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Luigi Pirandello. Adapted by Nicholas Wright
5m 3f. Drama. Single interior set.

A nanny, whose charge died in her care, attempts suicide but fails. She is taken in by a lustful novelist who tries to discover her real story as men from her past turn up to claim different versions of the truth. 'The play is like an ingenious detective story in which emotion is every bit as important as evidence' Daily Telegraph. 'A masterly play, frequently touched by profound wit ... in a handsome new version by Nicholas Wright' Financial Times. This new adaptation was premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, in 1998 with Juliette Binoche
ISBN 1 85459 339 0


Play. Olwen Wymark. Adapted from the novel by Emile Zola
40 characters, may be played by M5 F5. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

Olwen Wymark's splendid dramatisation of Zola's Nana is a story of sexual and financial greed in nineteenth-century Parisian society, depicting the rise and tragic downfall of a young courtesan. The play was commissioned by Shared Experience and had a highly acclaimed run at The Almeida Theatre, London, in 1988. 'Olwen Wymark has filleted the flesh from Zola's novel to produce a work which reeks of sex and pleasure.' Time Out

Napoli Milionaria

Play. Eduardo de Filippo. Adapted by Peter Tinniswood
M 14 F 11. A large room.

Life is hard in Naples during World War II but Donna Amalia does her best to keep the family afloat by dealing on the black market. Amalia prospers while Gennaro, her law-abiding husband, goes missing and is presumed dead. He returns unexpectedly to find his wife unfaithful, his son a car thief, his daughter pregnant and his other daughter critically ill. Shocked by the effects of corruption on his family, Gennaro prepares to resume his role as head of the household. Tinniswood's adaptation for the National Theatre moves the play to Liverpool.

Nasty Neighbours

Debbie Isitt : Comedy 3M 3F Interior set

A terrifically thrilling black comedy examining the stresses and strains of modem life in the 1990s, Nasty Neighbours bursts into life following the emigration of Mr and Mrs Peach's neighbours the Hodges to Australia. The grieving Peaches anxiously twitch behind the net curtains at their semi- etached home wondering who will arrive next door to take their place. But Mr and Mrs Chapman prove to be far from the ideal couple the Peaches had dreamed of. The Chapmans are rude, loud and aggressive, and with growing frustration Mr Peach embarks on a massive feud with his new neighbours. The problems escalate out of all proportion, even including the harassment of his old neighbours on the other side of the world. It isn't long before all three couples are tearing each other apart and in a terrifying climax Mr Peach sets out to show the Chapmans just how nasty a neighbour can be ...
ISBN: 0 85676 213 X

The National Health or Nurse Norton's Affair

Play. Peter Nichols
M12 (18, 30s-60s, 82, very old) F8 (young West Indian, young, 30, old). A hospital ward (with insets).

The scene is a men's hospital ward. Against a beautifully detailed documentary background the author juxtaposes scenes of rich satire, in which the hospital staff become the highly romanticised characters of a television hospital series. The author's comments on the joys and pains of living and his observations on the society of today are juggled with breath-taking dexterity.

National Velvet

Play Enid Bagnold. 7 men, 4 women. Unit Set.

Velvet Brown is a little girl with a big dream. Day and night she talks of horses; the sleek beautiful animals who have the courage and stamina to win in England's famous Grand National. Someday she too will enter this most gruelling and difficult of races. Velvet's family has little patience with her dreams of glory, except for her mother, who swam the English Channel when she was younger and knows that one must stretch one's abilities to capture the wildest hopes. And Mi Taylor, whose love of horses matches Velvet's own. Mi recognises in Velvet the same spirit which had given her mother the will to succeed. There is a lottery about to be held, the prize being "The Piebald," an undisciplined and seemingly useless horse. Mi buys Velvet a ticket and she wins! After that the story is one of making a dream come true, as they train the horse and enter it in the Grand National. And they almost win, but what really matters is what they learn about life and people and the things that really matter when momentary acclaim has run its course.


