Composers and their stage works 


Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Play. Christopher Hampton
M3 (20s, 30) F6 (15, 20s, late 30s, elderly). Extras. Various interior and exterior settings.

Le Vicomte de Valmont begins the play as an unworthy, cynical pleasure-seeker, proud of his reputation as a seducer. He is encouraged in his enterprises by his former mistress, La Marquise de Meneuil, who would seem to share his cynicism, but who has an ulterior motive. Set in France among aristocrats before the Revolution, this is nevertheless a play for all time about sexual manners and manipulation, ending in tragedy.
ISBN 0 573 01639 9

The Liar

Comedy Carlo Goldoni. Translation by Tunc Yalman.
10 men, 4 women, extras. Unit Set

The liar of the title is one Lelio, a young Venetian of good family who returns home after a long absence and is immediately embroiled in a series of hilarious escapades. Lelio's problem is that he seems unable to speak the truth when a whopping lie suits his purposes better - and the more the resultant complications multiply the more outlandish his fibs become. Before long he has thrown the budding romances of two lovely young sisters into a turmoil, discredited their rightful suitors, deceived his own befuddled father (who has not yet recognized him), and created such a tangle of misunderstandings that it appears doubtful whether things can ever be set straight. But, happily enough, the truth does ultimately triumph - and with all the verve and high comic style which has characterised the play throughout.
ISBN: 0-8222-0655-2

The Libertine

Stephen Jeffreys :8m 5f Historical comedy/drama. Multipurpose set.

The outrageous story of the Earl of Rochester, friend and confidant of Charles II and the most notorious rake of his age, centring on the moment when he falls in love in earnest with the actress Elizabeth Barry. The play is both a witty portrait of the period and an accomplished comedy of manners. 'Jeffreys writes with enormous exuberance... and the dialogue drips with wonderful witticisms and bawdiness' Financial Times. First performed: Royal Court, 1994
ISBN 1 85459 277 7

A Lie of the Mind

Sam Shepard : Drama 4M 4F Flexible staging

The story involves two desperate families connected by the marriage of the son of one (Jake) to the daughter of the other (Beth). As the play begins Beth, brain-damaged ftom a savage beating which Jake has given her, is being tended by her parents, Baylor and Meg. Jake sends his brother, Frankie, to Montana to see if she is dead or alive, but Beth's father, mistaking Frankie for a poacher, shoots him in the leg and takes him prisoner. Thereafter the tensions and enmities which motivate the two families grow increasingly disturbing and dangerous. Frankie falls in love with Beth, but her brother, Mike, is bitterly determined that she no longer have anything to do with her husband or his loathsome family. Meanwhile the distraught, hysterical Jake, back home in California, is nursed by his possessive mother, Lorraine, and his sister, Sally, to whom Lorraine is openly hostile. Having gotten Jake back from Beth, Lorraine is determined to keep him with her forever, but Jake soon recovers and sets out to regain his wife. In the end, however, his will fails, and he allows Beth to stay with Frankie; Lorraine burns down her house and departs for Ireland with Sally; and Jake, bereft and alone, seeks communication with his dead father by gently dispersing. his ashes into the moonlight - hoping to find order and meaning in the present by coming to terms with the haunting spectres of the past.
ISBN: 0 8222 0656 0

A Life

Play. Hugh Leonard
M4 (20s, 60s) F4 (20s, 60s). Triple set: a kitchen, living-room, bandstand.

Drumm visits his neighbour Mary for the first time in six years. She describes her new kitchen but when she takes him into it, it is as it was forty years ago, and seated at the table is her young self. From then on, the lives of four people, their intermingled relationships, whims of chance and clashes of personality which affected their destinies, are recounted by a method which mingles past and present.
ISBN 0 573 11244 4

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

David Edgar, adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens
Light Drama Casting flexible, minimum of 40/45 players for full production Doubling Flexible staging. Published in two parts.

One of the great events of the modern theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Nicholas Nickleby enjoyed phenomenal success, both in London and New York. Despite its length and large cast, the play requires relatively simple staging, enabling it to move smoothly through its many scenes and related story lines. The sum total is a brilliant recapturing of the sights and sounds of Victorian England and the touching, funny and exhilarating saga of the virtuous young Nicholas as he meets and masters challenges of poverty and corruption. In the end, the play is a soaring affirmation of man's essential goodness, a thrilling, eloquent rendering of the diverse people, places and events which, in Dickens' time or in ours, make up the real stuff of life and draw on the deepest resources of the human spirit. One of the great theatrical experiences of our time.

Part I ISBN: 0 8222 0817 2 and
Part II ISBN 0 8222 0818 0

The Life and Death of Almost Everybody.

Play. David Campton
M 12 F5. An empty stage.

