Composers and their stage works 



Tragedy. Jean Racine. Translated into English verse by Richard Wilbur. 3 men, 5 women. Unit Set.

Based on a legend first dealt with by Euripides (in Greek) and Seneca (in Latin) the action of the play centres on the tragic fate of Phaedra, wife of Theseus, the King of Athens, who falls passionately in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. At first Phaedra attempts to deny her attraction for the handsome young Hippolytus, but when word arrives that Theseus has been slain, Phaedra declares her love, much to the shock and dismay of Hippolytus, who is deeply enamoured of another. When Theseus then returns unharmed, Phaedra realises the extent of her grievous error, and she makes no attempt to stop her loyal servant, Oenone, from falsely denouncing Hippolytus as' a would-be seducer. Furious, Theseus sends his son into exile - thereby setting in motion the inexorable series of events in which the lives of the characters spin wildly out of control and become subject to the will of the gods - who exact their tragic and inevitable retribution.
ISBN: 0-8222-0890-3


Jean Racine. Trans J.Rose
4m 4f. Classic tragedy. Flexible staging.

A poweful tragedy of family revenge and retribution first performed in 1677. The legendary Theseus has left his kingdom in the charge of his wife Phedre while he travels far away. Phèdre has become infatuated with Theseus's son - her stepson. When word arrives that Theseus is dead, Phedre reveals her love to Hippolytus who is repulsed by her proposal. When Theseus does return the vengeful Phèdre claims that Hippolytus raped her. Theseus calls upon the gods for justice, but the gods' justice is always cruel ...
ISBN 1 85459 094 4

Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Play. Brian Friel
M 10 (young, 40s, 60s) F3 (young, 50s, 60s). Composite setting.

Gar O'Donnell has accepted his aunt's invitation to come to Philadelphia, as he is fed up with the dreary round of life in Ballybeg with his uncommunicative father, his humiliating job, his frustrated love for Kathy Doogan, and the total absence of prospect and opportunity in his life at home. Now, on the eve of his departure, he is not very happy to be leaving Ballybeg, despite his fantasies of success, wealth and endless love that he will attain in America.

The Philanthropist.

Comedy. Christopher Hampton
M4 (young, middle-age) F3 (young). A living-room.

Philip gives a small party for his fiancee Celia and a few friends. Afterwards Celia leaves with the others, while another young lady offers to help wash up, later revealing more intimate intentions. Celia discovers what happened and breaks things off, revealing that she spent the night of the party with another man. Philip then joins another couple for dinner, apparently deciding to re-enact the end of his deceased friend John's original play, which had been responsible for John's suicide.
ISBN 0 573 01336 5

A Phoenix Too Frequent

Comedy. Christopher Fry.
1 man, 2 women. Interior, Costumes - Ancient Rome.

In this version of the famous Matron of Ephesus, we have a fresh retelling of the story of a pious widow - and her maid - who mourns for the death of her recently deceased husband in the tomb where his bier lies awaiting internment. The maid is not quite so pious, yet both women begin to suffer the pangs of a self-imposed hunger. There are signs that they also are unhappy over the loss of male company, but not until a handsome guard appears does the widow begin regretting her noble experiment in withdrawing from the world. The guard is invited to keep the ladies company, and he in turn invites them to partake of his food. Before long the widow is ready to forget her pious devotions and shows indications of returning speedily to a worldly and pleasant life which she had too soon decided to give up.
ISBN: 0-8222-0891-1

Photo Finish

Comedy Peter Ustinov. Subtitled An Adventure in Biography.
6 men, 5 women. Interior.

At the age of 80 Sam is the victim of a shrewish wife, Stella, with whom he has quarrelled for 60 years. One night he receives a strange visitor, an immaculately dressed man of 60, who opens a drawer to which only Sam has the key and withdraws a valuable necklace. The necklace had been given by Sam to a lady of easy virtue (but expensive access) 20 years earlier. No sooner do Sam and the mysterious stranger discover that they are the same man, than another interloper appears, Sam at 40, followed by Sam at 20. Valiantly the octogenarian tries to keep the others from making the mistakes he has made but his efforts are futile. Each Sam proceeds to make the identical mistakes; marrying Stella at 20, not leaving her at 40, becoming hopelessly infatuated with another woman at 60. To join this foursome comes their father, an irascible Victorian with a lecherous leaning toward a secretary who looks suspiciously like the lady of the necklace. In the end there is still another Sam, A newborn babe whom Old Sam holds for an instant, then hastily rejects.

The Physicists.

Play. Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Translated by James Kirkup
M 16 (teenage, 40s, middle-age) F4 (30s-50s). A drawing-room.

