Composers and their stage works 



Theatre de Complicité - Edited by Simon McBurney

Mnemonic is the new production from the ground-breaking Theatre de Complicité, an exciting and original play about shared memory and discordant recollection. Stories originating from our discoveries of our ancestors' origins form a theatrical event exploring and questioning concepts of time and history.

Theatre de Complicite was founded in 1983 and has created more than 27 productions ranging from adaptations and reinterpretations of classic texts to major devised pieces such as Mnemonic.

The Model Apartment

Play Donald Margulies. 2 men, 2 women. Interior

Having retired to Florida, Max and Lola, two elderly Holocaust survivors, are dismayed to find that their new condo is not yet ready for occupancy and that they are obliged to stay temporarily in a "model apartment" -a tacky, gaudily decorated horror with a fake television set and refrigerator where even the ashtrays are cemented in place. Max and Lola had hoped to escape not only the nagging memories of their earlier lives, and the terrors of present-day Brooklyn, but also their fat, schizophrenic daughter, Debby, whom they had tried to "pay off" with generous amounts of cash before their hasty departure. But Debby, who seems to symbolize for them the awfulness of their past and their failures in the present, soon appears, followed in short order by her boyfriend, Neil, a slightly retarded black teenager whose limited sensibilities have been further numbed by the grinding horrors of the urban ghetto. Sometimes moving (as when Max, dreaming, imagines Debby as the lovely, innocent daughter he lost to the Nazis) or darkly comic (as when Max and Lola gingerly query Neil about how he and their daughter first met) the many short scenes coalesce smoothly into an affecting; if sometimes disquieting, whole, which makes it chillingly evident that those who are unable to confront and overcome the demons of their past are doomed to be forever haunted by them.
ISBN: 0-8222-0767-2


Jez Butterworth
6m. Black comedy. 2 interior sets.

Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, and for the author, the George Devine and Evening Standard Awards for Most Promising Playwright. It was recently filmed with Harold Pinter and Ewan Bremner. Soho, 1958, in the seedy gangster underworld of the rock and roll scene, club owners fight for control of Johnny Silver, the latest young sensation. 'The Royal Court's most dazzling main-stage debut in years' Michael Billington, Guardian.
Silver Johnny is the new singing sensation, straight out of a low-life Soho clubland bar in 1958. His success could be the big break for two dead-end workers in the bar, if they play their cards right and trust the owner of the place to make a good deal with the local money mogul. Before they can dream what to do with all the money they'll make, the owner turns up dead, Silver Johnny disappears, the second in command takes over the bar and power positions are juggled about. Going through the uppers and downers filched from pocketbooks, and trying to keep a Gd on the precocious anger of the dead owner's son, the band of losers figures out the law of the streets and who killed the boss, but not in time to save one of their own, and perhaps their souls.
ISBN: 0-8222-1661-2
ISBN 185459 366 8


Play. Simon Gray
M4 (17, young, middle-age, 60s) F2 (30s, 50s). A living-room.

Inspired by the notorious Rattenbury case, this is the story of a murder. Teddy, embittered, deaf, with a lurking sadism, is married to Molly, a much younger woman. Into this household comes Oliver, a youth engaged as odd-job gardener. Despite his ignorance and general unattractiveness, Molly succumbs to starting a squalid affair. After witnessing Molly's humiliation by Teddy, the enraged Oliver, himself taunted by Teddy, stabs his tormentor to death with the garden shears. Period 1930s
ISBN 0 573 11285 1

Molly Sweeney

Drama. Brian Friel
2 men, 1 woman. Unit set.

Three points of view about a poignant drama are related by three characters addressing the audience directly. First there is Molly, blind since early infancy, who describes her world before and after an operation to restore some of her sight. Her husband, Frank, who pushed Molly into this operation, relates his view of his wife's journey into sightedness, and his dealings with her doctor. Molly's once-famous eye surgeon, Mr. Rice, watches both Molly and Frank and reveals his opinion of them along with his own fears in handling the operation. Through it all we see each character's painful and happy histories, their memories and events that led them to meet. Their stories interweave on stage, threading in and around each other's lives, until the unexpected and touching conclusion to this striking tale.

Momma's Little Angels

Drama. Louis LaRusso II. 3 men, 2 women. Interior.

