Composers and their stage works 



Alfred Jarry. Trans K. McLeish
18m/f or puppets. Comedy. Flexible staging.

The Ubu trilogy (King Ubu, Cuckold Ubu, Slave Ubu), written in 1896, follows the adventures of Pa and Ma Ubu in their absurd world. King Ubu, the best known of the three, mirrors Macbeth as King Ubu ousts a king, becomes a tyrant and is finally killed. 'Its lunatic grotesquerie is brilliantly caught in McLeish's new translation ... Exhilaratingly combines the erudite with the lavatorial ... classical parody and surreal farce anticipating avant-garde art as well as the Goons and Monty Python. McLeish's version plays up the Shakespearian parallels, having one character exclaim "Et tu, Ubu" as he is killed by a lavatory plunger' Guardian. This translation premiered at Gate Theatre, London, 1997.
ISBN 1 85459 189 4

The Ubu Plays

Alfred Jarry. Translated by Cyril Connolly and Simon Watson Taylor.

Definitive translations of three masterpieces of the modern French theatre. Outrageous in language and action, and savage in their attack on society's complacency and acceptance of the vulgar and gross, the plays combine brilliant theatricality with biting social comment. Ubu Rex calls for flexible casting for its 35+ characters; Ubu Cuckolded for 9 men, 1 woman; Ubu Enchained for 12-21 men, 2 women. All three plays may be presented with simplified settings and a minimum of props.

The Stories: Germinated in the author's youth and developed over his creative lifetime, the three UBU plays embody Alfred Jarry's disenchantment with the disjointed society of his time (the early 1990s) but which applies to our time as well.

Ubu Rex , is a absurdist parody of Macbeth, set in Poland, and detailing the rise to the throne of Pere Ubu, a grotesque, outlandish figure who personifies all that is base and stupid in mankind. The language and action of the play are terse and direct, yet eloquent in conveying the startling parallels between the ruthless, ugly world of Ubu and our own.

Ubu Cuckolded, continues and expands this biting, savage assessment of modern society and its foibles and brings Ubu into conflict, albeit fitfully, with his conscience. In the third play

Ubu Enchained
, the cycle is completed in a heightened, outrageous satire on the concept of freedom in its varying guises and interpretations.

ISBN: 0-8021-5010-1

Ubu Cuckolded

Plays. Alfred Jarry. Translated by Cyril Connolly and Simon Watson Taylor.
8 men, 1 woman.

Germinated in the author's youth, and developed over his creative lifetime, the three Ubu Plays embody Alfred Jarry's growing disenchantment with the disjointed society of his time - which is our time as well. The second play, Ubu Cuckolded, continues and, expands this biting, savage assessment of modern society and its foibles and brings Ubu into conflict, albeit fitfully, with his conscience. In the third play, Ubu Enchained, the cycle is completed in a heightened, outrageous satire on the concept of freedom in its varying guises and interpretations.
ISBN: 0-8021-5010-1

Ulysses In Traction

Play. Albert Innaurato
5 men, 3 women. Interior.

A biting and very funny satire of academic theatre, and the professors, playwrights and performers who flourish there.

The place is the rehearsal hall in the theatre complex of a large mid-western university. The time is 1970, and as those assembled in the hall proceed with rehearsal of a student play, a violent race riot is taking place outside the locked doors. Those besieged include the graduate student author of the play; the head of the department and the acid-tongued actress with whom he is having an affair; the alcoholic director of the play; a campy homosexual faculty member; an over-intense young student actor; and a frustrated female playwright turned stage manager. The work being rehearsed is a ridiculously sentimental parody of a Vietnam War play and as the problems of interpreting it effectively increase, the students and faculty members break off to scuffle, fight, reminisce and to air the grievances, desires and disappointments which beset them all. What results is very funny, but it also reveals, beneath the humour, the unhappiness and sense of failure which these people feel - the knowledge of their mediocrity in retreating to the safe sterility of university theatre without ever having braved the demands and dangers of the real world - and the real theatre - beyond.
ISBN: 0-8222-1187-4

Una Pooka

(in First Run 1- now out of print) Photocopy of single play available £5.00 (apply to Nick Hern Books)
Michael Harding
4m 3f Comedy. Single interior set.

'For the weekend of the Pope's visit to Dublin in 1979, a young childless couple put up in their council house the husband's family from down the country ... A major work' Irish Press. 'One of the most fascinating new Irish plays in at least a decade' Irish Times.

