Composers and their stage works 


La Bête

A Comedy in verse. David Hirson. 6 men, 4 women, servants (non-speaking). Interior

The play is set in France in 1654, and revolves around an upheaval in a famous acting troupe. Elomire, the troupe's renowned leader, is furious because Prince Conti, the troupe's patron, is forcing a street performer, Valère, upon them. Elomire finds Valère and his work to be revolting and base, while Bejart, the troupe's second in command, is worried about offending the Prince and, thereby, losing their patron. Valère is a terrible bore, who loves nothing more than the sound of his own voice, which he amply demonstrates at his first entrance, when he delivers an uproariously funny and extended monologue. Elomire can barely withhold his contempt, but Valère is completely unaware of the barbs tossed his way. The Prince arrives; anxious to see how Elomire'and Valère are getting along, having high hopes for their union. The Prince feels Elomire's work has grown stagnant and that the troupe needs new blood. Elomire, convinced that Valère will never be able to work in an ensemble situation, challenges Valère to present one of his plays with the rest of the troupe assists as a compatibility test. The strategy backfires, however, as Valère not only works well with the troupe, but the troupe finds themselves enchanted with Valère and his high jinks theatrics. Seeing this, the Prince immediately offers Valère a place with the troupe over Elomire's protests. Elomire, unable to compromise his artistic principles, strikes out on his own.
ISBN: 0-8222-0621-8

Better Days

Drama. Reynolds Price. 5 men, 2 women. Interior

Better Days takes place in 1974, the day of Roma Avery's funeral. Neal and Taw have moved to Roma's house to care for her in her final illness. Porter has come home on leave from the Navy. Neal and Taw's son, Cody, now a captain in the Marines serving in Vietnam, has also returned on leave for his grandmother's burial. In the course of a day, all the characters make plans for themselves - and for others - as they are visited by Wayne's father, once sweet on Roma, and by Roma's old lover, Fontaine, a man Neal had heard about and never met and about whom he had only just told Cody. Grief gives way to humorous surprise and renewed bonds as Cody finds himself in the middle of a bottle spin to see who gets Roma's house - a place so full of memory some want to stay forever, some want to leave it behind as soon as the bottle stops spinning. With Vietnam calling Cody, Neal and Taw must contend with a new future, more hopeful that they can give their son, if he returns, better days ahead.
ISBN: 0-8222-0111-9

Betty the Yeti

Comedy (A satirical, fantasy blend of real life and make-believe.) Jon Mein. 2 men, 4 women. Exterior.

Deep in the forests of northern Oregon, environmentalists clash with loggers in a furious battle to determine the future of the land. Which is more important: the preservation of the natural landscape, or the lives of the men and women who depend on the harvesting of lumber? Russ T Sawyer is one logger who thought he knew where he stood. Having recently lost his wife to the zealous leader of an environmentalist group, he's been sitting in the treetops, mourning both his state of unemployment and his new-found bachelorhood. Suddenly, a female sasquatch emerges from the forest. Russ is torn: should he go against his politics and protect the trusting animal, whom he has named Betty, or cash in on a deal that will destroy the poor creature's habitat? Then when he and Betty become, well ... involved ...
ISBN: 0-8222-1455-5


Drama. Harold Pinter. 2 men, 1 woman. Unit Set

The play begins in the present, with the meeting of Emma and Jerry, whose adulterous affair of seven years ended two years earlier. Emma's marriage to Robert, Jerry's best friend, is now breaking up, and she needs someone to talk to. Their reminiscences reveal that Robert knew of their affair all along and, to Jerry's dismay, regarded it with total nonchalance. Thereafter, in a series of contiguous scenes, the play moves backward in time, from the end of the Emma-Jerry affair to its beginning, throwing into relief the little lies and oblique remarks which, in this timereverse, reveal more than direct statements, or overt actions, ever could.
ISBN: 0-8222-0109-7


Play. James Robson
M4 (teenage, 40, 67, 70) F6 (40s, 60s). A living-room.

Dad and Mam Ling live in sheltered accommodation in a Yorkshire town. Dad is nearing death, and so the family congregate to see him through his final days. Displayed on the wall of the living room is a picture of 'Beulah', the farm which the Lings worked for many years. As Dad's health diminishes, he remembers his happy times as a Dalesman, and his children are reminded of their youth at 'Beulah'.
ISBN 0 573 01726 3

Beyond a Joke

Comedy. Derek Benfield
M4 (young, 50) F4 (20, 40s, 50). A drawing-room and a garden.

