Composers and their stage works 


The Charlatan

Play. William Norfolk
M4 (40, 50s) F4 (18, 50). Composite setting: a coffee house, a study, a parlour.

Maria-Theresa Paradies is sent to Doctor Mesmer to cure her blindness. Mesmer's treatment is based on what he terms 'animal-magnetism'. Maria is asked to stay in his house for the duration of the treatment. Inevitably gossip follows and the treatment ends in scandal. Maria returns to her parents' home and resumes her career as a blind pianist while most of Vienna is convinced that Mesmer is nothing more than a charlatan. Period 1777 Vienna
ISBN 0 573 01731 X

Charley's Aunt

Farce. Brandon Thomas
M6 (20s, 40s, 51) F4 (young, middle-age). Two interiors, one exterior.

This classic evergreen farce is set in Oxford during Commemoration Week in 1882. The imminent visit of Charles Wykeham's aunt from Brazil, Donna Lucia, provides an excuse for Charles and Jack to invite their young ladies to meet her. When a telegram arrives postponing Donna Lucia's visit, they persuade their amiable friend Babbs (since they must have a chaperone) to impersonate the aunt - and the fun begins.
ISBN 0 573 01067 6

The Chase

Drama. Horton Foote. 8 men, 3 women. Two Interiors.

Sheriff Hawes, honest and sincere peace officer, tired of his job and its usual run of irritating problems, such as runaway boys, small robberies and the like, is making plans for his retirement. A local boy, Bubber Reeves, escapes from the penitentiary where he is serving a life term. He heads for his hometown, obsessed with the idea of killing Hawes who has become for him the symbol of all he hates. The town is terrified of Bubber and wants him killed. Hawes is determined to take him alive and send him back to the penitentiary. Eventually Hawes traces Bubber to a cabin, but Bubber does not want to be captured and forces Hawes to kill him. Heartbroken over his failure, Hawes goes back to the jail to resign immediately, but his wife convinces him that he is needed in his job, and he decides to continue.
ISBN: 0-8222-0198-4

Chase Me Comrade

Farce. Ray Cooney. 7 men, 3 women. Interior

Holding a top secret post in the Ministry of Defence, Commander Rimmington, of Her Majesty's Navy, must watch appearances, and he is not always pleased by the carryings-on of his impulsive daughter Nancy. Her latest escapade begins when her friend, ballerina Alicia Courtney, arrives breathlessly to announce that the great Russian dancer, Petrovyan, has decided to defect to the West - and that she has smuggled him out of London in the boot of the Commander's car. The first question is how to distract the Commander while Petrovyan is sneaked into the house, but then, after the Commander goes off fishing, the problems really begin to mount. An official appears with a coded message for the Commander and, in an attempt to get rid of him quickly, the Commander is impersonated by Nancy's fiancé, Gerry Buss. As they try to hide Petrovyan, the trumped-up stories and assumed identities mushroom hilariously, while agents from the Russian embassy lurk outside in the bushes, the local constable blunders in at the wrong time, the government official gets pleasantly tipsy, and Gerry suddenly finds himself face to face with the man he is impersonating. Then, miraculously, a chance for Petrovyan's escape emerges out of the tumult. But after all the riotous confusion, including being stuck halfway out of the chimney, Petrovyan has had enough. Concluding that the English must be mad, he opts for the sanity of State control - so back to Moscow, leaving his would-be benefactors to straighten out the mayhem still churning in his wake.

Chase Me Up Farndale Avenue, S'Il Vous Plait!

Comedy. David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jnr
M 1 F4 (late 20s, 40s-50s). Two adjoining rooms.

Le farce Français est arrivé! Bubbling comme une glasse de champagne, ces femmes formidables and leur chef d'étage, Gordon, fizz leur way avec panache entre un plot unintelligible, un plethora de pontes, et un grand range de characteurs. Oo-la-la, le show-stopping moment de Thelma ... mais pour dire quelque chose else would spoilé le surprise - ah, quelle surprise! - Vive les dames de Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society!
ISBN 0 573 01732 8

Chasing the Moment.

Play. Jack Shepherd
M4 (young, 1 Black, middle-age, old) F2 (young, 1 Black). A basement club.

This could be the last gig for Les Padmore and his jazz band. Wes, the founder of the club, is on life-support and there are rifts between the players. Les looks back to a golden age of jazz and is suspicious of the younger, more progressive band members, who are all are seeking a balance to the chaos of their lives. This is a gritty play, full of wry philosophy.

Cheating Cheaters

Comedy. John Patrick. 2 men, 3 women. Interior.

