Composers and their stage works 



Play. Bertolt Brecht. Translated by Ralph Manheim
M 11 F3. Extras. Numerous settings on an open stage.

Brecht writes of his adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy, 'I don't believe the new approach to the problem would have prevented Shakespeare from writing a Coriolanus. I believe he would have taken the spirit of our time into account as much as we have done, with less conviction no doubt, but with more talent.' He follows the framework and shape of the play very closely, but adapts the general slant to his own purpose of commenting on the modern world.

The Corn Is Green.

Play. Emlyn Williams
M 10 (12-16, 40s) F5 (14, 30s-middle-age). Extras. A living-room.

Miss Moffat settles in a remote Welsh mining village and starts a school for the local boys, one of whom, Morgan Evans, shows great promise. Miss Moffat determines to do everything to help Morgan's application for a scholarship to Oxford. But Morgan rebels against help from a woman and falls prey to the flashy charms of Bessie Watty. His chances of success are almost destroyed but Miss Moffat's courageous wisdom and her affection for him win the day and Morgan wins the scholarship. Period late nineteenth century


Comedy thriller. Gerald Moon
M4 (middle-age) F1 (middle-age). A basement flat, an elegant flat.

Evelyn, an out-of-work actor, engages Powell, with a shady past, to do away with his suave, sophisticated, moneyed twin. As with most 'foolproof' plans things do not go as they should and people are not what they seem. Corpse! is not so much a whodunit as a whodunit to whom! 'If The Mousetrap is the thriller for the fifties; Sleuth for the sixties; Deathtrap for the seventies; Corpse! is surely the thriller for the eighties...' Los Angeles Times. Period 1936
ISBN 0 573 11014 X


Four one-act plays. Peter Barnes
M6 (20s-30s, elderly) F3 (20s-30s, elderly). Various simple settings.

This collection of plays-three duologues and one three-hander-on a strong theatrical theme, may be presented individually (see the separate listings in Section B) or in one programme as a complete evening's entertainment under the title Corpsing. Together they encapsulate Peter Barnes' consummate skill of contrasting opposites and simultaneously combining 'the absurdly tragic and the tragically absurd'.
ISBN 0 573 10006 3

Corpus Christi

Drama Terrence McNally 13 men. Unit Set

The most controversial and talked about play of the 1998 theatrical season begins: "We are going to tell you an old and familiar story." But from that point on, nothing feels quite familiar again. What follows is a story that parallels that of the New Testament, and its subject is nothing less than the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. But McNally's Christ figure is a character named Joshua, a young man born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the early 1950s. Different from the other boys because he is homosexual, Joshua grows up in isolation and torment, an object of scorn. He flees Corpus Christi in search of a more accepting environment, gathering along the way a group of disciples who are bound to him by his message of love and tolerance. Joshua delivers his Sermon on the Mount, and officiates at a gay marriage ceremony, but, inevitably, his radical teachings (like Jesus') will not deliver him from his fate. Returning to Corpus Christi, he is betrayed by his lover Judas and crucified in front of the jeering throngs who hated him as a boy, and still do. His plea, that we look upon all souls as equal in the sight of God, falls unattended.
ISBN: 0-8222-1696-5

The Couch

Play. Lynne Kaufman. 2 men, 3 women. Interior

The play takes place at Carl Jung's home on a lake in Switzerland. It is Sunday afternoon and Sigmund Freud, joining his protege for lunch, finds him in conflict with his long suffering wife, Emma, because of Jung's infatuation with a lovely young patient/pupil, Toni Laufer. Repressed in his own sexual feelings, Freud disapproves of Jung's dalliance, but their dispute only hints at the larger differences which will shortly divide them - as Jung has finally decided to split with his mentor and develop his own (and to Freud, radical) theories of the subconscious. Mingling lighthearted domestic scenes, with moments of chillenging intellectual exchange, the play eventually resolves the problems it has raised with novel inventiveness and good humor as Emma agrees to limit herself to running the household and tending the children (thereby gaining time to pursue her own career); Toni accepts a position as Jung's assistant (and mistress); and Freud departs, secure in the conviction that Jung's new direction of thought in no way diminishes the magnitude of his own accomplishments.
ISBN: 0-8222-0241-7

Count Dracula.

