Composers and their stage works 


The Fiery Furnace

Drama. Timothy Mason. 2 men, 3 women. Interior.

1950, rural Wisconsin. Faith is about to leave for the University of Chicago when her mother, Eunice, suitcase in hand, announces that she's going too. Desperate to leave the confines of a stony marriage, she pleads for a last chance of escape. Faith, also eager to break away from family and small town life, recognizes her mother's pain, and though hesitant, relents. But Faith's sister, Charity, and brother-in-law, Jerry, have already infopned the patriarchal Gunnar of his wife's plan, and he threatens to cut off Faith's tuition money. The choice is painful, but Eunice puts down her suitcase, takes off her hat and Faith flees. 1953. Charity, the mother of twin boys, is nervously practicing a speech she will give in tribute to Eunice at a mother-daughter church banquet. Eunice is anxious to learn what Charity will say about her, while Jerry is full of his plan to get Gunnar to sell him a plot of land on which to build a drive-in movie theatre.. When Jerry hears that Gunnar has sold the land to a rival with the same business intentions, his darker, violent side reveals itself. 1956, Thanksgiving. Faith returns home with her fiancee, Louis. While his leftist politics cause tension in the dining room, the women come and go in the kitchen, waiting on their men. Eunice fears that Faith really does not truly love Louis, which Faith reluctantly admits. Charity reveals her suspicions of Jerry's long-time infidelity and Eunice talks to her daughters for the first time about the early days of her luckless, loveless marriage. Although separated by age, education and outlook, the three women are for a moment united. 1963, New Year's. Eve. Gunnar, never seen but deeply felt throughout the play, lies dying upstairs. Jerry hovers over him, drinking heavily and making a shovW, of concern, while all the time making plans to take over the family fortunes. Faith and Louis arrive, ostensibly to pay respects, but really in response to a furtive phone call from Charity, a plea for help to get her and her children out of a violent marriage. Now faced with the possibility of freedom, the frightened Charity recants her story. Louis, both a lawyer and magician, with Eunice's help, uses compassion and sleight-ofhand to engineer Charity's escape, but not before an explosion of terrifying violence.
ISBN: 0-8222-1355-9

The Fifteen Streets

Play. Adapted by Rob Bettinson from the novel by Catherine Cookson
M8 F8, with doubling. 2 boys 2 girls. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

Set in 1910, this tells the story of one family's fight for physical and moral survival in the poverty and squalor of the dockland slums of Tyneside. At the centre is the apparently impossible love affair between rugged docker John O' Brier and Mary Llewellyn, a schoolteacher. With elements of tragedy, humour, intrigue and love, this simple tale affords plenty of scope for imaginative and evocative production.
ISBN 0 573 01688 7

Fifth of July

Lanford Wilson : Drama 4M 4F 1 Interior 1 Exterior set

Ken Talley, a disabled Vietnam war veteran and his lover Jed live in the Talley family's large farmhouse in the American Midwest They are visited for the summer holiday by Ken's sister June and her teenage daughter, and also by Gwen and John, a would-be rock star and her husband/manager, All are old friends from college, and over the years since their days of student activism on campus, each has altered their views and attitudes towards both past and present. As the action progresses it emerges that Gwen is hoping to purchase the Talley farm and convert it into a recording studio, but she runs into problems when Ken's Aunt Sally arrives to scatter the ashes of her late husband on the family's property. Through the course of the play, we see the bittersweet effects of hopes, dreams and loss as the effects of time and distance alter each character's perceptions of themselves and each other.
ISBN: 0 8222 0399 5

Fighting Chance

Play. N. J. Crisp
M4 (40s, middle-age) F4 (30s). Basic set representing several interiors.

Based on the author's own experiences, Fighting Chance is set in a residential rehabilitation centre for neurological patients, and charts the progress made by five patients over the course of eight weeks. The five demonstrate the humour, frustration, anger and pity of their situation, and help each other to progress, each to a different degree, through the course of this funny and ultimately optimistic play.
ISBN 0 573 01629 1


Play. Eduardo de Filippo, adapted by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
M6 F5. Extras. A dining-room.

After twenty-five years Filumena is to be thrown over for a younger woman. She pretends to be dying, inveigling Domenico into a 'deathbed' marriage. When he proves the marriage null and void she informs him she has three grown sons-one of them his. After trying in vain to discover his son's identity he marries her. Filumena keeps the secret and as the play ends they are fully reconciled, with every promise of happiness before them. Period 1946
ISBN 0 573 11130 8

Final Passages

Play. Robert Schenkkan, 7 men, 1 woman (flexible casting) Unit Set.

