Composers and their stage works 



Play. Hugh Leonard
M5 F3. A kitchen, hall and neutral areas.

Charlie returns to his Dublin home to attend his father's funeral. As he is sorting out papers after the ceremony he is suddenly confronted by Da's very solid ghost. Thenceforward the play moves between past and present, between reality and imagination as passages in Charlie's life are enacted. Finally Charlie's very real warmth and regard for the old man shine through the dramas, confrontations and badinage, as the play leaves the two of them - the living and 'dead' - together.
ISBN 0 573 11065 4


Play: Douglas Gower. 2 men. Interior.

The entire action of the play takes place in a modest living room on Christmas Eve. George, who has served as husband and father to a woman and her two small children for the past year, awaits the arrival of Carl. Carl is the real husband and father. He is also a member of a religious sect called The World Family Church. When Carl arrives, George is torn between ridiculing him as a harmless crackpot, and fearing him as a very real threat to his role as father. Carl, on the other hand, is concerned with the spiritual welfare of his children. The resulting confrontation is at times funny, at times heartbreaking; and ultimately, the plight of George, a man desperate for love and normality in a broken world, is deeply affecting. A play that addresses the changing nature of the family in our society.
ISBN: 0-8222-0264-6

Daisy Pulls It Off.

Comedy. Denise Deegan
M2 F14, may be played by M2 F11. Extras. A school.

Daisy Pulls it Off is about the attempts of Daisy Meredith to find acceptance in the snobby confines of Grangewood School for Young Ladies. After undergoing a number of tribulations all comes right in the end with Daisy saving the lives of her arch-enemies, discovering the treasure of Grangewood, scoring the winning goal at hockey and finding her long-lost father! This witty comedy enjoyed a long and very successful run in the West End at the Globe Theatre. Period 1927
ISBN 0 573 11117 0

Dalton's Back

Play Keith Curran. 3 men, 2 women. Unit set

Growing up with a hard-drinking, absentee father and an emotionally volatile mother who alternated between abuse and affection, Dalton Possett, now a young school teacher, is still affected by nightmares and self-doubt - and finds it difficult to establish a stable relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Teresa. Also, when he is deeply disturbed, the only remedy - as it was in his boyhood - is a gentle back massage, a skill which first his mother and then Teresa have mastered. In fact, Dalton's present is continually haunted by his past, a factor which is vividly projected through the use of parallel scenes, with Daltie the boy and Dalton the man often on stage simultaneously, and with deftly dovetailed dialogue to enhance the effect. Happy and compatible at first, Dalton and Teresa find their relationship growing progressively more troubled as he presses for marriage, so they can have children, and she tries to hold on to their easy-going, informal arrangement and her own career plans. But, as Dalton becomes more distressed, and even violent, he also finds himself coming to terms, at last, with the doubts and confusion which have plagued him since childhood and, in an emotionally (and theatrically) searing scene the boy, Daltie, and the man, Dalton, finally confront each other directly - with an embrace which holds promise of a future no longer held hostage to the anguish and bitter memories of those early, troubled years.
ISBN: 0-8222-0266-2

The Dame of Sark

Play. William Douglas Home
M7 (young, middle-age, 50) F2 (50, middle-age). A drawing-room.

Based on Sibyl, the Dame of Sark's autobiography, the play follows the course of events on the island during the German occupation. Determined though she is in her patriotism, she yet finds a mutual understanding growing between herself and the German Colonel von Schmettau. At the close of the play, a tragic occurrence involving a young German soldier drives home the realisation that war is an evil that falls hard in friend and enemy alike. Period Second World War.
ISBN 0 573 11093 X

The Dance and the Railroad

David Henry Hwang : 2 Male, Exterior

The Play tells the story of two Chinese labourers working on the Transcontinental Railroad and marks a historical episode in American history.

For several years, thousands of Chinese and Irish immigrants laboured through mountain snow and desert sand to complete the Transcontinental Railroad. The building of this huge stretch of track would span the North American continent. Congress provided for two companies to execute the job. The Union Pacific would build westwards from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific, eastwards from Sacramento, California. The two lines would meet each other above the Great Salt Lake.

The majority of the workers on the Union Pacific were Irish, whereas most of the workers on the Central Pacific were Chinese. In the middle of the nineteenth century, economic and social conditions compelled many Chinese to emigrate, in order to earn overseas the means of supporting their family. The first wave of Chinese immigrants to America came in the 1850's, attracted by the promise of wealth in the gold mines of California. Work began on the Central Pacific in 1863.