Play based on Brain Stoker's novel Dracula. Ted Tiller
M7 (young, 50) F2 (young, 40). Living quarters and crypt of an asylum for the insane.

This is a new witty version of the classic story of a suave vampire whose passion is sinking his teeth into the throats of beautiful young women. There are many surprising but uncomplicated stage effects (full details are given) including secret panels, howling wolves, bats that fly over the audience, and Dracula vanishing in full view of the audience.
ISBN 0 573 60729 X

The Country Girl

Drama. Clifford Odets. 6 men, 2 women. 5 Simple Interiors.

The Country Girl in this affectionate backstage story, is Georgie Elgin, a loveable, faithful, forgiving woman whose long years of devotion to her actor husband, Frank, have almost obliterated her own personality. Being an actor's wife is not the glamorous role so many imagine. Life is either feast or famine with months of the year spent in bolstering up the morale of a man out of work. Some actors make enough, save enough, to tide them over these enforced waits between plays, but not Frank, whose long periods of idleness are punctuated by despair and drink. Then came the event that all actors pray for - the really big part in an important new play. Georgie couldn't believe her ears when Broadway's youngest director, Bernie Dodd, picked Frank for the lead. Of course he should take it. And of course she'd help, but only Georgie knew the struggle it would be to pull Frank together, to reassure him at every turn, and above all, to keep him from slipping at those moments of discouragement that were sure to come. Georgie performed her self-effacing, morale-building job on Frank under the tense watchful eyes of a nervous director whose reputation depended on this, his first big play. During rehearsals he was suspicious, doubting her good influence, believing Frank's lies that she caused his downfall, even trying to get rid of her. Then on the evening of the Boston opening the strain proved too great. Frank cracked wide open, and in the dark light of Frank's relapse, Bernie saw the country girl for what she was - a magnificent person whose self-sacrificing goodness had never been truly appreciated.
ISBN: 0-8222-0243-3

The Country Wife

William Wycherley
6/7m, 6/7f. Classic Comedy. Multipurpose set.

By claiming impotence Horner, a London libertine, gains easy access to a whole succession of married ladies. Horner's sexual lie remains a secret to all but the women he seduces, even when succeeds in running off with Mrs Pinchwife. Wychereley's lively comedy of manners contains all the classic Restoration characters: wits, fops, lecherous older women and accessible younger women, but within a subversive plot that turns cuckolding into romance. First performed in 1675.
ISBN 1854594281

Court in the Act!

Farce. Maurice Hennequin and Pierre Veber, translated and adapted by Robert Cogo-Fawcett and Braham Murray
M7 F5, with doubling. Extras. A drawing-room, an office, an hotel foyer.

First performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, this brilliant, hilarious adaptation of the classic French farce went on to enjoy a successful run at London's Phoenix Theatre in 1987. No man can resist Mademoiselle Vobette, from a provincial Judge to the Minister of Justice himself and from her arrival in the backwoods town of Gray, Hennequin and Veber spin a series of seductions, cover-ups and mistaken identities which catch the characters well and truly in the act!


Play. Horton Foote. 3 men, 5 women. Divided set.

As gentle and warm as the spring night in which it takes place, the play is a mosaic of conversations and encounters which occur during a party at the home of a well-to-do family in Harrison, Texas in 1914. The Vaughns are substantial, God-fearing folk who expect their children to accept their standards, which sometimes seem unreasonable and oppressive to their lovely, romantically inclined daughter, Elizabeth. Secretly engaged to the rather rakish Horace Robedaux, Elizabeth announces her determination to break free, despite her parents' objections, and as she and her sister gossip about the others present it is soon apparent that their elders are not always their betters and that the previous generation is often guilty of the very sins against which they warn their offspring. But, as the play ends, Elizabeth, while still restless, is not yet quite bold enough really to defy her parents - and to challenge the powerful but reassuring restraints which the times and a way of life have bequeathed to her and her contemporaries.
ISBN. 0-8222-1430-X