In 1878, while sailing off the coast of Nova Scotia, the Elizabeth Watson sights the San Christobal, apparently abandoned. When a boarding party climbs aboard, however, they find the San Christobal's cargo intact as well as the remains of the ship's company crew and passengers. They also find a diary belonging to a cabin boy. Reading the diary reveals life on board the ship and the incidents leading to the tragic end of the crew and passengers. Tom, the cabin boy, tried all his life to please others, trying hardest to please Lieutenant Brand, his surrogate father since Tom was orphaned as a boy. On this last trip, the San Christobal carried a mysterious Countess, with whom Tom was enchanted. Lt. Brand is also enchanted with this elusive and intoxicating woman, and has an affair with her aboard ship. Tom finds out about the affair which upsets him, yet then the Countess takes Tom to bed too, confusing him even more. The Countess, regretting her momentary lapse with Tom, goes to Lt. Brand and accepts his proposal of marriage. The wedding takes place without Tom and unable to deal with this rejection, Tom puts rat poison in the wine and kills everyone on board, then disappears. The captain of the Elizabeth Watson is transfixed with the mystery of the story of the San Christobal, and the true ghost story told by the ghost of Tom.
ISBN: 0-8222-1365-6

The Final Twist

Play. Ken Whitmore and Alfred Bradley
M2 (30, 60s) or 3 F1 (23). A living-room.

Charlie Nicholson has writer's block, but when he is offered a commission he sees a way to escape his debts. Merlin Foster, an actor, has specific needs: Charlie's script must contain the perfect method and alibi for the murder of Merlin's wife, only then can it be theatrically convincing. Eden, Merlin's young wife, is to remain in the dark so he can surprise her with the play ... A murderous and surprising tale.
ISBN 0 573 01765 4

Find Me

Play. Olwen Wymark : M3 F5 (variable). A bare stage.

At the age of twenty Verity was charged by the police with damaging a chair by fire in the mental hospital where she was a patient. Later she was committed to Broadmoor 'from where she may not be discharged without permission of the Home Secretary'. Using a technique of multiple characterisation the play seeks to investigate in depth the personality of the young girl - to 'find her' and at the same time studies the effects of her behaviour on those around her.
ISBN 0 573 11136 7

Find the Lady

Michael Pertwee : Comedy 3M 5F Interior set

When Rosie Lake, the proprietress of the Delamere Private Hotel, stumbles across the strangulated body of one of her residents, she faints! When Rosie comes to, there is no body and no evidence to prove a crime ever took place. She tries in vain to convince her other lodgers, but with her drinking reputation, it is all taken with a pinch of salt. That is, until strange things begin to occur ...
ISBN: 0 85676 043 9

Finishing Touches

Comedy. Jean Kerr. 3 men, 3 women, 2 boys. Interior.

Katy and Jeff Cooper have three sons (one a Harvard senior), a comfortable suburban home, and the prospect of a full professorship (English) for Jeff. But somehow the bloom has worn off their marriage: Jeff is at that dangerous age where an attractive student has caught his eye; while Katy is more receptive than she might admit to the attentions of the attractive bachelor professor who rents their garage apartment. Yet when their Harvard son returns home with a lovely young actress who proves to be his mistress it rather shocks his conventional parents - but also triggers the hilarious, and headlong, events which form the central action of the play. Fortunately the resultant crises are resolved in due course, and with all the skill, taste and perceptive humor which have become hallmarks of Jean Kerr's unique comic gift.
ISBN: 0-8222-0400-2

Fires In the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities

Play. Anna Deavere Smith,
1 woman (originally written to be performed by one actor, but is available for flexible casting); unit.

In 1991, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, an Hasidic man's car jumped a curb, killing Gavin Cato, a 7-year old black child. Later, in what appears to have been an act of retaliation on the part of a faction of the black community, Yankel Rosenbaum, an Hasidic rabbinical student, was stabbed and killed. The ensuing riots that wracked Crown Heights' previous atmosphere of tolerance for its divergent cultures made national headlines and pointed to the growing infraction of racial and cultural relations across America. Drawing verbatim from a series of over fifty interviews with Crown Heights' residents, politicians, activists, religious leaders, gangs, street dwellers, victims and perpetrators alike, Anna Deavere Smith has created a theatrical event distilling the lives and voices of twenty-nine of the incident's survivors into a visionary amalgam, the import of which touches upon every American regardless of race, colour or beliefs.

The First Actress

Play Ben Orkow. 11 men, 2 women (many of the male roles may be doubled). Open Stage.

