Composers and their stage works 


Wanted: One Body!

Charles Dyer : Comedy/Thriller
5M 4F Interior set

In the best Hammer horror tradition, the action takes place in a classic old dark house set amidst the rising flood waters and swirling mists on the edge of the lonely marshes. This is Greenacres, the home of the Barraclough family, to which come a pair of solicitors to read the will of the late, but not greatly lamented Mr Barraclough, only to learn that his body has mysteriously vanished along with the will! Wanted: One Body! is a classic murder mystery of disappearing bodies, sliding panels and howls in the night. A who-dunnit and a thriller, but with the accent on laughter, its evergreen popularity testifies to its warmth, wit and thrills, and the hilarious fun for audience and actors alike.
ISBN: 0 85676 040 4


Play. Shirley Gee
M8 F3 or M5 F3. Opportunities for many extras. Composite setting.

This powerful, moving drama is based on a true story. In 1750 Hannah Snell, disguised as a boy, goes to sea in search of her errant husband. For seven years she lives as a man, boldly braving wounds, bloody battles and her own troubling visions. Back home, a woman again, penniless, she and two fellow marines form a successful stage act. But apocalyptic visions force her publicly to proclaim the horrors of war and the authorities imprison her in Bedlam. Rescued, she sails away to speak out for life.
ISBN 0 573 01931 2

Was He Anyone?

Play. N. F. Simpson
M 14 (can be played by M3 or more) F 13 (can be played by F4 or more). Acting area with a ramp.

An extremely witty study of a bookmaker's runner who takes a long walk off a short ship. The drowning man's cause is taken up by various charitable institutions and well-wishers, so immersed in the paraphernalia of bureaucratic machinery that they omit to rescue the 'drownee'. Playing time approximately 75 minutes

The Wash

Play. Philip Kan Gotanda.
3 men, 5 women. Unit Set.

Nobu Matsumoto has separated from his wife Masi at her request, though both of them are in their sixties, Nobu's new-found bachelor life is regularly interrupted by Masi who comes by to pick up and drop off Nobu's weekly laundry as part of the duties she still feels a Japanese wife owes to her husband. Their two daughters have opposing feelings about the break-up; Marsha, the more traditional of the daughters, wants to reunite her parents, but not even Nobu and Masi's nostalgia for their courtship in a World War II Japanese-American internment camp can bring them back together again. The other daughter, Judy, who's been estranged from her father since marrying a black American, has been supportive of her mother's attempt at freedom. It is not until Masi tentatively begins a relationship with Sadao, a widower, that the severity of Nobu's traditional values reveals itself: he is inconsolable, obstinate and reclusive, leaving Kiyoko, a widowed restaurant owner who has fallen in love with him, unable to break down his defences and get him to begin a new life with her. Finally, Masi's decision to divorce Nobu pushes him to the point where he begs her to return to him, but the marriage is irreparable and Nobu is left at the end of the play contemplating how best to re-acquaint himself with his daughters, friends, and most importantly, his ex-wife now that he begins to perceive that things can never again be as they were.
ISBN- 0-8222-1222-6

Washington Square Moves

Drama. Matthew Witten.
5 men, 2 women (flexible casting). Exterior.

The urban misfits who play chess in Washington Square Park have no money and no home, but they are smart, witty, and above all, terrific chess players. Al, a homeless ex-convict, hustles chess for a living with his buddies, Sammy D., a young baby-faced, part-time drug dealer, and Bobby, a Vietnam vet and Hare Krishna refugee. Their latest scheme for achieving fame and, dignity through playing the game they love involves a female reporter, Margie, who happens to be an, old friend of Al's, from the old days when Al was in school and had prospects. During the course of the play, we watch the three buddies ready for the biggest match in front of the TV cameras. Margie's influence has helped get the news cameras to the park and everything else seems to be lined up. But the day of the match, the other reporters are called away for "real" news, Sammy D. pulls off one more stupid drug deal, and Al and Bobby lose their confidence. The world seems to crash in around them, until the game draws them back to start to build a new one.
ISBN: 0-8222-1409-1


Play. Simon Bent
M5 F3. In and around a North London house.

A housing co-op, in North London is the setting for Simon Bent's play which seethes with the frustrations and intrigues of its eight young occupants. An affectionate but satirical eye is cast over this none-too-happy commune, from the uncooperative co-op meeting to the profounder subjects of oppressive jealousy and latent homosexuality. A series of short scenes conveys the rapidly changing tensions, moods and frustrations of this group who seem forever to be swimming against the tide.