Peter Whelan and Bill Alexander : Nativity play
10M 6F (doubling possible) Flexible staging

This version of the Nativity story was a special commission by Birmingham Repertory Theatre for its Millennium celebrations, and as the curtain rises on the engagement party for Mary and Joseph. Soon after Mary is visited by the archangel Gabriel who tells her she's carrying the son of God. Her resolve in this belief is sorely tested by her family and upon his return from Jerusalem Joseph's initial despair turns to belief and joy when he, too, is visited by Gabriel. Despite the misgivings of their parents the wedding goes ahead as planned. Embarking to Bethlehem to pay taxes, Joseph and a heavily pregnant Mary arrive to find no lodgings anywhere. They are finally taken in by the kindly Boaz and his wife Sara, who despite having no room to speak of find them space with the animals in the manger where Mary gives birth. Word has spread from the astrologer's convention to Herod's court of the new baby king, and following the arrival in Bethlehem of three wise men from the East, Joseph and Mary quickly flee with their newborn child to avoid Herod's determined attempts to rid the world of his baby rival. Constantly guarded by the angel Gabriel, they arrive safely in Egypt to live in exile, where Mary is visited in her dreams by the image of Cleopatra. When word finally reaches the trio of Herod's death, the young Jesus is able to return home to his awaiting people in triumphant joy.
ISBN: 0 85676 247 4

Natural Affection

Drama. William Inge. 7 men, 5 women. Interior

As she awaits the impending Christmas visit of her teenage son, Donnie, Sue Barker is torn between the love she feels as a mother and the fear that his presence will disrupt the life which she has built in his absence. Having been deserted by the boy's father before his birth, Sue was forced to support herself, leaving Donnie to a childhood of orphan homes, delinquency and ultimately a term at the penal farm. Working her way up to a position of head lingerie buyer for a Chicago department store, Sue has acquired a small but fashionable apartment and a lover, Bernie Slovenk. When Donnie announces that he will not have to go back to the farm if she will give him a home the crisis is broached. Although Bernie makes a half-hearted attempt to be affable with the boy, there is immediate tension between them and a growing sense of competition. The inescapable showdown comes on Christmas Eve, when the couple from next door join the others for a party. The wife throws herself first at Bernie and then at Donnie, but not before making it evident that she and Bernie have been something more than friendly neighbours. When the husband, Vince, goes out-on-the-town, Sue and Bernie give vent to the animosity which has risen up between them and Bernie leaves her, storming next door to spend the night. In the morning, and despite Donnie's pleas that he can make up for the loss of Bernie, Sue runs after Bernie, and her son, overwhelmed by the futility and hopelessness of his tortured existence, turns blindly on a nameless woman whom Vince has brought home with him, attacking her savagely in an act of desperate, lethal and inevitable violence.
ISBN: 0-8222-0805-9

Natural Causes

Comedy thriller. Eric Chappell
M3 (40s), F2 (20s, 40s). A study/library.

Vincent is a professional suicide merchant. Contracted by Walter Bryce, he arrives at his country house and mistakenly assumes that the potion was intended for Walter's consumption. It then becomes clear that Walter's wife Celia is the client - or is she'? Why are her suicide letters all typed and unsigned? After several thwarted attempts to poison various characters (resulting in multiple poisonings of a rubber plant), will anyone actually manage to drink the potion? This is black comedy at its blackest and best.
ISBN 0 573 01841 3

Ned Crocker

Comedy Robin Short.
3 men, 2 women, 2 boys, 2 girls. Interior

The place is rural New England, the time the latter part of the 19th century. Ned Crocker, a twelve-year-old trained from infancy as a bare-back rider, runs away from the circus and works as a stable boy for a young New England spinster. Miss Emily believes that home and fireside can solve any boy's problems, but she discovers that a "liberty horse" cannot be set to pulling a pony wagon without running into trouble. Ned's father, "The Great Scarlatti," had met with a serious accident in the Main Top, and as a result of running away the boy is left without a contract for the following season, just when he most needs it. The complications are resolved in a surprise ending that has a Yankee lawyer stealing a Christmas Tree and a jolly Irish housekeeper dancing the quadrille with Santa Claus. Exceptionally well written with interesting and appealing characters - excellent family entertainment.
ISBN: 0-8222-0807-5

The Neighbour

Play. Meredith Oakes
M4 (young, middle-age) F4 (young, middle-age). Various simple interior and exterior settings.

There is no harsher judge than your neighbour, and no jury more ready to convict an innocent man than his local community. In this powerful play, first performed at the Royal National Theatre, two young men living on a London council estate suddenly become enemies, invoking destructive forces beyond their control. The community takes sides like spectators cheering from a grandstand as the conflict escalates into tragedy. NB: this play contains explicit language.

Nellie Toole & Co.

Play Peter Keveson. 3 men, 1 woman. Interior.