Six times fatalities have occurred in Jane and Andrew's country house. When daughter Sally's new young man, Geoff' arrives for the weekend he mistakenly gets the idea that the occurrences were due to something more sinister than 'accident'. When a visiting vicar passes peacefully away in the garden Andrew and Jane try to remove the body. Events are further confused by the unexpected arrival of Geoff's parents who are unaware that the body has been stowed in their car boot!
ISBN 0 573 11027 1

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Play. Jeffrey Archer
Ml 1 F3. The Central Criminal Court, a London house.

Accused of the wilful murder of his terminally ill wife, Sir David Metcalf finds himself locked in legal combat with his old rival, Anthony Blair-Booth QC. After a tense and gripping courtroom scene Act I ends just as we are about to hear the jury's verdict. Act 11 takes us back in time to the fateful night of Lady Metcalfe's death and ends with a surprising twist. This play enjoyed a successful run in London's West End, with Frank Finlay and Wendy Craig in the leading roles. 'I loved it ... its much more than a courtroom drama. It's a compelling love story and it's got the lot -laughter, tears and tension ...' TV-am.
ISBN 0 573 01676 3

Beyond the Horizon

Tragedy. Eugene O'Neill. 6 men, 4 women. 1 Interior/2 Exteriors.

The two sons of James Mayo, a tough farmer on the north eastern seaboard of the USA, are about to take the fundamental decisions by which they will step from adolescence to maturity. After a sickly, semi-invalid childhood, Robert, the younger, has decided to go to sea with his uncle, while Andrew, his elder brother, plans to marry their childhood friend and neighbour, Ruth Atkins, and to take over running the family farm. However, in the course of saying farewell to Ruth, Robert confesses his love for her and is astonished to discover that she returns it, although both her family and his expect her to marry Andy. When Robert announces to his family that he will not after all go to sea, but wants instead to marry Ruth and settle on the farm, a heartbroken Andy goes in his place. Robert settles in to run the farm with his father, but Andy's departure has devastated the older man, who dies. Under Robert's inept guidance the farm gradually goes to ruin, and with it his marriage to Ruth, who realizes, too late, that she has all along loved Andy. When Andy returns from sea Ruth resolves to reveal her change of heart but before she can do so, Andy lets her know that his new career was for the best - that he never really loved her. Andy leaves again, and Robert and Ruth sink into destitution when first Robert's mother, and then their daughter Mary die. Andy returns once more to find Robert dying of consumption, and he is left alone with Ruth to survey the wreckage of what might have been.
ISBN: 0-8222-0112-7

Beyond Therapy

Comedy. Christopher Durang
M4 (30) F2 (29, middle-age). Various interiors, may be simply suggested.

Prudence's therapist is urging her to be more assertive; while Bruce's therapist urges him to meet someone of the opposite sex by placing a personal ad, not realising that Bruce has a male lover named Bob. Having met each other Bruce doesn't know how to handle nervous Prudence; and Prudence doesn't know what to make of decidedly unpredictable Bruce. How they sort it all out is the story of this delightful comedy. 'Beyond Therapy offers the best therapy of all: guaranteed laughter.' Time

Beyond Your Command

Comedy/Drama. Ralph Pape. 4 men, 3 women. Interior

The place is a black neighbourhood in a small city in New Jersey: the time a hot August afternoon in 1963 - the day of Dr. Martin Luther King's march on Washington. Nick Alameda, a fast-talking white vacuum cleaner salesman has been working the neighbourhood, and has reached the home of Frances Johnson, a kindly, trusting black housewife whose family budget is already stretched perilously thin. At first Frances tries to discourage the wily Nick and his college boy assistant, Danny, but little by little Nick breaks down her resistance and worms his way into her confidence until, by the time her alarmed husband comes home, she has signed a purchase agreement. But her husband also brings the news that their son has been arrested for striking his white foreman - and suddenly the mood of the play changes as the focus shifts from cynical exploitation to questions of racial tension and distrust, and the simmering resentment which can burst into violence at any moment. As the cheers of Dr. King's assembled followers are heard on the TV the now disaffected Danny turns angrily on his startled boss and sends him packing, while Frances, emboldened at last to make her own choices, declares her intention to accompany her husband to the police station and, with him, to stand up to the oppressive authority which, so often, has conspired to deny her family - and her people - its rightful place in society.
ISBN: 0-8222-0113-5