Composers and their stage works 



Drama. Romulus Linney.
5 men, 2 women. Unit Set

Part I, Torquemada, takes place in 1490, in the middle of questioning by the Grand Inquisitor of Spain, Archbishop Tomas De Torquemada, and his two assistants, Brother Puyal and Bishop Acero. This day, the most ordinary of "crimes" - angrily calling out the names of devils when catching her husband in an affair - brings in Francicta Mendez and her husband, Fosco, to be questioned, tortured and questioned again. Despite his frailty, the Grand Inquisitor probes into the couples' life, finding grander infidelities in the past involving a young monk who turns out to be Brother Puyal. At the time of Puyal's indiscretion with Francisca, the Abbot in the monastery where Puyal lived was Escobedo de la Aixa, now deceased. The Grand Inquisitor reminds those gathered of his power, and at the end we learn the very gruesome fates of each of the characters, including Abbot Escobedo de la Aixa, whose body was dug up and dismembered.

Part II, Anna Rey, takes place in 1992, in the office of psychiatrist Dr. Anna Rey who is writing a book on the Spanish treatment of the insane in a monastery at the end of the 15th century. The monastery was run by Abbot Escobedo de le Aixa, whose philosophy was to unchain the insane and treat them warmly. Alone in his theory, the monks working with him admired him and saw results in the madmen sent there. Dr. Rey does not see patients anymore, believing herself unfit to heal, and considers suicide as a way out of her own state of depression, when she is suddenly visited by Bradley Smith, a mental patient from a nearby hospital, who implores her help. Dr. Rey employs psychiatric techniques with Bradley, and though wanting him to leave, is intrigued by his lies, his life and his obvious pain. When Bradley reveals a knife he was going to use on himself, Dr. Rey shows him a bigger one and invites him to do away with her too. In the end, Dr. Rey convinces Bradley to go to a hospital, and promises to be the Doctor he sees every day. Both have painfully turned back to life and to the struggle to continue.

Part III, Escobedo de la Aixa, takes us to 1480, ten years before the play began, in the garden of the Abbey of Ripal, where Abbot Escobedo de la Aixa walks with a madman who thinks he is God. The Abbot must prove to the madman that he is indeed the Abbot, so that the madman will feel comfortable speaking freely. After the madman is satisfied, the two talk over what the madman, as God, should do. They joke, listen to birds and enjoy the garden. The madman says the Inquisition means to stop the Abbot's humane treatment of the insane. They talk lucidly of reality - which will kill them both - and the Abbot breaks down in despair. The madman tells him that someone somewhere will remember the good Abbot who lived in Spain, loving madmen. The madman will wait for the Abbot in heaven.
ISBN: 0-8222-1376-1

Spanish Lies

Play. Frank Vickery
M3 F4. An hotel terrace.

Hoping to revive their flagging marriage-and celebrate twenty-five years together -Dougie takes Loma back to their honeymoon hotel in Majorca. The hotel is still managed by the same couple and Loma is reminded of her liaison with Miguel, the hotel owner and local Romeo. Out of the memories of Loma, Miguel and his 'wife', Regietta, step their younger selves to re-enact the events of twenty-five years ago and we eavesdrop on earlier decisions with the knowledge of what happens later!
ISBN 0 573 01903 7

The Spanish Tragedy

Thomas Kyd
18m 2f, extras, doubling possible. Classic tragedy. Flexible staging.

The ghost of a murdered Spanish courtier, Don Andrea, is promised by Revenge that he will see his murderer, Prince Balthazar of Portugal, killed by his mistress. The two ghostly figures sit down to watch the violent proceedings ... 'A murky world of royal skulduggery, hangings, knifings and delayed revenge, which is by no means remote from our own violent times' Evening Standard. Originally performed around 1580, revived by the RSC in 1997.
ISBN 1 85459 377 3

The Speculator

Play David Greig

A drama of cultural and historical identity. Published with "The Meeting".


Play. David Mamet
M2 (40s) F1 (20). Gould's office, Gould's home.

Produced at the National Theatre in 1989 after a successful run in New York, this play is a satirical and sparklingly funny vision of Hollywood back-stabbing. It centres around Charlie Fox, a producer, and Bobby Gould, studio head of production, and a major film deal involving a well-known actor. It is through the language that Mamet depicts the self-doubts and vulnerability that lies behind the self congratulatory back-slapping. Fast-paced, full of witty one-liners and guaranteed to keep the audience mesmerised.

