Composers and their stage works 


Been Taken

Play. Roger Hedden. 3 men, 3 women. Unit set

Been Taken opens on the campus of an all-women's college where John, a student at another university, meets Margaret, a student photographer, at a dance: The couple return to Margaret's room where they make love. A few days later, John opens the door to Steve, Margaret's boyfriend who coincidentally lives in the same dormitory, and who accuses John of having sex with Margaret against her will. John defends himself, knowing the accusation is false, and assuring Steve he didn't know Margaret even had a boyfriend. The scene gets ugly, but the fight is broken up just in time. Years later, John and Steve again cross paths when they are forced by circumstances to be the agents of a business deal together. John meets Steve, and his wife Jill, for a business dinner that ultimately settles old scores and jealousies.
ISBN: 0-8222-0103-8

Before It Hits Home

Drama. Cheryl L. West. 4 men, 5 women, 1 boy.

Wendal, a jazz musician who has never managed to make it big, has just been diagnosed with having the AIDS virus. To a string of questioning doctors, he indignantly denies having had any sexual relations with others but by the end of the first act we see him in two simultaneous bedroom scenes, one between him and his fiancée, Simone, who is pregnant, and one between him and his male lover, Douglas, who is actually a married man and father. In these combined scenes, Wendal's denial and-confusion are painfully obvious as he tries to hide the truth about his health from both of his partners; he seems especially intent to hide from Douglas the extent of his undisclosed promiscuity. In the second act, Wendal has drifted away from both Simone and Douglas, unable to sustain the lies that had been keeping his two worlds apart and in balance. He returns home to his mother and father, but upon confiding the truth to them, he is abandoned by his mother who, in a wrathful explosion of raw emotion, indicts Wendal for immorality and takes with her his teenage son from a previous marriage. Wendal's father, however, overcomes his facade of masculine pride and takes up caring for Wendal in his final days, eventually enacting a tentative reconciliation between the family members only in time for Wendal to die. The final image of the play lingers as Simone reappears, her own health and the life of her unborn child in question.
ISBN: 0-8222-1322-2

Beggars In the House of Plenty

Play. John Patrick Shanley. 3 men, 3 women. Interior.

Johnny is the youngest and most sensitive of three siblings stranded in a surreal Irish Catholic household lorded over by their father, a butcher from the Bronx, and their mother, a chipper, hope-mongering wreck of a woman who can only grant chill advice, not comfort. Their daughter Sheila flees her family through marriage while Joey, a high school dropout, opts for a career in the navy and eventually returns from Vietnam. Alone, Johnny takes solace in pyromania and writing about his family. As Johnny matures, he becomes increasingly perceptive, revealing with more and more sympathy the underlying causes of so much family misery. In between Johnny's musings are raucous scenes of catastrophic violence barely held in check by each character's submerged but instinctual need for the love of one another. In the play's final scenes, part memory, part hallucination and part truth, Ma is seen through Johnny's eyes as she once was: innocent and flirtatious (even with Johnny), and painfully unprepared for her ultimate destination with Pop. The father is also transfigured in Johnny's imagination: broken, remorseful and unable to identify with the mantle of fatherhood that his own traditional upbringing inflicted upon him. As the forgiving vision begins, Pop and Ma dance to "Danny Boy," the song to which they used to force their children to dance, but when Joey interrupts he is struck dead by his father. Johnny ends the play by lighting more matches, looking back upon his vision of Joey's death but unable to outrun it.
ISBN: 0-8222-1300-1

Being of Sound Mind

Play. Brian J. Burton
M2 (40s) F3 (30s). A farmhouse kitchen.

Susan is particularly looking forward to her usual holiday in a rented cottage in France as she is recovering from a nervous breakdown. John leaves her to go to the local shop and a stranger turn up purporting to be John and thus begins a series of confusing and terrifying events for Susan. transpires that Susan will inherit her father's money if she is 'of sound mind' but John, and Judy her sister, wish to prevent her from doing so.
ISBN 0 573 11022 0

