Composers and their stage works 


Habeas Corpus

Play. Alan Bennett | M6 F5. A bare stage.

Simply staged, this play introduces the Wicksteeds, a family for whom the determination to put sex and the satisfaction of the body before everything else is the ruling passion of their lives. Permissive society is taken to task in this farcical comedy in which the characters move in and out through a maze of mistaken identities and sexual encounters. As Wicksteed says, 'He whose lust lasts, lasts longest'.
ISBN 0 573 0 1325 X

The Habitation of Dragons

Drama. Horton Foote | 14 men, 5 women; unit set.

It's 1935 in Harrison, Texas. George Tolliver has decided to run for county attorney general, but his older, and more successful, brother Leonard tries to dissuade him because the family's backing has already gone to another local lawyer, his brother-in-law Billy. George runs, though, after lashing out at the more successful Leonard for less than moral support in the past. At the same time, their late father's brother Virgil appears on the Tolliver family's doorstep, asking for shelter now that he's old and broke. It's a hard decision for the widowed Mrs. Tolliver since Virgil once abandoned them years ago when they needed money; still, they take him in. Within days, Leonard's wife Margaret is found out to be having an affair with Wally Smith, her husband's handyman. On the very same afternoon, both of Margaret and Leonard's young boys drown while swimming in the river with Wally. Believing this to be a punishment for her adultery, Margaret has a breakdown and is institutionalised. In his grief, Leonard lets his law practice crumble and in despair reveals to his mother that he's always known his father committed suicide and did not die accidentally. Things aren't made any easier when Margaret's brother, Billy, murders his sister's lover .... and now a neighbour wants to blackmail the Tollivers with a packet of love letters sent from Margaret to Wally Smith. Eventually, Margaret returns home to beg her husband's forgiveness. At first Leonard refuses, but he realises he does want to start over again and he forgives Margaret before she shoots herself with the gun Leonard was going to use on himself. George, having had to make up for Leonard's absence, has rediscovered his calling as a lawyer and has finally risen to the responsibilities of his own new marriage, impending fatherhood and leading the sorrowful Tolliver household.

Hadrian the Seventh

Play. Peter Luke | M9 (29, 40) F2 (40, elderly). Extras M. Various very simple settings.

In his shabby bedsitter, Rolfe is writing his book, 'Hadrian the Seventh'. He reads of the Pope's death, and from now on the story of Rolfe's book becomes the action of the play - the events which befall Rolfe's autobiographical hero, George Rose, now seem to happen to Rolfe himself. He is summoned to Holy Orders, taken to Rome, elected Pope and assassinated. The play ends with a return to Rolfe's lodging where two bailiffs arrive with a Warrant of Execution.
ISBN 0 573 01168 0

Hagar's Children

Drama. Ernest A. Joselovitz. | 6 men, 3 women (3 of the men and 2 of the women are teenagers). Interior

The time is Christmas Eve; the place Bridgehaven Farm, a home for emotionally disturbed teenagers. As preparations for the holiday celebration begin under the guidance of two compassionate and concerned counsellors, a young black man called Oliver and a Jewish woman called Esther, we are increasingly aware of the alienation and resentment which the young inmates feel toward society in general and their parents in particular. The depth of their estrangement is revealed first in small crises, tantrums and disputes, and then, more shockingly, through the brutal killing of a pet lamb. The investigation of this crime is conducted by the children themselves and culminates in a highly emotional scene in which they come to realise that they have taken a real step towards rehabilitation and are closer rejoining the world from which they had so bitterly withdrawn.
ISBN: 0-8222-0491-6

The Hairy Ape

Comedy Drama. Eugene O'Neill. 6 men, 2 women (and extras):
5 Interior Settings (F'C'stle of Liner, Stokehold, Prison, Office, Monkey House); 2 Exterior Settings (Promenade Deck of Steamer and Street Corner)

In the boiler room of a transatlantic liner, Yank is the top man. Strong, brutal and macho he despises everyone and everything, Left and Right, old and new, rich and poor. He knows where he belongs and enjoys his lifestyle. When a decadent millionaire's daughter, Mildred Douglas, indulges herself in a little social work and descends to the bowels of the ship to see the workers she is horror struck and repulsed by the `hairy ape' Yank and his filthy companions. Her looks and comments enrage Yank and he swears to get even with her. On land in New York, Yank and his well-meaning mate Long, become involved in a brawl outside a church and the `ape' ends up in jail where he joins up with a revolutionary group, but they cannot handle his mindless schemes which include blowing up Mildred's father's factory. He finally ends up in a zoo park, where he at last finds someone who will listen to his primitive philosophical rantings, a gorilla. When he naively opens up the cage door for his new-found friend he too finds out what it is like to be the victim of mindless violence.
ISBN: 0-679-76395-3

Halcyon Days

Comedy. Steven Dietz. 5 men, 3 women. Unit Set

In 1983, against the backdrop of the tragedy in Beirut, the most powerful nation on earth invaded the smallest country in the western hemisphere: The United States invaded Granada. This deviously dark comedy takes us behind the scenes of this incredible invasion. This behind the scenes world is not on the island, however, it is with the speech writers and spin doctors who won Americas first "public relations" war.
ISBN: 0-8222-1401-6

Halfway Up the Tree

Peter Ustinov : Comedy 5M 4F Interior set

After some years of army service in the Malayan jungle, General Sir Mallalieu Fitzbuttress returns home to face a series of domestic crises. His son Robert who has been sent down from Oxford, has become something of a dropout and his daughter Judy is more than somewhat pregnant! Add to this collection an au pair girl who is willing to jump into bed with any man who takes her fancy and we are left with the poor general's wife in the depths of despair. The General's reaction subverts all expectations and he refuses to be outraged, much to the infuriation of his family. He adopts the attitude - if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, finally deciding to live up a tree in his garden and descending from time to time to take part in family arguments.
ISBN: 0 900354 04 6

The Hammerstone

Comedy/Drama. Jon Tuttle. 3 men, 3 women. Unit set

At a small college with virtually no admission requirements, two ageing professors deal differently, but disastrously, with the students whose S.A.T. scores are lower than their cholesterol counts - and with their own obsolescence. Victor Ransome has long since given up cajoling his classes into paying attention and now uses insults and threats of physical violence. "I can kill you if I want," he tells a student, "I've got tenure." His best - well, only - friend, Murray Stone, still loves teaching, primarily because it fosters his delusions of perpetual youth. Through their offices come a variety of aggravations in the persons of a completely bewildered baseball player, a smitten spinster, and a gorgeous business major, each of whom serve to remind them that in education come various human responsibilities which sometimes supersede actual teaching. By the play's end, Murray has understood this lesson. Victor, however, has not, and is, in fact, quite dead. His death underscores the message at the bottom of the play: that teaching, like living, takes continual reinvestment. As Murray puts it, "Happiness is an act of will." While the play makes considerable fun of the state of modern American education, and speculates on the collapse of western civilization once the next generation assumes control of it, in the end, it is a positive statement for teaching, and for teachers.
ISBN: 0-8222-1487-3