Composers and their stage works 


The Sea

Comedy. Edward Bond
M7 F7. Extras M and F. Composite setting: a beach, a shop, a house, a cliff.

The Sea is a comedy set in an East Coast village in 1907. The action centres around the drowning of a young man and the repercussions, emotional and political, it has on the tight, inward-looking village community.

The Seagull

Comedy. Anton Chekhov, translated by David Iliffe
M7 F6. Two interiors, two exteriors.

Arkadina and her lover Trigorin have the strength of selfishness; Treplev and Nina have the vulnerability of those who love too wholeheartedly. The seagull that Treplev carelessly kills is identified with Nina, who is destroyed by Trigorin, a man 'with nothing better to do'. Trigorin seduces her and later tires of her. Treplev hopes she will return to him but she comes back only to say goodbye. When she is gone, he shoots himself. Period 1894
ISBN 0 573 01400 0

The Seagull

Comedy. Anton Chekhov, translated by Michael Frayn
M8 F5. Two interiors, two exteriors.

Chekhov's classic comedy, translated by Michael Frayn, permits the modern reader to appreciate more than ever before the qualities of he original. Frayn really brings the familiar Chekhovian characters to life through the use of beautiful, idiomatic English and in this edition provides a comprehensive introduction and chronology to the life and works of the playwright.

The Seagull

Play. Anton Chekhov. A new version by Tom Stoppard
M7 F5. Various interior and exterior settings.

Tom Stoppard made this English version for the Peter Hall Company at the Old Vic. Here, amid 'the weariness of life in the country', the famous actress Arkadina presides over a household riven with desperate love, with dreams of success and dread of failure. Her son, Konstantin, shoots a seagull; the novelist, Trigorin, will one day write the seagull's story; but it is Nina, 'the seagull' herself, whose life to come will rewrite the story. Period early 1900s

The Seagull

Anton Chekhov. Adapted by Pam Gems
8m 5f. Drama. 2 exterior, 2 interior sets.

Arkadina, a famous actress, and her lover, a famous novelist, are spending the summer on her country estate; their glamorous presence proves disruptive to the lives of all those present, especially her son, Konstantin, and Nina, the girl he loves. First seen in this version at the National Theatre in 1994 with Dame Judi Dench as the indomitable Arkadina.
ISBN 1 85459 261 0

The Seagull

Anton Chekhov. Trans S. Mulrine
8m 5f Drama. 2 exterior, 2 interior sets.

See above. The original was first performed in 1896; this translation was first staged in 1997 by the English Touring Theatre with Cheryl Campbell in the lead.
ISBN 1 85459 193 2

The Seagull

Play Anton Chekhov, adapted by Jean-Claude van Itallie.
6 women. 2 Exteriors/2 Interiors.

The setting is the estate of the wealthy Sorin, where a group of family and friends are spending the languid summer months. Included are, Madame Arkadina, Sorin's sister and famous actress; her sensitive, would-be-writer son, Treplyev; and the charming, successful. author, Trigorin. The action concerns the interweaving of their lives with the others, and all the romance, intrigue, hopes and disappointments that this life leads to. It is an absorbing and compelling tapestry, and evocation of real life and real people and, ultimately, a deeply moving and revealing human experience. 7 men.
ISBN: 0-8222-1003-7

The Seagull

Play. Anton Chekhov, translated by Robert Corrigan.
7 men, 6 women. Exterior/2 Interior.

Seagulls Over Sorrento

Play. Hugh Hastings
M9 (20s, 30s). A naval fortress room.

Four naval ratings doing experimental work on an island in Scapa Flow find a hard life made harder by a bullying Petty Officer and the death in an explosion of one of their number. Matters do not improve when they are joined by a technician who turns out to be the man who stole the cockney Badger's wife, but they battle on to the end of their mission and are rewarded with leave.
ISBN 0 543 04007 9

Search and Destroy

Drama. Howard Korder.
12 men, 2 women, with some double casting. Unit Set

Martin Mirkheim owes the state of Florida $47,000 in back taxes, but this is not where his mind is focused. Instead he is intent on acquiring the film rights to a novel called Daniel Strong, written by Dr. Waxling, a pseudo-religious type guru. The first part of Martin's journey is spent trying to meet Dr. Waxling, but he is kept away by secretaries and personal assistants. When finally face to face with Waxling, Martin discovers that the good doctor is less interested in any "higher truth" than in getting $500,000 for the film rights. Still consumed by his desire to make the book into a movie, Martin resorts to deceit, blackmail, fraud, extortion and murder to claw his way to success in a riveting indictment of American values today.
ISBN: 0-8222-1315-X


Play. Edward Albee.
2 men, 2 women. Exterior.