In need of a job, a man answers a help wanted ad, and is told to report to a Second Avenue bar at two in the morning. When he arrives only the bartender and a piano player are there - and they are disturbingly vague as to what sort of job is in prospect. Then. Nellie Toole, a flamboyant woman haunted by spectres of her mysterious past, arrives, and begins to taunt and then flatter the stranger until he resolves to leave. But the other men bring him back, and a sinister charade commences. It is a reenactment of Nellies life, with the stranger forced to portray a key role - and to accept the consequences of the crushing truth which emerges as the play builds in suspense towards its inexorable climax.
ISBN: 0-8222-0810-5

The Nerd

Comedy. Larry Shue
M5 (10, 30s, 40s) F2 (30s, 40s). A living-room.

A Nerd - for which there is no British equivalent - is a mixture of twit, wimp, wally and creep. Staid Willum is having a birthday party. Rick, the Nerd, arrives in full Hallowe'en dress - four days late - and within minutes manages to insult, sicken and bore the guests. Willum endures this because Rick saved his life in Vietnam. Willum discovers that Rick is not what he seems and his reappearance stuns us all.
ISBN 0 573 01635 6

The Nerd

Comedy. Larry Shue. 5 men, 2 women. Interior

Now an aspiring young architect in Terre Haute, Indiana, Willum Cubbert has often told his friends about the debt he owes to Rick Steadman, a fellow ex-GI whom he has never met but who saved has life after he was seriously wounded in Vietnam. He has written to Rick to say that, as long as he is alive, "you will have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you" - so Willum is delighted when Rick shows up unexpectedly at his apartment on the night of his 34th birthday party. But his delight soon fades as it becomes apparent that Rick is a hopeless "nerd" - a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence, and less tact. And Rick stays on and on, his continued presence among Willurn and his friends leading to one uproarious incident after another, until the normally placid Willum finds himself contemplating violence - a dire development which, happily, is staved off by the surprising "twist" ending of the play.
ISBN: 0-8222-0811-3

Nets and Snares

(in Cinzano). Ludmila Petrushevskaya. Trans S. Mulrine
1f. Twenty minute monologue. No set required.

A haunting, monologue in which a woman reminisces about the time when she was pregnant and moved into her mother-in-law's house to await the baby. 'Petrushevskaya's people lack a sense of scale ... they are incapable of fully comprehending their fate, or of perceiving what is important amid the clamour of their short term needs and anxieties. In that respect, they resemble us all' Stephen Mulrine.
ISBN 1 85459 106 1

Never the Sinner

Play. John Logan
M6 (late teens, 20s, middle-age, 67) F1. Various interior and exterior settings on an open stage.

Seduction. Deception. Murder. This stunning Broadway hit (also seen at the Playhouse Theatre, London, in 1990) takes the audience back to 1924, to Chicago, where the Leopold and Loeb murder stunned and fascinated the nation. '...sweeps the audience into the boys' friendship without ever losing sight of the brutal murder. They lay out the furore and the legal manoeuvring surrounding this "Trial of the Century" particularly well, suggesting that nothing much has changed.' New Yorker
ISBN 0 573 62671 5

Neville's Island

Comedy. Tim Firth
M4 (40s) The shore of a wooded island.

Neville, Gordon, Angus and Roy, four out-of-condition, middle-aged businessmen from Pennine Spring Water, Ltd., are sent on a "business outbound team building weekend" in the Lake District. What should have been a run-of-the-mill orienteering exercise turns into a slapstick nightmare when Neville's team boat hits the rocks leaving them stranded on an uninhabited island- the first people ever to be shipwrecked inland. These middle-aged men are not suited for life in the wilds and quickly begin to show it. Neville, the captain of the team, tries to be objective and practical; Gordon quickly moves from caustic to cruel, and stays there, taking little responsibility for anything; Roy, recovering from a recent mental breakdown, goes deeper into prayer; and the mild-mannered Angus does his best to remain cheerful until Gordon's constant hounding drives him to violence. Their attempts at teamwork create one humorous situation after another as they backfire, and after which Gordon's belittling drives them apart. Roy seems to suffer another breakdown, running into the woods with just the right equipment to hang himself, causing Angus to snap and come at Gordon with a knife. The situation pitches on the brink of catastrophe when suddenly a chopper spots them and begins to descend. But the events on the island have changed them so much that even imminent rescue can't bring back who they were.
ISBN 0 573 14005 7(UK) ISBN: 0-8222-1581-0 (US)