Play Horton Foote. 8 men, 6 women. Unit Set

It is 1925. Horace and his wife, Elizabeth, have two sons. Horace is making a modest living as proprietor of his own clothing store. Called to Houston due to his mother's sudden illness and impending surgery, Horace and Elizabeth and other relatives, converge on the hospital waiting room. The action of the play then delves into developments in other branches of the clan. Horace's sister, Lily Dale, has married well and is now a mother, as well as mistress of a large house replete with a baby grand piano in the parlour and two Packards in the garage. Spoiled as ever, she also has ambitions for a musical career - success in which has been predicted by a fortune teller. Cousin Lola and her husband, Monty, relate how Horace turned down a chance at a fortune in an oil prospecting deal - an opportunity which has enabled them to plan a grand tour of Europe. After Corella, Horace's mother, pulls through her surgery successfully, they all disperse, only to meet again during a surprise visit to Horace's store in Harrison several months later. Lily Dale has been cheated out of $2000 by an unscrupulous music publisher, who promised her fame and fortune; and Lola and Monty, just returned from their trip, are all too glad to be home, having found Europe to be a place full of "four-flushers." The play ends on a poignant note, with Horace and Elizabeth sharing memories with a tipsy, ne'er-do-well cousin. And we become aware that Horace has found a stability within himself and his marriage which will hold him steady for the future, in contrast to the dissolute cousin - who is a reminder of earlier, and less happy, periods in Horace's own life.
ISBN: 0-8222-0244-1

Coyote Ugly

Play. Lynn Siefert. 2 men, 3 women. Interior.

The scene is a rundown shack in the Arizona desert, the home of Pewsey family. After an absence of a dozen years son Dowel Pewsey returns with his new wife, Penny, whom his family has never met. His arrival exacerbates the tensions and obsessions which beset the Pewsey clan: the mother, Andreas, is a slovenly slattern who has long harbored incestuous desires towards her son; the father, Red, is a foul-mouthed degenerate who has similar designs on their daughter, Scarlet, but quickly transfers these to his new daughter-in-law-, while the daughter, Scarlet, is a bizarre twelveyear-old who lusts after her brother and tries to get rid of her new rival, Penny, by stranding her in the desert. Heightened in style, the play swings from outrageous humor to chilling violence as it explores the twisted psyches of its unique characters and, in the end, exposes the shocking, gnawing secret which has brought them to their present state.
ISBN: 0-8222-0248-4

The Cracked Pot.

Play. Blake Morrison. Translated and adapted from Heinrich von Kleist's Der Zerbrochene Krug
M5 F4. A courtroom.

The Cracked Pot is more than a translation of Heinrich von Kleist's Der Zerbrochene Krug, as the action now takes place in Skipton, Yorkshire, in 1810, with Kleist's German verse transformed into tough Yorkshire dialect. Funny, earthy and satirical, the play concerns Judge Adam, Skipton's sole agent of justice, who is far from happy to be visited by the investigating magistrate Walter Clegg, seeking out signs of malpractice.
ISBN 0 573 01734 4


Play. Martin Sherman
M5 (20s-40s) F4 (17, late 20s, 42). Composite setting: a living-room, study and garden.

California, 1973. Rick, a musician and dancer, is shot dead. Was it Gideon, his drug-happy co-performer? Maggie, his older lover, an actress'? Roberta, Rick's transsexual bodyguard? Or one of the other oddball guests? As Rick's friends investigate one murder follows another ... no-one is safe! With a host of hilarious, way-out characters, outspoken dialogue and a mystery that keeps the audience guessing until the last minute, Cracks is a truly entertaining adult comedy.
ISBN 0 573 11089 1

The Creators of the World and Other Business

Comedy/Drama: Arthur Miller. 8 men, 1 woman. Unit Set.