The Mastice brothers, Tony and Larry, have come home to join their sister, Patsie, for the funeral of their mother. After the service they are joined by their mother's sister, Aunt Tillie, and by their long-time family physician, Dr. Carillo, who attended their mother in her final illness. At first the mood is one of warm memories, tempered by "family jokes" and the recollection of childhood antics, but after Dr. Carillo leaves the atmosphere grows tense as Patsie reveals her conviction that their mother died through the doctor's neglect. Incredulous at first, the brothers' doubts gradually give way as Patsie ties the doctor's action to the evil power of their estranged father, a Mafia underlord who abandoned the family many years before. In a gripping scene the brothers wring the truth from Dr. Carillo, and then face the awful dilemma of how to punish the one who is directly responsible for the tragedy - their father. Goaded by the revengeful Patsie they reluctantly take the final, fatal step, avenging their mother, but also shattering their peace of mind for the years to come.
ISBN: 0-8222-0769-9

Moment of Weakness

Comedy. Donald Churchill
M 1 (40s) F2 (18, 40s). A cottage living-room.

When Audrey and Tony meet some while after their divorce, they share memories, rekindle arguments and re-open wounds. Audrey, uncertain about her new boyfriend's offer of marriage, finally makes up her mind and accepts. Lucy, Audrey and Tony's daughter, reveals that Tony had been hoping to start again with Audrey, but had been too nervous to ask. Audrey marries her boyfriend, immediately regrets it and is partially reconciled with Tony.
ISBN 0 573 69280 7

Monday After the Miracle

Play. William Gibson. 3 men, 2 women. Unit Set.

The action of the play takes place in Boston, seventeen years after the events of The Miracle Worker. Helen is now an honour student at Radcliffe, and she and Annie have undertaken to write a book about their remarkable experiences. A young instructor of English from Harvard, John Mary, is engaged to help them and Annie, yielding to an overpowering need to pursue a life of her own, soon falls in love with him. Their marriage, and the disruptive domestic triangle which results, leads to the compelling crisis of the play. After years of total dedication to her charge, Annie finds her loyalties divided and Helen, herself aware of strong sexual stirrings, contributes to the growing discord and the inevitable failure of her mentor's marriage. As the play ends the two women accept the inescapable truth of their condition - that they are inextricably bound together and must find, in each other, whatever rewards life might bring.
ISBN: 0-8222-0770-2

Money and Friends

Drama. David Williamson. 5 men, 4 women. Unit Set

Peter, a professor of pure mathematics, spends his weekends at Crystal Inlet as do most of his friends - Conrad (a star television reporter) and his wife Jaquie; Stephen (a surgeon) and his wife Penny; Alex (a mega-lawyer) and his wife Vicki; and Margaret, a history professor, Peter's closest friend. Peter and Margaret are the exceptions to wealth and marriage - his wife passed away and her husband left her for a yóunger woman. As this weekend begins, Margaret is a little more bitter than usual and Peter is a little more accommodating as they've both got something bothering them. During drinks one evening, Margaret, fed up with the "tribe," gets a little too nasty, ending the evening on a sour note. Margaret's honesty prompts Peter to-tell her that he's about to lose everything unless he can come with $40,000 to cover a failed loan. She insists he tell everyone and ask for their help, but he refuses and makes her promise not reveal anything. The weekend progresses and, taking Margaret's lead, Peter attempts some honesty, starting with her. He tells Margaret to stop picking up younger men, and then goes on to inform his other friends what he really thinks, leaving them stunned. Initially, except Margaret, they never want to see him again, but soon realise that what Peter did was actually good for them. Realising that Peter is really their best friend, Alex and Vicki plan a surprise party in his honour. In the light of these plans Margaret can't keep quiet and spills the story of Peter's financial trouble and suggesting they should loan him $40,000. Despite their wealth, however, they'd rather die than part with any of their money, even to help their friend. In the end, all are forced to make decisions regarding Peter's debt, and as money initially tore them apart, it will inevitably bring some of the friends back together again.
ISBN: 0-8222-1580-2

The Monogamist

Comedy/drama. Christopher Kyle.
2 men, 3 women. Unit set.

Dennis, a forty-something poet who has never lived up to his earlier promise, has just written a collection of poems concerned with the relevance of monogamy in 1990s America. And, in a testament to his new philosophy, he's recently married his longtime companion, Susan, a professor of women's literature at Princeton. So imagine Dennis's surprise when he fords Susan in bed with one of her students, the morally ambiguous Tim. Thrown into a mid-life crises by his wife's infidelity, Dennis ends up in the arms of Sky, a confused twentyyearold who says she voted for George Bush because she's fanatically prochoice on abortion! As the liberal Dennis leads Sky toward political enlightenment, he is forced to reevaluate his work and his relationships - even the legacy of his precious 60s generation. An edgy and original satire, The Monogamist examines art, love and politics in an age where the rules for each of them no longer apply.
ISBN: 0-8222-1525-X

A Month in the Country

Play. Brian Friel, after Turgenev.
M7 (21, 30s, 40s, 57) F5 (17, 20s, 37, 58). A drawing-room, a garden.

