Composers and their stage works 


The Reckoning

A Surreal Southern fable. Douglas Turner Ward.
5 men, 2 women. Unit Set

The story concerns the bigoted governor of a Deep South state, who is blackmailed by his beautiful black mistress, and her procuror, into turning over all the money which graft has put in his strongbox - and also into persuading his constituents, assembled, outside the statehouse, to allow a young black militant and his followers to enter the capital city unmolested. Essentially a contest of wits between the foxy governor and the even foxier pimp, the play is given contrast and dimension by the accompanying actions of the governor's boneheaded son, the prostitute, and the governor's black maid and chauffeur - who seem at first to be pure "Uncle Toms." Two long soliloquies highlight the play. In the first the pimp, facing the audience, unburdens his soul with harsh, powerful words of bitterness and loathing. In the second the governor rants of white sexual fantasies about blacks, and, perhaps unknowingly, embodies the hatred and fear which racism ignites. But when at last the girl and the pimp turn their full fury on the governor he can only stand silent and abased, his defences swept away, his duplicity cruelly and tellingly exposed. The play is styled as a black daydream, but its truth and power are chillingly real, and will linger in the mind long after the curtain has fallen.
ISBN: 0-8222-0938-1


Play Craig Lucas.
4 men, 5 women (many roles are doubled). Unit Set

At home on Christmas Eve, Rachel is informed by her guilty husband that he has hired a hitman to kill her, and she must flee for her life - which she does by scrambling out the kitchen window and into the snowy night. She meets and joins up with Lloyd Bophtelophti, a true "original" who has changed his name to avoid alimony payments and who now lives with a paraplegic named Pootie (who also pretends to be deaf in order to get double disability). Rachel then wins $100,000 on a TV game show and begins a series of picaresque escapades involving numerous psychiatrists and, eventually, an ill-fated reunion with her husband. In the end Rachel becomes a therapist herself, treating her own child (who fails to recognise her), and is led more and more to ponder whether the modern world might not be a vast conspiracy designed systematically to undermine her own, increasingly shaky, sanity.
ISBN: 0-8222-0937-3

Reclining Figure

Comedy. Harry Kurnitz.
8 men, 1 woman. Interior

This is a play that generates its own chaos: the sleek, effusive and cheerfully dishonest world of the art experts. A gullible millionaire who keeps ten-cent cigars in a twelve hundred dollar spice chest and who is fond of collecting the recent masters. This runs him foul of a high-pressure dealer who is given to crying like a baby when parting with his treasures, a hard-drinking restorer with a talent for forgery and a soft-headed young salesman with high ideals and, unfortunately, a hot property on his hands. The chicanery climaxess with an easy logic and throats are cut with casual charm whilst the intrigue mounts delightfully as romance and art mix to everyone's satisfaction.
ISBN: 0-8222-0939-X

The Red Address

Drama. David Ives.
4 men, 2 women. Unit Set.

In a radical departure from his comedies, David Ives writes a searing, disturbing drama about a middle-American businessman whose company and whose very life and sanity stand under attack. E. G. Triplett leads an outwardly respectable, all-American-male existence until a mysterious business rival, Driver, comes to town and threatens not only to take over E.G.'s business, but to reveal his sexual secret: that in the privacy of his own home, with the aid of his loving wife, Lady, E.G. dresses in women's clothing. When Lady is brutally murdered, E. G.'s world collapses and he makes a desperate attempt to hold himself together - losing his own life in the process. In the end, only E.G.'s friend, Dick, is left to piece together the meaning of what had happened, and to try to make sense of the baffling man he had known as E.G. Triplett.
ISBN. 0-8222-1606-X

The Red Devil Battery Sign

Play. Tennessee Williams
M14 F4, doubling possible. Extras. Various interior settings.

One of Williams' later plays, this is his indictment of the military-industrial complex and all the dehumanising trends it represents, from mindless cocktail party chatter to bribery of officials, to assassination plots directed against those who will not play the game, to attempted coups by right-wing zealots.

Red in the Morning

Thriller. Glyn Jones
M4 (23, 40s) F3 (30s, 70s). Extras. A conservatory and part of the hall.

A truly Grand Guignol play, with rapacious servants, venomous Dobermans, meat-hooks and mutilations. Two men abduct a boy for ransom, and his grandmother, in order to keep hidden certain family skeletons, readily pays. But then the bloody machinations begin, and before the grisly ending there are multiple disclosures, including the discovery of a Nazi death camp commandant.
ISBN 0 573 69094 9

Red Rover, Red Rover

Play. Oliver Hailey.
3 men, 3 women. Interior.