Bell, Book and Candle

John Van Druten Comedy 3 Acts : 3 men, 2 women, Interior

Gillian Holroyd, her aunt Miss Holroyd and Tony Henderson all live in the same house in different flats. Tony has had quite enough of finding Miss Holroyd in his flat and fiddling with the phone so he complains to Gillian. He also wonders how she could have got into his flat without a key; little does he know that both Gillian and her aunt are witches. Gillian has taken a liking to Tony and decides to use her feminine charms to ensnare him. However, when she finds out he is engaged to her childhood enemy Merle Kittredge she `magics' him with the help of her cat Pyewacket to fall in love with her. The spell works, Tony cancels his engagement and for two weeks they are happy together, even though if Gillian were truly to fall in love she would be able to cry and blush but also would lose her magical powers. Problems arise when Nicky, her warlock brother, begins working on a book all about witches. Gillian `magics' the book so it won't be published, so Nicky threatens to tell Tony that she is a witch (Tony has read Nicky's book and doesn't believe a word of it). Gillian decides to let the cat out of the bag and tell him herself, revealing that she cast a spell on him. When at last he believes her, he storms out of her house and pays another witch a thousand pounds to have the spell removed. One evening Tony visits Gillian to pay some back rent (which she refuses) and to use the phone. As he leaves, Gillian blushes and then she starts to cry. Tony realizes she is no longer a witch and he too discovers that he is in love with her, even without being `magicked'.
ISBN: 0-8222-0104-6

Les Belles Soeurs

Tragi-Comedy: Michael Tremblay. 15 women. Interior

Germaine Lauzon has just won a million trading stamps in the local lottery. To get them pasted into books, she invites her four sisters and a variety of close friends to assist her. While Germaine dreams of things she's always wanted and can now buy for herself, her sisters and friends scheme to thwart her, as they turn jealous with no understanding as to why Germaine should win, anything. Each sister explains her view of Germaine's life while they scheme to pilfer stamps away from her. Thrown into the wacky group is Germaine's daughter, Linda, who, going through the dramatic changes of a misunderstood teenager, needs help dealing with her mother, and invites her friend Lisette to the house. But Lisette needs advice too, being newly pregnant, and finds Dear Aunt Pierrette, the black sheep of the family, to advise her on whether to have an abortion, put the baby up for adoption, or any other alternative. Germaine battles with Linda, when she suddenly, realises some of her stamps are missing and catches the ladies in the act. A wild and raucous stamp-throwing melee ensues which triggers Linda to decide that this is a good time to get out on her own. Germaine's sisters make off with as many stamps as possible and Germaine is left with shattered dreams and only a fraction of the million stamps she had when she started.
ISBN: 0-88922-302-5

The Bells of Hell

Divine comedy. John Mortimer
M4 (young, middle-age) F2 (young, middle-age). Composite set.

Gavin, Rector of St Barnabus Without, runs his parish on determinedly trendy lines, concentrating on gays, 'bondage freaks', mackintosh fetishists and other perversions rather than the Old Time Religion. His Bishop also thinks along modern lines when the arrival of a new, somewhat strange, Curate causes a series of true miracles. The Bishop is about to announce a return to the old ways when a natural explanation of the miracles is discovered. But who exactly is the mysterious Curate? ISBN 0 573 11038 7

Belmont Avenue Social Club

Comedy. Bruce Graham : 5 men; interior.

A corrupt councilman has just died, leaving a city council seat to be filled. Fran, head of the all white 51st political ward, chooses Tommy - an all around good guy, party loyalist and, most importantly, close friend of the deceased - to fill the seat. He chooses him above Doug, a well-educated, fast-talking, up-and-comer with strong support from the area's growing Black districts. Doug has been waiting for this post for years, and when the opportunity arises to reveal a past indiscretion of Tommy's, he takes it, under the guise of saving Tommy embarrassment in the public eye. Politics is an intricate system however, and Fran sees Doug's ploy as betrayal, after the many years of support. Fran tricks Doug into revealing his true feelings about power and Black and White politics, the catch being that Doug was caught on tape. Doug's threats to reveal the closed-door workings of the ward become moot when Fran holds the damaging tape. A Black "outsider" is then picked to fill the spot, signalling not only a change in the ward, but a change in the future.
ISBN: 0-8222-1323-0


Play. Michael Frayn
M2 F2. A bare stage.

