Composers and their stage works 


Marvellous Party

Play. John Wynne-Tyson
M6 F4 or M5 F3, with doubling. An hotel suite.

This sophisticated, revealing comedy supposes a middle-age reunion in Las Vegas between Noel Coward and Esmé Wynne-Tyson, his real-life, oldest, closest and most exacting female friend. Although entirely imaginary, it is based on special knowledge and offers a character assessment of two very real, remarkable people. Period 1950s. 'I enjoyed fit] hugely. You have caught Noel completely -the whole man.' Richard Briers. 'Terribly clever ... so convincing ... a brilliant play, extremely amusing and often touching.' Dodie Smith

Marvin's Room

Scott McPherson : Drama 5M 4F Flexible staging

This is a dark yet hilarious account of one woman's commitment to loving others first, in spite of her own personal struggles. Bessie lives in Florida where she cares for her aunt and ailing father, Marvin. Aunt Ruth has several collapsed vertebrae and has to wear an electrode pack on her waist with which she can both control her constant pain and open and close her garage door at will. Unable to speak, and confined to his bed for years Marvin's only entertainment comes from someone bouncing beams of sunlight around his room, reflected from a small mirror. Bessie learns amidst all this illness that she has leukemia and that her only hope is to contact her long-estranged sister Lee to see if her bone marrow is compatible for a transplant. Lee reluctantly makes the trip to Florida from Ohio, bringing along her two sons, one of whom has just been released from an institution after a wave of arson. The reunion of the sisters is uneasy at best, with long buried recriminations coming to the surface even as love slowly overwhelms Lee's veneer of selfishness and glib denial. Bessie's challenge becomes to reunite Lee and her son Hank before he rejects her forever for her years of neglect. One by one, Lee and her sons are tested for the transplant, but none of them will be able to donate to Bessie who, for the moment, seems to have gone into remission. Against Lee's urging that Bessie take it easy, Bessie refuses to condemn Aunt Ruth and her father to nursing homes, claiming that only by caring for them herself will she make her own illness bearable. During a trip to Disneyland, Bessie collapses. Lee and Hank, however, have finally begun to communicate as a result of Bessie's attentions to them both. As the bad news accumulates, the play ends with Bessie taking shelter in her only refuge: in answer to her father's cries of discomfort, she selflessly abandons her own despair and helps him to bounce the days remaining sunlight around his room.
ISBN: 0 8222 1312 5

Mary Stuart

Freidrich Schiller. Trans. and adapted by Jeremy Sams
15m 5f Historical drama. Multipurpose set.

'Schiller's Mary Stuart, one of the greatest of all romantic tragedies, is the tale of two queens separated by historic identity but joined in their dramatic isolation' Observer. Mary Queen of Scots has been held prisoner for nineteen years by her cousin, Elizabeth I, who has condemned her to death, but is reluctant to be seen to carry out the sentence. Leicester, Elizabeth's favourite and Mary's ex-lover, engineers a meeting of the two Queens - an encounter which never took place in historical fact - from which Mary emerges triumphant but doomed. 'Jeremy Sams's succinct and sharp new adaptation gives it all a telling urgency' Daily Mail. Premiered at the National in 1996 with Anna Massey as Elizabeth and Isabelle Huppert as Mary.
ISBN 1 85459 294 7

Mary, Mary

Comedy. Jean Kerr. 3 men, 2 women. Interior

As Howard Taubman of the New York Times describes: "You will not be overwhelmed to discover that Mary is contrary and that her trouble is basic insecurity. Seems she had an older sister, a stunner. Oh, the traumatic effect on Mary! In high school she went out for the literary monthly instead of with boys. She learned to compensate for her drabness by being clever. When we meet her, she is as witty as - well, Jean Kerr. She appears at the apartment of her former husband, Bob, because his lawyer has summoned her to help with Bob's sticky tax returns. Their marriage, it seems, foundered on the rocks of Mary's unrelenting sense of humor. The moment she arrives she gives us some excellent samples of it. It takes Dirk Winston, a handsome film hero whose star is in decline, to understand Mary. Dirk makes her face up to her secret. He also kisses her and offers her the kind of adoration her practical and obtuse husband has been unable to manage. Just in time, Bob, who has been on the verge of marrying a rich, young health fiend named Tiffany Richards, realizes that he still needs Mary. It will not be killing any suspense to reveal that true love triumphs."
ISBN: 0-8222-0737-0

Mary Stuart

Historical Drama. Jean Stock Goldstone and John Reich. A free adaptation of Schiller's Marie Stuart. 11 men, 3 women. 3 Sets

A conflict raged for 20 years between Elizabeth of England and Mary Stuart, during which the destiny of England as an independent nation of free people trembled in the balance. Elizabeth struggles over whether to keep her cousin Mary alive or to execute her. Each course stems to be of equal peril. The play is by turns a testament to human bravery and personal dignity; a conflict between personal and political responsibility; a struggle between womanhood and statesmanship, where Mary triumphs at one and Elizabeth the other.

