Composers and their stage works 


Epsom Downs. Play. Howard Brenton
M31 F11 or M6 F2. The Downs.

Commissioned and first performed by the Joint Stock Theatre Company in August 1977, this play takes place on Derby Day in Silver Jubilee Year. In the words of The Times critic, Irving Wardle, it explores 'a great public festival, held on common land and pulling in punters of every degree from the Aga Khan to the homeless family who are camping out in a Dormobile'. All in all Epsom Downs is a 'a marvel of expressive economy'.

Equus. Play. Peter Shaffer
M5 (17, middle-age) F4 (20s, middle-age). Extras M. An open stage.

Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist, is confronted with Alan Strang, a boy who has blinded six horses, although his parents insist he has always adored horses. Dysart finds the psychological puzzle turns into something far more complex and disturbing - a confrontation with himself as well as with Alan, in which he comes to an inescapable view of man's need to worship and the distortions forced on that need by so-called civilised society.
ISBN 0 573 01566 X

Erogenous Zones. Play. Frank Vickery
M3 (20s, 30s). F2 (30s). Composite set: a kitchen, a bedroom-sitting room, a sitting-room.

This ingeniously constructed play is set in three separate flats over a bank holiday weekend. Shifting backwards and forwards in time it depicts a triangle of relationships: Michael, a homosexual, who is in love with his flatmate Andrew, who in turn is having an affair with Lesley, whose husband Tom seeks respite from their disintegrating marriage in the arms of Alison.
ISBN 0 573 01759 X

Nicky Silver

The Eros Trilogy is comprised of three short pieces thematically connected. It presents four characters, each struggling to figure out which offers them greater refuge in the world: emotional intimacy or the pure physical escape of sexual contact. "All three pieces quiver with emotional electricity and deep

CLAIRE, (1F) the first piece, finds a beautiful matron who might have walked out of a Noel Coward play. Claire is trying to recover from an incident thatoccurred in the morning, an incident which brought home, all too painfully, the reality that the beautiful world which she called home is gone forever. Shaken and frightened, she finds peace only while making love with a much younger man, a man who allows her to forget herself and retreat into a world where "we were children and easily pleased.

PHILIP, (1M) Claire's son, addresses the audience next. Stylistically he is her polar opposite, a mass of anxiety and tension, who lives a life without intimacy or human contact. Fearful and full of self loathing, Philip becomes fixated on a young man, whose name he doesn't know. Terrified of rejection, he lives his life for furtive glances. Finally conquering his fear, he attempts to make contact an act of bravery that leads to a terrifying and violent result.

ROGER & MIRIAM (IM, 1W) follows the lives of a suburban mother and her awkward son for more than twenty years. From summer camp, to finding new love after AIDS has robbed us of our innocence. Roger and Miriam confide in each other through a series of letters, often funny, sometimes tragic. While their paths are very different Miriam experimenting with extra- arital affairs, Roger holding on to a childhood ideal of love they both, ultimately come to a similar conclusion. "We were two people, touching," that's what mattered.

ISBN: 0-8222-1710-4

The Erpingham Camp. Play. Joe Orton
M6 (middle-age) F3 (young, middle-age). A camp office and bare stage.

This is a camp for grown-ups, not for children, and certainly not for fun. In the midst of the activities there is a fight, or rather a free-for-all, during which the headmaster falls through the floor on to the heads of the dancers below, killing several of them. The action concludes with an elegy.

Roger MacDougall : Comedy 7M 3F 2 Interior sets

This comedy deals with a passionate campaigner for peace who has to reconsider his motives when his schoolboy sons decide to save the human race from nuclear disaster and plan an escapade that captures the imagination of the world. The schoolboys themselves never appear on stage, but their progress is reflected throughout the play by its effect on all those around them. Tongue-in-check humour shows the pitfalls and the advantages of their father's opinionated and belligerent fight for peace which has always been his first priority in life.

Drama. Owen Davis and Donald Davis. Dramatisation of the novel by Edith Wharton. 7 men; 4 women, extras. Interiors/Exteriors.

