Composers and their stage works 


The Brass Ring

Fantasy/Comedy. Irving Elman. 6 men, 5 women. Unit Set

Irving Elman is dwelling on the plight of the American businessman who once had dreams of gay and adventurous independence, and now finds himself bound to a suburban family and a routine job. In a series of short, and for the most part, thoroughly engaging family scenes, he jolts his businessman into an awareness that he has wasted a good many years and a ridiculous amount of energy on idle and unrealistic mooning.
ISBN: 0-8222-0145-3

The Break of Day

Play. Timberlake Wertenbaker
M8 (20, 40s, 80, old) F5 (20s, 40) (with doubling). Various simple settings.

Tess, Nina and April are old friends reunited one hot summer weekend to celebrate Tess's fortieth birthday. With their partners in tow, a feeling of dissatisfaction and unease seizes the group. Is it too late to have children? Were they wrong to focus so much on work'? The second act finds Tess and Robert resorting to the fertility industry to conceive, while Nina and Hugh become embroiled in the corrupt bureaucracy of an East European country as they try to adopt a baby.

Breakfast In Bed

Comedy. Jack Popplewell. 6 men, 3 women. Interior.

Joe Henderson, a hard-working but rather tight-fisted widower, lives with his daughter, Mary, in the grimy, English mill town of Brimley. Joe's two married sisters, Alice and Jane, also reside in Brimley, as have all of their family - with the exception of three black sheep uncles who were asked to leave town some fifty years earlier. But now one of the uncles, Robert Oldfreld, has written to announce his intention of coming back to Brimley to end his days and Joe, learning that the old man has amassed a fortune, decides to offer him a home. His sisters are easily hoodwinked into letting Joe take over the "family obligation," until they, too, find out about Uncle Robert's money - at which point the bickering begins. When the old gentleman arrives he finds that he is to be shuttled back and forth from home to home, but the mood of energetic cordiality rapidly dissipates when it is discovered that their guest is not Uncle Robert at all, but his ne'er-do-well brother, Emmanuel. A promise being a promise Joe takes the old man in, but begins to fume as his money, his liquor, his cigars and his wardrobe are blithely usurped by his boarder. Joe has had all about he can stand when Uncle Emmanuel obligingly falls down the steps of a pub and expires - but excitement flares up again when the real Uncle Robert arrives shortly afterwards. Again the competition for hospitality (and anticipated inheritance) begins, much to the increasing distaste of Joe's daughter, Mary, who wants only to marry her fiancé, Peter (Jane's adopted son), and leave Brimley and her petty relatives forever. Mary and Peter dream of buying a farm in Cornwall, but they have no, money and Peter is saddled with the running of his foster father's mill. But Uncle Robert (who is really not rich at all) saves the day by deftly swindling the necessary money from his avaricious kin, after which he dies and leaves it to the lovers. So all works out happily - marred only by the announcement that uncle number three has just arrived from Australia!
ISBN: 0-8222-0146-1

Breaking Legs

Comedy. Tom Dulack. 5 men, 1 woman. Interior.

The action occurs in an Italian restaurant owned by a successful mobster and managed by his beautiful unmarried daughter. When the daughter's former college professor arrives to ask for financial backing for a play he's written about a murder, the fun begins. The three main Mafiosi are intrigued with the idea of producing a play. The daughter becomes enamored of the playwright, who is delighted to have the family's support. His bubble is burst when he discovers, through the "accidental" death by train of a lesser thug, that his backers are gangsters. In this madcap situation, murder and menace are served up with plenty of pasta and laughter.
ISBN: 0-8222-0147-X

Breaking the Code

Play. Hugh Whitemore, based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Alan Hodges
M7 (17, 20s, 40s, 60s) F2 (20s-50s, 60s). An open space.

