Composers and their stage works 


The Choice

Play. Claire Luckham
M2 (30, 50s) F3 (30s, late 40s). A space.

The choice is whether or not to abort a foetus after an amniocentesis test reveals that the unborn child has a chromosome deficiency. Sal, a journalist in her thirties, is the mother, and she must make the most difficult decision of her life in the midst of the conflicting opinions of those around her. Sally's story is framed within Claire Luckham's own personal tale - she grew up with a handicapped brother.

Chopin in Space

Comedy. Phil Bosakowski. 7 men, 3 women. Unit Set

Ranging across two centuries and jumping from Paris to Warsaw to Washington, D.C., and back to Paris, the action of the play is a tumbling procession of heightened short scenes, mostly very funny and all strikingly inventive, which dramatise the plight of the artist (Chopin) who seeks to use his fame and talent to serve his beleaguered homeland (Poland) in its fight for freedom and national identity. Both a Polish hero and an international celebrity, Chopin is sometimes changed into Lech Walesa, while others in the play move from being famous personages of Chopin's time to such diverse, and modern, figures as Hitler, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II - plus a friendly, yet clearly menacing Russian bear. In the end the forces of destiny overwhelm the opposition - but not the spirit - of the frail artist who, in describing his own death and burial, makes it clear that his heart still beats for Poland - and for freedom from oppression wherever and whenever it may occur.
ISBN: 0-8222-0209-3

The Chopin Playoffs

Play. Israel Horovitz. Based on stories by Morley Torgov. 5 men, 3 women. Unit Set

The time is 1947, and Stanley Rosen and Irving Yanover, lifelong friends now approaching young manhood, find themselves pitted against each other on two fronts. Both are piano prodigies, and will. be rivals in a forthcoming, and prestigious, competition. And both, unfortunately, are smitten by the same girl, the lovely Fern Phipps, who (to the dismay of both the Rosen and Yanover families) is not even Jewish. But friendship wins out over ambition when both boys contrive to play poorly in the competition - so that neither will win. Also, as Fern has decided to award her favour to the winner of the piano contest, that problem is dealt with as well. And, again, all is put forth with such good humour and warmth that the play, like the others in the trilogy, becomes a lesson in the value of simple, family virtues and the essential brotherhood of man.
ISBN: 0-8222-0210-7

A Chorus of Disapproval.

Play. Alan Ayckbourn
M7 (young, 30s-late 50s) F6 (young, 30s-50s). Extras. Various simple settings.

Alan Ayckbourn skilfully draws parallels between John Gay's The Beggar's Opera and the day-to-day activities of the amateur dramatic society who are performing it, showing how painfully embarrassed are the British in the face of emotion and keeping us laughing in happy recognition. A Chorus of Disapproval played very successfully at the National Theatre in 1985. '... symmetrically shaped, psychologically acute and painfully, heartbreakingly funny ...' Guardian
ISBN 0 573 01620 8

A Christmas Carol.

Play. Adapted by John Mortimer from the story by Charles Dickens
Large mixed cast, doubling possible. Various simple settings.

Charles Dickens' famous tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's transformation from embittered skinflint to generous benefactor has been dramatised by John Mortimer with typical flair and wit in this definitive adaptation, first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Retaining Dickens' own ironic point of view through the use of a Chorus, Mortimer has created a panoramic view of Victorian London with all the much-loved characters in place. There is plenty of scope for imaginative doubling, and the staging requirements are flexible.
ISBN 0 573 01733 6

A Christmas Carol

Play with Music. 5-8 men, 3-6 women, 1 boy. Pop-Up Sets, Minimal.

