Composers and their stage works 


Opal's Baby

Comedy. John Patrick. 2 men, 4 women. Interior.

The setting is again Opal's tumbledown home on the edge of the city dump, where Opal has a visitor looking for a tire to fit his 1927 Reo truck. Misguided into thinking that Opal is a rich eccentric, the shifty visitor, Norman, announces (fallaciously) that he too is a Kronkie - and Opal's long-lost kin. The upshot is that the warmhearted Opal takes him, and his whole family, in - whereupon they scheme to do her out of her supposed fortune. When Norman confides that his daughter-in-law, Verna, is pregnant (abetted by a well placed pillow) Opal decides to leave all her worldly goods tó the "baby," and the others have to settle for petty thievery while they figure out how to get around their lie. Needless to say the "plot thickens" hilariously as they do so, but happily all ends well, at least for Opal, who emerges safe, sound and ready for whatever may come next.
ISBN: 0-8222-0858-X

Opal's Husband

Comedy. John Patrick. 2 men, 3 women. Interior.

Bent as usual on a good deed, Opal tries to round up a husband for her friend Rosie, and answers a lonely hearts ad placed by "Mister Handsome'-who, when he shows up, proves to be a ninety-five-year-old escapee from a nursing home. As expected, complications ensue, and when Rosie rejects her would-be suitor, Opal reluctantly agrees to marry him in order to keep the old man from the clutches of his scheming daughter. It seems that he. really is quite rich, and his desire is to spend his last days (and his fortune) with a nubile maiden on a South Pacific island; while his daughter wants him to expire quickly, and quietly, in the old folks home. Thereafter the plots and counter-plots multiply hilariously as the daughter and her husband try to discredit the marriage (and convince Opal that she is cuckoo), while the old man devises his own plan to catch them in their dirty work. Happily he succeeds, and off he goes to his fond reward, leaving Opal with both an annulment and another delightful lesson in life to pass on to her myriad admirers.
ISBN: 0-8222-0859-8

Opal Is a Diamond

Comedy. John Patrick. 8 men, 3 women (of the men, many are bit parts). Interior.

Again, Opal's abundant good nature has made her the victim of another's baser instincts, this time the culprit being an oily, unscrupulous politician who is running for re-election as mayor. But Opal, abetted by new friends and old, decides to fight back - by becoming a candidate herself! To the consternation of her rival, Opal's appeal to the voters is embarrassingly great and foul play appears to be the only way to stave off an upset. What ensues will keep the audience in suspense - and roaring with laughter, until an unexpected turn of events brings all to its happy, lighthearted and delightfully satisfying conclusion.
ISBN: 0-8222-0857-1

Opal's Million Dollar Duck

Comedy. John Patrick. 1 man, 3 women. Interior

Searching for costumes for their next production, Desmond and Queenie, the "stars" of the local summer stock company, drop by "Opal's Antique Junque Shop." While rooting through Opal's treasures they spot a nondescript oil painting - a still life of a dead mallard duck and an apple - and recalling an item in the morning newspaper about an old master which has disappeared from the local art museum, suddenly realize that this may be the missing canvas, for which the insurance company is offering a sizable reward. Summoning up all their acting skills, they try to charm Opal into selling the painting for a pittance, but she explains that she plans to give it to her friend, Rosie, as a birthday present, whereupon the plot thickens hilariously. Desmond and Queenie resort to everything from outrageous flattery to knock-out drops trying to get their hands on the picture; Rosie, however, rejects it on the grounds that it reminds her of her pet duck (which was run over by a truck); and the plotters, much to their glee, march off triumphantly with their prize - unaware that a later edition of the paper carries a new. item: the old master has been found, and the canvas which disappeared was a worthless copy which the museum had thrown out with the garbage!
ISBN: 0-8222-0860-1

Opera Comique

Farce. Nagle Jackson. 6 men, 4 women. Interior.

