Composers and their stage works 



Comedy. Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
M7 (19, 20s, 40s, middle-age) F7 (19, 20s, middle-age). A large room above a pub.

The Wedding and The Funeral make up the two parts of this comedy in which we are introduced to the same family, first making preparations for a wedding and subsequently, six months later, returning from the funeral of their Uncle Arthur, a loveable personality who provides the link between the two plays.
ISBN 0 573 11251 7


Comedy. Nat Perrin. 6 men, 2 women. Interior

Founders Day in Appleford is a big event, particularly for Irving Martin (leader of the local brass band) and his wife Mattie (who was an Appleford before she married Irving and wont let him forget it). This year Irving has scheduled a "musical extravaganza which requires his future son-in-law, Jim Diamond, to chime in with bugle calls and gun shots, while Grandpa Ben Martin thumps the bass drum. They are set to begin when young Hank Martin comes in holding a human bone, which he unearthed while digging in the back yard. When Dr. Hutchinson announces the bone might only be a year or so old suspicions begin to multiply, especially against Jim, who arrived in town rather mysteriously a year earlier. But Jim isn't the only one with a secret in his past, and confessions begin to pour out. When all this comes to the attention of Sheriff Gilbert (still smarting over being dropped from the band) the fat is on the fire. There are dark murmurings about foul play, and Jim is ready to leave town when Grandpa Ben confesses that the skeleton in the yard was his doing. Many years earlier-he tried to sell the skeleton to a medical school, but when it was refused he had to put it somewhere and the yard was the handiest solution. The irony is that the bones belonged to the town's founder, a mean old skinflint, and before whose empty monument the Founders Day ceremonies are held each year by the respectful, and unsuspecting citizens.
ISBN: 0-8222-0153-4

The Cemetery Club

Play. Ivan Menchcll
M 1 (late 50s-early 60s) F4 (late 50s- early 60s). A living-room, a cemetery.

Ida, Lucille and Doris are part of a club - the cemetery club. Every month they meet at Ida's New York house for tea, then trundle off to the cemetery to remember the good times and gossip with their late husbands. Sam, a butcher, meets the widows at the cemetery while he is visiting his wife's grave and changes their lives forever. This touching play about three superannuated, feuding Jewish women is funny, wise and gloriously witty.

The Ceremony of Innocence

Play. Ronald Ribman. 8 men, 3 women (plus several bits). Unit Set

It is 11th century England and its pacifist King Ethelred has negotiated a treaty with Sweyn of Denmark whereby England pays tribute in silver and Sweyn gives his daughter Thulja as hostage to guarantee the peace. But Ethelred has hawks to contend with - the belligerent Earl of Sussex, his own hot-headed son Edmund, and a blood-thirsty mother-in-law - as well as a frustrated and jealous queen and a grasping Bishop. Eventually the proud Edmund kills four Danish immigrant farmers, picks a fight with the Danish ambassador and is himself accidentally killed. His grandmother, the old Queen Alfreda, kills Thulja in vengeance and the Danes prepare to invade England. At the end of the play Ethelred, who has sorrowfully taken refuge in a monastery, is being urged by even his most dovish advisers to march against the Danes and defend his throne. He refuses. And so the judgment of history goes against him - this benevolent, moral man who wanted only to bring a better life to his people, and to free them from the tyranny of constant, senseless wars.
ISBN: 0-8222-0195-X