A sweeper tidying an empty stage experiments with the magic power of theatre - creating life through the exercise of the imagination. He creates a Young Man and Young Woman then, as ever more characters are called for, events go beyond his bewildered control. The potent forces of love, hate, politics and religion emerge and dominate, along wit the dissension and decadence they can engender. Eventually a universal Aunt Harriet comes to marshal the forces into a hedonistic and fatefully doomed communal order.
ISBN 0 573 11223 1

Life and Limb

Play. Keith Reddin. 5 men, 2 women (with doubling: 5-7 men). Unit Set

As the play begins Franklin, a young draftee, and his -new bride, Effie, are on their honeymoon, an idyll which ends when Franklin returns to his unit and then goes off to Korea, where he loses an arm. When he returns home thing go steadily from bad to worse; he can't find a job; his wife is having an affair; and they are visited constantly by her best friend, Doina,'a Rumanian emigré who mangles the English language and shares Effie's passion for movies. Eventually Franklin lands a job of sorts by virtually selling his soul to Tod, a rather sinister but successful manufacturer of artificial limbs whom Franklin had met in Korea, but his hope of pulling thing together at last fails when Effe is killed by a collapsing movie palace balcony. The action then moves to Hell, where Effie and Doina are occupied making pot-holders and visiting supermarkets and where they are soon joined by Franklin, still the poor innocent searching for an America which promises a boundless, wonderful life - and surely doomed to failure by the oddities and evils of a world he never made.
ISBN- 0-8222-0658-7

Life During Wartime

Play. Keith Reddin. 4 men, 2 women. Unit set

The play begins with Tommy being initiated into the hard sell tactics of a home security company by his boss Heinrich. On his first assignment, Tommy meets Gale, a divorced mother with whom he immediately falls in love even though she is quite a few years older than he and has a teen-age son. Tommy soon learns that the home-security company is involved in a scam whereby they burglarize the homes in which the system has been installed. Just after Tommy decides to propose to Gale, her house is broken into and both she and her son, Howard, are killed. In the second act, Tommy confronts Heinrich with the break-in, but Heinrich refuses to accept responsibility, saying that Tommy was naïve to believe in the possibility of finding happiness in such a dangerous world. Tommy begins to receive visits from Gale's ghost who comforts him. Also present throughout the play is the spirit of John Calvin, the sixteenth century religious leader whose belief in Original Sin threads the play with the same feeling of hopelessness and futility that Tommy experiences upon the loss of Gale. It isn't until the last scene when Tommy meets Megan, a woman who might possibly be the reincarnation of Gale, that he comes to believe in the possibility of honestly and lovingly living in the modern world despite the hardships one inevitably faces.
ISBN: 0-8222-0659-5

Life Goes On.

Comedy. Adrian Hodges
M2 (30s, 42) F3 (20s-40). 1 female voice. A living-room, a bedroom.

A thoughtful and engaging comedy which opens in the hours following the funeral of George Marlowe who left this life unexpectedly. George's younger brother, Michael, attempts to seduce Debbie, youngest sister of his partner Helen and of George's widow, Joyce. During the evening Michael leaps from one sisterly assignation to another until the arrival of George's ghost, back to tie up the loose ends of his life, including Michael's philandering ways. The play ends with the right balance having been struck for all concerned.
ISBN 0 573 01809 X

A Life in the Theatre.

Play. David Mamet
M2. Various spots around a theatre.

In twenty-six scenes the play presents 'two actors - a seasoned professional and a novice backstage and on-stage, going through a cycle of roles and an entire wardrobe of costumes'. In some scenes they are seen portraying characters in various plays from the repertory theatre in which they work. Though there are many scenes - some very brief -staging is simple.
ISBN 0 573 64024 6

Life Is A Dream

Pedro Calderón, Trans J. Clifford
5m 2f, extras. Classic drama. Multipurpose set.

One of the masterpieces of the Spanish Golden Age (1635). It is foretold that Prince Sigismund will become a tyrant so he is imprisoned by his father, the King. When he is released for a day as an experiment, he proves the omens only too right and, as a result, is incarcerated once more. Sigismund persuades himself that all that has passed is a dream and emerges to rule wisely and justly. This new translation premiered at the 1998 Edinburgh International Festival, where it was hailed as 'the star of the festival ... John Clifford's translation reclaims a Spanish masterpiece for the modern stage' Michael Billington, Guardian.
ISBN 1 85459 188 6

The Life of Galileo

Play. Bertolt Brecht : M35 F11, with doubling possible. Extras, children. Interior and exterior settings.

Charles Laughton, music by Hanns Eisler
Desmond Vesey
Howard Brenton
John Willett
Ralph Manheim and Wolfgang Sauerlande

Brecht charts the progress of Galileo's life, from his first demonstration (to his housekeeper's son, Andrea Sarti) of his theory that the earth revolves round the sun, to his final years in a house near Florence, old, half blind, a prisoner of the Inquisition. Galileo secretly writes a book which Andrea shamefacedly declares will 'found a new physics', and Andrea manages to smuggle the book across the Italian border. Period 1609-1637

Light In the Village

John Clifford
3m 2f, doubling. Drama. Minimal set.

