Composers and their stage works 


Play. Paul Zindel : 5 women, (or 2 women, 3 girls).. A living-room.

Frowzy, acid-tongued, supporting herself and her two daughters by taking in a decrepit old boarder, Beatrice Hunsdorfer wreaks a petty vengeance on everybody about her. One daughter, Ruth, is a pretty but highly strung girl subject to convulsions; while the younger daughter, Matilda, plain and almost pathologically shy, has an intuitive gift for science. Encouraged by her teacher, Tillie undertakes a gamma ray experiment with marigolds which wins a prize at her high school - and also brings on the shattering climax of the play. Proud and yet jealous, too filled with her own hurts to accept her daughter's success, Beatrice can only maim when she needs to love, and deride when she wants to praise. Tortured, acerbic, slatternly, she is as much a victim of her own nature as of the cruel lot which has been hers. And yet,,as Tillie's experiment proves, something beautiful and full of promise can emerge from even the most barren, afflicted soil. This is the timeless lesson of the play, and the root of its moving power and truth.
ISBN: 0-8222-0350-2

84 Charing Cross Road.
Helene Hanff. Adapted for the stage by James Roose-Evans
M3 F4 or 5. Extra 1 M. Split set: an apartment and bookshop.

In 1949 a struggling American writer started a correspondence with a firm of British antiquarian booksellers that was to last for twenty years. The warm, compassionate and very human exchange of letters was published as a book and is here skilfully and lovingly adapted for the stage. 'An evening of enchantment and charm the like of which is rarely encountered in the theatre.' What's On in London
ISBN 0 573 11005 0

Comedy. Henry Livings. 4 men, 2 women. Interior.

Set in a factory boiler room, with the main prop the boiler itself, a great hiccuping, squealing, roaring, glug-glugging behemoth, the play details the plight of a hardy individualist caught in the overprotective web of mechanized, computerized and dehumanized modern industry. In this case the victim is one Valentine Brose, who takes a job pushing buttons and reading gauges, but whose defiant spirit will not let him knuckle under to the machine. To the exasperation of the long-suffering Works Manager, the Freudian-centered lady Personnel Director and the omnipresent local parsons, Brose comes and goes as he pleases, confounds them all with his circuitous and unanswerable retorts, moves his bride into the boiler room with him, and raises enormous hallucinogenic mushrooms in a crate in the corner. The monkeyshines never cease, as Carnaby Street-suited Brose forgets to push the right button at the right time, clambers about the hissing, belching boiler in desperate attempts to stave off explosive destruction, and turns a deaf ear to the exhortations and "mood music" which boom persistently from the plant loudspeaker. In the end Brose, the free spirit, emerges undaunted and unbowed, with the disconcerting (to others) discovery that perhaps his vision-producing giant mushrooms may offer the key to survival in this "better" world of electronic ease. At least they produce bizarre results - as unpredictable, wild, funny and refreshingly unrestrained as the play itself.
ISBN: 0-8222-0351-0

Play. Tom Griffin. 4 men, 2 women. Interior.

The scene is a cluttered farmhouse in rural New England, where Bill Allenson, a highly regarded but no longer active novelist, has withdrawn from the world, supporting himself and his ailing father by selling rare books through the mail. As the play begins a winter storm is in progress and an attractive young New York commercial artist, Diane Ashe, appears at the farmhouse door, explaining that her car has broken down in the blizzard. Although suspicious, Bill gives her lodging for the night, and as the evening progresses we are aware that Diane, unlike Bill's neighbors, is both aware of his literary reputation and determined to gain his concern - which she soon does. As the two draw closer, with humorous interruptions by several colorful local characters and the ramblings of Bill's aging father, who had once encountered Albert Einstein at a lunch counter, Bill's eloquent but persistent cynicism seems to soften - until he learns that Diane's presence is not as accidental as she has claimed. As turbulent as it is sudden, their relationship eventually finds its center, and Bill is forced to confront the pain and loss and self-doubt which have made him forsake his talent and the harsh realities of the world in which it once flourished.
ISBN: 0-8222-0352-9

Lee Blessing : Light Drama 3F Bare Stage

A sensitive study of three generations of women - the grandmother Dorthea, who has asserted her independence through strong-willed eccentricity; her brilliant daughter Artie, who has fled the stifling domination of her mother; and Artists taught Echo, a sensitive and intelligent child how has been abandoned by her mother and brought up by Dorthea. -[he play begins after Dorthea has suffered a stroke, and while Echo has re-established contact with her mother, it is only through gentle, evasive telephone conversations focusing movie on Echo's domination of a national spelling contest. But in the end, after Dorthea's death, both Arti, and Echo come to accept their need for each other and summon the courage to try to at last build a life together, despite the perils brought about by ycars of alienation and estrangement.
ISBN: 0 8222 0354 5

The Elephant Man.
Play. Bernard Pomerance
M5 F3, with doubling and trebling. Composite setting.

The true story of John Merrick, treated first as a fairground freak because of his hideously, repulsively deformed body and later exploited more subtly by Victorian society. He is befriended by a young doctor who provides him with a home in the London Hospital where Merrick is shrewdly used for fund-raising. He is introduced to high society, and is trapped by Victorian values so incongruous to his reality. Even those who love him can't help him and he dies from his horrible affliction. Period 1884-90

Comedy. Jules Feiffer. 4 men, 2 women. Unit set.

