Composers and their stage works 


The Lillies Of the Field

Play. F Andrew Leslie, from the novel by William E. Barrett. 4 men, 5 women : Open Stage with moveable props.

Having decided to travel about the country after his discharge from the army, Homer Smith has fixed up a bed in the back of his station wagon and headed west, his plan being to stop for a day's work here and there as the spirit moves him. Rolling through a parched valley in the remote Southwest he encounters a group of nuns working in the dusty fields, and his offer to help them for hire is quickly accepted. His job is to fix a leaky roof, but when the time comes to discuss payment the rather imperious Mother Superior seems to understand even less English than usual. Although he has every intention of insisting on his pay and moving on, Homer stays for supper, and then another day, and another. Almost without realising it he is drawn into the life of the nuns giving them English lessons, buying food for their table, driving them to Mass, singing to them in the evenings and, most importantly, coming to share the dream of building the chapel which is Mother Maria Marthe's fondest hope. But the project proves to be a burdensome and discouraging one and as the weeks wear on Homer, with no bricks, no pay and no real hope for success, loses - heart and resolves to go. He leaves, but just as Mother Maria Marthe is convinced that God sent Homer to her in the first place, so does she know in her heart that he will return - and he does. With the help of the local farmers and the gift of many adobe bricks, the chapel becomes a reality and Homer, despite his staunch Baptist background, is invited to sit in the front pew for the first Mass to be said in it. But his work is done, faith has earned its reward, and he is free to go - this time for good. Yet even as he heads off into the quiet night the meaning of what he has accomplished begins to flourish and grow, creating a legend which, in time, brings fame and success to the nuns and instills in their hearts a lasting gratitude for the simple man who saw their need and gave unselfishly of himself to meet it.
ISBN: 0-8222-0665-X


Play: William Luce. Based on the autobiographical writings of Lillian Hellman. : 1F. Simple Interior

The setting is an austere waiting room in a New York hospital, where Lillian Hellman awaits the death of her longtime companion, Dashiell Hammett. As she maintains her vigil, Miss Hellman's mind is flooded with memories: her exciting but tempestuous years with Hammett; her girlhood in New Orleans and New York, reminiscences of her beloved parents; and her days of success and failure as an artist and a public figure committed to liberal causes (some of which brought her into sharp conflict with the powers- hat-be). With occasional pauses to peer into the adjoining (off stage) sick room, she recalls the people and incidents which shaped her life glittering figures from the worlds of Hollywood and the New York theatre, literary giants who were both friends and foes, and dearly loved personal associates like her black nanny, Sophronia, who perhaps more than any other, helped her to gain her burning social consciousness. In the end the play is both a tour de force for an accomplished actress, and also a vital, fascinating, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always compelling portrait of a remarkable woman and artist whose contributions both to the theatre and the conscience of our nation will never be forgotten.
ISBN: 0-8222-0666-8

Lily Dale

Play. Horton Foote. 4 men, 3 women. Interior

After the death of his alcoholic father, and his mother's remarriage, young Horace Robedaux remained in Harrison, Texas, clerking in a dry goods store. When his mother invites him to visit her and his teenage sister, Lily, in Houston, Horace eagerly accepts, hoping to resettle and find more promising employment. Once in Houston, Horace is confronted by his gruff, surly stepfather, who dotes on his spoiled sister, Lily, but dislikes Horace intensely - and shortly orders him to leave. Horace's departure, however, is delayed by a sudden bout of illness, which forces him to stay on for several weeks as an invalid. This gives him the chance to re-establish his relationship with his sister, whose memories of their late father are as bitter as Horaces are forgiving. In the end Horace returns to Harrison, convinced that during his brief stay the demons of the family's past have been exorcised and that he, as well as his mother and sister, can now face the future with a renewed strength of spirit.
ISBN: 0-8222-0667-6

The Lion in Winter

Play. James Goldman
M5 (teenage, 20s, 50) F2 (young, middle-age). Henry's castle at Chinon.

Although the outcome of the relationships depicted in this play is historical fact, the quality and content of these relationships are here imagined to be as vitriolic, lacerating, witty, disillusioned and self-destructive as anything created by Strindberg or Albee. Henry II and his Queen, Eleanor, whose mutual passion has long since been destroyed by their obsession with intrigue and power, barter, cajole and threaten to win for their favourite sons the Aquitaine, Alais Capet, or the throne of England. Period 1183
ISBN 0 573 01234 2

Little Boxes

Two plays. John Bowen
M4 F5. Composite setting.

The Coffee Lace

Six old theatre folk share a shabby flat in Kensington. They plan an anniversary celebration intending to raise funds by selling Lily's prized coffee lace dress. Unfortunately, the money raised is not enough and it is only Lily's death which provides the money in a very unusual, macabre way.


Jane and Sarah live in a smart Kensington flat. To conceal their relationship from their parents they have invented mythical Fiancés called Trevor. As Jane's parents are to visit, the girls hire the services of an unemployed actor to play Trevor but when Sarah's parents unexpectedly arrive, Trevor has to put on a double-act.

ISBN 0 573 01238 5

Lips Together, Teeth Apart

Terrence McNally : Drama 2M 2F Exterior set

Set on the outdoor terrace of an elegant beach house on Fire Island, a brother and sister and their respective spouses attempt to celebrate the 4th of July holiday weekend. Sally is married to Sam, a New Jersey contractor, and she has inherited the house from her brother who died of AIDS. Sam's hyperactive sister Chloe and her smug, aristocratic husband John, have come for the weekend and, amidst the seemingly mundane weekend activities, it becomes apparent that the two men despise each other because John has had an affair with Sally; Sally is panicked and melancholy because she is pregnant and fears a miscarriage, while Chloe seems determined to drive them all mad with her incessant chatter and enthusiasm for Broadway musical comedies. With the shadow of Sally's brother David hanging over the festivities, they try to divert themselves from the overpowering sense of their own mortality with food, cocktails, fireworks, charades and biting jibes at each other, but over the course of the weekend Sally, Sam, John and Chloe find little to celebrate about themselves or their country on its birthday.
ISBN: 0 8222 0670 6

The Lisbon Traviata

Play Terrence McNally. 4 men. Two Interiors.

The first as is set in the fussily ornate apartment of Mendy, a ferociously dedicated opera buff who begs and cajoles his friend Stephen to let him borrow his copy of the pirated Maria Callers recording of La Traviata made during a performance in Lisbon, Portugal. Stephen, a blocked playwright whose detailed knowledge of opera exceeds even Mendys, delights in showing off his expertise while dodging his friend's entreaties, but beneath their often hilarious banter it is evident that both men are deeply unhappy - Mendy because of his loneliness, and Stephen because he is aware that his longtime roommate (whom he loves deeply) is having an affair with someone else. Both it seems, are trapped within opera, with its grand but contrived passions becoming a neurotic substitute for real life. But in the second act, which takes place in Stephens starkly modern apartment, reality arrives with stunning force as Stephen confronts his roommate, Mike, and tries to salvage their relationship. Sensing his failure, Stephen turns on Mike and his new lover, Paul, driving the latter away and taunting Mike so venomously that all hope of a reconciliation is soon shattered. And, in the end, it is the operatic, the grandly tragic, which assumes control again as Stephen, unable to accept life and reality on their own terms, stabs his errant lover - tortured by his continuing lack of creative fulfilment and by the compelling need to preserve the illusion of love and fidelity to which he has dung so desperately.
ISBN: 0-8222-0673-0