Sperm Wars (Misconceptions)

David Lewis : Light Drama
2M 2F Interior set

After years of attempting to conceive without success, Matthew and Lucy's marriage has come under great strain. Matthew, a university biology lecturer, buries himself in biological charts, sperm counts, microscopes and textbooks searching for answers while Lucy's desperation increases alongside her ever- present rat phobia. Finally, Matthew convinces her that they should enlist the help of their mutual friend Barry for a bit of DIY artificial insemination, though unbeknownst to Lucy he has other ideas. After each visit he switches Barry's sample with one of his own in one last attempt to prove his potency, but nothing goes according to plan as eventually the strains prove too much not only for Matthew and Lucy, but for Barry and Matthew's young nubile student Zoe as the myths surrounding infertility, reproduction and sexual warfare explode in dramatic fashion.
ISBN: 0 85676 233 4

Spider's Web

Play. Agatha Christie
M8 (30-50, 60) F2 (30). 1 girl (12). A drawing-room.

When a murder occurs in Clarissa's drawing-room she suspects young stepdaughter Pippa. Things are not helped by the imminent arrival of husband Henry with a VIP in tow who might take a dim view of bodies in the drawing-room. However, by the time Henry gets home, the murderer has been unmasked and all is normal, so normal that Henry is utterly unable to believe Clarissa when she explains exactly why there are no refreshments ready for their honoured guest.
ISBN 0 573 01427 2

The Spiral Staircase

Mystery/Drama. E Andrew Leslie, from Mel Dinelli. Based on David O. Selznick's famous motion picture, written by Mel Dinelli.
4 men, 4 women. Interior.

As thunder and rain echo off-stage the town Constable arrives at the isolated Warren household to report another in the series of apparently unprovoked murders which have shocked and terrified the village. Without exception the victims have been young girls - and all with a noticeable defect or imperfection of some kind. Because of this there is fear for the safety of Helen, companion of the bedridden Mrs. Warren, who has been unable to speak since undergoing the shock of witnessing her parents' horrible death some years before. The telephone wires have been brought down by the storm, the Constable has stopped by in person to check on Helen's whereabouts - but neither Mrs. Oates, the housekeeper, nor Professor Warren, scholarly stepson of Mrs. Warren, has seen or heard from her since she went into the village earlier in the day. Their fears are allayed, however, when Helen, in the company of young Dr. Parry, is brought safely home. But the threat of danger still exists, for the murderer remains at large and his cleverness has denied the police any solid clues as to his identity. Warning everyone to stay behind locked doors, the Constable goes back into the storm leaving Helen to the care of the others. One by one, however, her protectors leave - or seem to - and as Helen's isolation grows, so does the threat of the killer's visit - leading to a denouement of thrilling intensity. To say more would blunt the excitement of this thrilling climax where everyone, and most of all Helen, remains in doubt-filled suspense until the final, shocking moments of the play.
ISBN: 0-8222-1065-7


Play with music. Stewart Parke. Music by Jimmy Kennedy
M4 (young, elderly) F2 (young). Composite interior.

Set in and around a bicycle shop in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Frank believes that all the world's transportation problems can be solved if people simply switch to the bicycle. Songs are used to comment upon the action. The bicycle and the shop become a metaphor about the problems in Northern Ireland and, indirectly, about the problems of modern civilisation. Period 1970s and the eighty years preceding

Spring, 1600

Comedy. Emlyn Williams
M 13 (20-50) F6 (20s, elderly) 1 boy. Extras. Some doubling possible. Part of a dining-hall, a bedchamber.
Copies available on hire from Samuel French Ltd

Ann runs off to London disguised as a young man. Once there she joins Burbage's company of actors. However she soon finds herself in love with Burbage and unable to reveal her true identity. By the end of the play Ann comes to terms with her unrequited love and a very influential and important new patron has been found, in the person of Elizabeth of England! Period 1600

Spring and Port Wine

Comedy. Bill Naughton
M4 (18, 23, 30, 50) F4 (19, 25, middle-age, 47). Composite setting.