Drama. Doug Wright.
3 men, 3 women. Unit Set

Flo Stiliman is a nursery school teacher, desperate to have children of her own. Her husband, Park, a bond trader on Wall Street, refuses to comply. Park carries an overwhelming secret: an affair he had with his secretary, a spirited young woman named Marilyn, already produced a baby. The child, brain-damaged, lies in a hospital incubator, the living manifestation of Park's infidelity to his wife. Now Park is terrified to procreate again, for fear of producing another handicapped infant. Flo, blissfully unaware of her husband's situation, still craves a child. She compulsively starts to adopt Third World children through late-night "infomercials" on TV. Soon, she is a foster mother of some renown. As she becomes increasingly obsessed with her responsibility to nurture the world's underprivileged, Flo's life takes a surreal turn. She experiences miraculous visits from Third World emissaries, and even endures a phantom pregnancy. Meanwhile, Marilyn's new boyfriend, Dash, a toll booth attendant with "super-human genes," decides to pirate Marilyn and her ailing baby away to the mid-West, where they can begin life anew. In a series of short, interconnected scenes, alternately comic and poignant, the play weaves an intricate web of conflicting desires. Written with the narrative logic of a late-morning dream, Watbanaland is a haunting story about hunger in its very human manifestations: sexual, physical and spiritual.
ISBN: 0-8222-1480-6

Watch It Sailor!

Comedy. Philip King and Falkland L. Cary
M4 (23, 35, 50) F5 (22, 40). A living-room.

Shirley Homett and her fiancé, Albert Tufnell, have overcome all the perils encountered in Sailor Beware! and are happily awaiting their wedding day. The only disturbances are caused by Daphne, Shirley's bridesmaid, who is plotting hard to trap Albert's best man, Carnoustie, into marriage. A surprise telegram, misunderstandings between Shirley and Albert, and Shirley's termagant mother, conspire to ruin their happiness, but all ends happily.
ISBN 0 573 01472 8

Watch On the Rhine

Drama. Lillian Hellman.
6 men, 5 women, 2 boys. Interior

The play is about an idealistic German who, with his American wife and two children, flees Hitler's Germany and finds sanctuary with his wife's family in the United States. He hopes for a respite from the dangerous work in which he has been involved, but his desire for personal safety soon comes into conflict with the deeply-held beliefs which have made him an active anti-Nazi. In the end his conscience cannot be compromised, and he returns to Germany and the resistance movement - and to what will be, most certainly, his ultimate destruction. Told in compelling, human terms, the play is an eloquent and stirring tribute to the brave men and women who, despite all odds, struggled early on to stem the tide of fascism which was soon to spread throughout Europe and the world.
ISBN: 0-8222-1223-4

Watch the Birdie

Comedy: Norman Krasna.
13 men, 2 women (many of the male roles are bit parts). Multiple simple sets

A rollicking comedy of true love vs. the complications of a very lucrative (but slightly shady) undercover business.

A crack legal secretary working for an attorney specialising in divorce cases, Helen is happy in her job until a personable young man appears and offers her the chance to go to Paris as his assistant. Unfortunately the salary is small and, debating what to do (and romantically intrigued too), Helen suddenly finds herself asked to fill in as a professional co-respondent - which means being photographed in a hotel room with someone seeking to establish grounds for a divorce. It's all very matter of fact and hands off, and it also pays very well - with no income taxes involved, the operation being technically illegal. So when the regular "co-respondent" announces her decision to marry and retire, Helen agrees to take over her "business" -and the money is soon pouring, in. But Paris, and her now-eager suitor, cannot be put off indefinitely, and the fact that he happens to work for the Internal Revenue Service only adds to the complications. Eventually, and despite some hilarious misunderstandings, it all works out: true love finds a way, and Paris it is, underpaid but happy.
ISBN: 0-8222-1224-2.

Watcher in the Shadow

Play. Norman Holland
F9 (20s, 40s, middle-age). A housekeeper's room.

Kesiah, the gypsy, is determined to ensconce herself in the Old Manor House, and is totally unscrupulous in her methods to achieve this. First she contrives the housekeeper's death and takes her place. Then she gets the sharp-eyed servant girl dismissed. Finally she persuades the ageing, drink-shaky Mrs Sumner to make the house over to her and away from the old woman's niece. Installed as owner, Kesiah provides herself with a maid, but here she meets Nemesis. Period 1908
ISBN 0 573 03019 7

The Water Children

Drama. Wendy MacLeod.
4 men, 4 women. Unit Set

Megan is an actress somewhere between "ingenue" and "Mom." When she loses an important role to a younger woman, her agent convinces her to take a part in a commercial for Life Force, an anti-abortion group. Megan, having had an abortion and being a staunch liberal, is in conflict about the job. She complicates her life even more when she begins to date Randall, the organisation's executive director. Megan and Randall hit it off and they try to put their personal beliefs aside, but when Randall's colleagues become militant things suddenly become more difficult. And when Megan learns she is pregnant, it sends her on the personal journey of her life, spinning into her past, magnifying her present and leaving her completely at a loss as to her future. To get away from it all she accepts a job in a Japanese commercial. In Japan, she learns of the shrines to the mizuko - the "water children." She makes a pilgrimage to the temple and learns of Japan's beliefs about abortion - the very reason for the temple's being. While at the shrine, Megan meets the soul of the child she aborted those many years ago and finally makes her own peace, and a decision about the child she's now carrying.
ISBN: 0-8222-1662-0

