Composers and their stage works 


Perfect Days

Liz Lochhead
3m 3f. Comedy. Simple set.

Barbs Marshall is a Celebrity Hairdresser in Glasgow. She is successful and well off, but she is 39 years old and almost deafened by the ticking of her biological clock. To make matters worse, her mother is a nag, her best friend is holding out on her, and her ex-husband has a new young girlfriend. Then she meets a 26-year-old stranger who seems more than ready to oblige, but the complications are by no means over ... Premiered at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival, where it won a Fringe First before transferring to London (Hampstead Theatre) then Glasgow. 'People seldom write life-style comedies like Perfect Days for the stage anymore. 'The last scene has a couple of jokes so marvellous that they are greeted by rounds of applause as one blinks back the odd tear' Financial Times
ISBN 1 85459 419 2

A Perfect Ganesh

Terrence McNally
Drama 2M 2F Flexible staging

Margaret and Katharine, two outwardly unremarkable middle-aged lady friends, turn the pilgrimage tradition on its head when they throw themselves into a rousing tour of India, each having her own secret dreams of what the fabled land of exotic and intoxicating opposites will do for the suffering she hides within. Margaret has just discovered a lump in her breast but hasn't told her friend. The more theatrical and adventurous Katharine seeks a respite from the haunting tragic death of her son Walter. Faced with the women's despair, who but the golden elephant god Ganesha could intervene? Fluid in his power to assume any guise, at piece with all things, Ganesha is the spiritual centre around which the play spins itself, drawing upon the tragic and the comic, the beautiful and the deplorable, until a breathtaking release arrives for both women at his hands.
ISBN: 0 8222 1379 6

The Perfect Marriage

Comedy. Samson Raphaelson.
2 men, 5 woman. Interior

The plot concerns the tragi-comic efforts of Dale and Jenny Williams to adjust their psychological problems in such a way as to save their marriage.

Period of Adjustment

A Serious Comedy. Tennessee Williams.
4 men, 5 women. Interior.

This is the story of two marriages at points of acute crisis. One couple has just broken up after five years together. The other has not been able to come to terms in one day of wedlock. Both couples are living through a period of adjustment. The phrase is tinged with irony. The play examines the sources of the crisis. Ralph Bates, a former war hero, has in-law trouble: George Haverstick, a war buddy who unexpectedly visits him on Christmas Eve with his bride of a day, has the shakes, his difficulty seems to be a fear of impotence. The end is happy, as comedy requires. The four go to bed - in the right combinations.
ISBN: 0-8222-0887-3

The Perfect Party

Comedy. A.R. Gurney.
2 men (middle-age) , 3 women (middle-age). Interior A study.

Tony, a professor of American literature (and a quintessential WASP), has given up his teaching post to . stage a party to end all parties. He has invited people from all walks of American life to attend, as demonstrate that even if the WASP ruling class can no longer lead America, it must, at least, teach them to entertain properly. Tony has also invited a svelte critic from the New York Times in the hopes of getting a perfect review for his perfect party, but trouble arises when the critic says the evening lacks the essential element of danger" that makes all parties worthwhile. Improvising, Tony warns the reporter about his twin brother, a foul-mouthed and hugely endowed womanizer, whom he has invited to attend. Piqued by the chance to meet such a man, the reporter opts to stay, and here the funny heart of the play takes over. Tony, you see, is going to have to play his own fictitious twin brother if the evening's to be a success. In a fake mustache, and with an even faker Italian accent, Tony aggressively woos the reporter while trying to avoid the unavoidable and hilarious misunderstandings between both him and his skeptical wife and an obliging (if sensitive) Jewish- couple from next door. In the end, the party falls apart, only to be triumphantly resurrected as Tony's rigid structure gives way to a free-for-all which may not be perfect, but is as vital and rewarding as the idea of democracy itself.
ISBN: 0-8222-0886-5

Period of Adjustment

Comedy. Tennessee Williams
M4 (30s, middle-age) F4 (young (Black), middle-age). A living-room, with dining alcove and bedroom visible.

Ralph Bates and his wife are on the verge of breaking up after five years together, partly through trouble with in-laws. George Haverstock, a wartime friend of Bates is a newlywed concealing beneath his ebullient exterior a secret fear, which seems to be that he may be impotent. By the end of the day, however, all ends well - with each pair correctly together.

Person Unknown

Play. Adapted by David Butler from an original play by Olive Chase and Stanley Clayton
M6 (20s-40s) F4 (20s-55). A study.

The murder of a student brings double distress to Jane Canning, the Warden of the girls' residential college, because she loves the detective in charge of the case, and his chief suspect is her brother, Gilbert. The deceased was involved with Gilbert (her tutor), in addition to her boyfriend, and she also knew Inspector Conway. Jane's divided loyalties ultimately put her in personal danger.
ISBN 0 573 01339 X

Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up

J M Barrie, in a new version by Trevor Nunn and John Caird
Light Drama Flexible casting and staging

This is the beloved story of Peter, Wendy, Michael, John, Captain Hook, Smee, the lost boys, pirates, Indians, and, of course, Tinker Bell, in their adventures in Never Land. This new version of Barrie's classic was first presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, painstakingly researched and restored by Nunn and Caird to the Barrie's original intentions. "A resonant and beguiling fantasy that boasts as much spectacle as any child could wish, and that, at the same time, touches on the double Barriesque tragedy of growing up into conformity or being marooned indefinitely in the Never Land." - The Guardian.
ISBN: 0 8222 1345 1

The Petition

Play. Brian Clark
M 1 (80) F I (72). A living-room.

Sir Edmund Milne is aghast to learn that his wife of more than fifty years is a long-standing, covert Labour voter. In the acrimonious argument that follows, she reveals that she is dying from cancer with only three months to live. The truth, spoken on both sides for the first time in a marriage which has survived by compromises, humour and genuine mutual fondness, serves to unite the couple for the impending ordeal. Sir John Mills and Rosemary Harris starred in the National Theatre's 1986 production.