Chain of Circumstances

Thriller. Conrad Sutton Smith. 4 men, 2 women. Unit set

Keith Fox, a struggling young American playwright in Paris, has just completed his new play, but is very secretive about it, even with his two closest ftiends - Bonnie Lenox, a charming and resourceful girl who loves Keith deeply despite his all-consuming ambition - and Basil Worthing, a young Englishman, an ex-actor now semi-beatnik. Into this picture comes a successful Broadway playwright, Robin Meredith, who needs someone to type his new play and accepts Bonnies suggestion of Keith. But when he starts to type Robin's play, Keith is horrified to realize that it deals with the same historical subject as his own. It drives him to a desperate decision - to do away with Robin - and further, to appropriate Robin's play as his own. So he evolves an elaborate "perfect crime" (with Basil's unwitting assistance). But Robin's dying words throw him into a turmoil: the handwritten script which Robin had given, him for typing is not the only copy, and now Keith will never know when or where the other carbon copy may appear to condemn him. The chain of circumstances tightens even more around him when the crafty Basil begins to piece together many curious little discrepancies, with a view to a fat blackmail income. From this point on, the action takes swift and startling turns. The dramatic irony of the last five minutes cant be revealed here, but it's designed to hold an audience breathless until literally the last line.
ISBN: 0-8222-0196-8

The Chalk Garden

Play. Enid Bagnold
M2 (elderly) F7 (16, 40s, middle-age, elderly). A living-room.

The chalk garden which totally defeats Mrs St Maugham's attempts to cultivate it is symbolic of her failure with her daughter and her granddaughter. Then Miss Madrigal, a hired companion, takes charge. 'We eavesdrop on a group of thoroughbred minds, expressing themselves in speech of an exquisite candour, building ornamental bridges of metaphor, tiptoeing across frail causeways of simile, and vaulting over gorges impassable to the rational soul.' Kenneth Tynan, Observer
ISBN 0 573 01064 1

The Champagne Charlie Stakes

Comedy/Drama. Bruce Graham 3 men, 2 women. Interior.

It's a very special day at the racetrack, where "Champagne" Charlie, a race-track regular, has had a race named in his honour. A dreamer and teller of tall tales, Charlie is accompanied by his wife of 53 years, Mary Lee, an incurable romantic, who still finds Charlie very attractive. They are accompanied by Jackie, a family friend and race track bookie, and their daughter, Mary, a divorced high school drama teacher, and the realist in the family who has nervously invited along her long-time boyfriend, Paul, to finally meet her parents. Since this is such a special day, Charlie conspires with Jackie to place the bet of his life-his entire meagre savings ("the whole shebang")-on a long shot hunch. Mary strenuously objects until Mary Lee tells her that Charlie is ill and this will be his last season at the track, and she wants this day to be the most wonderful day of his life. Mary relents, the race is run and Charlie loses everything. Jackie, guilt ridden, tries to return the money, but Mary Lee will not hear of it. If Charlie wants to tell the tale of the "whole shebang" he can't keep the money, so Mary disposes of it in her own way. Charlie, disappointed, apologises to Mary Lee; just once in his life he wanted to give her things and do something grand for her. She assures Charlie that, for 53 years, he's done just fine.
ISBN: 0-8222-1362-1

Chance Visitor

Play. Aleksei Arbuzov, translated by Ariadne Nicolaeff
M2 (27, 45) F7 (20s-55, 70). A veranda/garden, an open-air restaurant, a roadside.

This subtle, complex play was premiered in this country in 1984. After twenty-two years of marriage, Turkovsky announces that he has fallen in love with someone else. His wife, Lubya, a remarkable woman, insists on meeting the other woman who turns out to be nothing like one would expect. At the end Lubya, despite her pain, still wishes Turkovsky happiness - unafraid to face the future.
ISBN 0 573 01623 2

Character Lines

Play. Larry Ketron. 1 man, 2 women. Interior.

Many years before the action of the play begins, Kit and Linda had shared, a life together as they struggled for recognition as writers. Now, seven years later, Linda, who has become a successful novelist, is on a book promotion tour, and visits Kit in the small Tennessee town to which he has retreated. Their meeting is awkward at first - she radiates the savvy and energy of success in a high-powered world; while he has adjusted to the unchallenging routine of small-town life. But, as they begin to confide in each other, it becomes apparent that Linda, for all her acclaim and financial success, has not found the fulfillment she seeks; while Kit, who is still writing and carrying on a satisfying affair with his landlady's daughter, has come to terms with his hopes and dreams. In the end the two part again, sobered by the memories their brief reunion has revived, but enriched by the deeper self-knowledge it has also brought them.
ISBN: 0-8222-0197-6