The place is the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1875, at the first performance of Bizet's new opera, Carmen. All the "best people" are there but, as the cynical, worldly-wise usher, Odile, points out, they have not come to hear the music. Rather it is "amour" which they have on their minds: Paul Vigneron (who is having an affair with Madame de la Corniche) hopes to pair his sex-obsessed son Hector (who figuratively undresses every woman he sees) with his mistress' daughter, Viviane; while Viviane (who is not quite the innocent she seems) is hoping to bed down with the father rather than the son. Also on hand are a nervous Georges Bizet (for whose opera Odile has predicted sure and permanent failure); the revered Charles Gounod, doyen of French opera (who is not above the temptations of the flesh, despite his age and exalted status); and the tempting coquette, La Tartine (who has come to seduce Gounod but, in the comic doings, finds herself closeted naked with the randy Hector Vigneron instead). Eventually things become so hilariously tangled that straightening them out is seemingly impossible - but straightened out they are, except in the case of poor Bizet, who knows only that his cherished work has failed that evening, and does not live on long enough thereafter to learn that, in time, it will become the world's most popular opera.
ISBN. 0-8222-0861-X

Operation Midnight Climax

Play. Neal Bell. 3 men, 1 woman. Interior.

The scene is a small control room, where three CIA agents are closeted behind a two-way mirror, taping the off-stage actions of a fourth agent, a young woman who is having a prearranged passionate liaison with a suspected drug pusher. Ostensibly they are gathering information on the narcotics trade, but as they swap anecdotes and information the fact of their own moral decadence becomes increasingly evident. The men represent three contrasting faces of espionage: one is coldly authoritative; another, an older man, approaches his work with humorous detachment; while the third, an eager trainee, is learning the business "from the ground up." When the fourth agent, the woman, joins the others, the play takes on a special urgency. She, beautiful and seductive, had been romantically involved with the two older and she now seeks revenge for their complicity in the downfall of her father, a former colleague destroyed by drugs. In the end, however, she cannot wield the power she has over them for she, like the others, has become too demoralized and depersonalized by her work to react effectively to the outrage she feels.
ISBN: 0-8222-0862-8

The Opposite Sex

Comedy. David Tristram
M2 F2. A living-room.

David Tristram, author of What's for Pudding?, turns his attention to marital infidelity and its warring consequences in this adult-humoured comedy. Mark and Vicky and Judith and Eric have something in common and a chance meeting could have made for a pleasant social evening. Unfortunately, as they all come face to face, the common denominator turns out to be that they each had an affair with their opposite partner and it isn't long before the air is thick with insults, black eyes and broken china!

Orchids In the Moonlight

(in Latin-American Plays) Carlos Fuentes. Trans S. Doggart
1m 2f, extras. Drama. Single interior set.

Set in Venice the day Orson Welles died, this extraordinary play relentlessly stretches the imagination with artistic reveries and supernatural fantasies. 'Rich in language and movement, fantasy and reality, sensuality and cruelty; as iconoclastic as the magic realist boom of the 1960s' Scotland on Sunday.
ISBN 1 85459 249 1

An Ordinary Man

Drama. Mel Arrighi. 8 men, 4 women. Unit Set

Set in the near future, the play is structured as a series of flashbacks which take place during the trial of one Andy Neff for crimes against humanity. The flashbacks reveal the following narrative: the inexorable increase of racial tensions brings to power in America a rightwing, racist political party, the Liberal Party, and the nation becomes a virtual dictatorship. The other nations of the world band against the United States. With war and revolution about to break out any moment, the Party orders the internment in concentration camps of all blacks, half a million of whom die while imprisoned. World War Three is, shortly thereafter, begun - and lost - by the United States. An International Court calls to account all those responsible for the genocide. Neff, as the play's title indicates, is an ordinary man. Basically apolitical, he was a promising, talented film director, a typical Good German. He rose to national prominence, however, as director of a series of propaganda anti-black 'educational films' which were instrumental in establishing the atmosphere of race hatred which made the genocide possible. His defence, naturally, is that he had nothing against blacks, didn't realise the effect his work was going to have - and was just doing his job. From the evidence of the flashbacks, this all appears to be true. He really didn't know what he was doing and he didn't intend to hurt anyone. The question with which the author leaves his audience, thus, are these: are you the same kind of ordinary man? What will your defence be at the trials? Will you be found innocent or guilty?"
ISBN: 0-8222-0863-6


Play. Lyle Kessler
M3 (20s, middle-age). A living-room.

