Composers and their stage works 


A Coat of Varnish.

Play of Murder. Ronald Millar, suggested by the novel by C. P Snow
M9 (29, middle-age, early 60s) F5 (23, 80s). A drawing-room.

The elderly Lady Ashbrook is brutally murdered in her London home. Chief Superintendent Briers discovers the murderer but has no proof and his ultimate dilemma is how to convict the man he knows to be guilty. This play was premiered at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, in 1982. 'A thriller with a conscience... ' Standard
ISBN 0 573 11100 6


Play. Lee Blessing. 4 men. Exterior.

The character of controversial baseball legend Ty Cobb is split into three differently aged versions of himself: The Peach, aged 19, at the beginning of his long career with the Detroit Tigers; TY, in his early 40s, at the end of his playing days; and Mr. Cobb, in his early 70s, at the point of death from cancer. The play floats freely in time, moving back and forth between the Cobbs as they contend with each other, and the audience, over whom Ty Cobb really was and what he represented. invading this self-imposed "argument in limbo" is Oscar Charleston, a black player of Cobbs time who, though relegated to the Negro Leagues, was dubbed the '"Black Cobb" by the white press. Ty tries to avoid Charleston just as he always avoided playing exhibition games against him or any other black players. As Cobb fights both popular opinion, and himself, to justify his life, Charleston provides a deeper challenge to his self-esteem. Ultimately we come to know Cobb in his full complexity - as a sports hero of the highest order, fulfilling one of America's most cherished dreams, and as an example of some of its greatest failures.
ISBN: 0-8222-0224-7

Cockeyed Kite

Play. Joseph Caldwell. 8 men, 5 women. Unit Set

Learning that he has not long to live, the teenage Jeff quickly resolves to establish who and what he is, and perform some purposeful deed in the fleeting time allotted to him. His major quest is to find out his father's identity and, in the resulting kaleidoscope of brief, affecting, and often funny scenes, he comes to terms with his family, his friends, and even the first, eager rush of sexual longing. In the end his spirit is set free, to soar into space like a kite - seeing and knowing all, but released, at last, from its restless search.

The Cocktail Hour.

Comedy. A. R. Gurney
M2 (40s, 70s) F2 (40s, 60x). A living-room.

The time is the mid 70s, the place a city in upstate New York. John, a playwright, returns to his family's house, bringing with him a new play which he has written about them. His purpose is to obtain their permission to proceed with production, but his wealthy, very proper parents are cautious from the outset. For them the theatre is personified by the gracious, comforting era of the Lunts and Ina Claire, and they are disturbed by the bluntness of modern plays. And there is also John's sister, Nina, to contend with, although her reservations have to do with the fact that John has given her character such a minor role. Their confrontation takes place during the ritual of the cocktail hour, and as the martinis flow so do the recriminations and revelations, both funny and poignant. In the end it is evident that what John has written is closer to the truth than his family has heretofore been willing to admit, and that beneath their WASP reserve his parents and siblings are as beset with uncertainties and frustrations as their presumed "inferiors." But while they seem shackled by the past, and tantalized by an alien future, the ties which bind them do prevail - surmounting disputes and disappointments and, with unfailing warmth and humor, converting pained resignation into cautious but hopeful anticipation.
ISBN 0 573 01736 0
ISBN: 0-8222-0225-5

Cocktails With Mimi

Comedy. Mary Chase. 6 men, 6 women. Interior

Mimi Ralston, a wealthy and much-married divorcée, is giving a party in honour of the reputedly formidable parents of her daughter's fiancé. Typically she engages a stunt "waiter" to insult her guests and, specifically, to spill soup on the stuffed-shirt Calthorpes. But her daughter, Edie, fearing that her mother would never be able to stomach her future in-laws, has hired two actors to impersonate them - which works fine until the real Calthorpes arrive on the scene with their son. Thereafter the mistaken identities (and the fun) proliferate, until all is in a state of hilarious confusion. Fortunately things are eventually set straight, as is Edie - who learns some lessons in love and life which spare her from, what could have been, a most unhappy fate.
ISBN: 0-8222-0226-3

Cold Comfort Farm.

Play. Paul Doust, adapted from the novel by Stella Gibbons
M9 (20x, middle-age) F6 (20x, middle-age, 60), doubling possible. Extras. A kitchen, an attic room, a garden.

Orphan Flora Poste, heroine of Gibbons's tongue-in-cheek classic novel, likes everything to be tidy and comfortable so when she goes to live with her eccentric relatives at Cold Comfort Farm she tries to alter her surroundings and encourage others to greater things. But this proves difficult ... Period 1930s. 'Paul Doust's new adaptation embraces the book with a stylistic exuberance.' Financial Times
ISBN 0 573 01737 9

Cold Sweat

Play. Neal Bell. 6 men, 4 women. Unit Set

Frustrated in her attempts to deal honestly with terminal patients, Dr. Alice Franklin is dismissed from one hospital and moves on to another, only to find herself faced once again with the same dilemma - a cancer patient who is held hostage to the fervent beliefs of her husband, a faith healer who is convinced that there is really no such thing as death. All those close to Alice also seem to draw her further into a confrontation with mortality: her father is dying; her relationship with her mother grows more strained as a result; and she begins an affair with another doctor just as he learns that he too has cancer. Alice writes a successful book about her work with the terminally ill and, in a series of spare, sharply drawn scenes, she is brought face-to-face with such complex issues as life after death, New Age medicine, and euthanasia, as well as the realisation that her increasingly radical approach to these subjects could have a harmful effect on her life and career. She remains throughout, however, a consistently courageous and witty heroine, whose search addresses, with compassion and insight, questions of such universality that they will linger in the mind long after the play has ended.
ISBN: 0-8222-0227-1


Play. John Mortimer
M2 (30x, age uncertain) F2 (young, 30s). A living-room.

Henry is a struggling lawyer who makes a little money now and again writing for the radio. When he meets up with Sam Brown, who wants him to write a script about marriage - 'something truthful' - Katherine, Henry's wife, is not at all enthusiastic, foreseeing sinister and intrusive complications. The complications-and collaborations-that do in fact develop from Mr Brown's arrival for dinner and the subsequent conversation out-distance her expectations. Period 1950s
ISBN 0 573 01558 9

Collected Stories

Donald Margulies : Light Drama 2F Interior set

The conflict between the established artist and the adulatory fan who becomes a protégé, disciple, colleague and friend - and finally a threatening rival - is the subject of Margulies' provocative play about the prominent short story writer Ruth Sterner and her student turned confidante turned competitor Lisa Morrison. In a unique twist, the women are teacher and student, both in academic and real life, that they come from vastlv different backgrounds, and that for her first novel Lisa has also cannibalised Ruth's life expen'ences, including her youthful, shattering affair with the poet Delmore Schwartz, Probing the development and ultimate disintegration of their relationship through six scenes covering six years, Collected Stories is an engaging, witty and occasionally painful gem of a play.
ISBN: 0 8222 1640 X