Administering the project was Charles Crocker. His work crews were at first young Irish immigrants, but as the nature of the project became more arduous, it became difficult to find Irish immigrants, who preferred mining or farming to working on the railroad. It was this desperation over lack of manpower which drove Crocker and his construction boss J. H. Strobridge to seek to employ Chinese labour, already present in California. The Chinese proved to be an invaluable workforce. They performed every task with ease and skill and there was nothing that they would not turn their hands to. It was soon realised that to complete the railroad in the scheduled timescale, Chinese labour was essential. Thus Crocker began recruiting in China itself.

Soon ten out of twelve men working on the Central Pacific were Chinese. They worked in gangs of twelve to twenty men. Working hours were from sunrise to sunset, a day of 12 or more hours. In the beginning the Chinese were paid less than the white employees, but after strikes and negotiations they achieved the same rate. However, unlike the white employees, who were given food and housing in addition to their pay, the Chinese had to feed and house themselves. This saved the Central Pacific enough money to make the cost of hiring Chinese labour about two-thirds the price of white labour.

The task of building from the West Coast through dense canyons and planes was formidable. Handcarts, mule carts, picks, shovels and gunpowder for blasting were the tools of the trade. They chopped and shovelled their way around the face of the massive granite wall. When there was no longer any surface for them to stand on, they were swung out into empty spaces by ropes suspended from the high cliffs.

The winters were often brutal, with temperatures sometimes dropping to 50 degrees below zero. The Chinese would still carry on working using gunpowder to blast the ice. They worked in snow up to their knees, or even their waists. One historian on the Pacific railroad commented: "No white man would ever have endured the conditions that the Chinese laboured under."

On May 10 1869 at Promontory Point in Utah, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific met, as the last tie was laid to complete the first transcontinental railroad in North America. The photograph of the meeting of these two railroads is one of the most famous pictures in American history books. However, nowhere can you see a Chinese person. Yet no group of workers did more to build that railroad.

One hundred years later, in 1969, America celebrated the anniversary of the completion of the railroad. The US Secretary of Transportation, speaking for himself and the President, gave a speech in honour of the magnificent achievement. But he never once mentioned the Chinese-American workers!

The Dance of Death (Parts 1 & 2)

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

Part I - Tragedy 2 Acts

On an island outpost off the coast of Sweden, Edgar, a captain in the Coastal Artillery and Alice his wife of twenty-five years, languish in an appalling marriage. Edgar, gripped by a persecution mania, has so distorted his scheming irascible past that he paints himself as the innocent victim of his wife's non-existent machinations. They are joined by Kurt, Alice's cousin, who has been sent to run the outpost quarantine station. In desperation at her husband's distorted view of their past, Alice turns to Kurt for comfort, and they rekindle a past and secret attraction. At the same time Edgar begins to suffer a series of minor strokes and apparently in repentance, reveals that he has brought about Kurt's divorce. They are reconciled until Edgar announces that he has arranged for Kurt's estranged son to be seconded to the post. It is his purpose to win the boy's affection and turn him against his father. In a fit of revulsion Alice sets out to expose Edgar to his superiors as an embezzler. Kurt, meanwhile, unable to tolerate either of them any longer, leaves. With characteristic cunning Edgar has anticipated Alice's ploy and avoided exposure. They are left alone to contemplate the celebration of their approaching anniversary.

Part II - Tragedy 2 Acts

The second part of this piece finds Edgar recovered from ill health and involved in a plot to ruin Kurt. Kurt's son, Allan, has come to the island and fallen in love with Edgar's daughter, Judith. At the same time the young man and his father are just becoming reconciled after years of estrangement. Assiduous toadying to the Colonel who runs the island, which goes as far as offering the old soldier his daughter's hand in marriage, has given Edgar near total command of the isolated community. He sets out to ruin Kurt by firstly virtually forcing him into suicidal investments and later taking the credit for advances in quarantine methods which Kurt has pioneered. Edgar's plans come unstuck when Judith, in love with Allan, insults the Colonel, who breaks off their engagement. Edgar dies of a stroke. Allan, due to Edgar's earlier plotting, is posted to the mainland and has to leave behind a heartbroken Judith, who with her mother and Kurt contemplate the terrible effect Edgar has had on their lives.
ISBN: 0-413-49750-X

Dancing at Lughnasa

Play. Brian Friel
M3 (30s, 53) F5 (26, 30s). Composite set: a kitchen and garden.

