Composers and their stage works 



Play. Tom Dulack. 5 men. Unit Set.

Arrested in Italy in 1945 by the liberating U.S. troops, the fatuous expatriate poet, Ezra Pound, was imprisoned in a cage and treated like an animal - which many people considered him to be. At issue were some 84 wartime radio broadcasts which Pound had made on Italian radio, broadcasts which, while purporting to discuss economic theory, were in fact rabid anti-Semitic diatribes. Scornful of his captors, Pound takes delight in taunting them with his immense erudition and intelligence, winning small victories not only over the uneducated young black M.P who is detailed to guard him but also confounding the lawyer and psychiatrist who are sent to interview him. Unrepentant and even indignant at his incarceration, Pound seems to unbend only when speaking with a fellow prisoner, a black G.I. awaiting execution, and he is furious when he is informed that a group of fellow writers, including Ernest Hemingway, are encouraging a plea of insanity to account for his actions. Seemingly unassailable in his isolated brilliance and paranoia, Pound does appear momentarily shaken when confronted with evidence of the Nazi death camps - but, as history confirms, it was, in the end, hatred rather than compassion which sealed the destiny of this gifted but tragically misguided man.
ISBN- 0-8222-0565-3

The Incomparable Max

Play. Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.
9 men, 4 women (casting flexible - many roles can be doubled). Unit Set

The play begins with the appearance of "the incomparable Max" himself - critic, wit, caricaturist and satirist of matchless brilliance. The action then moves smoothly on to Max's encounter with Enoch Soames, a down-and-out poet whose arrogance far outstrips his accomplishments. But Soames, convinced of his genius, makes a pact with the devil to discover what posterity will say of him one hundred years hence. His ensuing adventure, which takes him to the eerily computerised reading room of the British Museum in 1997, is funny, touching, and concluded with the kind of masterly ironic twist for which the Beerbohm stories are so justly celebrated. In the second portion of the play, Max meets one A.V. Laider, a young man deeply interested in palmistry and the glimpses of the future it reputedly can provide. Their casual discussion of the subject turns steadily more gripping - and horrifying - as the action of the play depicts the dreadful moment when Laider, aware that a train is about to be wrecked, lacked the will power to warn his friends of the impending disaster. But again an unexpected final turn of plot saves the situation from tragedy - and ends the play in the same jaunty, delightfully witty manner as it began.
ISBN: 0-8222-0566-1

The Inconstant Couple

Play. John Bowen, translated and adapted from L'Heureux Stratagème of Monsieur de Marivaux
M5 (20s-middle-age) F3 (early 20s, early 30s). A terrace and garden.

Marivaux wrote with a pointed wit and cunningly affected style, and this translation preserves the light, satirical flavour of the original. This play tells of the involved amorous relationships between the country gentleman, the Chevalier, the Countess and the Marquise, which are reflected in and influenced by corresponding situations between their servants. After many complications and conspiracies the gentlefolk are paired off - with a six months' trial of constancy.

The Increased Difficulty of Concentration

Comedy. Václav Havel. Translated by Vera Blackwell.
M4 F4. A living-room and hall.

First performed just four months before the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, the play was presented in London at the Old Red Lion in 1989. Here we see a doctor with his mistress and his wife and a female social worker with a special computer that interrogates and interviews. The gaps in our lives cause the gaps in concentration. Very deftly the author elides one scene with another, one situation with another.
ISBN 0 573 61082 7

Indian Ink

Play. Tom Stoppard
M11 (20s, 30s, (2 Indian) middle-age (1 Indian)) F4 (young, 30s, elderly) Male extras. Various simple settings.

Flora Crewe, a liberated English poet, travels to India for health reasons in 1930 and meets Nirad Das, an Indian artist. Their developing friendship mirrors the shifting relationship between the Indians and English in the latter stages of the Raj. Five and a half decades later her sister Eleanor helps an earnest American academic, Eldon Pike, research Flora's life. As he travels to India, Nirad's son, Anish arrives in Shepperton ... Period 1930 and 1985
ISBN 0 573 01796 4


Play. Lee Blessing. 4 women. Interior

The setting is the small town of Independence, Iowa, the lifelong home of Evelyn Briggs. Her oldest daughter, Kess, is a university professor in Minneapolis, but she has come home at the request of her sister, Jo who is concerned for Evelyn's mental health. Kess, a professed lesbian, wants to cut her family ties once and for all; Jo, an incurable romantic and longtime virgin, has now become pregnant, while Sherry, salty-tongued and amoral, wants only to finish high school so she can leave home for good. In the end, there is no accommodation possible but, instead, only a kind of arbitrary independence for each of the protagonists, as they come to realize that each must find her, own heaven - or hell- in her own way.
ISBN: 0-8222-0567-X

Ines de Castro (in First Run 2 - now out of print) Photocopy of single play available £5.00 - Apply to Nick Hern Books

John Clifford, : 3m 3f. Historical drama. Simple set.

