Composers and their stage works 


The Buddha Of Ceylon

(in Dutch Plays) : Lodewijk de Boer, Trans D.Couling
3m 3E Drama. Single interior set.

Set in a Dutch colony somewhere in South America in 1943, this play traces the themes of colonialism and racism and examines how cultural differences and political beliefs colour our personal relationships.
ISBN 1845492890

Buffalo Hair

Play. Carlyle Brown. 8 men (flexible casting). Exterior

During the night, on a dusty, sage-brush covered island on the southern plains, in the middle of the Red River, black Buffalo Soldiers capture a young warrior called Buffalo Hair, a black man who has chosen to live among the Cheyenne ever since they saved his life. The soldiers find their captive to be a foe from without and within, being so much alike and different from themselves. To Buffalo Hair, his captors are slaves to the white man and enemies of his true people, the Cheyenne. In the morning, a hundred Cheyenne warriors will come to the river to take Buffalo Hair back. Now the soldiers must choose whether to stay loyal to the army and fight, or let Buffalo Hair go and have a chance at saving themselves. Disagreement between the troopers builds to a confrontation. In the excitement a pistol is fired, bringing a hundred Cheyenne warriors down on the island. When the dust clears, the soldiers are captives and now it is Buffalo Hair's turn to choose. He can kill and scalp the black soldiers to prove he is a true Cheyenne, or let them live and become one of them. In the end, Buffalo Hair chooses the warrior's road, and extracts ritual atonement from the abandoned black soldiers.
ISBN: 0-8222-1463-6

Building Blocks

Play. Bob Larbey
M5 (young, 30s, 40s-50s) F1 (30s). A garden.

Jim and Mary Baxter are in the middle of one of life's major traumas - they are having an extension built on to their house. A great deal of their time is taken up with negotiating with the builder, the charming but evasive David. By turns hilarious and touching, this well-observed comedy will bring smiles and groans of recognition to all those who have ever been involved in this situation - and a few rueful warnings to those who have not!
ISBN 0 573 11086 7

Bums on Seats

Comedy. Michael Snelgrove
M6 (20s, 40s-60s, any age) F10 (20s-40s, any age) can be played by M3 F6 with doubling. Extras. A stage, an auditorium

In a tatty provincial theatre, a new play, Fecund, is being staged. Bums on Seats introduces us to everyone involved in the production: in a series of hilarious scenes, linked by a chorus of usherettes, we meet the stage manager, the leading actors, the lecherous, unscrupulous author, and others. In the second act, set in the auditorium, attention focuses on the audience, an equally mixed and unharmonious group.
ISBN 0 573 01756 5

Buried Child

Sam Shepard : Light Drama 5M 2F Interior set

Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-winning play is set in a farmhouse somewhere in the American West, inhabited by a raving, alcoholic grandfather, a sanctimonious grandmother who goes on drinking bouts with the local minister; and their sons Tilden, once an American footballer, now a hulking semi-idiot; and Bradley, who has lost one of his legs to a chain saw. Into their midst comes Vince, Tilde,'s son none of them recognises or remembers, and his girlfriend Shelly, who cannot comprehend the madness to which she is suddenly introduced. The family harbours a dark secret; years earlier the grandfather, Dodge, had buried an unwanted newborn baby in an undisclosed spot, creating a cloud of guilt which is dispelled only when Tilden unearths the child's mummified remains and carries it upstairs to his mother. His act purges the family, at last, of its infamy, and suggests the possibility of a new beginning under Vince, whose estrangement from the others has spared him the taint of their sin.
ISBN: 0 8222 0162 3

Buried Child

Play. Sam Shepard. Revised for the 1996 Broadway production. 5 men, 2 women. Interior

The story is an extension of the author's corrosive vision of the American family - and civilization - in decline. The setting, again, is a squalid farm home occupied by a family filled with suppressed violence and an unease born of deep-seated unhappiness, the characters are a ranting, alcoholic grandfather; a sanctimonious grandmother who goes on drinking bouts with the local minister; and their sons Tilden, an All-American footballer now a hulking semi-idiot; and Bradley, who has lost one leg to a chain saw. Into their midst comes Vince, a grandson none of them recognizes or remembers, and his girlfriend, Shelly, who cannot comprehend the madness to which she is suddenly introduced. The family harbours a dark secret - years earlier the grandfather, Dodge, had buried an unwanted newborn baby in an undisclosed spot, creating a cloud of guilt which is dispelled only when Tilden unearths the child's mummified remains and carries it upstairs to his mother. His act purges the family, at last, of its infamy, and suggests the perhaps slim possibility of a new beginning under Vince, whose estrangement from the others has spared him the taint of their sin.
ISBN: 0-8222-1511-X

Buried Inside Extra

Play. Thomas Babe. 3 men, 2 women. Interior.

