Composers and their stage works 


On Approval

Comedy. Frederick Lonsdale
M2 (middle-age) F2 (young, middle-age). A drawing-room, a living-room.

Richard adores the widow Mrs Wislack, who has a friend in Helen, herself in love with the Duke of Bristol. The Duke urges Richard to press his suit, but the widow proposes a test. They are to spend one month in her house in Scotland. However Mrs Wislack proves a tyrant: Richard's life becomes a burden, and Helen finds the Duke impecunious. Richard and Helen slip away from the house, leaving the selfish couple possibly snowbound for weeks together.
ISBN 0 573 01855 3

On Borrowed Time

Play. Paul Osborn from the novel by L.E. Watkin.
11 men, 3 women.

Gramps is idolised by his young grandson, Pud, who models his every action after the old man. But Gramps' salty expressions and rough behaviour are frowned upon by both the strait-laced Aunt Demetria and Granny, so Aunt Demetria comes to live with them, hoping she can steer the boy in the right direction. Death, in the form of Mr. Brink, comes to claim Gramps, but is forcibly sent about his business. Still, he manages to take Granny instead and later returns for Gramps, who outwits Brink by trapping him up an apple tree, thus suspending Death throughout the universe. Aunt Demetria, who can't see Mr. Brink in the tree, tries to prove that Gramps is insane in order to get legal possession of Pud. Matters come to a climax when one of the townspeople tries to take Gramps to an institution and is shot. But the victim refuses to die, and the others plead with Gramps to release Brink so that the world can resume its normal cycle. At this moment, Brink tricks Pud into climbing the tree, and the boy falls, fatally injuring himself. In order not to be separated from Pud, Gramps allows Brinks to come down from the tree and willingly goes with him to the gates of Eternity where he is greeted by his beloved Granny, scolding him as usual.
ISBN: 0-8222-0847-4

On Golden Pond

Ernest Thompson : Light Drama
3M 2F 1 boy Interior set

A touching, funny and warmly perceptive study of a spirited and lovable elderly couple facing their twilight years. Ethel and Norman Thayer return to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 44th year. He is a retired professor, nearing eighty, with heart palpitations and a failing memory, but still as sharp-tongued, observant and eager for life as ever. Ethel, ten years younger and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things which have enriched and continue to enrich their life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer. The boy quickly becomes the grandchild the elderly couple have longed for and as Norman revels in taking his ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, he also learns some lessons about modern teenage awareness in return. In the end, as the summer wanes, so does their brief idyll and in the final deeply moving moments of the play, Norman and Ethel are brought even closer together by the incidence of a mild heart attack. A work of rare simplicity and beauty.
ISBN: 0 8222 0848 2

On Monday Next

Comedy. Philip King
M9 F5. A stage.

The Drossmouth Repertory Company are holding the second rehearsal of the play they are hoping to perform the following week. The proceedings are complicated by the strong-willed producer's rows with his equally strong-willed actors; by the stage carpenter who insists on sawing up the stage during rehearsals; by the author who also wants to direct. Finally, the leading man and lady start to squabble furiously and there seems little chance the play will open. But these are old troupers, and the show goes on.
ISBN 0 573 01318 7

On the Bum, or The Next Train Through

Comedy/Drama. Neal Bell.
9 men, 3 women, 1 girl (flexible casting). Unit Set

In the waning days of the 1930s Great Depression, an out-of-work actress hits the road again after her first New York show collapses before it can open. Through the Federal Theatre Project, Eleanor's landed an acting job in the kind of tiny town she'd hoped to escape forever. So she hops a train to Bumfork - meeting suspicious tramps and angry railroad cops - to perform in an innocuous pageant-in-verse by a stuffy local authoress, about the Great Flood that destroyed the town fifty years before. While rehearsing at an abandoned farm, Eleanor meets and falls in love with Frank, an out-of-work, unhappily married man, who's more and more disillusioned with the world around him. Or maybe he's seen more of the truth - his version of which he teaches to Eleanor. With an irate government inspector on his way to sniff out any traces of bias in the upcoming pageant, Eleanor discovers the very political truth beneath the rhyming couplets of the pageant - that the Great Flood was the fault of greedy local fat-cats (who built a sub-standard dam), and disgruntled workers (one of whom sabotaged the poorly-built structure). These facts will offend everybody - the downtrodden locals, the wealthy patrons of the town, Eleanor's blue-collar lover Frank, and the government inspector. With the world of Bumfork getting stranger and stranger (some of the people who died in the Flood are drifting back into town as ghosts - or are they?), Eleanor wrestles with whether or not to fight for what she now believes. And her ultimate decision becomes the surprising climax, both of the play-within-the-play, and On the Bum.
ISBN: 0-8222-1344-3