The story is of the farmer Ethan Frome, his complaining wife Zenobia, and her young kinswoman and house-drudge Mattie Silver. And of Ethan's and Mattie's awkward, hide-bound passion in the face of Zenobia's dreary orders, and of how desperately the two of them, entwined in a first and last rapture, ride down the hill on a crazy snow sled to meet death against a tree. But they didn't in the book, neither do they here. Here's the same awful and ironic epilogue, the same ogre's thumb of actuality brought crushing down on the two runaways and reducing them instead to maimed resentful invalids under the wife's care for twenty shabby years to come. A devastating end to the play.
ISBN: 0-8222-0363-4

Play. Eudora Welty. Adapted for the stage by Larry Ketron. 6 men, 2 women. Unit Set .

The story concerns a personable young travelling salesman, Tom, who picks up two drifters and drives them to Dulcie, Mississippi. While he is calling on a customer the men fight, resulting in a serious injury which causes an arrest and the need for Tom to stay in town until the authorities dispose of the case. As it happens, Sobby, the tramp who struck his companion, was trying to prevent his theft of Tom's car, but no one believes him, and he is chained to a bed in the local hotel, facing a murder charge if the other man dies. In counterpoint to Sobby's story, the action then focuses on Tom's activities; his toughing concern for the ailing old man who runs the hotel; his reacquaintance with a former flame, Ruth, who invites him to a party; and his encounter with Carol, a young carhop who surprises Tom by telling him that she has loved him from afar for years. These relationships seem delicate and tenuous at first but, as the fate of Sobby's victim is awaited, they begin to interact and strengthen. In the end, as typified in the best of Miss Welty's writing, all these seemingly insignificant strands come together, forming a subtle yet eloquent whole which illuminates the way in which separate lives, while ostensibly independent, are really connected in ways not readily apparent even to those involved.

Play. Milcha Sanchez-Scott. 3 men, 4 women. Exterior.

Working on a project for his high school science class, Junior Rodrigues scans the night sky with his telescope, searching for comets and shooting stars, while his shy teenage neighbour, Olivia Pena, stands dutifully by, hoping that he will take notice of her. Meanwhile Junior's sister, Lilly, Olivia's classmate, wrestling with the sudden, sobering realisation that she is pregnant, wonders how she will tell their harassed, overworked mother. Shielded from the harsh reality of the streets by her overprotective, old world grandparents, Olivia is as hopeful and naïve as Lilly is brassy and disenchanted, but when Lilly goes into premature labour it is to Olivia she turns for help and forebearance. And, as the action of the play moves toward its affecting conclusion, it is punctuated and commented on by the street vendor, a seller of magic potions and charms who acts as a link between the old ways and the new, and whose presence edges the play towards a mystical level as those involved seek his help in finding a higher meaning in the stark, earthly events which confront them.
ISBN: 0-8222-0365-0

Arthur Smith and Chris England : Comedy 3M 2F Interior set

July 4th, 1990. In Italy, England are playing Germany in the Semi-final of the World Cup. In Majorca, Bill and Monica are on holiday trying to rekindle a failing marriage. Monica dreams of an affair with Gary Lineker, the 'Queen Mother of Football', though in fact she's been seeing Dan, a friend of Bill's and a travel writer whose books are published by Bill's firm. Circumstances change when Dan unexpectedly arrives at their hotel, ostensibly in Majorca to write an article. But as the game begins, the three, in the company of Bill's colleague Ian and Birgitta, a local German tourist rep they've befriended, settle down to watch the game on TV. Through ninety minutes, extra time and the infamous penalty shoot-out, the field of battle switches between the hotel and the Italian football pitch as Monica, Bill and the England team approach the inevitable.
ISBN: 0 85676 129 X

Play Phillip Hayes Dean. 5 men, 3 women. Unit Set.

Set in a seedy hotel of a black neighbourhood in a midwestern city, the play introduces a series of finely drawn representative characters: a pimp who sends his girl out on the street to earn money for his drugs;- the light-skinned dancer whose husband, now in jail, once owned the hotel and ran the rackets which prey on them all; the cynical go-getter who has taken over the hotel; a black cop who has learned to see only what he wants to see; a shuffling cleanup man who drowns his disappointments in booze; and an imperious older woman who demands she be treated like a lady despite her frayed finery. It is the interaction of their lives, in the hotel and on the "Square' outside, which forms the moving and revealing core of the play - a core which is suddenly beset with tension and unnamed fear when Blood, the former racket boss, returns unexpectedly. Humor and poignancy are blended as the action quickens and the various characters reveal the truth about themselves, coming, in the powerful ending, to the greater truth which they all must now comprehend: the need to stop destroying themselves and to destroy, instead, the terrible environment which, through their acceptance, has kept them all in thrall.
ISBN: 0-8222-0370-7

Every Other Evening. Comedy. François Campaux. Adapted by Jack Popplewell
M3 (20, 50, middle-age) F4 (17, late teens, mid-30s, 45). A Paris sitting-room.

