Composers and their stage works 


The Old Boy

Drama. A.R. Gurney. 4 men, 2 women. Unit Set

Sam, a successful politician and diplomat, is invited to speak at the dedication of a new building named for his old school friend, Perry, and paid for by Perry's wealthy mother. The knowledge that Perry died of AIDS galvanizes Sam as memories of his own homophobic response to Perry's sexuality are played out in flashback. Sam's solution had been to arrange a marriage between. Perry and one of Sam's discarded girlfriends, Alison. Faced now with the embittered Alison and a dawning sense of his own complicity in Perry's fate, Sam must decide whether or not to speak out on the issue of tolerance and jeopardize his chance for the governorship. He has to choose between his conscience and the old boy network which has served him so well.
ISBN: 0-8222-0840-7

The Old Country

Play. Alan Bennett
M3 (20s, 50s, 60s) F3 (30s, middle-age, 60s). A veranda.

Hilary and Bron await the arrival of Hilary's sister and brother-in-law in a very English setting: Bron potters about the garden and Hilary sits asleep on the veranda, Elgar's music drifts from the house. The visitors arrive, bringing an assortment of particularly English things, and as the conversation proceeds, it becomes apparent they are not in England. In fact Hilary fled into exile some years previously after betraying his country, but now it seems he must return.
ISBN 0 573 11317 3

Old Herbaceous

Alfred Shaughnessy, adapted from the original novel by Reginald Arkell
Comedy/Monologue 1M Interior set

It's not often that you find a play which gives you gardening tips and cookery suggestions! This one- man show about Bert, the head gardener at a country house, has entranced audiences all around the country. Indeed the play was performed by Roger Hume at Windsor Castle on Boxing Night 1979 in the presence of the Royal Family. As Bert potters around his plant pots and gardening tools he relates tales of his life as gardener, completely drawing us in to his special world and treating us as garden party guests who are nosing in on his greenhouse.
ISBN: 0 85676 014 5

Old Man Joseph and His Family

Play. Romulus Linney:
6 men, 4 women (most roles are doubled). Unit Set

Comprised of a series of vignettes, bridged by music and deft changes of scene, the play offers a fresh and colourful interpretation of biblical events and figures. As the action begins we meet the aged Joseph, a long-time widower, who, being unmarried, is forced by law to take the young Mary as his bride. All things considered he is bemused and bewildered when she becomes pregnant although he agrees to accept the child, Jesus, as his son. As for the miracles which begin to occur from infancy on, Joseph is quizzical about these too, and when Jesus grows into a rebellious and confused teenager Joseph's annoyance at the boy's "tricks" deepens. As the various episodes are played out, however, a moving family drama emerges and the touching humanity of both the old man and the young boy are made real in a way which only the living theatre, and the "Bible of the Folk," could capture and set forth.
ISBNS 0-8222-0841-5

Old Phantoms

Play. Gus Edwards. 5 men, 3 women. Unit Set.

Shifting back and forth in time, the play begins as two brothers and their sister come together for the funeral of their father, a strongly motivated black man who had become a respected property owner in the small Southern town where they had grown up. In a series of flashbacks we meet the father, Jack Hamilton, as he tries to inculcate his values and fierce sense of pride into his children, challenging his sons to excel in whatever they undertake, and disparaging the poor young black boy who has shown an interest in his daughter. The spectre of his beloved wife, who died in childbirth, and the presence of Mavis, who replaced her in his household, also shed light on the ultimately destructive effect of Jack's automatic ways and the impossibly high standards he has set. Eventually the younger, brighter son falls easily into a life of crime; the older, slower brother settles for meaningless, routine jobs; and the daughter, subjugated and depersonalised by her father's demands, resigns herself to caring for him in his final years. In the end; after squabbling over the division of the estate, the three part - free at last from their father's powerful presence, yet committed, irrevocably, to the destinies which his influence has shaped for them.
ISBN: 0-8222-0842-3

The Old Settler

Drama. John Henry Redwood.
1 man, 3 women. Unit set

In World War II Harlem, New York, a fifty-five-year-old spinster (or as they were called in those days - an OLD SETTLER) Elizabeth Borny, takes in a young male roomer, Husband Witherspoon, to help her with the rent. Husband has come to Harlem from South Carolina to search for his girlfriend, Lou Bessie Preston. Also living with Elizabeth is her sister, Qtiilly McGrath, fifty-three. There is an ominous cloud of tension that hangs over Elizabeth and Quilly's relationship. This tension is further exacerbated when Elizabeth and Husband take to liking each other. Quilly, who doesn't like Husband living with them in the first place, surely does* approve of their "carrying on," especially since Elizabeth is old enough to be Husband's mother. Iris this "carrying on" that exposes a thirty-year-old wound which, until now, only had a bandage - now the wound can heal for the sisters.
ISBN: 0-8222-1642-6

Old Times

Play. Harold Pinter. 1 man (40s), 2 women (40s). Interior (A sitting-room, a bedroom.)