On the Edge

Play Guy Hibbert.
4 men, 3 women. Exterior

The setting is the rubbish strewn backyard of Betty's rundown bungalow near a U.S. Air Force base in rural England. Deserted by a succession of lovers, Betty makes ends meet by selling herself to the young airmen, while her current live-in boyfriend, the brutish Ted, supplies them with drugs. Also living with her are her daughters Rita (who has a husband in prison and children in local care) and Cherry (who was brain damaged at birth), and her son, Kenny (a brooding bodybuilder who is suspected of having murdered an American serviceman). The action of the play is impelled by the return of another son, Jimmy who stops by with his friend Bobby, a black American ex-serviceman, to announce that they are headed for the United States to open a custom car shop. Their grandiose dreams of prosperity and a better life exacerbate the feelings of hopelessness and anger which infuse the others, and lead to the explosive climax of the play, in which Jimmy and Bobby, despite the pleas of Rita and Cherry to take them along, depart alone, and the seething Kenny, his frustration boiling over, turns on the taunting, foul-mouthed Ted and dispatches him with a steel wire garrote.
ISBN: 0-8222-0849-0

On the Piste

John Godber : Comedy
3M 3F Flexible staging

John Godber takes to the slopes in this hilarious and insightful view of skiing holidays, complete with all the pretensions and frustrations. Chris and Alison, Bev and Dave are all beginners - they've got the designer salopets, but do they have the courage? The sexy, athletically-tanned ski instructor Tony is eager to put in some overtime, while Melissa, on holiday alone, is creating one too many diversions. Both on and off piste, passions are running high while the 'après ski' brings nerves and insecurities dangerously close to the surface. Once the skis have been clicked into place, there's no stopping this fast paced and highly exhilarating play.
ISBN: 0 85676 128 1

On the Razzle

Farce. Tom Stoppard. Adapted from Einen Jux Will Er Sich Machen by Johann Nestroy
M 13 F9. 1 boy. Extras. Six settings.

Deciding to wine and dine his intended in town, Zangler, a prosperous merchant grocer, leaves his shop in the charge of two assistants who decide they, too, will have a day out. As they pursue wine, women and song through 1850s Vienna the precise intricate machinery of plot and subplot is soon whining at full speed to deploy all the elements of classic farce. 'A dazzle of verbal wit.' Daily Telegraph

On the Verge

Farcical comedy. Peter Horsler
M4 F6 (young, middle-age). A country cottage ground floor, with bedroom (optional).

Gerald, an archaeological lecturer, rents a remote country cottage for the weekend - ostensibly to work, in reality hoping for a little middle-age philandering with his attractive college librarian, Ruth. He introduces her as his secretary but their privacy is soon invaded by various locals, a menacing bull and finally by Gerald's wife, Alison. After increasingly hilarious complications Ruth and Alison ally themselves against Gerald, but Hamish the bull has the last word.
ISBN 0 573 11326 2

On the Verge, or the Geography of Yearning

Play. Eric Overmyer M1 (playing various parts) F3. Various simple settings.

In 1888, three experienced American lady adventurers - armed with umbrellas, a picnic and pith helmets- set out to explore 'terra incognito' eagerly embracing cultures and replicas of distant civilisations. Caught in a time warp, they find themselves in Eisenhower's 1950s America. The trio split when two decide to remain in 1955 and it is left to Mary to continue the journey of exploration. This witty, surreal play was seen in London in 1989 starring Paola Dionisotti and Juliet Stevenson.
ISBN 0 573 01712 3

On Whitman Avenue

Drama: Maxine Wood. 9 men, 6 women. Exterior

This effective play on race prejudice had a considerable run on Broadway. A serious play for adult groups. Basing her play on the ever-present problem of the segregation of blacks, Miss Wood presents two families, one white, one black, who live on a friendly basis in a Northern city. The forces of prejudice, however, force the whites into a situation which precipitates a struggle and ultimately brings about tragedy.