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The Value of Names

Play. Jeffrey Sweet.
2 men, 1 woman. Exterior.

Benny Silverman, a celebrated comic, has revived his career via television after many years of forced inactivity following his having been named on the Hollywood blacklist of the Fifties. Now his actress daughter, Norma, has been cast in a play to be directed by Leo Greshen, the man who had testified against him before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, and suddenly Benny must deal again with a moral crisis which he has tried to put behind him. At his daughter's urging he meets with Leo, a confrontation in which initial reserve gradually gives way to a provocative and increasingly passionate exchange of ideas and convictions until Benny, rising to the occasion with biting, devastating wit, lays to rest the sense of outrage and injustice which has preyed on his conscience for so many bitter years.
ISBN: 0-8222-1200-5

Valued Friends

Play. Stephen Jeffreys
M4 (30s, 40s) F2 (20s, 30s). A living-room.

Stephen Jeffrey's observant satire on the eighties' property boom won him the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award. Four college friends have lived in harmony for a decade. Their friendship values are questioned when a property developer offers them large sums to vacate their basement flat so he can redevelop the house. Although this money would be welcome they hold out and buy at a bargain price. But relationships collapse, tempers fray and madness takes over as the property boom takes off.
ISBN 0 573 01922 3

Valentine's Day

Horton Foote.
6 men, 4 women. Interior

The time is Christmas Eve, 1917. America is caught in the toils of World War I. Horace Robedaux and Elizabeth Vaughn, having married despite the objections of her parents, have rented rooms in the Pate house as they await the arrival of their firstborn. But the Pate house inhabitants prove to be more trouble than the young couple could have imagined. Bobby Pate, his wife having left him, has turned to drink. The eccentric George Tyler, a respected member of the community, is showing signs of a mental breakdown. Elizabeth's younger brother is proving increasingly to be a disappointment to their rigid, success-oriented father. In the spirit of Christmas, however, Elisabeth's parents unbend and seek a reconciliation with the newlyweds, as Mr. Vaughn is prepared to build the young couple a home of their own. As the play ends, Horace and Elizabeth anticipate the birth of their baby with renewed hope for the future, but with spirits dampened by the tragic suicide of George Tyler and the continuing shadow of the Great War.
ISBN. 0-8222-1199-8

The Vampires

Comedy Harry Kondoleon.
3 men, 3 women. Interior

Ed, a carpenter turned playwright, has had his would-be-masterpiece savaged by his brother, Ian, a drama critic who (upon losing his job) decides he is a vampire - sinking his fangs into his wife's neck and then sending out to the butcher shop for a fresh supply of blood. Ian's decision to "hate everything" does not, however, spare him the wrath of his disgruntled brother, who demands that he recoup the damage from his theatre review by restaging the play for an invited VIP audience. Ed and his wife are also searching for their precocious 13-year-old junkie daughter, a quest which Ian's wife abets by sending her favourite guru off to look for her: When the missing Zivia turns up she has apparently acquired supernatural powers (and married the guru) all of which leads ingeniously to the hilarious (if cautionary) final scene in which, as Eileen Blumenthal puts it, "one is left with a vision of traditional America, decadent and stupid, taken over by a new order that is brainless, fanatical, and barbarian."
ISBN.- 0-8222-1201-3

The Vampyre

Thriller. Tim Kelly.
6 men, 6 women. Interior

Lord Ruthven, a charming but vicious vampyre with a taste for gambling, gains the confidence of Aubrey, a weak-willed young man who is dazzled by Ruthven's worldliness and urbanity. Through. him Ruthven gains entrance to the stately country home of Aubrey's aunt, the rich but sharp-tongued Lady Harwood. As he draws Aubrey ever more deeply into debauchery and debt, the others try to loosen his hold on the impressionable youth, but to no avail. Before the evil Ruthven has "sated his thirst," murder, terror and. mounting excitement rule the stage. None of the pretty young women in the household (Lydia, Melissa and Constance) are able to resist his sinister charm, nor can any of the men defeat him. Eventually Lord Ruthven claims Aubrey's all-too-willing sister as his bride, despite the growing, and well-founded, fears of the others that her very life may be in danger. Filled with those "penny dreadful" elements that audiences love - chills, thrills and black humour - this lively adaptation is both simple to produce and filled with well-balanced roles, and climaxed with a final scene which is truly startling and electrifying.
ISBN: 0-8222-1204-8