Befriending a group of strolling players who have been thrown into her father's jail, the lovely young Felicia helps them escape, and then heads off to London with their promise that they will assist in furthering her theatrical ambitions - even though the laws of the time prohibited females on stage. Disguising herself as a boy (which leads to a number of tense - and funny - situations), and with no help from her supposed "friends," Felicia meets both Shakespeare and Richard Burbage, the leading actor of his company. Taken on as a stagehand, "Felix" soon progresses to featured women's roles - culminating in a luminous command performance of Romeo and Juliet for Queen Elizabeth. In the end Felicia is found out, but mercifully forgiven, while along the way the play teems with humour, colourful action and a stirring sense of the places, people and mood of the fascinating era which it so eloquently evokes.
ISBN: 0-8222-0401-0

The Firstborn

Poetic Drama. Christopher Fry. 10 men, 3 women. Interior/Exterior. (Pharaoh's palace, Miriam's tent.) Period 1200 BC.

The story is set in Egypt just before the great Exodus of the Jews. Moses has been away from Egypt for several years, and the Pharaoh has summoned him back to help with military campaigns. When Moses comes, however, his sole concern is for his people, who are used as slaves, cruelly treated and abused. During his absence Moses has become aware of his mission as leader of the Jews, and his loyalty to his Egyptian foster family has had to be put behind. The Pharaoh's son, Rameses, is a boy just emerging into manhood, who has never forgotten his hero-worship of Moses. He cannot accept his father's careless cruelty and disregard for the Jews in Egypt, and he wants to establish the old relationship with Moses. The Pharaoh and Moses come together, and the Pharaoh makes promises which are broken, one after the other; and following each broken promise comes one of the Plagues, until at last the Plague of Darkness is on the land. The moment has come when Moses will lead his people into freedom, and the signal for the Exodus is given by the last of the Plagues - the Death of the First Born. Every first born son of Egypt is to die, only the Jews are exempt; and it's not until the plague is beginning that Moses realises that Rameses too will be destroyed by it. Though he runs to the palace where he and the Pharaoh's sister who had mothered him try to keep Rameses alive through their own lives, Rameses, too, is, struck by the Plague and dies. Moses goes out to lead his people away, the seal put on their freedom by Rameses' death.
ISBN: 0-8222-0403-7

Fish Out of Water

(Revised version). Comedy. Derek Benfield
M3 (young, 40s, 50s) F4 (20, middle-age, 50x). An hotel lounge.

The peaceful atmosphere of a hotel on the Italian Riviera is shattered by the arrival of Agatha, an outspoken widow, and her timid sister, Fiona. Agatha crushes all protests as she rounds up the guests into communal games, her unflagging spirit of togetherness invading the private lives of the other characters. All the ingredients of package holidays - late flights, double bookings, foreign food etc. - provide an evening of uproarious and innocent fun.
ISBN 0 573 11187 1

Fish Out of Water.

(Original version.) Farce. Derek Benfield
M4 F5. An hotel lounge.
ISBN 0 573 01654 2

Fit To Be Tied

Comedy. Nicky Silver. 3 men, I woman (fexible casting). Interior.

Arloc Simpson is fabulously wealthy but desperately lonely, living a for many years. When one day he reads the obituary of a former lover, he knows at once he's in trouble. "Pneumonia is a code word when you read it in the paper!" For the first time, he wrestles with the idea of his own mortality, and has a blood test, the results of which he cannot bring himself to read. The envelope sits, unopened, taunting him. "It's my enemy. And my apartment isnt big enough for both of us!" So he leaves, and walks, and walks, and walks ...and meets HIM! Arloc meets someone he believes may be the great love of his life, Boyd, a young runaway with no family who is working as an angel at Radio City's Christmas Spectacular. Arloc invites him up for a drink, but when Boyd readies to leave, Arloc is terrified that his last chance for happiness will slip away, so kidnaps him. At that moment, Arloc's mother, Nessa, descends upon him. A flamboyant, fast-talking, heavy-drinking promiscuous woman, Nessa has fled her loveless marriage and, with nowhere else to go, seeks refuge with her son. When she stumbles upon the angel, bound and gagged in the closet, she realizes her son is in trouble, and asks Boyd to stay by paying him, "I'll pay you ... one pearl each day you stay and pretend to love him." Thus the three of them live together and form what turns out to be fragile, wonderful "menage a trois' . It isn't until Carl, Nessa's husband, appears, and demands his wifereturn, that our trio realizes the magic quality of their relationship. Nessa, uses her love for Boyd to wound Carl, but it is her willingness to give him up that surprises Arloc, She proves herself eager to sacrifice, to start again and to finally have the relationship she had avoided with her child. Knowing this, Arloc can finally live with the contents of that dreaded envelope, whatever that may be.
ISBN: 0-8222-1589-6