The story of a doomed love between a Portuguese prince and his Spanish mistress. 'A sombre, beautiful play... Based on historical events, the story has the sober majesty of a Schiller tragedy and the graceful condensed wit of Clifford at his non-whimsical best' Michael Coveney. First performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.


(in First Run 3) - Richard Zajdlic
2-3m 2f. Drama. Multipurpose set.

Winner of the 1990 West London Playwriting Competition, this 'prize-winning tragedy about the suspicions and jealousies that mar the relationship of young marrieds is a compelling, potent drama with ... a hint of marital violence and a wholly unexpected denouement' Time Out
ISBN 1854590596

Inherit the Wind

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee :
Drama 21M 6F (Doubling possible) Flexible staging

Based on the true events of the famous 'Scopes Monkey Trial' in 1930s America, a small town schoolteacher is arrested when it is discovered that he is teaching his pupils the theory of evolution. He is accused of speaking out against the Bible and being a 'free thinker', corrupting children's minds. There follows a trial of such passion and conviction that there has never been any courtroom drama to better this incredibly moving piece of theatre. Two of America's most revered lawyers pit their wits and examine their own beliefs, while a town is exposed to international scrutiny and consequently torn asunder in the search for truth and justice. A play of power, humanity and universal truth.
ISBN: 0 8222 0570 X

Inner Voices

Play. Eduardo de Filippo. English version by N. F. Simpson
M 14 (20, 40s, 50, middle age) F5. A kitchen, a sitting-room.

This English version, commissioned by the Royal National Theatre, was presented at the Lyttelton Theatre in 1983. Alberto accuses the Cimmarutas of murdering Aniello. The police arrest the whole Cimmarma family, but Alberto begins to think he dreamt the murder. The Cimmarutas are freed but, one after another, each member of the family denounces another. Solemn farce and knockabout tragedy become indistinguishable and fear makes a fool of everyone.

The Innocents' Crusade

Comedy. Keith Reddin : 3 men, 3 women; unit.

Bill and his parents are on a road trip to check out prospective colleges. Dad is a loveably failed father and dipsomaniac; Mom is sweetly concerned for her son and has a tinge of wifely sadness about her, too. In a series of successively disastrous interviews, Bill reveals himself to be ill-equipped for higher education, tending to blather on and on about how diverse his talents are, but never wholly convincing any of the admissions officers that he's anything more than a wishful thinker with average test scores. As the trip wears on, Bill and his father begin chipping away at each other's failings; Bill is especially concerned about his father's drinking. One night, hoping to inspire Bill, Mom reads him a magazine article about a medieval crusade of children (all of whom eventually starved or drown on the way to the holy land). The next day, Bill meets Laura, a runaway heiress, whom he convinces to join him on some kind of modern day crusade of his own, the goals of which Bill hasn't quite determined yet. Soon enough, they start to pick up other followers, including a homeless man who only speaks in Middle English. Dad hates the whole idea; Mom is supportive; Bill and Laura eventually fall in love. Finally, Dad lays down the law and out-and-out calls Bill a failure. He kicks the hangers-on out of the car, but by the next day Bill has vanished. The ghost of the medieval crusader Mom read about tells the parents that Bill has left them to pursue his crusade and life.
ISBN. 0-8222-1332-X

Innocent Thoughts, Harmless Intentions

Play. John Heuer. 9 men, 2 women. Divided Interior

The central action of the play takes place in an army barracks in a remote Alaskan outpost during the Korean conflict. Restive from boredom and the numbing cold, the men, egged on by a sadistic corporal, turn on Johnson, a "misfit" whose sensitivity and original turn of mind set him apart from the others. As the taunting of Johnson progresses from high-spirited pranks to near cruelty, a second story unfolds in a small playing area down stage: a young girl, hidden away as she waits out her illegitimate pregnancy, laments the abandonment and indifference of her family and friends. She is Johnson's mother, whose heart-rending plight is echoed and extended in the parallel action of the army scenes, and through the shocking fate which, sadly but inevitably, befalls her son.
ISBN: 0-8222-0571-8