Rafe Crompton is not a stern man but has such unswerving integrity that his family is forced to hide slight peccadilloes from him. His daughter Hilda particularly resents this and her refusal to eat a herring which is placed before her at dinner makes the situation explosive. The family is almost broken up before Rafe is made to see the dangers in his attitudes, and they are reunited in an atmosphere more progressive and tolerant.
ISBN 0 573 01550 3

St. Joan of the Stockyards

Play. Bertolt Brecht. Translated by Frank Jones, music by Dessau
M1 l F3. Extras. Chorus. Numerous simple interior and exterior settings.

In the stockyards and commercial exchanges of modern Chicago, Salvation Army girl Johanna Dark imagines that the meat-packer king Pierpont Mauler is going to save the falling market and prevent unemployment. She helps the workers to organise a general strike, and Mauler is persuaded to lead the meat ring out of its troubles. Johanna, desperately ill, is canonised by Mauler for her work among the poor, and she vainly denounces the class system as she dies.

Stage Door

Edna Ferber and George S Kaufman
Comedy 11M 21F 2 Interior sets

A group of theatrical hopefuls move into Mrs Orcutt's boarding house in New York, all sharing a common dream - to be a star. The play traces the ups and downs of their careers. We see girls who face rejection and the shattering of their illusions, while others succeed far beyond their wildest dreams. The action is both comic and touching - there are some who are born to tread the boards, while others are only destined to trip over them!
ISBN: 0 8222 1069 X

Stage Fright

Charles Marowitz.
2 men, 1 woman. Unit Set

A leading metropolitan drama critic is led by an attractive production assistant into a recently discovered 19th century theatre. There, the critic will film a television interview for a documentary on the actor John Wilkes Booth, who once acted on those very boards. The critic, F.F. Charnick, notorious for his venomous reviews, visibly warms to the classy elegance of the British PA. But no sooner has he downed a glass of wine than he falls drugged and unconscious. When he awakens, he is firmly tied to a Shakespearean throne on the stage of the old theatre with an ominous woman intoning Lady Macbeth beside him. The attractive PA. has turned into Mitzi Crenshaw, an actress of the "old school" whom Charnick has savaged in dozens of reviews. The critically maligned actress has shanghaied the surly critic as part of an elaborate murder plot against the man who virtually destroyed both her career and that of her actor-husband, Denis Michaelson. After forcing the bound critic to endure several dramatic recitations, Mitzi's husband suddenly arrives on the scene, ostensibly to try to deter his unbalanced wife and release the imprisoned critic. But after an elaborately rigged "scene" between the couple, it is soon apparent that Denis is actually in on the plot and just as determined to wreak revenge against the critic. The theatricalised torture goes through several permutations, inspiring blood-curdling confessions from the critic and ending with the actors granting him a reprieve - but not before his most embarrassing revelations have been taped on video to be shown to the entire nation.
ISBN: 0-8222-1702-3

Stage Struck

Play. Simon Gray
M3 (20, 30, middle-age) F1 (30). A living-room.

Robert's conniving wife concocts a plot to obtain grounds necessary for divorce involving the use of a private detective. Robert, recalling his days as a stage manager, works out a bizarre method of teaching them a lesson and the final moments give several grim twists to events as the 'little game' becomes stark reality.
ISBN 0 573 11414 5


Play. David Storey
M 1 (57) F4 (20s, 30, 56). A bare stage.

Stages was premiered at the Royal National Theatre in 1992 starring Alan Bates. Fenchurch, successful novelist and artist from a northern working-class background suffers a mental breakdown. He is visited by four women: his daughter, his ex-wife, his neighbour, and his psychiatrist to whom he recounts his past life. '... Storey's starkly observed portrait of an artist in extremis leaves us as close to the core of this eternal enigma as almost anything I have hitherto seen on any stage.' Daily Mail

Stags and Hens

Comedy. Willy Russell
M6 (one non-speaking) F5. The ladies' and gent's toilets in a dance hall.

Set in the ladies' and gent's toilets of a tacky Liverpool club where Dave and Linda are holding their respective stag and hen parties. Dave gets legless while Linda meets up with ex-lover Peter whose worldly wisdom leaves Linda uncertain whether to pursue an unsuitable marriage. An exuberantly cynical play which is also a perceptive study of working-class misogyny.
ISBN 0 573 01609 7


Play. Charles Dyer
M2 (middle-age), 1M voice. A barber's shop.

Charles Dyer and Harry C. Leeds have lived together as a homosexual couple for many years. Charles is terrified at the prospect of a forthcoming court case and fears exposure to his daughter Cassy, who is soon to visit them. Harry realises that all the names mentioned in Charles' stories are anagrams of Charles' own name. Harry will give Charles the strength to face the future, but is it possible that the people we know and love are only figments of our imaginations - or we of theirs?

The Stairwell

(in Cinzano) - Ludmila Petrushevskaya. Trans S. Mulrine
2m 2f. Thirty-minute one-act drama. Single interior set.

A bitingly accurate portrayal of the misunderstandings and conflict between the sexes. A young woman tries to fend off the attentions of two men she met on a blind date; but the men are not convinced by her determination to get rid of them.
ISBN 1 85459 106 1

Standing On My Knees

Play. John Olive.
1 man, 3 women. Unit set

Catherine, a young and promising poet affected with schizophrenia, returns home to her cluttered apartment after a stay in the hospital. Urged on by her publisher she snuggles to pursue her art, but the very intensity of thought which this demands brings on her attacks, and the imaginary voices which bedevil her. At a party she meets Robert, a young stockbroker, and as their relationship deepens she relies ever more heavily on Thorazine pills to control her illness and maintain a semblance of normalcy. Ironically, while the pills block her "voices" they also stifle her creative impulses and the talent which has brought her the most joy. Trying to handle both her relationship. with Robert and her needs as an artist she cuts down on the Thorazine doses, but as her illness again becomes apparent Robert backs away. In the end Catherine, in a shattering scene, scatters the pills on the floor, and facing the inevitable truth that she can be only one person and not two, slips inexorably back into madness.
ISBN.- 0-8222-1071-1


Pam Gems
6m 6f. Drama. Multipurpose set.

This moving and truthful portrait of Stanley Spencer, the wayward genius of modern British painting, recreates both his huge appetite for life and his naive attitude towards women, in particular his long-suffering wife. First performed at the National Theatre starring Antony Sher as Spencer, this 'lively biographical ... solid, gripping play (The Times) transferred to Broadway after winning both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Play of 1996.
ISBN 1 85459 254 8

Star-Gazy Pie and Sauerkraut

(in Star-Gazy Pie: Two Plays) - James Stock
4m 4f, doubling. Drama. Multipurpose set.

Punctuated with the dreams of its characters, Star Gazy Pie and Sauerkraut examines the lives of two families in Cornwall, one local and one German in ancestry. Both are haunted by the effects of prejudice and ill-health as they try to come to terms with their past. With this strange and blackly comic piece, first performed at the Royal Court in 1995, James Stock 'confirmed himself as both a thoughtful and a skilful playwright' Financial Times.
ISBN 1 85459 293 9

The Star-Spangled G irl

Comedy: Neil Simon.
2 men (20s) , 1 woman (young). A duplex studio apartment.

Two fiercely dedicated men endure near-starvation in order to put out a protest magazine in San Francisco. An All-American girl moves into another apartment on the same floor. Her first appearance paying a good-neighbor visit to the combination home and office of the two publishers is charming, and the immobile reaction is funny as can be. Thereafter love is a determined madness, with the humor of it heightened by her frantic rejection of one of the men. Meanwhile, his partner is fielding telephone calls from the irate printer who wants to collect the money due him, and distracting the landlady from thoughts of back-rent with motorcycle rides and surfing expeditions. And while she is convinced that they are editing a dangerously subversive magazine, our heroine soon finds that her real source of annoyance is that the wrong man is pressing his attentions on her. Happily this situation is reversed in time, as love and politics blend delightfully in a bubbling series of funny happenings, set forth with the masterly skill and inventiveness which have become the hallmarks of the Neil Simon comic style.
ISBN: 0-8222-1073-8

Stars in the Morning Sky

Play. Alexander Galin, translated by Michael Glenny and Cathy Porter
M2 F5. A shack.

Galin's fierce, but tender and dignified, drama is set during the 1980 Moscow Olympics when the undesirable 'Olympic Girls' (prostitutes) were herded out of sight from impressionable foreign visitors. The play centres on four of these girls, confined in a derelict lunatic asylum, each one an aspect of degraded womanhood. There is the ageing lush, Anna; glamorous Laura, denying the reality of her life; the fifteen-year-old unmarried mother Marie and Klara, hardened into living for kicks.