The scene is a fashionably remodelled farmhouse in the countryside somewhere beyond London, where a prosperous and urbane couple are entertaining the wife's former roommate and friend whom they have not seen for twenty years. At first the husband and wife banter, then the friend joins them and a flood of intertwining memories ensues. The action shifts back and forth in time, as recollection of what did - or, perhaps, did not - happen are pondered and, as the tension builds, we are aware that the husband and the friend have become locked in a duel for the wife's very soul. Reveries and ambiguities abound, hinting at much more than is said, and forming together into a surprising entity which challenges the heart and mind, and will linger on enticingly in the memory.
ISBN: 0-8021-5029-2

Old Wicked Songs

Drama. Jon Marans.
2 men; Unit set.

Hoping to reconnect with his music and shatter the artistic block that's plagued his career, Stephen Hoffman, a young American piano prodigy, ventures to Vienna in the spring of 1986. He is assigned to an elderly vocal teacher, Professor Josef Mashkan, who give Stephen the Dichterliebe song cycle by Robert Schumann. Although Stephen resents having to study simple vocal accompaniment, he slowly realises that he is in the hands of a master teacher. It's a grudging realisation at best for Stephen, as he and Mashkan approach each other from such opposite ends of experience. It seems impossible at first that they will ever get along, much less work together. Their dichotomies abound: one is European, one American; one old-fashioned, the other, modern; one passionate, the other, merely technically precise; and finally, one a seeming anti-Semite, and the other, a Jew - a theme partly expressed by the play's allusions to Kurt Waldheim's campaign for Austria's presidency. When Stephen visits Dachau, at the insistence of his Jewish parents, the whitewash of official German history fills him with rage, and he channels this anger into his art - and against Mashkan as well. Stephen soon discovers that Mashkan's anti-Semitic remarks mask a darker history; he is a Holocaust survivor who would rather die than confront his demons. Stephen urges Mashkan to tell his story - for his sake as well as for Stephen's - but eventually, only music - their one common bond - helps release the burning emotions of the teacher and melt the frigidity of the student.

Old Wine In a New Bottle

Comedy. Murray Schisgal. 3 men, 2 women. Interior.

Irving Berger, having reached a late-middle-aged crisis, has decided to leave his wife of twenty-two years and move in with Dawn Williams, an attractive young actress with whom he has been having a clandestine affair. Unfortunately Irvings arrival catches Dawn by surprise, and with a few loose ends in her own life which need to be tied up: namely Gary Duncan (who still has a key to her apartment); Scott Pomeranz (a lecherous dentist turned theatrical producer); and Darcy Slotnick (who may be a carrier of herpes). The unexpected appearance of Irvings wife, Marsha, to discuss their divorce procedure (and to pass along some rather unkind observations from their children) only adds to Irv's consternation, and fuels the growing suspicion that he may live to regret his rash decision. When the suddenly liberated Marsha goes off with Gary (who may have contracted herpes from Dawn, who may have picked it up from Darcy) Irv's spirits sink still further, and when he seeks guidance from the aged Rabbi Blaufarb, it is not this ancient worthy who turns up but, instead, his free-living young son and successor (who also had a summer fling with Dawn in the Hamptons). But it is always darkest before the dawn, as we discover when it develops that the herpes scare was a hoax and when Irving and Marsha (after really talking to each other for the first time in years) decide to give their marriage - and its neglected romance - another chance.
ISBN: 0-8222-0844-X


Play. Aleksei Arbuzov. Translated by Ariadne Nicolaeff
M 1 (65) Fl (60). Simple settings.

Peggy Ashcroft and Anthony Quayle starred in the original RSC production of this tender, gentle play. Rodion is medical head of a sanatorium where Lidya is a patient, suffering from arteriosclerosis. They first meet following complaints from other patients of her habit of reciting poetry in the middle of the night and singing at dawn. She is clearly no ordinary patient and the play follows, with warmth and gentle humour, the mutual growth of interest and liking, to lasting affection.
ISBN 0 573 01708 5

The Oldest Living Graduate

Comedy/Drama. Preston Jones.
6 men, 3 women. Interior.