Premiered at Dublin's Abbey Theatre, this multi-award-winning play is about five impoverished spinster sisters in a remote part of County Donegal in 1936. With them lives Michael, seven-year old son of the youngest sister, and Jack, the sisters' elder brother, a missionary priest newly returned from Africa. The events of that summer are narrated in recall by the adult Michael, unfolding a tender study of these women's lives.
ISBN 0 573 01742 5

The action of the play is told through the memory of the illegitimate son as he remembers the five women who raised him, his mother and four maiden aunts. He was only seven in 1936, the year his elderly uncle, a priest, returns after serving for 25 years as a missionary in a Ugandan leper colony. For the young boy, two other disturbances occur that summer: the sisters acquire their first radio, whose music transforms them from correct Catholic women to shrieking, stomping banshees in their own kitchen; and he meets his father for the first time, a charming Welsh drifter who strolls up the lane and sweeps his mother away in an elegant dance across the fields. From these small events spring the cracks that destroy the foundation of the family forever. But this haunting play is Friel's tribute to the spirit and valour of the past and its people.
ISBN: 0-8222-1302-8 (US)

Dancing Attendance

Lucy Gannon : Light Drama 2M IF Interior set

After a series of strokes, Jack Slaney has been forced into early retirement. Slaney, a successful Midlands-based printer, nonetheless remains the cantankerous self- made man he's always been even when confined to his wheelchair. Now living with his daughter Zita, Slaney quickly grows tired of the procession of well- meaning but uninspiring attendants brought in to help care for him. He takes it upon himself to hire Reg, a male attendant with a bit of "character" to liven things up while Zita is away at work. Reg has had a chequered past which has taught him how to survive at any price, and after his arrival, the fine balance of their lives is turned upside down in a most unusual manner.
ISBN: 0 85676 151 6

The Dancing Mice

Play John Patrick. 7 men, 5 women. Interior

The setting is a laundromat in a poorer section of a large city, a gathering place for the diverse characters who live in the neighbourhood. As these very different people come in contact, a wide range of human experience is revealed, as are the fears and tensions which so often drive us apart even when compassion and understanding are so sorely needed. In the course of the action there are poignant "memory sequences" which probe into the secret thoughts of the individual characters and which are contrasted against the moments of violence, intrigue, romance, comedy and pathos which are the stuff of their real lives. In the end there is also death, but, with this, an awareness of the resilient humanity and sense of hope which reside in all men and which, ultimately, must provide the ways to redemption and a better life.
ISBN: 0-8222-0267-0

Dancing on Moonlight

Drama. Keith Glover. 6 men, 2 women. Unit Set.

1934. Harlem, backstage at the Apollo theatre, in the midst of the Saturday night crap game. Music fills every corner as it combines with the heat of the hustle. Dady Jerry and Eclipse, best friends and fellow gamblers, are playing for money and props. Dady Jerry is having the night of his life. Every throw is a winner. Upstairs, watching the show is his pregnant wife who suddenly goes into labour. She finds Dady down in the bowels of the stage surrounded by other players of the underworld, still playing. He ignores her and the pleas of the gangsters to tend to her. Dady continues to play until he is accused of cheating by Eclipse. When the dice are inspected and found to be loaded, Dady slashes Eclipse across the chest with a razor and escapes, leaving his woman behind. Neptune, Eclipse's girlfriend, finds Dady's wife, who has given birth under the steps, and slays her. Neptune brings the child to Eclipse who decides to keep the child as ransom and raise it as his own. 1959. Apollotis, the son of Dady is now a grown man and devoted to Eclipse, his foster father. Apollotis is treated as a prince of the Harlem Numbers rackets. Though now an accomplished player, Apollotis is feeling the pangs of restlessness and the need to change his life, especially with the decision by Eclipse to change the focus of the business from gambling to the selling of narcotics. A chance run-in with the Black Muslims and their charismatic leader only intensifies his dilemma to turn away from all he has known and take a new path. Further complicating his decision is the return of Dady Jerry, setting up a showdown on the "main drag of many tears."
ISBN: 0-8222-1489-X