Michael Frayn's highly-acclaimed play was premiered at London's Vaudeville Theatre and won the Standard, Plays and Players and Laurence Olivier awards for the Best Play of 1984. Spanning fifteen years this complex, well-structured play traces the story of the destruction of David's architectural dream by the embittered Colin and Colin's marriage to the inept Sheila, contrasting those who help and those who are helped; those who create and those who destroy. '... a beautifully crafted play, economically written.' Time Out
ISBN 0 573 01643 7


Play. Martin Sherman
M11 (20s, 30s) with doubling. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

In 1930s Berlin Max and his lover/flatmate Rudy begin a nightmare odyssey through Nazi Germany, which placed homosexuals on a lower scale than Jews. Max refuses to abandon Rudy and soon they're caught. En route to Dachau, Rudy is killed and Horst, another homosexual prisoner, warns Max to deny Rudy, which he does. Max opts for the label 'Jew' rather than 'queer' but he and Horst are attracted to each other; when Horst is callously killed Max declares himself before committing suicide.

Bent is set in Berlin in the thirties (Cabaret) and revolves around the lives of Max and Rudy. Max is a bon-viveur, totally immersed in the decadence of gay Berlin; confident, out-going and cock-sure. Rudy is the opposite; reticent, shy and insecure yet the two are totally co-dependent on each other. Their insouciant lives are turned upside down when they have to go on the run from the SS, following the Long Night of the Knives. This dramatic episode, when Hitler ordered the murder of Rohm – his gay right hand man - sounded the death-knoll for Berlin’s gays.

Max and Rudy are duly captured by the SS, and transported to Dachau Concentration Camp, where Max’s desire to survive is tested beyond the limits of what any human being should be able to endure. Yet he manages to, primarily going to inhuman lengths to prove to the guards at Dachau that he’s not gay, but Jewish. Within the camp, gays are treated as the lowest of the low and for Max that would be too demeaning so he hides his sexuality. It’s only when he is forced to move rocks mindlessly from one end of the prison quad to the other that he’s forced to confront his own dishonesty by his workmate Horst. Horst wears his pink triangle hardly with pride – but at least without shame.

The two men defy the brutality of their incarceration by becoming intimate without even touching, in one of the play’s most brilliantly innovative scenes. Max and Horst stand there, facing the audience, motionless and enjoy one of the best fucks of their lives. The relationship develops but it is only with Horst’s murder that Max can finally hold him. The final scene is almost too painful to watch.

Taken from Internet posting

Beside the Sea

Play. Brian Jeffries
M4 (16, 30s-50s) F4 (16, 18, 40s). A beach.

The Mercer family take up their usual position at the beach. When the Adamsons arrive, the differences between the two families become apparent as do the conflicts within each of them. Tensions and temperaments reach breaking point, and as they leave the beach, Jack makes the symbolic gesture of abandoning all the beach equipment, in the hope that another family will find it and be as happy as they were, beside the sea.
ISBN 057311041 7

Beside the Seaside

Leslie Sands : Comedy 3M 6F Interior set

The first play in Leslie Sands' trilogy of seaside capers at the Seaview Guest House. The tyrannical landlady Mrs Austin terrorises her lodgers with her bread and butter pudding, while newlyweds Mr and Mrs Pepper realise that marriage is no honeymoon and Wilf and Ethel Pearson try to prevent their daughter Sally from running off with a local 'theatrical' trickster. Chaos abounds in this stormy seaside resort.
ISBN: 0 85676 057 9

The Best of Friends.

Play. Hugh Whitemore, adapted from the letters and writings of Dame Laurentia McLachlan, Sir Sydney Cockerell and George Bernard Shaw
M2 F1 . A sitting-room, a conservatory, a study.

In 1924, when George Bernard Shaw was 68, his friend Sydney Cockerell, then Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, introduced him to a Benedictine nun at Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire. Dame Laurentia McLachlan, later to be elected Abbess, enjoyed a lively friendship with both Shaw and Cockerell for over twenty-five years. Whitemore's play is based upon the letters and writings of the three friends.

Best of Friends

Comedy. James Elward. 4 men, 5 women. Interior.

As he had deserted them many years before, the family of Archer Connaught, famous author (and philanderer), receives the news of his death in a plane crash with mixed emotions. His daughter is cool and bitter, his son jumps at the chance to write the official biography and his wife relishes the idea of basking in the reflected glory of the tributes certain to come. But then Archer turns up, alive after all, and squiring the lovely young girl, half his age, whom he hopes to marry. But first a divorce is needed, and while his wife, Kate, is seemingly compliant, the problem (or so she says) is that they were never legally married in the first place. After that the complications multiply uproariously as family skeletons are exhumed, romance blossoms in unexpected places, and our hero comes to sense both the generation gap between himself and his intended and value of a good, loyal wife, tried and true.
ISBN: 0-8222-0108-9