Two adult but somehow childlike brothers live in an old row house in North Philadelphia. Treat, the elder brother, supports himself and his slightly retarded younger brother by petty thievery. He brings home a rich man, Harold, intending to get him drunk and swindle him. Harold moves in and establishes the house as a hideout and base of operations and, in a strange, hilarious, moving, tender way, becomes the father figure the boys have never had and always longed for.
ISBN 0573 61978 6

The Orphans

Comedy. James Prideaux. 3 men, 3 women. Interior.

For the past 25 years Lily and Catherine Spangler have lived in seclusion in their hotel room, their only visitor being their lawyer, who delivers (in cash) the profits from the steel mill they inherited from their father. When they first moved into the Chalfont it was the best hotel in town, but the years have taken their toll, and now (although the sisters are not aware of it) it is rundown, almost deserted, and limping along with a skeleton staff. The clientele has suffered too; their next-door-neighbour is a prostitute-with-a heart of gold, and the bellhop, Herman, is a con artist who schemes to cheat the sisters out of the six million dollars he knows they have tucked away in a trunk by passing himself off as a long-lost cousin. Lily, the older sister, who has persuaded Catherine that she has protected her from "all the cares of the world," is guarded and suspicious about all this, but the gentle, warm-hearted Catherine, who is aching to know more of life and the outside world, falls easily into Herman's trap. Inevitably their isolation must end, but facing reality, and the truth, proves to, be a great deal easier - and funnier - than either sister had ever imagined.
ISBN: 0-8222-0864-4

Orpheus Descending

Play. Tennessee Williams
M 10 F9. Extras. Split set: a dry goods store, a confectionery.

A vague reworking of the Orpheus and Eurydice legend in modern America, with a Southern township presumably representing Hell. Thirty-year-old Val Xavier arrives in the gossipy, prejudice ridden township with his guitar, and meets 'Lady' Torrence, whose elderly husband is dying of cancer. His attempts to bring some happiness into her sex-starved life, together with other developments, lead to tragedy for both of them. Period 1940


Play. Marianne and Barrie Hesketh
M 1 (middle-age) Fl (middle-age). A history department office.

James Stockwell - a respectable professor of history at a polytechnic - keeps the world at bay and his deputy, Fanny, tries to keep his feet on the ground. She is an ideal teacher, he is an ideal communicator; in the last moments of this delicate, perceptive and endearing play these two qualities are used to work for the other's good when redundancy notices are handed out and the real world must be faced.
ISBN 0 573 11330 0

Other People's Money

Play. Jerry Sterner
M3 (40s, 68) F2 (35, 60s). Composite setting: three offices.

This award-winning off-Broadway play was seen at London's Lyric Theatre starring Martin Shaw and Maria Aitkin. Doughnut connoisseur and Wall Street take-over artist Lawrence Garfinkle goes after a vulnerable company. Set against the charmingly rapacious financier are genial company chairman Jorgensen, and his chief executive. They bring in Kate who specialises in fending off take-overs ... 'It is something to find a modern American comedy that openly criticises the moral bankruptcy of our times.' Guardian
ISBN 0 573 69101 0

Otherwise Engaged

Play. Simon Gray
M5 (young, 39, middle-age) F2 (young). A living-room.

Simon lives surrounded by all the comforts of the day and strives to keep himself 'otherwise engaged' from the demands of friends, relatives and associates. However, the world keeps intruding: his attempts to play his new Parsifal recording are continually thwarted; his answer phone recounts the tragic results of a casual, thoughtless liaison with a girl; and there is a final shock from his wife. Eventually he finds himself listening to Parsifal, but perhaps with a little less than his usual self absorption.
ISBN 0 573 01261 X