agrees to tell the story of her abduction and escape for publication and the lecture circuit. With the help of a professor, she becomes the country's hottest sensation with this dramatic -and embellished -tale. Jack develops a new love for her, while Macon and Will separate and fail miserably at their new business pursuits.. Many years later as Bess is getting ready to retire and Macon is ready to die, the women reconcile as they muse over how they have and have not "savored the boundlessness of it all."
ISBN: 0-8222-0005-8

Romantic Comedy. Lisa Loomer. 1 man, 3 women. Unit set.

This romantic comedy employs twelve scenes to reveal a relationship that spans an entire nighttime, because: A) with the way the world is speeding up now-a-days, a night time is really what a lifetime used to be; B) HE's busy, and; C) SHE's in a rush. HE is a classical musician and filmmaker who lives for Art. SHE is a dancer determined to find Love. (The audience will ultimately be asked to vote on which is more important.) Other obstacles are their Mothers (Puerto Rican and WASP), who appear in dreams, or when reason takes a walk or a giant leap, leaving the door open for all mothers ... And Fathers, who appear as slides - not quite flesh and blood, but still able to have left an impression. A live musician accompanies all the fun.
ISBN: 0-8222-1595-0


Accidental Death of an Anarchist.

Farce. Dario Fo, adapted by Gavin Richards from a translation by Gillian Hanna
MS Fl. Two offices.

Dario Fo has always put a premium on entertainment and this sharp and hilarious satire on police corruption in Italy is no exception. This translation and adaptation was first seen in 1979 and enjoyed a very successful run at Wyndham's Theatre, London, in 1980. 'The brothers Marx, Karl and Groucho, have been working in unison ... when broad farce and social protest miscegenate the offspring is a real cracker.' - Guardian


Play. Emlyn Williams
M5 (20-50) F4 (20s-40s) 1 boy (13). A study.

William Trenting, a successful novelist and Nobel Prize winner, encountered early criticism of his works which were labelled 'indecent'. Now accepted as an enfant terrible he is knighted in the 1950's Honours List. But his sordid past, on which his novels were based, comes back to haunt him on the day of his investiture and he finds himself facing a very serious charge.


Comedy. Nick Hall
M2 (young, 30s) F2 (young, 30s). An apartment room.

Lee decides to leave her husband and suburban home for six weeks to assert her independence and moves into a New York apartment with two roommates. One is an aspiring actress, never out of character or costumes; the other, due to an agency mix-up is a serious, young, graduate student called Tracy - but male! The ensuing complications make for an hysterical evening.
ISBN 0 573 60560 2

According To Hoyle

William Gaminara:
5m. Drama. Single interior set.

Five old friends meet for a traditional evening of poker. As the stakes rise the deception of the game exposes the deception in their lives. 'A sharp, entertaining comedy' Guardian.
ISBN 1854593552


Play. Michael Wilcox
M4 F1. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

Mary, a widow, and her two sons have moved to a new farm in the Scottish Borders where, for the first time, they are landowners. The play's action is spread over the first year in the new place and details the family's daily routine, their attempts to make the farm pay, Mary coming to terms with widowhood, the boys growing up without a father and the exploration of their own awakening sexuality - in the case of Donald, emerging homosexuality.

The Accrington Pals.

Play. Peter Whelan
M5 (teenage, 30s) F5 (20s, 30s). Simple settings on an open stage.

This lyrical, absorbing play, premiered by the RSC, is set in Accrington during 1914-16. The 'Pals' are the men from the local volunteer battalion who march high-spiritedly oft to the Great War with their experiences in the trenches contrasted with those of the women left behind. At times funny, at times sad, it paints a moving and powerful picture of the changes in civilian life during wartime.
ISBN 0 573 11009 3

Action Replay.

Play. Fay Weldon
M3 F3. A flat and elsewhere.

This is a study of the shifting inter-relationships between three young couples, following the developments with sympathy and a certain ironic humour, through a span of twenty-five years. The 'Action Replay' technique of television sporting coverage is here used to present the characters in different lights and situations by repeating the action, sometimes in quite brief scenes, with subtle and often radical differences, in order to examine a vast part of the male/female relationship.
ISBN 0 573 11001 8