George announces that he intends to stay permanently with his mistress, Suzanne, who is disconcerted when George's entire family descends on her tiny love-nest. George is horrified to discover that not only is his liaison common knowledge, but that his wife and mistress are rediscovering an old friendship. Paul, George's son, finds Suzanne very attractive and makes a determined effort to supplant his father.
ISBN 0 573 01122 2

Play Jan Hartman. 5 men, 3 women (plus 3 male roles to be doubled). Interior.

The play is set at Carnival time, in a Latin American country, unnamed, but resembling Brazil. A German refugee, Hans-Erik Franck, decides to attend the celebration that takes place annually in the home of his employer, Maribar. The people at the party have been curious for years about Hans-Erik's association with Nazi Germany. Tonight they plan to find out exactly what his association with the Third Reich was. As they find out more about Hans-Erik, they become more and more sadistic toward him, until ultimately they put him on trial, in an informal and improvised way. In mock justice they pretend to sentence him to death. Hans-Erik who, in the course of the evening, has come to know the party-goers well, sees that in punishing him they are duplicating the slide into corruption which he experienced as a Nazi. He asks for a moment alone. In order to spare the masqueraders the same crimes of betrayal and murder he committed, Hans-Erik hangs himself. When the party-goers discover the corpse, they are horrified. It is a sad legend that every year on the morning after Carnival a corpse is found on the beach. Now they know the origins of this corpse. The play ends as the masqueraders, in mask and costume, bear the corpse of Hans-Erik to the beach, to be discovered according to custom, when the sun rises.
ISBN: 0-8222-0372-3

Comedy. Helen McAvity. 1 man, 3 women, 3 teenage boys. Unit set

Having been a stage mother when her daughter, Frances, was pursuing an acting career, Maggie has now become a stage grandmother; running her daughter's household; spoiling her teenage grandson and his friends; and treating her son-in-law to gastronomical delights far beyond his wife's culinary capacity. And, now that her daughter's old movies are appearing on the Late Show, Maggie has also decided (secretly) that the time has come for a revival of Frances' thespian activities. But what was intended to be a big, happy surprise turns out to be instead a big, upsetting problem - and the resulting complications keep the action bubbling merrily along until Maggie, sadder but wiser, learns that managing one's own affairs can be quite enough for even a decidedly swinging grandmother to cope with.
ISBN: 0-8222-0366-9

Comedy. John Patrick. 4 men, 2 women. Interior

Opal Kronkie, a middle-aged recluse, lives in a tumbledown mansion at the edge of the municipal dump. The general disarray of her establishment is aggravated by the fact that Opal collects things - anything that can be toted home in her little red wagon. Opal is also an optimist, for no matter how mean her lot - or her "friends" - Opal responds with unfailing kindness and an abiding faith in the goodness of human nature. Into her rather strange world comes Gloria, Bradford and Solomon, three purveyors of bogus perfume on the lam from the authorities. Opal's menage is the perfect hideout- and Opal, herself, might be the remedy for their shattered finances. They decide that what she needs is plenty of insurance, a rapid demise, and three beneficiaries named Gloria, Bradford and Solomon. Attempted murder wouldtA seem to be funny, but in Mr. Patrick's magic hands it is uproarious. The unsavory trio concoct an elaborate scheme to drop the ceiling on Opal's unsuspecting head- but she is in the cellar at the time; they try to drug her and set the house on fire - but Opal's state trooper friend arrives at the wrong (or right) moment; a plan for a "hit and run" accident backfires. Through it all, Opal radiates kindness, affection and, strangely enough, gratitude. But the real clincher comes at the end. It seems that there was plenty of money around all the time; bags, barrels, and mooseheads full of it, in fact, and any friend of Opal's is welcome to as much as he wants. All they had to do was ask.
ISBN: 0-8222-0367-7