A highly inventive adaptation of the classic Dickens story, paired down to its essential elements. In this version, we encounter a company of traveling players about to enact the Dickens story. As the on-stage trunk of supplies opens, actors and downs spill out and roll on. The gruff stage manages and prop boy check the show's props, which are shabby and third rate. but the troupe improvises by creating a magical world of makebelieve. The acting troupe soon discovers that the actors playing Scrooge and Tiny Tim have abandoned the tour; but the show must go on, and the prop boy eagerly volunteers for the part of Tim while the cynical stage manager must be forcibly drafted to play the old miser. The troupe proceeds to make their way through the tale, creating fog, snow, fire and ghosts through mime, imagination and wonderful visual effects. The rag tag players (including the stage manager and prop boy) quickly become the characters of the story, and we are pulled into the life of Ebenezer Scrooge. The Christmas Spirits work their magic and warm the heart of Scrooge, as well as the old stage manager.
ISBN: 0-8222-0208-5

A Christmas Carol

Drama. Christopher Schario, adapted from the book by Charles Dickens. 4 men, 2 women and 1 other, either a man or a woman. Unit set

Focusing on Dickens' powerful language, humor and warmth, this charming version of A Christmas Carol simply and directly tells the story of the redemption of a human soul. The play follows the ever powerful story of Scrooge, a lonely miser, who, through the help of spirits and visions from his past, present and future, finds a second chance to become a loving, generous human being. Adapted for a company of six actors, accompanied by a fiddler, the play requires a minimum of sets, costumes and props. It begins with a child reading the story for the first time. As the scenes are played out behind him, the child becomes totally caught up in the story, and is finally invited by the other characters to enter the play as one of them. With traditional carols and English folk tunes creating the proper atmosphere, the world of Scrooge, Fezziwig and Tiny Tim comes alive, igniting the holiday spirit for young and old.
ISBN: 0-8222-1520-9

A Christmas Carol.

Christmas Play. Adapted by Shaun Sutton from the story by Charles Dickens.
M24 F 15. Three interiors, one exterior.

This adaptation follows its well-loved original in tracing Scrooge's conversion from miserliness to benevolence. We first see him in the counting house berating his unfortunate clerk Bob Cratchit and then receiving the visitations of the Spirits of Past, Present and Future. He learns to feel compassion for Tiny Tim and remorse for his avarice. Some scenes are introduced that elaborate a Christmas play into a simple form of pantomime. Period early Victorian
ISBN 0 573 01070 6

Christmas on Mars

Play. Harry Kondoleon. 2 men, 2 women. Interior.

Set in a bright, starkly bare apartment, the action centers on a young couple, Bruno and Audrey, who are planning to marry now that Audrey is pregnant. In order to pay the rent Bruno has invited Audrey's mother, Ingrid (whom Audrey detests), to move in with them, but he is not prepared for the unexpected arrival of his lifelong friend Nissim who, upon learning of the expected birth, announces that he will also stay on. He, like the others, looks to the baby for redemption from the disappointments and emptiness of his own life - and the hope, at last, of pure and ennobling love. It is in the barbed and very funny exchanges of these four unlikely roommates that the more serious concerns of the play are shadowed, culminating, after Audrey has departed for the hospital, in a bizarre but genuinely moving scene in which the wonder and promise of the Nativity are strikingly invoked.
ISBN: 0-8222-0212-3

A Christmas Truce.

Play. William Douglas Home
M 15. No Man's Land on the Western Front.

The first Christmas of World War I was marked by an unofficial 24-hour truce on the Western Front with British and German troops calling spontaneously to each other. Tentatively they emerge from their trenches and meet in No Man's Land to exchange names, cigarettes and information. William Douglas Home's intensely moving dramatisation of this remarkable event was premiered in 1989. ' ... this well-made play with its built-in humanitarian message is a worthy piece of theatre.' Daily Telegraph
ISBN 0 573 04020 6

Christopher Blake

Play. Moss Hart. 12 men, 2 women. Interior/Exterior

The story shows, in between realistic scenes just before and during the judge's decision on the divorce of Mr. and Mrs. Blake, how their son Christopher reacts to the situation. In his dream scenes, he imagines himself an international hero, a great actor, etc. In the end Christopher, facing the realities of a hard situation, makes his decision, realising that this is something no one else can do for him.