In the introduction, Brian Friel identifies the novelty of Turgenev's drama 'where psychological and poetic elements create a theatre of moods and where the action resides in internal emotion and secret turmoil'. His lively, comic play describes the course of a passionately eventful summer month in which Natalya, luminous, anguished and possessed by love, is left to recover a measure of happiness after her turbulent disquiet. Period early 1840s

Natalya Petrovna, once wooed and won over by the rich landowner Arkady Sergeyevich,. has now suffered a long and frustrating marriage. She has taken comfort in the love of Michel, a family friend, but even he has come to represent the same kind of boredom Natalya finds with her doting husband. Instead, it is Aleksey, her son's dashing 21-year-old tutor, whom Natalya now desires. Natalya's beautiful and energetic ward Vera, though, can't help but compete for Aleksey's affections, being so close to him in age. How to position herself between Aleksey and Vera, then, becomes Natalya's obsession during the hot summer days, and when she learns that a neighboring landowner wants to marry Vera, Natalya seizes the chance to remove the only obstacle between her and seducing away the young Aleksey. Heartbreaking though the consequences may be for Vera - her suitor, you see, is almost 60 - Natalya goes to increasingly dangerous ends to encourage the match while simultaneously wooing Aleksey. Risking her home, her marriage and even the only man who's ever sworn to stand by her, proves to be too much. Abandoned in the end by everyone but her husband, Natalya's situation comes to represent the thoroughly modern predicament of never being satisfied with what one has.

A Month In the Country

Play Ivan Turgenev. Translated by Ariadne Nicolaef.
8 men (10, 20s-40s) , 5 women F5 (17, 20s, 37, 58). A drawing-room, a garden. Interior/Exterior

The place is the country estate of the Islayevs, a wealth Russian family: the time the middle of the 19th century. It is summer, and the lives of the family and their entourage reflect the bored indolence so characteristic of the aristocracy of the time. However, conflict arises when Natalya, the lady of the house, conceives an infatuation for Belyayev, her young son's tutor. She finds herself in competition with her ward, Vera, who is also smitten with the engaging, if ingenuous, young man. Moved by her emotions, but fearful of compromising her position, Natalya nevertheless manages to upset the others in the household - her husband, her mother-in-law, her lovelorn admirer, Rakitin, and her ward. Only the village doctor, a self-made man whose cynical observations provide a telling counterpoint to the actions of the others, seems to be removed from their problems. In the end, of course, the crisis ebbs, the tutor departs, tangled relationships are sorted out, and lives resume the gentle ease from which they had been stirred by this brief and unlikely flicker of passion.
ISBN: 0-8222-0772-9
ISBN 0 573 01597 X (UK)

A Month in the Country

Comedy. Ivan Turgenev. Adapted into English by Emlyn Williams
For cast and settings see above.

This play, originally censored on the ground of immorality, is the story of Turgenev's own disappointed romance with the wife of a friend. The young tutor who arrives on the Yslaev estate stays a month, during which both the land-owner's wife and her ward fall in love with him. He has to leave as does his wife's platonic lover. A sub-plot interwoven into the play reveals a world of sexual and mercenary intrigue. Period early 1840s Russia

A Month of Sundays

Play. Bob Larbey
M3 (40s, 60s) F3 (24, 40s). A room in a rest home for the elderly.

Set in a rest home, this play revolves around two residents: Cooper, who has voluntarily left his family to avoid the indignity of depending on them, and his friend Aylott, both on the verge of some geriatric embarrassment. To the painful ritual of family visits and empty condescension the two inmates reply with humour and wit, aware that life can only be endured if treated as a comedy.

A Month of Sundays

Comedy. Gerald Savory
M3 (25, 50s, elderly) F4 (15, 20s, 45). A farm kitchen.

Oliver dreams of going back to the land. Unfortunately, his family finds the discomforts of their farm no substitute for civilization. The new farmhand Tim cannot bear seeing good land wasted by Oliver's incompetence; unwisely, he says so, the night he and Oliver's daughter Sarah get engaged. Oliver immediately sacks him. Eventually Oliver takes his jubilant family back to civilization, leaving the farm to Tim and Sarah.
ISBN 0 573 01283 0