Waters Of the Moon

N C Hunter : Light Drama
4M 6F 1 Interior, 1 Exterior set

The dull routine of a modest and shabby private hotel in the West Country is broken by the arrival of unexpected and exciting guests whose car breaks down nearby. Helen Lancaster, a vivacious and attractive woman, together with her husband and 18 year old daughter are well and truly snowbound. In this setting, the effect of the sophisticated newcomers on the household is both comic and tragic, as certain relationships develop and inevitable strains begin to show.

The Way Of the World

William Congreve
6m 6f, extras. Classic comedy of manners. Multipurpose set

'Congreve's The Way of the World (1700) is perhaps the subtlest of all English comedies, the plot is as precise, and as complex, as the inner workings of a Swiss watch ... What makes this play great, though, is that Congreve combines this dazzling ingenuity with depth of feeling' Daily Telegraph. Mirabell loves the heiress Millamant, and in order to gain access to her he pretends to be in love with her aunt, Lady Wishfort This pretence is revealed to Lady Wishfort by Mrs Marwood, who had been spurned by Mirabell. Therefore, Mirabell must concoct a clever plan which allows him to marry Millamant and keep her fortune despite the vengeful wrath of Lady Wishfort ... Recently revived by the National with Fiona Shaw, Roger Allam and Geraldine McEwan.
ISBN 1 85459 198 3

Way Upstream

Play. Alan Ayckbourn
M3 (30s) F4 (young, 30s, 40). A boat and surrounding river and banks.

What could be more pleasant than a holiday on the river? Unfortunately, things do not go quite as smoothly as Keith, self-appointed skipper, has anticipated. The last straw comes when Vince, hitching a ride upstream, is elected skipper in his place. This dark comedy was presented at the National Theatre, London, in 1982, where real water, rain and a moving boat were used; these are not essential, however, and the play can be produced using simulated or imagined water.
ISBN 0 573 11504 4

The Wayside Motor Inn

Play A.R. Gurney.
6 men, 4 women. Interior

The scene is a motel outside of Boston - a depersonalised, antiseptic environment into which, one after the other, come five sets of travellers. There is a well-to-do couple on a visit to their married daughter; a lonely salesman looking for a bit of romance to temper the boredom of a business trip; an overbearing father and his latently rebellious son en route to a Harvard interview; a pair of liberated college students intent on a weekend of passion; and an embittered doctor in the process of getting a divorce. Although the various occupants of the motel room are often on stage at the same time, they neither see nor hear each other, and it is quickly evident that their shared location is, in reality, five different rooms. But, as each of the individual dramatic situations is developed, the irony, humour and pathos which they evoke is heightened by the silent proximity of the other characters - building, in the end, to a kaleidoscopic pattern in which their separate stories blend and re-blend into a subtle but telling indictment of the shortcomings, large and small, of life in contemporary America.
ISBN: 0-8222-1225-0

The Wayward Saint

Comedy-Fantasy. Paul Vincent Carroll.
7 men, 4 women. Interior.

Canon Daniel McCooey, a potato-faced old fellow with a sheep's head of hair, has been working far too many 'miracles' for his Bishop's peace of mind. He's been talking to birds and animals, for one thing ("If only I'd studied some one besides St. Francis," mourns the unlucky parish priest), and he's somehow or other managed to get a cherry tree to produce plums. Though he isn't at all proud of himself and regards the gossip that he is a saint as a scandal, he still must be hustled out of sight. The pained Bishop deposits him in a remote country rectory that's a 'sweet little hole, but terrible out of the way,' deprives him of his beloved animals, and puts him to work knitting ecclesiastical socks. A mysterious baron with a faint odour of sulphur about him, turns up, a friendly lion strolls in at the garden window, the padre learns a few new tricks from the baron and begins to preen himself on his supernatural powers. But at eleven o'clock he's perched in a chair ten feet off the floor bemoaning the loss of his immortal representative, and when the Canon, whose pride the Devil has utilised, again doubts that he is a saint he really becomes one.

The Wayward Spirit

Play. Charlotte Hastings
M6 (20s-50s, elderly) F6 (18, 20s, 40s-50s). A hospital room, an office.

Captain Anthony Cole, confined to a wheelchair, dreams of being able to walk again and marry his beloved Chrissy. When he is informed that he won't regain the use of his legs, he lashes out at Chrissy, declaring that he will never marry her. Sister Winifred, who combines professionalism as a nurse with a slightly unorthodox vocation as a nun, saves the day, ensuring that the couple get the wedding they have longed for.
ISBN 0 573 01938 X