The Vanek Plays

Triple bill. Václav Havel. Translated by Vera Blackwell

The plays in this triple bill (two of which, Audience and Private View, were presented in the BBC TV series Play for Today), have a central character in Vanek, who, like his creator, is a writer and brewery worker. Although not autobiographical, together they provide a superbly ironic comment on the position of a writer who has incurred the disapproval of an autocratic government. 

Audience. M2. An office. ISBN 0 573 04226 8

Private View. M2 F 1. A living-room. ISBN 0 573 12212 1

Protest. M2. A study.ISBN B0000EBXDW

Veins and Thumbtacks

Play Jonathan Marc Sherman.
3 men, 3 women, 1 girl (with some double casting). Unit Set

Set in New Jersey from 1978 to 1989, the story follows Jimmy Bonaparte, an angry young man trying to turn his American Nightmare into his personal American Dream. He takes care of his invalid grandmother while constantly exchanging insults with her. During the course of the 11 years we follow him, he marries his high school girlfriend, Annie, because she's pregnant, and he's content, in his bitter way, to stay with her. Over time, however, she outgrows him and leaves. The only people for whom he shows much affection are a cocktail waitress from a comedy club and his little girl, Wendy, who helps to mellow Jimmy's temperament as she gets older. Running through Jimmy's life is his unchanging routine at the supermarket where he works with his friend Arturo, and his constant efforts to become a famous stand-up comedian. His routine changes little in 11 years and the stories he relates are violent, troubled and rarely funny- a fact he fails to see. Jimmy keeps trying to get the big break. By the end of the play, there is a possibility that Jimmy will turn his attention to Wendy and finally let go some of the misplaced venom that has filled his life.
ISBN: 0-8222-1207-2


Play. Suzan-Lori Parks.
8 men, 4 women, flexible casting. Unit Set

In 1810, The Venus Hottentot (as she is dubbed) - a young black woman with an enormous posterior - is lured away from her menial job in South Africa to tour the world and make lots of money. Once in England, however, she is sold to a freak show and becomes a star. She shows off her attribute, bringing in crowds and raking in money for the side show owners. Quickly becoming adept at showing herself, and figuring out what the people want, she even tries to break out on her own, but can't quite master that in those social times. Eventually, she is procured by a white doctor who is more than fascinated with her. He falls in love with her and keeps her as his mistress until he is in danger of losing his medical reputation and social standing. Venus, who journeyed to Europe with high hopes, at the end of her short life, was dissected by the man she loved.
ISBN: 0-8222-1567-5

Venus Observed

Play. Christopher Fry
M6 (young, middle-age) F4 (young). An observatory room, a temple by a lake.

A stylish comedy of verbal wit and poetry, this autumnal quarter of Fry's 'comedies for the seasons' shows the fifty-year-old Duke of Altair resolving to settle down and marry one of his three mistresses. He is tempted away from this sensible plan by a last attempt to capture youthfulness in the person of the twenty-five-year-old Perpetua, daughter of his bailiff, Reedbeck. Originally written for Laurence Olivier, Venus Observed was revived at Chichester in 1992.
ISBN 0 573 01923 1