A modern parable about a poor Indian family and their corrupt masters - one of whom brings 'light to the village' by connecting it to the electricity grid, but his attitude to the poor family who work for him is very far from enlightened... Premiered at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 1991.
ISBN 185459 125 8

The Light Of Day

Graham Swannell : Comedy 1M 2F Interior set

A provocative and insightful exploration of marriage as it is shaped by independence and individualism in the modern world. After seventeen years of marriage, Ralph and Louise are both driven to adultery as a response to changes in themselves and their relationship - Ralph cannot let go of his 1960s idealism while it has taken the materialism of the 1980s to allow Louise to discover her true strengths and abilities. During the course of a hot summer night in a Parisian hotel room, where Louise has tracked down Ralph and his young companion Bel, they embark on a soul searching attempt to come to terms with their feelings and reactions to the changing nature of their relationship.
ISBN: 0 85676 135 4

The Light of Heart.

Play. Emlyn Williams
M4 (young-50s) F4 (20s-elderly). A room in furnished lodgings.

Crippled Cattrin looks after her father Maddoc, once a famous actor who has not worked for years. During the eleven months this touching, poignant play covers, their impoverished existence is turned upside down by the arrival of a young musician who encourages Maddoc to resume his career and secretly asks Cattrin to marry him and go to America. Maddoc is set to perform Lear at Covent Garden, but when he discovers their plans his new-found confidence is shattered.

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire.

Play. Caryl Churchill
M21 F4 originally played by M4 F2. Various simple settings.

First staged in 1976 by the Joint Stock Company at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs. Set in England in the Civil War, twenty short scenes depict the life of a struggling nation: the Putney Debates, the war in Ireland, poverty, preaching and hypocrisy. The Millennium approaches and with it the Parousia; how do the beggar, the butcher, and the soldier approach this belief? Period 1640s

Light Up the Sky

Moss Hart : Comedy 9M 4F Interior set

The comedy revolves around a group of New York theatre-folk who attend the opening of their new play in Boston. The leading actress, the backer, and several others, are in seventh heaven at the prospect of a tremendous success which they hope for in the work of a young unknown writer. Gathered in a hotel room, these people, without inhibitions and with an immense vitality, go through their paces with tremendous gusto and many exhibitions of temperament. The opening of the play, which is a very earnest and experimental work, is such as to lead the cast, director and backer to believe it a flop. Instantly they turn against themselves, the production, the author and savagely proceed in what looks like an attempt to destroy themselves and all their former hopes. It turns out, however, that in spite of the curious reception by the first night audience, the play has made a deep impression and when news spreads that the reviews are on the whole favourable, the tables are turned. But the playwright who has suffered both from the enthusiasm and pessimism of his associates has decided that he is through with the theatre and he is captured by the backer only at the moment he is about to take a plane back home. He is persuaded to play ball with his associates, but he is so disgusted with the temperamental shenanigans of those who were presumably his friends, that he turns on them and lays down the law to them.
ISBN: 0 8222 0664 1

Lighting Up Time

Comedy. Martin Worth and Peter Yeldham
M2 (30s) F2 (30s). A living-room/bedroom.

A humorous, touching play which concerns two couples' different ways of staying married. Ben is a heavy smoker and Erica makes him 'give up', gets him promotion and generally organises his life to suit her. When Ben sleeps with Lucy to prove his independence, Erica threatens to leave with Lucy's husband Michael, but Lucy has always turned a blind eye to Michael's infidelity. Finally, Erica admits her faults and Ben finds a new strength - without the aid of cigarettes!
ISBN 0 573 11270 3

Lighting Up the Two-Year Old

Comedy/Drama. Benjie Aerenson. 4 men. Unit Set

Take three men who each have a lot to lose if a horse farm goes under, and a thoroughbred with a lot of insurance on him, and you have the ingredients of Lighting Up the Two-Year Old, a terse comic drama that easily manoeuvers in the world of North Florida stables as well as the one of South Florida yachts. In the shadow of a once powerful stable owner, a trainer conspires with a groom who gambles, and an owner's son with a money problem, to save the farm ... in the process betraying the horses, each other and themselves.
ISBN: 0-8222-1648-5

The Lights are Warm and Coloured.

Play. William Norfolk
M2 (30s) F6 (20s-50s). A living-room.

Several years after Lizzie Borden's trial and acquittal following the murder of her father and stepmother, she lives with her sister in another house in the same district. One evening she invites some actors from a visiting touring company who re-enact the crime. Later, the Bordens receive an unexpected visit from Bridget Sullivan, the servant at the time of the crime and a crucial witness. It transpires that Lizzie gave her a sum of money. Why? To conceal her own guilt or was Bridget the murderess? Period 1905
ISBN 0 573 11230 4