Composers and their stage works 



Play. Federico Garcia Lorca. Translated by Peter Luke
M3 F13. Stark set.

Peter Luke's translation of this powerful and passionate play was performed at the National Theatre in 1987 with Juliet Stevenson and Roger Lloyd-Pack. It tells the tragic tale of Yerma, an Andalusian woman trapped by circumstance and social obligations in a joyless and barren marriage. The play revolves around two central obsessions -Yerma's desperate need for a child and the indifference and impotence of her husband. In a passionate frenzy Yerma murders her husband in response to her frustrated desires.

The Yiddish Trojan Women

Drama. Carole Braverman.
1 man, 4 women. Unit set

Set in Brooklyn in the 1980s this is a tightly constructed, interwoven story of four Jewish women, Devorah, an ex-Yiddish torch singer and a refugee from the Polish pogroms, and her three granddaughters: Brenda, a stand-up comic; Abby, a passionately committed union organizer; and Tess, a teacher of Greek mythology, and, ultimately, bearer of the legacy of her grandmother's stories. The play. opens as the three women meet at their grandmother's home to celebrate her fourth marriage. As the play progresses, the grandmother becomes increasingly haunted by distant memories - of passion, betrayal, and the tragic fate of her prophetic sister-in-law, Rivka. Abby becomes embroiled in a struggle to bring to light the atrocities against political activists in Guatemala. Brenda, driven by a tough ambition which is rarely informed by ethics, finally gets her big break. Between these two cousins, both of whom she loves, Tess walks an uneasy path, hovering between desire to do the right thing and the pull of pleasures closer at hand. Her need to choose between them is complicated by a passionate affair she begins with Luke, a sexy, working-class man she picks up on a rainy night. Married, uneducated, unconscious of his roots, Luke has hidden depths of feeling, and, ultimately, an expectedly powerful love of truth. Invoking Euripides' Trojan Woman as a mirror for lives disrupted by desire and catastrophe, the play begins in a comic vein, and gathers tragic force, as Devorah's history seeps into the lives of her granddaughters.
ISBN: 0-8222-1536-5

You Can't Take It With You

Moss Hart and George S Kaufman : Comedy
9M 7F Interior set

At first the Sycamore family seem quite mad, but it is not long before we realise that if they are mad, the rest of the world is even madder. In contrast to the Sycamores are the stuffy and snobbish Kirbys. The play tells how Tony, the attractive young son of the hugely wealthy Kirbys, falls in love with Alice Sycamore. The Kirbys have been invited to dinner to meet Alice's family, and much to her dismay they duly arrive ... on the wrong night. Though quite unprepared for their visitors, the Sycamores endeavour to entertain their guests in their own eccentric fashion, and offer them what little food they have available. The Kirby's disdain is enough to show Alice that marrying Tony would be quite out of the question and, heartbroken, she decides to call off their engagement. Tony, who is ashamed of his parents behaviour, is determined not to lose Alice, and sets about winning his parents over to the Sycamore's more endearing qualities, which include amongst other things, manufacturing homemade fireworks in the basement, writing plays, ballet dancing in the kitchen - and of course not paying income tax. A truly warm and delightful comedy.
ISBN: 0 8222 1287 0

You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running

Comedy: Robert Anderson.

The topic is sex, in all its mysterious and fascinating manifestations, and the treatment. of this is só skillful, tasteful and explosively funny that the plays are not only captivating and touching, but universal in appeal.

The Shock of Recognition (3M, 1F, Interior) breaks in on a difference of opinion between ... an earnest young dramatist, and ...his matter-of-fact producer who doesn't like the opening moment of the play. A wife is having breakfast in bed and she says something to her husband, who is in the bathroom. So he comes out, jaybird naked, and yells to her. 'You know I can't hear you when the water's running.' The producer does'nt think this confrontation is quite nice or necessary. The author insists that the scene is quite important and, after all, it lasts only an instant. So a quarrel over taste develops, and a job-hunting actor ...becomes involved. He eagerly begins to strip, demonstrating how he would handle the role. Also involved is ...the producer's secretary...

The Footsteps of Doves (2M, 2F, Interior) shows us a couple who, wed 25 years, come to a store to pick out a new bed or beds. Should they buy twin beds or a double? They don't get much sales effort from the salesman, ...for the salesman is gay. Into the discussion, uninvited, comes a blonde young thing ...who wants a big bed because she is all alone.

I'll Be Home For Christmas (1M, 2F, Interior) maintains the light humor of the first two, but at base it is serious and touching as it shows [parents] discussing sex education of their almost-adult children, a girl and boy. [The father] is quite moving when he learns in a letter that his son is cutting adrift from the parental harbor.

I'm Herbert (1M 1F, Interior) about two old, old people sitting on a porch in a pair of rocking chairs and talking. Just talking and of course they don't know how funny they are. Each has had one or more previous marriages and perhaps a few flings, but they are hazy as to details. In fact, they don't always know which one the other one is.
ISBN: 0-8222-1288-9

You Say Tomatoes.

Comedy. Bernard Slade
M2 (50s, 70) F2 (20s, 50s-60s). 2 living-rooms.

Giles, quintessentially English, doesn't take kindly to the intrusion of Americans Libby and Daisy. Libby needs to contact T. J. Walbourne, the famous mystery writer, to put together a film deal. Walbourne is, of course, Giles, and he musters all his reserve to thwart Libby. Finally, she admits defeat. But Libby has aroused passions in Giles and within days he is knocking at her door with a neat romantic compromise!
ISBN 0 573 69540 7

You Should See Us Now.

Play. Peter Tinniswood
M2 (40s) F4 (30s, 60). Composite setting.

Divorce Graham asks friends Ernest and Pamela to help out with the holiday visit of his children. The children are brought by his ex-wife and her mother, who disapproves of Graham's lifestyle. Pamela, although childless, has strong views on children and organises a party for them. By having the adults play both the party guests and themselves as children we are given fascinating and funny glimpses of their pasts, making their scenes as grown-ups all the more pertinent.
ISBN 0 573 11512 5