The Mask of Moriarty

Play. Hugh Leonard
M 14 (young, middle-age, 80s) with doubling, F4 (young; one American, one Eurasian). Interior and exterior settings.

Sherlock Holmes' arch-enemy Moriarty must be captured before he can seize the plans for a topsecret scientific device; Holmes must also find out who murdered the maid of beautiful Gwen Mellors, before Gwen's half-brother is arrested for the crime. Meanwhile Moriarty, transformed by plastic surgery to resemble Sherlock Holmes, is given the plans by an unsuspecting messenger. A comedy-thriller, full of quirky characters, ludicrous deductions and absurd situations.


Play. Adapted by Stephen Briggs from the novel by Terry Pratchett
M16 F9. Extras. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

All is not well in the Ankh-Morpork Opera House. A ghost stalks the dark corridors, leaving strange letters for the management and ... killing people. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, two Lancre witches, investigate, and are soon involved in all kinds of skulduggery, mayhem and ear-splittingly loud singing. Quirky and original characters, a labyrinthine plot and numerous witty one-liners make this a treat for Discworld fans and 'uninitiated' theatregoers alike.
ISBN 0 573 01829 4

Mass Appeal

Play: Bill C. Davis : 2 men. Unit Set

Father Tim Farley, a lover of the good things in life, is comfortably ensconced as priest of a prosperous Catholic congregation. Without realizing it, he has resorted to flattering his parishioners and entertaining them with sermons that skirt any disturbing issues, in order to protect his Mercedes, his trips abroad and the generous supply of fine wines which grace his table (and his desk drawer). His well ordered world is disrupted by the arrival of Mark Dolson, an intense and idealistic young seminarian whom Father Farley reluctantly agrees to take under his wing. There is immediate conflict between the two as the younger man challenges the older priest's sybaritic ways, while Father Farley is appalled by Marks confession that he had led a life of bisexual promiscuity before entering the priesthood. In the final essence their confrontation is a touching yet very funny examination of the nature of friendship, courage and the infinite variety of love, as the older man is reminded of the firebrand he once was, and the younger comes to realize that forbearance is as vital to the Christian ethic as righteousness.
ISBN: 0-8222-0738-9


Play. Michael Wilcox
M2 Fl. A living-room.

Tony Dodge hires Rikki from a massage agency to help him celebrate a child's birthday tea. The absent child in question-for whom Dodge has more than a tender affection- is Simon, twelveyear-old son of Dodge's former girlfriend Jane. Rikki, though a rent boy, is heterosexual with his own childhood memories of sexual abuse. Gradually, under his sharp questioning, the complex nature of Dodge's dilemma is revealed: what began as innocent paternal friendship for a child has developed into a great deal more.

Master and Margarita or The Devil Comes To Moscow

Drama. Jean-Claude van Itallie, from the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. 11 men, 2 women (flexible casting). Unit Set.

The devil, his acrobatic cat and other colourful cronies come to Stalin's Moscow to wreak hilarious surreal havoc on the lives of writers, critics and bureaucratniks who have lost touch with their feelings. Satan sends some to the madhouse, stages a devilish play within a play, and gives the lyrical Margarita a whirlwind witch's ride climaxing in a satanic masked ball as she searches for her lover, a writer known as "Master." The novel Master is writing appears simultaneously on stage. His work, politically suppressed, focuses on the moral dilemma of Pontius Pilate in biblical Jerusalem. The characters in his book and the characters on the streets of Moscow, cast similar lights and shadows around them even as they live in separate worlds.
ISBN: 0-8222-1412-1

The Master Builder

Henrik Ibsen, Trans K.McLeish
4m 3f, extras. Classic drama Single interior set.