The scene is the newsroom of a small-city newspaper, the time late in the evening. The morning edition has just been "put to bed" and, ironically, so has the paper - as the editor has received word that this edition will be the last. The tired staffers - the editor; his long-time mistress (who edits the women's page); the aging copy boy (who used to be a promising reporter until drink and frustration took over); and the brashly self-confident cub reporter - are further jarred by a report that a bomb has been planted in the building and will explode within the hour. Dealing with this double-edged crisis leads to challenging and revealing confrontations, which reach a climax in two particularly vivid and dramatically gripping scenes - the unexpected appearance of the editor's neglected wife, and the exposure of the bomber. In the end the building is saved, but the paper must still die and, with it, the purpose and focus of the wise-cracking, cynical, fallible but essentially decent people for whom it has been a real home for so many years.
ISBN: 0-8222-0163-1


Play. Bruce Graham.

The place is South Philadelphia, where Ed Burke ("Burkie" to his late wife) has lived for more than thirty years. A plumber by trade, Burkie is now dying of cancer, and has become progressively more dependent on his unmarried son, Jon, who still lives at home and whose concern for his father's deteriorating health has led him to drinking more than he should. Summoning his sister, Jess, who is married and living in Arizona, Jon makes it clear that his principal concern is to make Burkie's final days as dignified and pleasant as possible, and that Jess' last minute involvement cannot atone for the years of neglect which followed her departure. Jon rejects her offer to take Burkie to a clinic near her home in Arizona but, as the two siblings come to recognize their mutual love and concern for their father, old enmities are finally put to rest. And, in a final, deeply affecting scene, when Burkie at last escapes from pain into the solace of delusion, brother and sister are united by the knowledge of what they have lost and by their renewed awareness of the ties that still bind them together - and which will be their legacy for the future. 3 men, 1 woman. Unit set
ISBN: 0-8222-0164-X

Burn This

Lanford Wilson : Light Drama 3M 1F Interior set

A powerful, electrifying play which probes deeply and with great dramatic and comic effect into the lives of its characters; Anna, a young dancer who is devastated by the sudden death of her gay flatmate and collaborator Robby; her wealthy but shallow boyfriend Burton; and her other flatmate Larry, a cynical and caustically funny advertising executive. Their lives are transformed by the sudden and unexpected arrival of Robby's older brother Pale, who explodes on the scene to collect his brother's belongings but stays - Menacing, dangerous, profane and yet oddly sensitive, Pale affects each character distinctly, but particularly Anna, who although both terrified and fascinated, finally confronts the truths in her life she has until now been afraid to face.
ISBN: 0-8222-1625-6

Burning Bright

John Steinback : Drama 3M 1F Flexible staging

It's at the circus that we first meet the characters - Joe Saul. Victor and Mordeen are trapeze artists and Friend Ed, a clown. As the play develops, in a cleverly fascinating structure, the setting changes from circus to farm, then to a ship. Although changing to accommodate the setting, each character remains true to their role and the conflicts of the play remain intact. Joe Saul wants to have a child to carry on his blood after he's gone. After years of unsuccessful attempts with his young wife Mordeen he begins to dwell on his inadequacy. But she has a love for him that is stronger than he could ever imagine, a love which compels her to get pregnant from another man and call the future child Joe Saul's. This poses a problem for Victor, the surrogate father, who wants Mordeen for his own. Joe Saul's best friend, Friend Ed, attempts to solve all the problems by disposing of the garrulous Victor. But a recent doctor's examination reveals the truth to Joe: that the child can't possibly be his. At the end Joe must do the only thing he can, by swallowing his pride and accepting the child as a gift of love from his devoted wife.
ISBN: 0 8222 1598 5

Burying The Dog

(in Dutch Plays) : Karst Woudstra, Trans D. Couling
2m 1f. Drama. Single interior set.

Peter and his girlfriend Muriel get an unexpected visit from his brother, Bart, who has been followed to the apartment by a stray dog. During the night, as past pain is revisited, the stray is knocked down and killed by a car. All three characters find this affects them strongly, and the decision to bury the dog in the morning is a decision to come to terms with the truth.
ISBN 1845492890

Bus Stop

Comedy William Inge. 5 men, 3 women. Interior

Bus Sto is a warm and sensible little overnight scrap between a couple of stranded, stubborn, appealing people. A bus out of Kansas City pulls up at a cheerful roadside diner in the middle of a howling snowstorm. All roads are blocked, and four or five weary travellers are going to have to stay until morning. Kim Stanley, scurrying through the doorway in a spangled nightclub gown and a seedy furtrimmed jacket, is the passenger with most to worry about. She's been pursued, made love to, and finally kidnapped by a 21-year-old cowboy with a ranch of his own and the romantic methods of an unusually headstrong bull. The belligerent cowhand is right behind her, ready to sling her over his shoulder and carry her, alive and kicking, all the way to Montana. Even as she's ducking out from under his clumsy but confident embraces, and screeching at him fiercely to shut him up, she pauses to furrow her forehead and muse, "Somehow deep inside of me I got a funny feeling I'm gonna end up in Montana..." As a counterpoint to the main romance, the proprietor of the cafe and the bus driver at last find time to develop a friendship of their own; a middle-age scholar comes to terms with himself, and a young girl who works in the cafe also gets her first taste of romance.
ISBN: 0-8222-0166-6

The Business of Good Government

Nativity Play. John Arden and Margaretta D'Arcy
M 13 (Black, young, old) F4 or 3. A bare stage.

