Composers and their stage works 


Labor Day

A.R. Gurney. 3 men, 2 women. Unit set

John is an established older playwright recovering from a bout with cancer. His latest work, which he views as his best, if possibly his last, has gained the interest of a major regional theatre, the Shubert Organization, and a possible Hollywood star. Dennis, the bright young director to whom John has given the play, shows up on the Labor Day holiday at the writer's house in rural Connecticut to ask for essential changes. Dennis feels the play has been adversely affected by the playwright's illness, becoming too inverted and sentimental. John's family has gathered for the holiday, and when they find out the play is primarily about them, they also criticize the enterprise. It is soon obvious that the playwright - and aging father - doesn't really know either his family or himself. LABOR DAY reveals the age-old conflict between art and life, and the hard labour it takes the reconcile the two. In the end, life wins, hands down.
ISBN: 0-8222-1685-X

Laburnum Grove

Comedy. J. B. Priestley
M6 (young, 40, middle-age, 50) F3 (20, 40s). A living-room.

George is apparently a respectable businessman with quiet domestic hobbies. His daughter is bemoaning the monotony of their suburban round at Sunday supper but to refute this George makes the startling revelation that he has for years belonged to a gang of counterfeiters. His wife pooh-poohs the story but a different aspect is thrown upon it by the arrival of Inspector Stack, whose investigations of a gang have led him to George! Written in 1933
ISBN 0 573 01221 0

Ladies of Spirit

Comedy. Georgina Reid
F9 (20s, 40s, elderly). A school staff room.

Gibraltar School was founded as a private school for young ladies by the two dear old Misses Pye, now deceased. The long-suffering teachers have their lives made miserable not only by their pupils but also by the present headmistress, Miss Rowe, known universally as 'Hard Rowe'. They resign themselves to the fact that there is very little they can do about it, but they find help coming from a very unexpected quarter indeed.
ISBN 0 573 13002 7

Ladies At the Alamo

Play. Paul Zindel. 5 women. Interior.

The setting is the lavish reception room of the new multi-million dollar Alamo Theatre, regional theatre complex which has grown from a small operation in a converted church to one of the glories of Texas culture. As the action begins we learn that the leadership of Dede Cooper, founder and artistic director of the Alamo, is being challenged, and the Chairman of the Board, a lady of great wealth and lust for power, is scheming to replace Dede with a fading Hollywood star. As the hour of the decisive board meeting nears, Dede and her supporters maneuver to outflank the opposition, and as the crisis point is reached the verbal battles and shocking revelations build to fever pitch. In the end no one is left unscathed, and while the insurrection is put down the scars of battle will, it is clear, be long in healing.
ISBN: 0-8222-0623-4

Ladies In Retirement

Edward Percy and Reginald Denham : Thriller 1M 6F Interior set

Based on a famous murder which actually took place at the end of the last century and set in the 1880s, this play has become one of the most successful and most frequently performed in the modern repertoire. An eerie atmosphere of mystery is evoked in a dark, lonely house on the marshes of the Thames estuary. The characters, presented with great psychological realism and the strong vein of earthy comedy invest the play with a liveliness unusual for such a genuinely horrifying murder play.
Lucy Fiske, ex-actress, lives in a remote house with her companion, Ellen Creed. Ellen, who has devoted her life to her sisters, Louisa and Emily (simple-minded maiden ladies), invites them to visit her. These eccentric persons make themselves at home, but when Miss Fiske reminds Ellen it is time for them to go back, they are unwilling to do so. Miss Fiske and Ellen quarrel, and Ellen prepares to send her sisters to London. She has, however, secretly told them that they shall always remain with her. The sisters go for a drive, though Miss Fiske thinks they are leaving for good; the servants have been sent away (by Ellen), and Ellen and Miss Fiske are left alone together. On the return of the sisters Miss Fiske is gone - on a trip, Ellen says - and all three sisters settle down in what they regard as their own home. Meantime, Albert, nephew of the Creed sisters, who had paid a secret visit and got money from Miss Fiske, turns up again. He has robbed a bank and determines to hide with his aunts. Learning that Miss Fiske is away, and suspecting something, he pieces together the evidence. With the help of the maid Lucy, he lays a trap for Ellen, by reproducing in pantomime, in the moonlit living room the scene of Ellen's murder of Miss Fiske. Ellen, who faints when she sees what she imagines is the ghost of her victim, plays a courageous but losing game. Knowing that Albert and Lury realize what she has done, she plans for the security of her sisters, and gives up to the police.
ISBN: 0-8222-0624-2
ISBN: 0 85676 104 4

The Ladies of the Camellias

Comedy. Lillian Garrett-Groag. 7 men, 3 women. Interior.

An hilarious farce about an imagined meeting in Paris, 1897, between the famous theatre divas Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse. The two actresses - who were the biggest and most temperamental stars of their day - were scheduled to perform back-to-back productions of the play, The Lady of the Camellias, by Alexandre Dumas. Duse's production will be performing in Bernhardt's theatre, and the two women are in their own dressing rooms at the theatre, though they have yet to meet. The members of both acting companies expect huge fireworks between the two grand dames, and do what they can to avoid being in the way. Into this tense situation comes Ivan, a young Russian anarchist who threatens to blow up everyone in the theatre - especially the two divas - unless his comrades are released from prison. Bernhardt and Duse must meet and greet each other for the first time as they are taken hostage by the armed Ivan, yet remain the ultimate theatre professionals. Ivan's ranting aside, the anarchist seems to know an awful lot about the theatre, raising suspicions amongst the actors. Indeed, Ivan turns out to be a new breed of theatre person, someone who the actors arid playwright deride as useless and as a passing fad: a director. In a salute to the community of actors, Benoit Constant Coquelin; who is playing Cyrano De Bergerac, sneaks into the melée, and, in full costume, challenges Ivan to a duel. A rapier is no match for a gun and bomb, so it is theatrical dialogue they all must use to try and convince Ivan to let them go. When word arrives that the authorities will not trade the lives of even such famous actors fnr their prisoners, Sarah, feeling sorry for Ivan, offers to give him a letter of recommendation to a theatre in a far-off country and show him how to escape through her secret passageway. As the other actors leave the stage, Bernhardt and Duse are left alone. They drop their facades and speak to each other as equals, for just a moment, before they return to glory before the crowds.
ISBN: 0-8222-1501-2

Ladies Who Lunch

Comedy. Tudor Gates
M3 (middle-age, 50s) F7 (21, 30s, 40s, middle-age), with doubling. 1 male voice. A drawingroom, a duplex apartment, an apartment.

In Ladies Who Lunch, commissioned for the BT Biennial 1998, Amelia, Rachel and Joane, wives of three of the world's richest men, meet regularly to do charity work. In order to increase the charity's turnover Amelia thinks up a scheme to play the stock market exploiting the information gained secretly from their spouses business dealings. When the husbands find out, the resulting showdown is not the walk-over they think it will be ...
ISBN 0 573 01853 7