Venue Observed

Poetic Comedy Christopher Fry.
7 men, 4 women. 1 Interior/1 Exterior

The middle-aged Duke of Altair decides to remarry, and on the day of All-Hallows Eve invites three old flames, Rosabel, Jessie and Hilda to view an eclipse of the sun from his observatory. Rather unromantically he leaves the choice of his new bride to his grown-up son Edgar, who is to play Paris by giving an apple to whichever he thinks most suitable. He chooses Rosabel, but she gets annoyed at the Duke for having his head in the stars. The Duke then falls for Perpetua (youth itself), newly-arrived daughter of his agent Reedbeck, and that night they go to canoodle in the observatory. But Perpetua doesn't love the Duke - she only goes along with him because she's after getting her swindling dad off the hook, and she actually loves Edgar. Hot-blooded Rosabel sets fire to the observatory determined to bring the Duke down to earth, not knowing he's inside. The Duke and Perpetua escape, and Rosabel gives herself up for a six-month arson sentence. The Duke is so impressed with Rosabel's devotion he declares he'll wed her when she's free; Edgar goes off with Perpetua.
ISBN: 0-8222-1206-4


Play. Agatha Christie
M6 (24, 45, middle-age, 60) F4 (23, 30, middle-age). A living-room.

Karl and his wife Anya are refugees who return to England to rebuild their lives with the help of Lisa who runs the house. Wealthy Helen arrives to take lessons from Karl and her infatuation for him being unreturned, she doesn't stop at murder to clear the way. When Anya dies Helen commits suicide. Lisa is left to carry the blame but then she is absolved and she and Karl build a new life from the wreckage.
ISBN 0 573 61931 X

Vernon Early

Horton Foote
5 men, 7 women, 1 Boy, 1 Girl. Unit Set

Vernon Early revisits American life in Horton Foote's fictional town of Harrison, Texas, during the 1950s. The title character, Vernon, is a doctor, in the days when the house call was commonplace. Consumed by his work, his spirit has been eroded by the pressures of his job and the lingering depression he shares with his wife, Mildred, over the loss of their adopted child to its birth mother. Mirroring the tragic existence of the Earlys, many of Harrison's other residents are also consumed with the self-inflicted wounds of life: aging, individual isolation, love, and racial inequality. Through all of the bleakness of life there still shines a glimmer of hope reflected in the spirit of the town's sad doctor, Vernon Early.
ISBN: 0-8222-1691-4

Veronica's Room

Thriller. Ira Levin
M2 F2. A bed sitting-room.

Susan Kerner and Larry Eastwood are invited to the Brabissant mansion by the Mackeys who are struck by Susan's resemblance to Veronica Brabissant, long-dead daughter of the family for whom they work. Susan goes along with the charade to comfort Veronica's only living relative. But once dressed in Veronica's clothes, Susan finds herself herself locked in the role - and locked in Veronica's room. Or is she Veronica, in 1935, pretending to be an imaginary Susan?
ISBN 0 573 01690 0

A Very Special Baby

Play Robert Alan Aurthur.
5 men, 1 woman. Unit Set

Joey Casale is 34 years old, the youngest of a family of six children; except for a brief period of glory during the War, he has stayed at home all his life, never held a steady job, and lived on the allowance his father has given him. His father is a self-made man, generous with all his children, outwardly very fond of Joey and of Anna, the eldest daughter who lives at home and keeps house for her father and brother. The two older sons are successful professional men, and his father teases Joey about his lack of achievement. But Joey knows what he wants - he's not made to be a dentist, as his father wanted him to be. Joey is good with his hands, at repairing things. He and his ex-Sergeant have been planning for years to set up a television repair shop. The Sergeant has slowly saved his half of the money to start the shop, and Joey has never doubted that his father would advance him his share out of the family funds. But the father is hostile to the whole idea -Joey would move away from home, the eldest daughter would want to give up the house, and all this would disturb the father's pleasant routine. Joey asks for the money at a family conference, and the whole surface of the family erupts. The father's real resentment and anger at Joey comes pouring out. Joeys mother died in childbirth, and the father has hated Joey ever since. Despite everything the brothers and Anna can do, Joey is refused the money, and can see nothing in his life but a continuation of the aimless, meaningless existence he has followed until now. But with the help of Carmen, his ex-Sergeant, and Anna, Joey at last is able to leave his father. The shop will be a long time in getting started but Joey's life has finally begun.