Elliot has been dating Joanna for the last six weeks when the curtain rises on his brilliant monologue which in a nutshell captures sex and love in the 90s. Elliot describes that gap between the sexes with shape and substance - the gap that people talk over, go to movies over, drink, go to parties and make love over. That gap is revealed when Elliot brings Joanna to meet his friends. Joanna, not quite ready for this, bolts in front of the elevator that is to take them to this dinner party. The party, dampened, happens anyway and in the course of it, much is revealed about the relationships of these four life-long friends. In the middle of all of this, Joanna arrives and causes a sensation much to Elliot's displeasure. The final scene in the play is a reconciliation in which Joanna and Elliot move across the "gap" to tentatively touch each other with honesty - and with love.
ISBN: 0-8222-0357-X

Play. Mick Casale. 3 men, 2 women. Unit Set.

The action begins in Troy, New York, where Janet Ann, a lonely teenager with a vivid imagination, chafes under the restraints imposed by her blue-collar family. She dreams of becoming a movie star, and believes that she is on her way toward achieving her goal when she persuades her brother, a would-be song writer, to run off with her to New York City. But her hopes remain elusive and her fantasies become increasingly bizarre as Janet Ann is drawn into a series of picaresque but destructive adventures while zig-tagging across the country in her westward flight. Driven ever deeper inside herself, her calls to her family become more disoriented and outlandish as her alarmed parents plead with her to come home before her life is forfeited to her delusions. But, in the end, it is hopelessness which prevails - as Janet Ann, in the final, devastating scene of the play, chooses oblivion to a reality which seems to offer no place for her to exist happily.
ISBN: 0-8222-0358-8

Elizabeth Gordon Quinn (in Scot-Free) : Chris Hannan
4-10m 4f. Historical drama. Single interior set.

Elizabeth Gordon Quinn battles to keep her dignity as she is faced with squalor, poverty, rising rent prices and a son who is wanted for desertion from his regiment.

You expect that a play set in the Glasgow rent strike of 1915 will be a model of dour social realism, but [the play] confounds all expectations. The result is both startling and provocative. Guardian.
ISBN 1854590170

Elsie and Norm's "Macbeth". Comedy. John Christopher-Wood
M 1 (late middle-age) F1 (late middle-age). Extra 1 M. A living-room.

Elsie and Norm have decided to have a bit of a bash at culture by staging a production of Macbeth in their living-room. After a spot of judicious rewriting by Norm to make it snappier and more punchy, and undaunted by the large cast, Elsie and Norm set out to act 'one of the greatest pieces of literature what has ever been wrote in the English language', playing all the characters between them. The hilarious results set Shakespeare spinning in his grave!
ISBN 0 573 01754 9

End of Me Old Cigar. John Osborne. Copies available on hire only. Please contact Samuel French Ltd for further details.

Elton John's Glasses. Play. David Farr
M4 (21, 24, 30s) F2 (16, 35). A room.

Bill is a fanatical supporter of Watford FC. Day after day he sits in his unfurnished flat, watching the 1984 Cup Final with an obsession verging on madness. The video replays the fatal moment when the Watford goalkeeper fumbles the ball and Everton take a two-nil lead. Bill blames the goalkeeper's mishap on the glare from Elton John's glasses. Reconciled to an agoraphobic existence, Bill laments the decline of his beloved team: 'It was there the dream died'.

Play Kristine Thatcher. 3 men, 8 women (flexible casting.). Unit Set.

Jean and Henry Farrell, after years of unsuccessfully attempting to have a baby of their own, decide to adopt. Emma, the birth mother, approves of the couple. Now a new waiting game begins: awaiting the birth of their child. To help Jean through, her best friend Franny comes for a visit, but brings more baggage than a normal traveller as she is separating from her husband, Sam. When the time arrives it is not a happy occasion however, as the baby, Robin, is born hydrocephalic, and will not live long. It was agreed that Jean and Henry would only accept a healthy infant, but Jean's investment in the waiting game was too intense and she falls for this child. The attention she pays to Robin not only threatens to tear her marriage apart - sending Henry away on a camping trip with the estranged Sam is a male bonding scene not to be missed - but causes trouble at the hospital as well: Jean has no parental rights, even though Emma has disappeared, and the administrators (despite what the nursing staff have to say) are wary. Eventually, after making some progress, Robin succumbs to his condition, leaving Jean and Henry, not only having to repair their marriage, but right back where they started - interviewing a new birth mother.
ISBN. 0-8222-1569-1

Play. Arthur Laurents. 6 men, 3 women. Unit Set

A group of congenial friends have restored several adjoining houses in one of New York's more attractive neighbourhoods, and plan to move in en masse - setting up a sort of urban commune. However, one of their number, a confirmed bachelor, has resolved to confront the others with the fact of his long-concealed homosexuality and to bring along his young male lover as a permanent addition to the group. Although his friends have always prided themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness they are outraged, and the enclave itself is put in jeopardy. But as, in the developing crisis, the particular nature of each other character is exposed and explored, it is evident that they are not above reproach themselves - and the ultimate lesson of the play is one of forbearance and understanding and the need for fairness in judging those whose lifestyle may diverge from the conventional.
ISBN: 0-8222-0359-6