Composers and their stage works 


Arabian Nights

Dominic Cooke
5m 4f doubling. Drama for young audiences. Minimal set.

First staged at the Young Vic over Christmas 1998, this inventive re-telling of the stories from the Arabian Nights brings back to life such fabled characters as Ali Baba, Sinbad the Sailor and many, many more. The Young Vic's Christmas shows have become a sure-fire source of the finest plays for young audiences.
ISBN 185459432X


Play. Tom Stoppard
M8 (15, 20s, 30s, middle-age) F4 (teenage, 30s). A room.

In 1809 at Sidley Park, the orderly classicism of Lady Croom's Capability Brown grounds is being turned into picturesque romantic chaos, as fashion dictates. In a Regency room overlooking the work is Lady Croom's brilliant adolescent daughter, Thomasina Coverly, with her tutor. They are interrupted by, among others, the amorous Lady Croom and Ezra Chater, a cuckold and minor poet, determined on satisfaction. 180 years later, in the same room, a corresponding group try to unravel the events of 1809 - with spectacularly wrong results.
ISBN 0 573 01718 2

The Archbishop's Ceiling

Play. Arthur Miller. 3 men, 2 women. Interior

The setting is an ornate room in a former Archbishop's palace in an Eastern European capital, a room which has probably been bugged by the secret police. The central character is a middle-aged author, Sigmund, who, having embarrassed the current regime, -is faced with the choice of detention and punishment or defection to the West. He is encouraged in the latter by two of his former friends, also writers, his compatriot Marcus, an ex-political prisoner now in favor with the regime, and Adrian, a visiting American with strongly liberal ideals. The situation is complicated by the presence of Myra, a poet and actress, who has been the mistress of all three. It is the complexity of the relationship of these four, the inextricable interweaving of politics, art and sex, and the constant uncertainty as to whether what they say may be overheard that makes for a rich and deeply intriguing play - and one which, in the final essence, raises questions not only about morality and individual responsibility but also about the very nature of reality in a world where absolutes seem to shift and blur as expediency dictates.
ISBN: 0-8222-0064-3

The Architect

Play. David Greig
M4 (20s, 40s, 50s) F3 (20s, 40s, 50s). Various simple settings.

Leo Black was an architect of his time, a builder of buildings, an idealistic designer, but these days he has an executive role in designing car parks. Has he really sunk so low? His family are falling apart and his buildings are falling down, leaving Leo struggling with the grubby reality of his once magnificent visions. The play was premiered at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre in 1966

Aren't We All?

Comedy. Frederick Lonsdale
MS (young, 30s, middle-age, 59) F4 (20s, middle-age). Two drawing-rooms.

Willie is a devoted husband but falls prey to the charms of a beautiful young woman while his wife, Margot, is on holiday. Margot is furious when she discovers the affair, but becomes terrified when Willie's father finds out about her own holiday romance. Eventually she realises that Willie still loves her and confesses her infidelity. Forgiveness is mutual.
ISBN 0 573 61987 5



Play. Brian Friel
M6 (30s, 50s, 70s) F3 (20s, 30s). A lawn and a small room.

Set in the mid-1970s in a crumbling Georgian mansion in County Donegal, this is a portrait of an upper-class Catholic family which, over four generations, has declined from a position of social power to one of genteel poverty. The characters find themselves attending the patriarch's funeral, and sit about the lawn drinking and quarrelling. ' ... sad, enchanting play ... a heart aching world of crushed hopes and futile longings.' Evening Standard ' ... Friel's eloquence and piquant irony speaks volumes.' Time Out

The Armored Dove

Comedy Nord Riley. 5 men, 5 women. Interior

The Air Force desperately wants a new missile system lest Congress give the money to the Navy. The inventor of the system, however, has just been divorced and his ex-wife now controls the company. She informs the Air Force, however, that she is not interested in making weapons, so the top brass devises a strategy to subject her to the charms of the Air Force's most attractive officer. He, and a young lieutenant, visit the divorcée posing as writers from a business magazine. Soon they are getting along swimmingly. But the young Lieutenant is soon won over to the lady's viewpoint, falls in love with her daughter and resigns his commission. On top of that, the divorced couple are really still in love. In the end they are reconciled, the Air Force gets its missile system and all turns out happily.


Serio-Comedy. Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton. 3 men. Interior.
Winner of the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play.