One of Ibsen's later plays (1893). Solness, the master builder of the tide, is a self-made and successful businessman. He has stopped building the churches and towers of his youth in order to concentrate on ordinary houses for people, ever since the house his wife inherited burnt down with their own children inside. His guilty feelings of worthlessness spur him into absurd power struggles in his office, but he is forced to face his guilt when the provocative Hilde arrives with her story from the past.
ISBN 1 85459 351 X

The Master Builder

Tragedy 3 Acts. Henrik Ibsen, translated by Michael Meyer. 4 men, 3 women. Unit Set

In late nineteenth-century Norway, middle-aged master architect Halvard Solness fears his talented young assistant Ragnar will leave his employ and usurp him, so he pretends affection to his clerk Kaia who is engaged to Ragner but infatuated with Solness. If Kaia stays, figures Solness, so will Ragnar. Then twentythree-year-old Hilda Wangel appears; she met Solness ten years ago and saw him climb to the top of the last great tower he built and ever since has worshipped him - now, she is ready to be his `princess'. Solness tells her his prosperity comes not from towers but from houses, which he began building when his wife Aline's house and all their possessions were destroyed by fire. Later his twin sons died and guilt-ridden Solness feels his success has been achieved at the cost of his wife's fulfilment as a mother. Aline herself tells Hilda her sufferings area punishment from God for loving her precious dolls (which were destroyed in the fire) more than her children. Solness has built a new house with a tower for himself and Aline, and Hilda, after persuading him to release Ragnar, wants him to climb the tower and crown it with a laurel wreath. He reveals he suffers from vertigo, but cannot resist Hilda's youth and her faith in him. He climbs, reaches the top, then falls to his death.
ISBN: 0-413-46330-3

Master Class.

Drama. Terrence McNally : 1996
3 men, 3 women. Tony Award Winner for Best Play.

Maria Callas is teaching a master class in front of an audience (us). She's glamorous, commanding, larger than life - and drop-dead funny. An accompanist sits at the piano. Callas's first "victim" is Sophie, a ridiculous, overly perky soprano, dressed all in. pink. Sophie chooses to sing one of the most difficult arias, the sleepwalking scene from La Somnambula - an aria which Callas made famous. Before the girl sings a note, Callas stops her - she clearly can't stand hearing music massacred. And now what once was a class has become a platform for Callas. She glories in her own career, dabbles in opera dish, and flat-out seduces the audience. Callas gets on her knees and acts the entire aria in dumb show, eventually reducing the poor singer to tears. But with that there are plenty of laughs going on, especially between Callas and the audience. Callas pulls back and gives Sophie a chance to use what she's learned. Though as soon as Sophie starts singing, Callas mentally leaves the room and goes into a sprawling interior monologue about her own performance of that aria and the thunderous applause she received at La Scala. Callas wakes up and sends Sophie off with a pat. The next two sessions repeat the same dynamic, only the middle session is with a tenor who moves Callas to teas. She again enters her memories and we learn about Callas's affair with Aristotle Onassis; an abortion she was forced to have; her first, elderly husband whom she left; her early days as an ugly duckling; the fierce hatred of her rivals; and the unforgiving press that savaged her at first. Finally, we meet Sharon, another soprano, who arrives in a full ball gown. With Sharon singing, Callas is genuinely moved, for the young singer has talent, but Callas tells her to stick to flimsy roles. Sharon is devastated and spits back every nasty thing you've ever heard about Callas: she's old, washed up, she ruined her voice too early in her career, she only wants people to worship her, etc. Sharon rushes out of the hall and Callas brings the class to a close with a beautiful speech about the sacrifices we must make in the name of art.


Play. Arthur Bicknell. 3 men, 4 women. Unit Set

The story is an imaginative reconstruction of the lives of Branwell Brontë and his sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne. An unconventional historic drama, it utilises humour and fantasy sequences to illuminate the tragic fare of the lesser known Brontë heir, Patrick Branwell - the one for whom the family held the greatest expectations. Its theme ' touches upon a subject common to many - the fear of anonymity. While other children their age occupied themselves outdoors, the four Brontës were sequestered in their father's parsonage, scribbling away in tiny notebooks, creating the imaginary world of Angria." It was Branwell that presided over this world, inspiring the others to create characters that would one day reappear as the protagonists of his sisters' novels, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Jane Eyre. All of the Brontes' short lives were shrouded in anonymity. Emily was the least bothered by this fact; Charlotte and Anne were distressed but not thwarted, and continued their literary output. Only Branwell, the painter, was unable to reconcile himself to a life without focus or commitment. In desperation he turned to erotic fantasies involving his patron, the beautiful Lady Lydia Robinson. The mysterious circumstances connected with Branwell's involvement with this woman, including his sudden dismissal from her estate, shed light on the sad facts of his untimely death, and the. descent into drugs and drink which preceded it.
ISBN: 0-8222-0739-7