On a deserted stretch of beach a middle-aged couple, relaxing after a picnic lunch, talk idly about home, family and their life together. She sketches, he naps, and then, suddenly, they are joined by two sea creatures - lizards who have decided to leave the ocean depths and come ashore. Initial fear, and then suspicion of each other, are soon replaced by curiosity and, before long, the humans and the lizards (who speak admirable English) are engaged in a fascinating dialogue. The lizards, who are at a very advanced stage of evolution, are contemplating the terrifying, yet exciting, possibility of embarking on life out of the water; and the couple, for whom existence has grown flat and routine, holds the answers to their most urgent questions. These answers are given with. warmth, humor and poetic eloquence, and with emotional and intellectual reverberations which will linger in the heart and mind long after the play has ended.
ISBN: 0-8222-1004-5

Season of Choice

Play. Nathaniel Banks.
6 men, 4 women. Interior.

College aged Jason Redwine is about to depart for a European trip with his cousin, Cassandra, a teenager, who is madly in love with him. But their trip is interrupted when Jason learns he is about to become the father of Dolly Lumpkin's child, and he decides to stay and marry her. Nineteen years later, Jason is now forty and the father of Harriet. She follows family tradition by becoming pregnant by a local high school athlete who doesn't meet the Redwine's social standards. What Jason really wants to do is run off with Cassandra, who has remained a single and ageless expatriate, and let Harriet marry a fluffy cousin who is willing to oblige for a consideration. But in the end he is far too noble. He gives his daughter in marriage to the worthy commoner and faces his future and responsibilities with a dreary wife.

Season's Greetings

Play. Alan Ayckbourn
M5 (20, 30, 40, 60) F4 (30s). Composite setting: a hall, a dining-room, a sitting-room.

Half a dozen relatives and friends are celebrating Christmas with Neville and Belinda. Petty, and not so petty, squabbles break out. Christmas presents are rifled, mechanical toys are set off. Hilarious highlights include a chaotically incompetent puppet show and a midnight love scene that goes wrong. A final climax leads to, what momentarily appears to be, a tragedy as Clive, mistaken for a looter, is shot by the trigger-happy Harvey.

Second from Last in the Sack Race

Play. Michael Birch, from the novel by David Nobbs
M20 F12, 2M or F. Can be played by M3 F2. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

This play traces the ups and downs in he life of Henry Pratt. Born in 1935 Henry's childhood is disrupted first by war, then by the death of his mother and father. Henry is packed off to prep school and then public school and then lives with grown-up cousin Hilda. The play ends in 1953, as he begins his National Service. David Nobbs is well known as a TV writer of quality and this play was screened under the title Life and Times of Henry Pratt.
ISBN 0 573 01900 2

The Second Mrs Tanqueray

Drama. Arthur W. Pinero
M7 F4. A sitting-room, a morning-room, a drawing-room.

Aubrey Tanqueray willingly withdraws from London society to marry his second wife, for Paula Ray has had a notorious past. She has all the warmth that Aubrey's first wife lacked. But in the country, ostracised by the respectable, their relationship becomes intolerably strained. Paula realises that her past will always harm those she loves. Even before Aubrey is told of Paula's suicide he curses men of his class who wreak such incalculable harm merely by leading a 'man's life'. Period 1893
ISBN 0 573 01402 7

Second Prize: Two Months In Leningrad

Play. Trish Johnson.
6 men, 4 women. Interior

The place is a dormitory room in Leningrad; the time, the "cold war" era of the 1970s. A group of young American exchange students, in Leningrad to study the Russian language and culture, find themselves involved in escapades which, much to the distress of their proctor, bring them in closer contact with the average Soviet citizen (and the K.G.B.) than the authorities desire. While high spirits and cheerful American irreverence predominate, there are also some tense moments when a romantically inclined student decides he wants to marry a Russian girl and bring her back to the States; and when the wimp of the group, fortified by vodka, defaces a statue of Lenin. When their time is up the students are more than ready to head for home, but they are also aware that, along with the Russian language, they have also learned much both about the differences which separate the two peoples and the underlying similarities which, in time, might just make it possible to bridge the gap between them.
ISBN: 0-8222-1006-1

Second Threshold

Drama. Philip Barry with revisions by Robert E. Sherwood.
4 men, 2 women. Interior

Josiah Bolton is toying with the idea of suicide. His daughter Miranda intends to marry an Englishman older than herself, and is about to go abroad for the wedding. Neither Miranda nor Josiah realise how much he depends upon the close bonds that link them together. Toby Wells, a young physician and a friend of Josiah's, perceives that drastic steps must be taken if Josiah is to avoid wrecking his life. Toby knows how close Miranda is to Josiah and warns to her. At first she resents the interference but is too deeply attached to her father not to understand the implications. She realises her father needs a restoration of his former faith in life, and that only she can re-established it. Miranda's association with Toby soon develops into love, and when Miranda decides to break off her engagement, Josiah realizes she is not acting to please him, but is following her true feelings. Miranda's "plot" to help Josiah shows signs of succeeding, because she understands that not only does Josiah need her, but that she needs him as well.