This nativity play is not historically accurate, not entirely a 'modernisation' of the story, but rather a straightforward narration of the events given in the Gospels, with incidental references back to ancient Judea and forwards to the twentieth century. The play was written to take place within the architecture of a village church, unhindered by any sort of artificial scenery. Stage directions to suit production in any auditorium have now been added as suggestions only.

The Business of Murder

Play. Richard Harris
M2 (40s) F I (20s). A first-floor flat.

A psychological thriller on the theme of revenge centres on the interlocking triangular relationship between Dee, a successful TV playwright, Hallett, a detective superintendent and Stone, 'a humourless, rather prissy man', The Business of Murder had a very successful West End run. 'How refreshing to welcome that rarity of the West End: a well-written, skilfully crafted tale of mystery and suspense that pays dividends from start to finish. Sunday Express
ISBN 0 573 11017 4

Busman's Honeymoon

Mystery Play Dorothy L. Sayers and M. St. Claire Byrne. 10 men, 3 women. Interior.

Lord Peter Wimsey and Lady Harriet, newly married, have bought a delightful farmhouse, with odd furnishings and an interesting assortment of village characters. There are Mr. Puffett, chimneysweep, Mrs. Ruddle, the housekeeper, and Crutchley, the gardener, as well as the Rev. Goodacre and Miss Twitterton, niece of Mr. Noakes, former owner of the house. Noakes has been mysteriously absent for some days and has failed to tell his niece of the sale of the house to Lord Wimsey. Then Mr. McBride, solicitor's representative, arrives to see the former owner. It appears Noakes owes a considerable amount of money, and that he has absconded with the cash paid to him for the house. Lord Peter suggest refreshments from the cellar to ease the situation but they, find more than wine - the body of Noakes is also there! The shadow of guilt falls on everyone, even Kirk of the police force investigation, his local assistant, Joe Sellon. Peter and Harriet cannot escape the inevitable effort to solve the Mystery - and they do.


Comedy. Jack Popplewell
M4 (young, 30s-50s) F4 (19, 30s, 48). An office.

Detective Superintendent Harry Baxter is plagued by two busybodies - a corpse that vanishes and the officious office cleaner, Mrs Piper, who finds it. Motives for murder abound - all the office staff and the corpse's wife are suspect. His self-control snaps completely when the corpse himself walks in alive and well. But Mrs Piper still insists that there was a body, and it is she who finally identifies both corpse and murderer and actually obtains a confession.
ISBN 0 573 01515 5

The Butler Did It

Comedy/Thriller. Walter Marks and Peter Marks. 4 men, 2 women. Interior.

The scene is the set where Anthony J. Lefcourt, writer and director, is rehearsing his new play, a "classic whodunit" (in which all the characters are named Butler) with which he hopes to regain the success which has eluded him in recent seasons. Desperately eager to stimulate his cast to their best efforts, he has deliberately withheld the final scene of the play from them, but his patience is worn thin by the petty jealousies and romantic rivalries which detract from their concentration. In an effort to spur them on he "stages" the murder of one of the actresses, after which the plot begins to twist and turn with such dazzling ingenuity - and hilarity - that soon actors and audience alike have lost track of what is real and what is make-believe - until a surprise ending sets matters straight in a most bizarre and ironic way.
ISBN: 0-8222-0167-4


Play. Simon Gray
M4 (young, 20s, 30s) F3 (young, 30s, 40s). A university lecturer's study.

This play concerns a university lecturer, Ben Butley, who shares his office and his flat with a former star pupil, Joey, now also a teacher. On the day when the play takes place Butley faces both the ultimate breakdown of his marriage and of his intense friendship with Joey. Butley's painful discoveries are made against a background of petty university politics and unease about student dissent. He greets them with a blistering torrent of repartee and rhetoric.

Butterflies Are Free

Comedy. Leonard Gershe
M2 (young, 20s) F2 (19, middle-age). A one-room apartment.