How much would you pay for a white painting? Would it matter who the painter was? Would it be art? One of Marc's best friends, Serge, has just bought a very expensive painting. Its about five feet by four, all white with white diagonal lines. To Marc, the painting is a joke, but Serge insists Marc doesn't have the proper standard to judge the work. Another friend, Ivan, though burdened by his own problems, allows himself to be pulled into the this disagreement. Eager to please, Ivan tells Serge he likes the painting. Lines are drawn and these old friends square off over the canvas, using it as an excuse to batter one another relentlessly over various failures. As their arguments become less theoretical and more personal, they border on destroying their friendships. At the breaking point, Serge hands Marc a felt tip pen and dares him: "Go on." This is where the friendship is finally tested and the aftermath of action, and its reaction, affirms the power of those bonds.
ISBN: 0-8222-1658-2


Play. Joanna M. Glass. 5 men, 2 women. Interior.

The scene is the Morley farm, in the prairie country of Saskatchewan, Canada. Margaret and Walter Morley have been estranged for fourteen years, ever since his encounter with a "water witch" resulted in the arrival of his illegitimate daughter, Lily Agnes, and led to Walter's banishment to the smokehouse. Margaret has remained in the main house, with'Lily Agnes (whom she has raised as her own), and her father, Gramps. They are joined for the summer by Gibson McFarland, Gramps adopted son, now a college professor, who is recovering from a mild nervous breakdown. Gibson's return reopens old wounds and desires, and it is soon apparent (and so reported by two gossipy bachelor neighbours) that Margaret's needs for culture and affection are now being satisfied at last. As summer wanes so must the idyll of Gibson and Margaret, but her transgression, in Walter's eyes, evens the score between them - and as the play ends it is dear that the Morley household, so long divided, will once again know the harmony and love which anger and stubborn pride have so long denied.
ISBN: 0-8222-0067-8  

Artificial Reality

Comedy. Jeffrey Essmann

The Passion of Patsy introduces Patsy, a walking history book. Patsy remembers living through momentous historical times telling us about wars, and the small dinner garnishes;

Stan M. is a recovering recovery addict who has been through all the addictive anonymous clubs there are. A lonely shoe salesman, he can't seem to give up the recovery addiction;

Jean-Louis Debris is an existentialist cabaret singer whose own bad luck extends to even his landlady, and who envies the bad luck of others;

Scott Thornton, a guru of the men's movement, holds workshops in which the participants sing upbeat slogans praising their physical attributes before going outside spears and all for a hunt;

The Barbie Nightclub reveals the true confessions of the famous Barbie Doll, while she splashes herself with vodka and stands forever on tip toe;

The Sturm and Drang Songbook: A Review of Revues with Robert Alan Roberts and Marti Shaw, Accompanist, Billie Bobb is a mock revue of outrageous songs written by the fictional song writing team of H. Sturm and A. Drang;

Clive, Lord Thatch-Hewitt is an aging English Lord, tormented by his life- ong attraction to young men.

Sister Bernice is an elderly nun schoolteacher addressing her fourth-grade class on the first day of school, informing them that those who are not "nice" will "burn" in Hell.
ISBN: 0-8222-0066-X

Arsenic and Old Lace

Joseph Kesselring : Comedy 11M 3F Interior set

A timeless and classic hit both on Broadway and in the West End, Arsenic and Old Lace is the amusing story of two charming and innocent elderly ladies who decide that by poisoning their poor, lonely lodgers and burying the bodies in their cellar, they are saving these unfortunates from the sorrows of this world - however, not everybody shares their views! This is one of the World's most widely acclaimed comedy hits, and remains an extremely popular and much performed title.
ISBN: 0 85676 122 2

Artist Descending a Staircase

Play. Tom Stoppard
M6 (20s, 70s) Fl (22). An attic studio, a room, in the open air.

Donner, Beauchamp and Martello three elderly avant-garde artists, have coexisted for over fifty years. The play opens with Beauchamp and Martello accusing each other of the murder of Donner. In a series of flashbacks from 1972 to 1914, the bickering trio are contrasted with their young counterparts. The pivot is Sophie, loved by each of them in different ways. In the play's final moments, the reality of Donner's death is revealed.
ISBN 0 573 01687 9

Arturo Ui. See Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui