Composers and their stage works 


To Culebra

Play. Jonathan Bolt.
9 men, 2 women. Unit Set

The story is told from the standpoint of Charles de Lesseps, the loyal, steadfast son of Ferdinand de Lesseps' first marriage. The action of the play shifts back and forth between the courtroom where de Lesseps and his associates are on trial for fraud and mismanagement amid scenes of the events and missteps which led to their disastrous decision to attempt construction of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. An honoured hero for his miraculous accomplishment in building the Suez Canal, de Lesseps has married a young wife and is happily tending his estate and siring a second family. Already over seventy, his friends and family are wary when he is approached about undertaking another monumental project, particularly in view of early reports about rampant disease and the debilitating climate of the Central American jungle. But, convinced that his powers are sufficient, de Lesseps takes on the task, despite his need to delegate much of the preliminary fact-finding to younger and less able men and the raising of capital to unscrupulous speculators. Starting off in a blaze of glory, the Panama Canal project gradually and inexorably falters and fails, but not before it has accounted for the loss of more than 20,000 lives, the ruin of countless small investors, and the eventual disgrace and bankruptcy of de Lesseps and his colleagues, including his ever-faithful son, Charles. Eloquent testimony to the truth that "pride goeth before a fall," the play is also a powerful and moving study of what can happen when good, albeit with the best intentions, not only fails in its quest for success and glory but also drags down so many others into great loss and defeat.
ISBN: 0-879-05347-X

Top Girls

Play. Caryl Churchill
F7, with trebling. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

This play for sixteen women characters was seen at London's Royal Court Theatre. 'Ms Churchill's rich, ambitious play is a powerful exposition of the way in which top girls, like top men, often achieve success at the expense of their less able sisters.' Time Out. ' ... brilliantly conceived with considerable wit to illuminate the underlying deep human seriousness of her theme. The play is feminist, all right, but it is an entertaining, sometimes painful and often funny play and not a mere tract.' Spectator
ISBN 0 573 13013 2

Torch Song Trilogy

Three plays. Harvey Fierstein.

A smash-hit in New York, this trilogy had its British premiere at the Albery Theatre, London, in 1985, with Antony Sher portraying the alternately moving and hilarious life and loves of a drag queen. '[This play] must be the funniest as well as the most perceptive, exuberant and painful for years about sexuality, inversion and the disorders of modern love.' Daily Telegraph '... a remarkably bitchy, waspish and acerbically funny triptych on the nature of homosexuality.' Punch

The International Stud
M2 (30s). A black cyclorama.

The first play concerns the agonies of Arnold, a New York drag queen who is picked up in a bar by bisexual Brooklyn teacher Ed, and their ensuing on/off relationship until Ed finally leaves Arnold to marry Laurel.

Fugue in a Nursery
M3 (18, 30s) Fl (35). One set to represent various rooms

The second play takes place a year later. Arnold and his new lover, a model called Alan, are invited for a weekend in the country with Ed and his wife with complicated results.

Widows and Children First!
M3 (15, 30s, 40s). F1 (60s). A living-room/kitchenette, a park bench

The third play sees Arnold five years on. Alan has been brutally murdered by a vicious gang and Ed has left Laurel for Arnold's sofa-bed. Another addition to Arnold's household is David, a gay, delinquent teenager who has been rejected by his foster parents and whom Arnold is trying to adopt as his son. Matters are further complicated with the arrival of Arnold's Ma who's not too happy with Arnold.

Total Eclipse

Play. Christopher Hampton
M7 (17, 20s, 43). F4 (18, 31, 50, middle-age). Extras. Various interior and exterior settings.

An intelligent treatment of the friendship between the poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud, one of the most extraordinary relationships in the history of literature. With considerable insight into the bourgeois and artistic societies of the nineteenth century, and with a moving understanding of homosexuality, Hampton charts the poets' mutual need for each other as they move through and away from literary life and from Verlaine's family.
ISBN 0 573 61692 2

Touch and Go

Comedy. Derek Benfield
M2 (40s) F3 (20s, 30s). Two living-rooms.

Having been encouraged to take up jogging by his wife Hilary, Brian sees his girlfriend, Wendy, in his friend George's flat when he is ostensibly running around the park. However, while Brian is visiting Wendy, helpful George knows that his own affair will not be discovered as the object of his affection is Brian's wife Hilary! It is all plain sailing until George's wife Jessica returns too soon from a business trip to America ...
ISBN 0 573 11301 7

A Touch of Danger

Play. Francis Durbridge
M5 (30s, 40s, middle-age) F4 (20s, 30s). A living-room.

When author Max Telligan's secretary, Liz, and his about-to-be ex-wife, Harriet, read that he has been found dead in Munich, they are stunned. When Max walks in, very much alive, they find that the murdered man was Max's friend. Thus begins a sequence of events involving the CID, CIA, security services and a terrorist organisation, all of whom seem inordinately interested in Max.
ISBN 0 573 01692 5

A Touch of Spring

Comedy. Samuel Taylor
M7 (30s) F2 (young, 30s). An hotel apartment.