Comedy. John Patrick 8 men, 2 women (of the men, many are bit parts). Interior

Vivian Vance is the key to the plot. She plays a kookie widow living in a town called Harmony. Her activities range from being mayor to running the local home for wayward girls. Due to the unlikely incident of a Japanese duck landing in her back yard, she comes into small recognition, enough for a newspaper man to come out to do a story. When he finds out she has five sons in a prison camp in North Vietnam, he decides here is a chance for fame and a fast buck. He launches a campaign to have her named Mother of the Year. But this fine distinction is hilariously corrupted when it is revealed she was never, ever married. This bit of information comes as a shock to all, including her five strapping sons (who have been released from the prison camp for diplomatic reasons), and the White House (where she has been invited to receive Presidential recognition). But fortunately there is an explanation for it all which removes any suggested blot on American motherhood, and sets the stage for the rollicking climax of the play.
ISBN: 0-8222-0368-5

Everyman : Anon
17m/f. Morality play. Minimal set.

A medieval allegory in which Everyman, already a sinner, is instructed by God through his messenger, Death, to prepare for a Pilgrimage with his Book of Reckoning at his side. Everyman begs for more time, and Death grants him the time to find someone to accompany him. But, after failing to persuade any of his friends or associates to do so, Everyman finally learns that it is a journey he must make alone.
ISBN 1854593862

Modern Morality Play. Walter Sorell. 9 men, 5 women. Open Stage.

Even in modern terms this classic play about Man and Death is a sobering speculation on the grim ordeal of judgment Day. Mr. Sorell has written with the admirable bluntness that characterises the original English version, also with reverence, humanity and a little humour. Mr. Sorell's drama (includes) moral discussions about 'power' and 'science,' which are not so simple and personal as 'gluttony and 'greed' the sins of the original version. But nothing said here should suggest that Everyman Today is not a moving morality drama written by a man of taste, principle and theatre knowledge. There is nothing in either church or theatre much more terrifying and chastening than the ominous cries of 'Everyman, Everyman, Everyman' that seem to come from the portals to Purgatory. They make it evident that Mr. Sorrell's drama has literary and dramatic qualities worthy of its ageless theme.

Play. Edward Albee. From the play by Giles Cooper. 5 men, 5 women, 1 boy. Interior

The theme beneath the surface is the corruption of money and the rottenness of this bigoted exurbia where conformity to its illiberal standards and its hypocritical show of respectability is all that counts. The scene is the suburban home of Jenny and Richard. The only thing that seems to stand in the way of their happiness is a lack of money. The action starts in an entertaining comedy of manners style. Then abruptly there enters a Mrs. Toothe who offers Jenny the opportunity to make more money than they have ever had, to buy a greenhouse and all the other luxuries that they require for their garden and their lives. Richard's realisation that their newfound money is being earned by his wife's whoring comes almost simultaneously with the return of their 14-year-old son from school and a champagne cocktail party which they are giving to impress their country club friends. As a result, his horror, disgust and rage has to be kept under wraps in order to keep up essential appearances until tragedy strikes, and Richard realises that the assembled wives are all involved and their husbands are aware and condoning. More than that, they are prepared not merely to justify but defend the ends through which their means are attained - and the devastated Richard, left in agonised despair by the ironic events which charge the final moments of the play, must face the fact of his own share in their communal guilt.
ISBN: 0-8222-0371-5

Everywoman (in Hungarian Plays) : Peter Karpati - English version J. Bradley/T. Curtis
5m 6f, doubling. Drama Minimal set.

A free adaptation of the Medieval Everyman story, the play is a tragi-comedy set in today's Budapest following the last day in the life of a middle-aged woman who learns she has cancer. As she tries to set her life in order before her impending death, we learn of her personal history, her missed opportunities and regrets.
ISBN 1854592440

The Evil Doers (in The Evil Doers & The Baby) : Chris Hannon
2m 4-5f. Comedy. Flexible staging.

A satirical and streetwise modern comedy. Tracky is a teenage heavy-metal fan with an alcoholic mother, a taxi driver father and a best friend who's after the loan-shark who's after her father ... 'A vicious and idiosyncratic Glaswegian city comedy' Observer.
ISBN 1854591002