Nevis Mountain Dew

Play. Steve Carter. 4 men, 3 women. Unit Set

The place is a home in Queens (NY), where the family of Jared Philibert, who has long been confined in an iron lung, gathers to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. Present are his wife; his two sisters, who also live in the house and care for him; the younger sister's boyfriend (who has brought along a case of West Indian rum called "Nevis Mountain Dew"); and a strapping young co-worker of his wife's. As the rum flows so does the truth: the bitterness of the sisters, who have sacrificed so much to look after their brother; the still young and passionate wife, whose husband has so long been a helpless invalid; and the young co-worker, whose attraction to the wife is no longer a secret. In the end Jared, aware that he is not the only one imprisoned by his condition, resolves to set both himself and the others free, by pleading with them to unplug the respirator, the "metal overcoat" in which he has spent so many years. His plea is answered, but the result is not the loss but rather the affirmation of life - which, in Jared's view, must be experienced fully and joyfully or not at all.
ISBN: 0-8222-0812-1

New Anatomies

Play. Timberlake Wertenbaker
F5, I musician, play 15 characters. Various interior and exterior settings.

Timberlake Wertenbaker's second play for the Women's Theatre Group, first seen at the Edinburgh Festival, considers women trapped in the 'golden cage' of normality. It portrays the eccentric Isabelle Eberhardt, an explorer who lived from 1877 to 1904, who travels through Algeria dressed as an Arab boy before going to Paris, where she encounters other women adopting male dress as a basis for greater freedom. ' ... an ambitious drama. Ms Wertenbaker's writing shows remarkable range ...' Time Out

New Beat On an Old Drum

Play. Kurtz Gordon.
5 men, 7 women, extras. Unit Set (Exterior/Interior).

When Jane Shaw, a young teacher, arrives to spend the summer at the beach house inherited from her aunt, she finds that her neighbours (four slightly "pixilated" widows) have agreed to sell their land to a dashing real estate operator - and her property is needed to complete the "package." Sensing a trick, Jane, and her teenage niece, Linda, take a closer look at the affairs of the developer, Rock Harrington, and end up deciding to reject his offer. In the ensuing complications Jane is aided by her good friend Gary Roberts (also in real estate); Linda finds herself pursued by several attractive young men; and another niece, the headstrong Mimi, arrives unannounced (and much to the others' dismay) to confuse matters further. In the end Jane's suspicions are borne out; Rock Harrington is foiled by his own cleverness; the "widows" receive a very, advantageous counter-offer; and Linda meets the kind of boy who would delight any young girl's summer. It all goes to proving again that the more things change the more they really remain the same - just a new beat on an old drum.
ISBN: 0-8222-0813-X

New England

Play. Richard Nelson
M4 (may be played by M3 with doubling) (30, 40s, 60s) F4 (30s, 41, 54). A study, part of a kitchen.

Harry Baker, an English music professor, lives with his English girlfriend in a farmhouse in Connecticut. When he commits suicide, his children, his brother and his daughter-in-law, all expatriates, descend on the house and find comfort in attacking their adopted country, sneering at its apparent lack of culture. But cracking jokes at the expense of the natives is merely a mask for their own insecurities, disappointments and rivalries.

Next Time I'll Sing to You

Play. James Saunders : Suggested by a theme from the book A Hermit Disclosed by Raleigh Trevelyan.
M4 F1. A bare stage with platform.

In 1942 a man, who had lived as a hermit for the last thirty-six years of his life, died. Taking this fact, the author of this play re-examines why the man chose to live alone for so long. Rudge reconstructs and examines the facts, their implications and inferences, with the help of four actors, Meff, Dust, Lizzie and an unnamed actor to play the Hermit.
As Richard Watts, Jr., comments on "Mr. Saunders has two major problems of striking interest on his hands. What is the relationship to his fellow-men of the alienated Jimmy Mason, who cut himself off from the world and lived in solitude for half a century, but left a diary behind? And how is the playwright to bring into dramatic focus his examination of the story and implications of this secret creature who has determined to sever all connection with human society and remain in brooding loneliness? It is the second question that provides the author with his most effective ideas. His method is to open with a kind of pseudo improvisation rather reminiscent of Six Characters In Search of an Author and perhaps Waiting for Godot. Three actors, while awaiting the arrival of the other two, chat brightly and humorously about all sorts of things, including bad jokes, the audience, and the matter of saying the same speeches night after night, and it is good fun. When the fifth actor, the one who is to play the hermit, has arrived, they are presumably ready for business. The man has removed his beard, but he puts it back on again, and it is when he later finds he is unable to take it off again that you know they already launched into the story."
ISBN: 0-8222-0814-8