The setting is a comfortable middle-class living room, probably suburban, and the time is early morning. Three couples, after a pleasant party, are preparing to leave for their homes, but the host suggests that, because of the hour, they all stay over. Uneasy at first, the other couples agree, and while their intention is to go to their separate rooms the inevitable complications result. Before long there is a mix-up of partners which reveals not only latent desires, but also frustrations, enmities and dissatisfactions heretofore unspoken. In the end it appears that none of them will ever be, or feel, quite the same again, and that their marriages may now be in jeopardy. But, in the surprising conclusion, a quite different situation develops as the three couples decide to go on living as a group - hoping to find in a communal arrangement the excitement and fulfilment which have eluded them in their separate relationships.
ISBN: 0-8222-0940-3


Play. Václav Havel. English version by James Saunders. From a literal translation by Marie Winn
M7 F3, with doubling. A spacious hall in a medieval castle.

This English version of Václav Havel's play received its British premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. 'On a realistic level, the play is about a universal architectural dilemma ... But it also works as a political metaphor about the whimsical arbitrariness of autocracy ... This is vintage Havel: creating a work that is both specific and universal, tragic and comic.' Michael Billington, Guardian

Redwood Curtain

Play. Lanford Wilson,
1 man, 2 women; unit.

Geri, a 17-year-old Vietnamese-American has taken time out from a rigorous touring schedule as a piano prodigy to stay on her Aunt Geneva's Redwood plantation in Northern California. She's been coming here for years, but recently she's become obsessed with approaching the homeless Vietnam veterans who retreated to the forests because they couldn't cope with society after returning from the war. One such veteran she interviews in the forest, Lyman, she detains against his will and tells him lies about what she does know to be true about her nameless natural father in hopes that maybe Lyman knew, or even is, him. Lyman acts guilty and tries to flee, but Geri, who says she's been studying the mysticism of the East, casts a spell over him that she says will bring him back to her. Geneva is horrified at Geri's actions, and while she warns her of the dangers of approaching these homeless men, she also sympathises with Geri's predicament: namely, as an Asian woman, Geri feels a deep need to know her ancestral history (and in particular the history of her father) in order to structure her life. Tired of the classical music circuit and recording contracts, Geri wants to establish a new life for herself based on knowing about her biological parents; her adoptive father, who encouraged her in music from an early age, has since died of alcoholism while her adoptive mother has taken to world travel and has no time for Geri. Geneva gives Geri some details about her natural father that makes it seem like the man Geri met in the forest is indeed him. She persuades her aunt to come with her and they finally meet with Lyman where the shocking and moving truth of Geri's heritage comes to light.

Regarding Electra

Play: In one or two acts. Maurice Valency. An absorbing and imaginative retelling of the Greek classic, in which antiquity and the present day are juxtaposed to unique dramatic effect.
7 men, 8 women. Exterior.

The time is the present, the place the ruins of Agamemnon's palace at Mycenae, where a guide points out matters of interest to a group of tourists. As they move on, a young man stays behind to speak to the young girl who has been silently watching the group and, magically, almost imperceptibly, the centuries begin to fall away. She is Electra, and he is Orestes, the children of the slain Agamemnon. They are joined shortly by their mother, Clytemnestra, and her paramour, Aegisthus, and the great tale of crime and retribution begins to unfold. Electra thinks only of revenge against her mother, who killed Agamemnon father and married her lover, and she has been waiting anxiously for Orestes to return and carry out the dreaded punishment. At first Orestes pleads that he wants nothing to do with his family and its troubles but, gradually, inexorably, the force of events draws him on to the fatal deed - the slaying of his mother and her conspirator. But then, in the shocked silence which follows, the past vanishes as suddenly as it had appeared, leaving us once again to contemplate the quiet, dusty ruins, and the haunting, terrible secrets which they hold.
ISBN: 0-8222-0941-1

The Rehearsal, or Love Punished

Play. Jean Anouilh. Translated by Jeremy Sams
M5 F3. An elegant room, an attic room.

A hedonistic Count and his friends rehearse Marivaux's The Double Inconstancy in the rural splendour of a provincial castle. Most of the 'actors' keep to the amorous rules and restrict their dalliances to their own class. Yet when the Count himself threatens to step beyond theatrical boundaries by falling in love with a young governess, stage romance suddenly becomes the drama of life. This sparkling translation was presented in the West End to critical acclaim.