Unchanging Love

Drama. Romulus Linney from the story In the Hollow by Anton Chekhov.
6 men, 4 women. Unit Set

Set in 1921, the Pitman family of Manard, North Carolina is led by the 75-year-old Benjamin Pitman, a successful owner of the town's general store. He has recently brought about the marriage of one son, Avery, to a young woman, Leena, and has himself married a younger woman, Barbara. He means to get his other son, Shelby, married too, as insurance for the future. Shelby chooses Judy Musgrove, the daughter of a poor farming family, who also sing and dance for hire. Judy and Shelby have a baby, ensuring the continuance of the family line, but Shelby's learned apathy and greed commence a series of misdeeds which bring shame to the Pitman family. As time goes on, the whole family is slowly drawn under the influence of the increasingly dominating Leena Pitman, whose financial schemes clash with the values of some of the others, until a final catastrophe occurs. The play is filled with Appalachian music, sung a cappella by Judy and her mother and father.
ISBN: 0-8222-1188-2

Uncle Bob

Austin Pendleton. : Drama
2 men. Interior.

Uncle Bob lives in New York as an uproariously articulate hermit, separated from the wife to whom he is devoted - and who is devoted to him. He is visited by his nephew, Josh, who is without a job, without a completed college education, and without any sense of a future, all of which he faces with a wit and nervy desperation that finds its only match in his Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob has AIDS, and Josh has hitched from the midwest, uninvited (profoundly uninvited), to take care of him. A loving and funny, abrasive and profane face off ensues.
ISBN: 0-8222-1476-8

Uncle Vanya

Anton Chekhov - Adapted by Pam Gems
6m 4E Classic Drama. 3 interior sets, 1 exterior.

Vanya and his niece, Sonya, work relentlessy to keep their meagre estate going. Sonya finds relief in her undisclosed love for Astrov, the local doctor. But all hope of relief is banished when their lives are invaded by Sonya's selfishly destructive father and his new, beautiful wife ... This adaptation was first staged at the National Theatre with Ian McKellen as Vanya and Antony Sher as Astrov.
ISBN 1 85459 176 2

Uncle Vanya

Anton Chekhov. Trans. S.Mulrine
6m 4f. Classic Drama. 3 interior sets, 1exterior.

See above. Original first performed in 1897
ISBN 1 85459 430 3

Uncle Vanya

Play. Anton Chekhov, adapted by David Mamet from a translation by Vlada Chernomirdik
M5 F4. Four settings.

This new adaptation by David Mamet of the classic work was premiered in 1988 by the American Repertory Theatre in Massachusetts, USA. It tells the story of an uncle in love with a young lady who is married to an old and ill man. She is attracted to a doctor who attends her husband. These souls are marooned far off in the Russian countryside for one whole season. As they disperse we are left with the memory of deeply human characters.
ISBN 0 573 66212 6

Uncle Vanya

Brian Friel, a version of the play by Anton Chekhov
M6 (37, 47, old) F4 (young, 27, elderly) A garden, a dining-room, a drawing-room, a bedroom/ office.

Brian Friel's version of the Chekhov classic was first produced at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 1998. 'Uncle Vanya is embedded in a distinctive historical and cultural landscape. The translator's job is to fashion an original repetition of the story that has been shaped by those determinants . ... Such an undertaking is audacious and cheeky. But if it reflects even palely Chekhov's sense and sensibility it is well worth the risk.' Brian Friel Period 1890s

Uncle Vanya

Scenes from a country life in 4 acts.
Anton Chekhov, in an English version by Jean-Claude van Itallie.
5 men, 4 women. 1 Exterior, 3 Simple Interiors.

Set in the declining days of Czarist Russia, the scene is a country estate, the home of an old and ailing professor, his young wife and various other family members. For years the estate, under the management of Uncle Vanya, brother of the professor's first wife, has yielded a modest income, but now, with the professor older and bored, he offers the idea of selling the estate and investing the money in bonds - a prospect most unsettling for those who have come to regard the place as their home. Counterpointed against the professor's unrest is the situation of others in the family: his daughter Sonya's unrequited passion for the local doctor, Astrov, who visits often; Vanya's love for the professor's young wife; and her own unspoken attraction to another. Throughout there is the bitter-sweet, deeply human aura of real people helplessly in thrall to events and feelings beyond their control. In the end the estate is not sold and, as the summer wanes, the professor and his wife depart, leaving the others to settle back into the uneventful but bearable routine which has become their way of life.
ISBN: 0-8222-1587-X

Uncommon Women and Others

Play. Wendy Wasserstein.
9 women. Unit Set

Comprised of a collage of interrelated scenes, the action begins with a reunion, six years after graduation, of five close friends and classmates at Mount Holyoke College. They compare notes on their activities since leaving school and then, in a series of flashbacks, we see them in their college days and learn of the events, some funny, some touching, some bitingly cynical, which helped to shape them. Each of the group is a distinct and different individual, and it is their varying reaction to the staid, sheltered and often anachronistic university environment (with its undercurrent of sometimes darker personal desires and conclusions) which gives the play its special meaning. for todays young women as they go forth in to the changing and often disquieting world which awaits them after graduation.
ISBN: 0-8222-1192-0