The locale is Bradleyville, Texas, where Colonel Kinkaid, a crusty World War I veteran now confined to a wheelchair, regales anyone who will listen with tales of "Black Jack" Pershing and his days of campaigning in France. His son, an aggressive wheeler-dealer, learns that the Colonel is the oldest living graduate of Mirabeau B. Lamar Military Academy, and when the school comes forth with the idea of holding a celebration in honour of the old man, the son persuades them to do so in Bradleyville - hoping to benefit from the resulting publicity. But getting his father to agree to the plan and to parting with a piece of property which the son covets for commercial purposes, are other matters. Resolute to the end, Colonel Kinkaid resents being the "oldest living anything" and, with his dying breath, continues to resist the loss of his ideals to expediency and to a way of life which he can only regard as shoddy, second-rate-and lacking in the values which he has 'striven to uphold'.
ISBN: 0-8222-0845-8

Oldtimers Game

Play Lee Blessing.
9 men. Interior.

The place is the locker room of the Northshore (Minnesota) Otters, a Triple-A baseball club struggling through a lacklustre season. It's the day of the annual Oldtimers Game, and several former Otters are on hand, including "Old John Law, a Hall of Famer; Dave Pearl, now a star centre fielder in the big leagues; Jim Nealy, a once promising player who retired early because of injury; and Crab Detlefson, whom the others have difficulty recalling, despite his tales of daring-do on the field. The present-day Otters are represented by Sut Davis, a talented (but impatient) young hitter who wants desperately to move up to the majors; the catcher, Harry Nix, whose sharp tongue (and fondness for booze) have hindered his career; the agile shortstop, Jesus Luna, who is resigned to being marooned in the minor leagues; and their long-suffering manager, Cal Timmer, a seasoned veteran who, despite all, still believes that the Otters are destined for greatness. And, finally, there is the rookie owner, Mr. Thompson, an aggressive advertising executive who "loves to win" and has some rather bizarre ideas about how to achieve his goal. A sudden rainstorm interrupts the game and brings the players together in the locker room where moments of humour and poignancy are mingled as the "has-beens" and the "would-bes" play cards, drink beer, and talk of the past, or the future, as the case may be. "Old John" nurses a bad back; Sut Davis laments hurting his knee while showing off for Mr. Thompson; and Harly Nix, learning that his contract will not be renewed, trashes the manager's office. As the play ends some new (and unexpected) shifts are announced - but it is evident that, for most of the Otters, the more things seem to change, the more they will really remain the same.
ISBN: 0-8222-0843-1


Play. David Mamet
1 man, 1 woman; interior.

A college student, Carol, drops by her professor's office in an effort to gain his help to do better in class. John, the professor, in the midst of buying a house to celebrate his nomination for tenure, at first seems distant. As the first meeting progresses the two discuss the nature of understanding and judgement in society, as well as their very own natures and places in our society. It seems as if a bond has been made. When next they meet we find that a report has been filed to the tenure committee. Carol has joined a "group" and has decided that John sexually harassed her during their first meeting. Their second meeting dissects the first; every word, every nuance of the first meeting has been twisted into. something else. Or has it? John's unsuccessful attempts to convince Carol to retract her accusation escalate to a more dangerous level. The third meeting, one the court officers warned against, climaxes violently leaving John and Carol both physically and emotionally devastated.


David Mamet : Drama 1M 1F Interior set

Mamet's scathing investigation of 'political correctness' at a time of moral uncertainty provoked audiences worldwide in one of the most exciting and important plays for many years. When a college student files a sexual harassment claim against her professor, both of their lives will never be the same again. In three scenes, we witness the first encounter which leads to the charge, and a subsequent meeting between the two once the charge has been filed when they go over the events from the first - everything seems to be twisted one way, then another - until the failure of the professor to get his student to retract her charge escalates everything to a new and more dangerous level for both. The third meeting, against the advice of their respective counsels, finds both desperately struggling to achieve their own aims and reaches a violent climax which leaves both professor and student physically and emotional devastated. 'Mamet sends a wrecking ball smack into the face of political correctness, an enthralling, emotionally-charged battle of the sexes that reaches a heart-pounding climax and raises questions about power, privilege, exploitation and the educational process. Riveting.' - Sunday Express.
ISBN: 0 8222 1343 5

Oliver Twist

Play. Jeremy Brock. Adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens
34 characters. Extras. May be played by a cast of eleven. Various interior and exterior settings.

Jeremy Brock's splendidly theatrical stage version of Oliver Twist combines all the richness of Dickens's story - the sinister antics of Fagin, the comic pomposity of Mr Bumble the Beadle, and the horror of Nancy's murder at the hands of Sykes. Originally devised for eleven actors playing multiple roles, the play is easy to stage, makes good use of sound effects for atmosphere and makes more than a nod to the contemporary world.
ISBN 0 573 01851 0