Secondary Cause of Death

Peter Gordon : Comedy Thriller
3M 6F Interior set

A sequel Murdered to Death. It's now 1939, and storm clouds are gathering over Europe. Having inherited Bagshot House, Colonel Charles Craddock has converted the property into a hotel for the discerning visitor. Soon Inspector Pratt arrives once again at Bagshot House, bearing grim news for the Colonel. But that's just the beginning - Who is the strange Polish Count? Is Henrietta really an army captain? And where does the flamboyant thespian Cardew Longfellow fit into the picture? When Joan Maple's sister Cynthia arrives to stage a murder mystery evening, it's not long before Pratt's visit turns into a chaotic nightmare as the bodies pile higher than ever!
ISBN: 0 85676 243 1

The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild

Comedy. Paul Zindel.
4 men, 5 women. Interior.

In the tiny living quarters behind the Greenwich Village candy store which she operates with her husband, crowded with her 40-year collection of movie magazines, Mildred Wild has virtually escaped from reality into the dream world conjured up by the 3000 movies she has eagerly devoured. And when the outside world does intrude - via her husband; his meddling sister; their hard-boiled landlady, the mincing butcher from next door; or the foreman of the wrecking crew sent to tear down the building - Mildred meets each crisis with an hilarious fantasy-scene drawn from her precious treasure chest of old movies. As the action moves swiftly ahead to its delightfully unpredictable climax, Mildred's life is further complicated by such unlikely visitors as a bulldozer, a nun, King Kong, and a super efficient TV camera crew, all adding to the merriment and, ultimately, to the poignancy which infuses the play and the touching-funny escapades of its kooky, loveable and totally enchanting heroine.
ISBN: 0-8222-1007-X

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾

Play with music. Sue Townsend. Songs by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley
M7 F6, doubling possible. 1 boy 2 girls. Extras. Various interior settings.

Adapted by Sue Townsend from her best-seller, this satirical comedy of adolescent manners follows the efforts of a spotty teenager to make sense of the erratic behaviour of the adults around him. The disintegration of his parents' marriage, threats from the local bully, first love pains and spots are a series of minor tragedies he must cope with in the transition from puberty to manhood.

The Secret Of Freedom

Drama. Archibald MacLeish.
7 men, 1 woman.

Joe and Jill go along their quiet way until the day a badly needed school bond, which they worked so hard on, is voted down by an overwhelming majority. Bitterly concerned about what this means for their children's education, they begin to question the attitudes of the people and a way of life that would allow such a thing to happen. Their search for answers runs into the cynicism of today's youth, the hard "mole-eye view" of one man's realism, the blind optimism of another. They find hope in the person of the philosophical town librarian, who sees the secret of freedom as "each man's courage to believe. To believe in himself, his town. the future of the country." Back at his home, Joe thinks he finally has the secret: "Courage. to dream your dream and do your duty." Strengthened by this, he and Jill set out in earnest to work for another school bond vote, and this time they are going to win.

The Secret Rapture

Play. David Hare
M2 (30s, 40s) F4 (20s, 30s). Various simple settings.

In David Hare's 'greatest play' (City Limits) two sisters, Isobel, a serene and good person, and Marion, an ambitious Tory Junior Minister, gather at the home of their late father for his funeral. Katherine, the sisters' young, alcoholic, stepmother announces her intention of joining Isobel's design company. Reluctantly Isobel agrees and this act paves the way for tragedy and disaster involving Isobel's lover Irwin, and Marion's evangelical, earnest husband Tom.
ISBN 0 573 11408 0

The Secret Tent

Elizabeth Addyman : Drama
3M 4F Interior set

A young wife who has been missing and presumed murdered returns home - physically unharmed but obviously having suffered a traumatic experience - only to find that her husband's feelings for her have completely changed. With the help of her mother-in-law, whom she had always taken to be her enemy, she eventually regains the love of her husband and the happiness and stability of her marriage is restored in a moving climax to a highly charged emotional drama.

The Secretary Bird

Comedy. William Douglas Home
M2 (middle-age) F3 (young, middle-age). A living-room.

After over twelve years of seemingly happy marriage to her somewhat older husband, Liz suddenly announces she has fallen for John and wants a divorce. Apparently acquiescing, Hugh says he will provide the grounds. Everything seems set for a calm passage until it turns out that the plan includes Hugh's pretty secretary as co-respondent and that the action is to take place in their own home! A long-running West End hit.
ISBN 0 573 01387 X