Diana leaves her husband, Sandy, in Rome to make arrangements for the transfer home of his father's body, killed in Italy in a car crash. While wading through governmental red tape he meets Alison, who is on a similar mission -her mother had died in the same accident. It transpires that the parents' relationship was more than that of co-tourists, and circumstances indicate that a parallel situation will inevitably develop between Sandy and Alison.
ISBN 0 573 01592 9

A Touch Of the Poet

Drama. Eugene O'Neill.
7 men, 3 women. Interior

The time of the play is 1828; the setting is a tavern in a village near Boston. The tavern is owned by a tempestuous Irishman, Con Melody, who is as proud as he is ill-tempered. He had been born with wealth in a castle. He had been a major with the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Talavera. And now he is determined to show his pride and importance to the Yankee townsmen. He makes a great show of it, cantering about on a blooded mare, quoting poetry at his majestic image in a mirror, donning his splendid British uniform and celebrating each anniversary of Talavera. But the show deludes only himself. He is an Irishman of humble origin in a strange and unfriendly civilization. He is totally in debt. His wife keeps the tavern going; unaccountably, this long-suffering woman adores him. His spirited daughter, whom he treats like a servant and berates as a slut, hates him. But his arrogance continues until at last he is beaten by the Yankee enemy - literally beaten into a coma. So now he kills himself with a duelling pistol. Not by shooting himself, but by shooting his beloved mare, his one great show piece. This deed means the death of the past, the death of his pretensions, and the birth of a new Con Melody.
ISBN: 0-8222-1393-1

Towards Zero

Play. Agatha Christie
M7 (20s-70s) F4 (20s, 30s, 60s). A drawing-room.

The guests at Lady Tressilian's house-party include her nephew, Nevile, his second wife Kay, and his first wife Audrey. When Lady Tressilian is murdered, Nevile appears to have an alibi. The next suspect is Audrey, who stands to inherit some money and is thought to be murderously jealous of Nevile's second marriage. However, the police discover that it was actually Audrey who left Nevile and that Nevile committed the murder to assuage his insane vanity by bringing his unfaithful wife to the gallows.

Towards Zero

Mystery Agatha Christie. Adapted from Agatha Christie's book, Towards Zero, by the author and Gerald Verner.
7 men, 4 women. Interior

The scene is a house-parry of a lovely old house on the coast of Cornwall. Lady Tessilan has invited as guests Kay and Nevile Strange, and Audrey, Nevile's former wife, whom Nevile deserted for the beautiful, glamorous Kay. Also on hand, among others, is Mary Aldin, Lady Tressilian's companion-secretary, a quiet, efficient and rather mysterious young woman. Nevile hoped that Kay and Audrey, by being together, would become friends, but that plan quickly goes awry and he finds himself between two women who appear to dislike one another intensely. After a short time in Audrey's company, Nevile asks Kay for a divorce - he wants to marry Audrey again! Kay is furious and tells Nevile that she'll see them both dead before she'll allow him to go back to Audrey. The next morning Mary has apparently taken a sleeping pill and can't be wakened - Audrey goes in to attend to Lady Tressilian and, to her horror, finds she has been murdered. At first the police are inclined to believe that Nevile is the murderer - but the evidence seems too clearcut, if anything. Then they learn that Mary had seen Lady Tressilian alive after Nevile had left the house that evening - and they wonder who hates him so much that they want him to be hanged for a murder he didn't commit. Then the evidence begins to point to Audrey to the horror and disbelief of the entire party. Only when Matthew Treves, the family lawyer, together with Superintendent Battle, takes things in hand does the appalling truth come out in a scene of tremendous excitement.
ISBN: 0-8222-1162-9

The Tower (La Tour de Nesle), or Marguerite de Bourgogne

Play. Alexandre Dumas (Père), in a new version by Charles Wood
M 18 F3, may be played by M 13 F2. Extras. Various simple settings.

Dumas (Père) was commissioned by Parisian theatre manager Harel to write The Tower in 1832, a tale of murder, sexual depravity and treachery among the French aristocracy - just what the public wanted. Popularly dubbed as 'anti-monarchist', it played for 800 performances during a French revolution in the 1830s. Over 160 years later, in less turbulent times, lovers of swashbuckling romantic melodrama will not be disappointed. Period 1314

Toys In the Attic

Drama. Lillian Hellman.
4 men, 4 women, 3 extras. Interior/Exterior

Two sisters living together in a small southern town dream of touring Europe one day - but their plans are continually thwarted by the need to bail their ne'er-do-well brother out of a series of misfortunes. They are surprised then, and even oddly distressed, when the brother suddenly turns up with a large sum of money, enough to pay off the mortgage on the family homestead and to send his sisters on their grand tour. As it happens, however, the brother's good fortune stems from a plot devised by the spiteful wife of a local millionaire, and when the brother's wife discovers this, and jealously tells all, the scheme is shattered and the brother savagely beaten. In the end the sisters regain the dependence of their brother - but at a price far greater than they would have willingly chosen to pay.
ISBN- 0-8222-1163-7