Faced with the responsibility of looking after their orphaned niece, Theresa and Angelica, two middle-aged sisters, have settled on the idea of impersonating begging nuns in order to sent Tania to art school in Europe, but as the play begins they have run into double trouble: an agile young cat burglar is about to make off with their ill-gotten gains; and a suspicious policeman has followed Theresa (and her collection bucket) home. However all is not as desperate as it seems, as the personable young thief happens to be a medical student who steals to pay his tuition-(atkl is willing to consider alternate means of fund raising) while the cop, as it turns'our, is also not above taking what he can on the. side. So the four join fotces for some inspired larceny and things go swimmingly - or do until the supposedly saintly Tania turns up unannounced. Trying to hide the truth from their niece, Theresa and Angelica decide to "go straight," which also, unfortunately, means going broke, and results in a series of hilarious misunderstandings. In the end, however, it develops that Tania is not quite the paragon her aunts believed her to be - but the confession of her own misdeeds (she is an accomplished art forger) is steadily forgiven when she also reveals that the rather considerable earnings from her illegal activities are merrily piling up interest in a Swiss bank!
ISBN: 0-8222-0199-2


Play. Leslie Sands
M3 (40s, middle-age) F2 (20s, 40s). 1F voice only. 1 extra. A living-room.

Subtitled A Play on Murder, this is a witty and theatrical thriller. The career of famous TV actor Peter Conway is in the doldrums, his financial stale is parlous, he has a drink problem and his long suffering wife Stella has had enough. Secretly, he has been having an affair with Lori, an American actress, and Stella's death brings the police to his upmarket London home. It looks an open and shut case but is what we see real or unreal?
ISBN 0 573 69481 8

A Cheever Evening

Play A. R. Gurney, based on the stories of John Cheever. 3 men, 3 women. Unit set

John Cheever, master chronicler of Americas post-war angst and alienation, and how it affected a burgeoning suburban class, left a storehouse of dramatic possibilities in his fiction, largely unexplored purely by dint of his chosen artistic medium: prose. In A Cheever Evening, A. R. Gurney brings to light these possibilities through his mastery of stagecraft. Adapting no fewer than seventeen of Cheever's most funny and moving of stories, Gurney probes the affairs of that set of people (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) who once felt in the majority, but soon found themselves in the twilight of their power and at the mercy of a changing world. Seen through the lens of A.R. Gurney's dramatic sensibility, Cheever's separate stories of a fragmented and lonely universe combine into a whole and resonant portrait - that of a culture which, while teetering on the brink of extinction, combats loss with humour, wit and feeling.
ISBN: 0-8222-1458-X

The Cherry Orchard

Play. Anton Chekhov, translated by Michael Frayn
M9 (young, 20s, middle-age, 87) F5 (17, middle-age). A nursery, a drawing-room, open fields.

This translation of Chekhov's last and most elusive play was originally produced at the National Theatre in 1978, with Dorothy Tutin, Albert Finney, Robert Stephens and Ralph Richardson. Michael Frayn revised this edition for the 1989 production at the Aldwych Theatre, with Judi Dench, Ronald Pickup, Bernard Hill and Michael Gough. 'Frayn's translation, which strikes me as splendidly lucid and alive ... will be acted again and again.' New Statesman

The Cherry Orchard.

Play. Anton Chekhov, adapted by David Mamet
M9 F5. A nursery, a drawing-room, open fields.

The Cherry Orchard is the story of a mortgage, with the grounds and beautiful trees of the proud landowners going for sale at a public auction to pay off their debts to the boorish son of a peasant who has risen in the world. Mme Ranevskaya's family departs to take up their lives anew, leaving the old and forgotten Firs to die alone as the woodsmen's axes thud ironically against the cherished trees.

The Cherry Orchard

Anton Chekhov, Trans S. Mulrine
7m 5f extras. Comedy/drama. Multipurpose set.

Ranevskaya can no longer afford to keep her childhood home and estate with its beautiful but barren cherry orchard. Warm, generous and feckless, she is unable to face the reality of losing everything so rejects the compromise offered by Lopakhin, a local businessman, to cut down the orchard and sell the land for holiday homes. Eventually Ranevskaya and her family have to face financial ruin as they are forced to leave the whole estate, which Lopakhin has now bought This brand new translation is brilliantly faithful to Chekhov's painful comedy of human existence. Original first performed in 1904.
ISBN 1854594125

The Cherry Orchard

Play. Anton Chekhov, adapted by Jean-Claude van Itallie. 9 men, 5 women, extras. 2 Interiors, 1 Exterior.

The action takes place at the country estate of Madame Ranevskaya, an estate famed for its beautiful cherry orchard - and soon to be sold at auction unless the unpaid taxes are paid. As the play begins Madame Ranevskaya has returned from Paris where she has frittered away the last of her fortune on a cynical young lover. It is soon apparent that neither she, nor her family and friends, can come to grips with the crushing reality which they must face, or truly fathom the loss which threatens them. Instead they continue to go on as if nothing had changed, and only the rich merchant Lopakhin, the nouveau riche son of a peasant, seems to realise the gravity of the situation. Ironically it is he who bids successfully for the estate and who sets his men to felling the trees as, in the bittersweet finale, Madame Ranevskaya departs again for Paris and the fragile promise of a new and perhaps better life.
ISBN: 0-8222-1450-4

Chicken Soup With Barley

Play. Arnold Wesker
M6 (15, 19, 20s, middle-age) F4 (14, 30s). NB. Most of the characters age a total of about 19 years during the action. A basement room, an LCC flat.

The play is a family saga of East End people, outspoken and provocative, covering their gradual disillusionment as their ideals slip away before and during the Second World War. This is the first of a trilogy of which Roots and I'm Talking About Jerusalem are the sequels.
ISBN 0 573 11087 5