This compassionate play is the story of Alan Turing, who broke the code in two ways: He cracked the German Enigma code during World War II (for which he was decorated by Churchill) and also shattered the English code of sexual discretion with his homosexuality (for which he was arrested on a charge of gross indecency). Whitemore's play, shifting back and forth in time, seeks to find a connection between the two events.
ISBN 0 573 01656 9

Breaking the Prairie Wolf Code

Play Lavonne Mueller. 2 men, 4 women. Unit set

The time is 1866, the setting a wagon train moving slowly and perilously westward across the American frontier. Helen, the pampered young widow of an army colonel, and her 14-year old daughter, Amy, are hoping for a new and better life in California. Used to the amenities of a refined Eastern upbringing, Helen tries bravely to adapt to the rigors of the journey, but their misfortunes multiply as they lose some of their precious food supply; Amy's clothes, put out to dry after she falls in a river, and blown away in a desert storm; and the delicate Amy falls ill with ague. The gruff trailmaster cannot leave his responsibilities to help them; the awkward attentions of a young love-smitten suitor who courts Amy before riding off to join the army only deepen Helen's distress at how far they have distanced themselves from their old life; and even the kind attentions of a wise old black "conjure woman" can do little to alleviate their plight. As Amy grows weaker it is clear that she and her mother can no longer keep up with the others and, as the play ends, they are left behind in the vast emptiness of the frontier, stoically facing the slim hope of rescue as the final moments of Amy's young life ebb away.
ISBN: 0-8222-0148-8

Breaking the Silence.

Play. Stephen Poliakoff
M5 (teenage, 20s-50s) F2 (30x, 40x). A railway carriage.

Stephen Poliakoff's intriguing and moving play is inspired by his own family's experience in Russia. Father spends his time (and government money) in trying to record sound on to film. With the death of Lenin, however, the research must be abandoned and the family is forced to flee. The play follows the material and spiritual adjustments the upper-middle-class Pesiakoff family have to make when forced to live for years in a railway carriage.
ISBN 0 573 01617 8

Breaking the String.

Play. Frank Vickery
M2 (20x, middle-age) F2 (20x, middle-age). A sitting-room.

To add to her own and her family's problems, Iris nurtures an intensely possessive love for her only child, Simon. Simon comes home, accompanied by a girlfriend, Deryn, and Iris's joy quickly turns to jealousy and suspicion. Confronted with an increasingly difficult situation Simon finally announces that he and Deryn are married and expecting a baby. Iris cannot be reconciled to the news and the play closes with Iris alone, her world shattered, unable to acknowledge her own folly.
ISBN 0 573 01728 X

Breath of Spring.

Comedy. Peter Coke
M3 (young, middle-age, elderly) F5 (20x, middle-age). A living-room.

Dame Beatrice houses a collection of middle-aged 'guests', plus Lily her maid. To repay Dame Beatrice for giving her a job despite her criminal past, Lily presents her with a mink stole filched from the next flat. The Brigadier deploys his 'troops' to return the fur. The whole campaign is so invigorating that they decide to retain this excitement in their lives by pinching furs and giving the proceeds to charities.
ISBN 0 573 01053 6

Breezeblock Park

Play. Willy Russell
M5 (young, middle-age) F4 (young, middle-age). Two split-level sets: living-room and kitchen.

Three married couples, 'superior' council-house dwellers, regard themselves as a close-knit family, a team, despite their generally concealed jealousies. When one of their daughters, Sandra, announces she is pregnant and intends to live unmarried with her student lover, Tim, the news explodes like an atom bomb. Tim himself is unhappy about the arrangement and tries to make Sandra realise she now has responsibilities, but she walks out on them all.
ISBN 0 573 11051 4

Brezhnev's Children

Play. Olwen Wymark, based on the novel The Women's Decameron by Julia Vozneskaya
M3 (40x) F7 (20s-40s). A maternity ward.

It is International Women's Day in Moscow, 1985. Isolated in a run-down maternity hospital ward seven women tell their own violent and disturbing stories of rape, abuse and oppression. Despite the depressing nature of these stories, however, the enormous strength, vitality and humour of the women comes through. Finally overcoming the patriarchal, authoritative hospital system, their escape is set against the wider background of Gorbachev coming to power in this moving play.
ISBN 0 573 01729 8