Don, a young bachelor in his first apartment, is escaping from an overprotective mother; his next door neighbour is an actress who offers true friendship. We are well in to the play when we discover, with the actress, that Don is blind. Mother does not like the girl and succeeds in breaking up the match, but then realises how demoralised her son is. Eventually the neighbour returns and the young people can together face up to life.
ISBN 0 573 60644 7

The Butterfingers Angel, Mary & Joseph, Herod the Nut & the Slaughter of 12 Hit Carols in a Pear Tree

A Christmas Entertainment. William Gibson. 6 men, 4 women, 4 children. Open Stage.

Dealing with the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus from a fresh and richly creative point of view, the author combines a series of deftly constructed short scenes, traditional Christmas music, and often antic characterisations into a wholly original theatre piece. The flow of the action follows the Biblical recounting, but is enhanced by a tree, a sheep and a donkey who talk (and most amusingly); a beguiling Mary who had decided that men and marriage were not for her; a suddenly cautious Joseph who now contends that he is too old for his intended (having earlier scoffed at Mary for expressing the same thought); and a flustered boy-angel who directs the action from a prompt book and manages to get only the most strangled, bleating sounds from his trumpet. But, through all the lively and resourceful happenings, the true significance of the occasion is never lost, and the underlying mood and spirit of reverence is, if anything, enhanced and made new by the distinctive approach of this joyful and unique retelling.
ISBN: 0-8222-0168-2

The Butterfly's Evil Spell.

Play. Federico Garcia Lorcá. Translated by Gwynne Edwards
17 characters. A meadow, a garden.

Written in verse, this tale of unrequited love is a highly stylised piece. It tells of Sylvia who is in love with Boybeetle, who loves Butterfly. Although the plot is tragic, Lorca nevertheless injects some humour: the one-legged cockroach, Dofa Beetle, is decidedly down to earth, as is the drunken scorpion, Scorpy. With its non-naturalistic style it is set firmly apart from the rest of Lorcá's work and is an excellent example of avant-garde theatre.

Button, Button

Comedy Maurice Clark. 5 men, 5 women. Interior.

Button Alexander Woodhouse's socially prominent family consider him unbalanced. He would rather be considered a useless eccentric than spend his youth in a mad quest for stocks and bonds. He tries to limit his ambition to easy chairs, good food and homely philosophy, but there are conflicting forces around him. Soon he is beset by wealthy women who try to force their hobbies upon him. He runs away from an antique collector only to bump into a girl with some new variety of free verse, and evades his brother with a bag of golf clubs only to fall into the hands of an amateur psychologist who needs him to experiment on. But much worse than any of these obstacles to his peace of mind is a pretty housemaid with a practical mind and genuine love for the easy-going and delightful Button. Their elopement at the end from his "stuffed shirt" environment into her world of self-respecting workers is a scene of delightful romance, and Button's parting shots at the Woodhouse family brings on a hilarious bit of satire.

Buy Me Blue Ribbons

Comedy. Sumner Locke Elliott. Produced on Broadway.
A light comedy about theatre business and the production of a professional show. An illuminating character study. 4 men, 6 women. Interior.

Jordan Sable, at 15, is a forgotten child movie idol attempting a comeback via the stage. Against the advice of his agent and friend, Liz Kendall, he buys a swashbuckling verse play about pirates in which he plans to star on Broadway. He hires a top producer and a female star and embarks on a colossal publicity campaign to launch himself in the play. He is abetted in this by Daisy, his mother, an overwhelming and dizzy woman who was once a Ziegfeld girl. His father, a hosiery tycoon, has always opposed Jordan's career and the parents have divorced over this disagreement. During a hilarious rehearsal scene, Jordan is found totally inadequate as the pirate chief and is forced out of his own production, his hated rival replacing him and scoring a hit, which leads to a Hollywood contract. Jordan, penitent and defeated, vows he will retire forever, but Liz talks him into starting again, at the bottom, and he accepts a small bit in a revival of Hamlet, having learned his lesson that one cannot "buy" success.
ISBN: 0-8222-0169-0

By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea

Three one-act plays by Joe Pintauro, Lanford Wilson and Terrence McNally
1 man, 2 women. Exterior

The opening play is Mr. Pintauro's DAWN: Quentin and his sister Veronica, together with his wife Pat, gather at the beach to scatter their mother's ashes. The act itself is a closure of sorts, but it stirs up conflicts between the three as marital wounds and sibling rivalries never dealt with finally arrive to be confronted. Mr. Wilson's DAY takes a playful look at Ace, a local gardener who goes to the beach on his lunch hour and runs into Macy, a sexpot yuppie (complete with chic beach umbrella and laptop computer). Macy seduces Ace into applying her tanning lotion, but then the gardener's nutty girlfriend arrives to give them all a run for their money. Mr. McNally's DUSK focuses on Willy, a hunk at the beach, and the two women, Dana and Marsha, who would do anything to have him. We discover that all three suffer from personal prisons from which they need to escape, and luckily they seem to have found the right place and time to do so.