Dividing his play into "three questions on the human dilemma," the author begins with a charming and gently humorous retelling of Adam and Eve (and God) in the Garden of Eden. After their expulsion from paradise, Eve gives birth to Cain, watched over by a scheming Lucifer - who seeks to share the power of a God now angered by the errant ways of his creations. In the concluding portion of the play, with mounting dramatic intensity, Cain kills his brother, Abel, and is sent out as a wanderer, as the final dilemma is explored: "When every man wants justice, why does he go on creating injustice?" Throughout the action, which alternates scenes of sprightly humour with absorbing confrontations between God and Lucifer and God and his fallible creations, the striking pertinence of the play becomes ever more clear. It is a parable for our time, and all time, rich with philosophic insights and alive with vivid theatricality.
ISBN: 0-8222-0249-2


Drama. August Strindberg, translated by Michael Meyer. 3 men, 3 women. Unit set

This psychological study of three people is allegedly based on Strindberg's own marriage. Adolf, an ailing artist, takes the credit for having made his wife Tekla into a successful writer. While she is away on a trip, Adolf falls under the influence of the hypnotic Gustav, a teacher and widower, who makes him reveal intimate details of his marriage. He convinces Adolf that Tekla is responsible for his ill health by draining away his talent and using it for herself, and also that she is unfaithful. To prove the point, he arranges an assignation with her when she returns. Adolf witnesses this meeting which reveals that Gustav is, in fact, her first husband about whom she has written a scandalous book. The shock causes Adolf to have a fatal fit and Tekla shows her true love of him and weeps for forgiveness.
ISBN: 0-413-64840-0

Crimes of the Heart

Comedy/Drama. Beth Henley : M2 (30) F4 (20s, 30). A kitchen.

The scene is Hazlehurst, Mississippi, where the three Magrath sisters have gathered to await news of the family patriarch, their grandfather, who is living out his last hours in the local hospital. Lenny, the oldest sister, is unmarried at thirty and facing diminishing marital prospects; Meg, the middle sister, who quickly outgrew Hazlehurst, is back after a failed singing career on the West Coast; while Babe, the youngest, is out on bail after having shot her husband in the stomach. Their troubles, which are grave and yet, somehow, hilarious, are highlighted by their priggish cousin, Chick, and by the awkward young lawyer who tries to keep Babe out of jail while helpless not to fall, in love with her. In the end the play is the story of how its young characters escape the past to seize the future-but the telling is so true and touching and consistently hilarious that it will linger in the mind long after the curtain has descended.
ISBN: 0-8222-0250-6

The Cripple of Inishmaan

Play. Martin McDonagh : M5 F4. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland in 1934, this is a strange comic tale in the great tradition of Irish storytelling. As word arrives on Inishmaan that the Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighbouring island of Inishmore to film 'Man of Aran', the one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy, if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life.
ISBN: 0-8222-1663-9

Critic's Choice

Comedy. Ira Levin. . 2 men, 4 women, 1 boy. Interior.

Howard Taubman's brief outline: "The hero is a drama critic... What is the most searching way to test this paragon's integrity? Have his wife write a play. A stinker, naturally... He heckles the little woman, tells her she won't finish the play, and, when it is completed, candidly informs her that it's awful. And what's worst of all, he insists that on opening night he will do his duty like a man; he'll review the play himself. There you have the beginnings of the problem. There are complications ...Our hero, Parker Ballantine, has a flock of them ... His first wife, Ivy, played Helen of Troy, and he panned and lost her. There is a son by this marriage, a saucy, precocious lad who evidently will come to no good - the poor shaver, heaven save the mark, is a critic in embryo ... But Parker Ballantine does not let his son - or his tremulous fellow-critics - down. He gets looped with the charm and wit possible only to a critic. He invites his first wife, the sexy Ivy, to rub his back while he goes through his searing crisis. And then, leaving the TV dinner of Boeuf Stroganoff to burn, he pulls himself together, dashes to the theatre and writes the review ..." Its effect is to send his wife into her understanding director's arms, at least until our hero redeems himself by admitting that he's been pretty nasty about the whole thing all along. But as for her play - well, it is a stinker, and he'll never yield his integrity on that.
ISBN: 0-8222-0252-2