Because in a mad world the only defence of the sane is to assume madness, the genius who has invented a nuclear weapon of world-consuming force decides he can only protect the world from destructive ambition by pretending to be mad. He is pursued by two agents of the super-powers who also pretend to be madmen. In the end, all three find themselves totally in the power of a truly mad megalomaniac.
ISBN 0 573 01340 3

Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Comedy. Steve Martin
M7 (20s, older) F2 (19, older). A Parisian bar.

This long-running Off-Broadway absurdist comedy places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with Cubism. Bystanders, including Picasso's agent, the bartender and his mistress, Picasso's date, an elderly philosopher, Charles Dabernow Schmendimen, and an idiot inventor introduce additional flourishes of humour. Period 1904
ISBN 0 573 69564 4

Pickwick Papers.

Play. Lynn Brittney, adapted from The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens
28 characters may be played by M12 F10. Extras. Various simple interior and exterior settings.

Mr Pickwick and his companions journey round the country, to report on the character of its populace. Their high notions and even higher ambitions are tested by con-men, deaf old matrons, servants, landladies, jailers and many others that complete the picture of Britannia the way Hogarth might have painted it: raucous and cheeky, but ultimately bound together by a sense of fair play. Period 1830s
ISBN 0 573 01860 X


Play. William Inge.
4 men, 7 women. Unit Set

The play takes place on labour day Weekend in the joint back yards of two middle-aged widows. The one house belongs to Flo Owens, who lives there with her two maturing daughters, Madge and Millie, and a boarder who is a spinster school teacher. The other house belongs to Helen Potts who lives with her elderly and invalid mother. Into this female atmosphere comes a young man named Hal Carter, whose animal vitality seriously upsets the entire group. Hal is a most interesting character: a child of parents who ignored him, self-conscious of his failings and his position behind the eight ball. Flo is sensitively wary of temptations for her daughters. Madge, bored with being only a beauty, sacrifices her chances for a wealthy marriage for the excitement Hal promises. Her sister, Millie, finds her balance for the first time through the stranger's brief attention. And the spinster is stirred to make an issue out of the dangling courtship that has brightened her life in a dreary, minor way.
ISBN: 0-8222-0892-X

The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Moral entertainment. John Osborne. Adapted from the novel by Oscar Wilde
M 11 F4. Extras. A studio.

A brilliant dramatisation of Wilde's classic novel about a young man who, magically, retains his youth and beauty while the decay of advancing years and moral corruption appears on a portrait painted by one of his lovers. 'Osborne has done much more than a scissors-and-paste job on Wilde's famous story ... he has highlighted the topical concept of youth as a commodity for which one would sell one's soul ... ' Guardian
ISBN 0 573 69231 9

A Piece of My Mind.

Play. Peter Nichols
M3 (40s, 50s) F2 (20s, 40s). A study, also serving as various other simple locations.

Ted Forrest is a playwright with writer's block. When we first meet him - disillusioned and consumed with envy of a younger, more successful playwright- he has retreated to the country in an attempt to write an autobiographical novel. But this proves just as difficult so he turns it into a play about himself f and the processes of artistic creation. Inspired by Peter Nichols' own writer's block.
ISBN 0 573 01673 9

The Pied Piper.

Play with music. Based on Robert Browning's poem. Book and lyrics by Peter Terson. Music by Jeff Parton
M 12 F3, doubling possible. Extras. Various settings on an open stage.

Browning's famous poem is here transformed and developed into a play with music. Originally written for in-the-round performance at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, the play can equally be performed in a proscenium setting. The edition includes detailed production notes.
ISBN 0 573 05060 0


Drama. Tammy Ryan.
4 men, 5 women. Unit Set.

It is the day before Labour Day, 1990, four months before the Gulf War and the Robinsons are having a barbecue. Jason, the prodigal son who's been in the Navy since a violent confrontation with his father, has just called from the airport announcing that he's on his way home. Jason's family - his parents Jack and Irene, his sisters Jeanann, Maureen and Peggy, and Aunt Bernice and Uncle George - await his arrival as they drink, fight, joke, sing Girl Scout songs, threaten each other with playing charades and otherwise stake out their territories. Jason arrives with presents for his family from around the world, and a freshly killed pig in the garbage bag to roast, creating a stir at the party and forcing emotions to rise. After Santos, the next door neighbour, casts doubt as to what's really in the garbage bag, Jason takes his family hostage and forces them, at gun point, to play a life and death game of charades.
ISBN: 0-8222-1600-0

Pig's Ear

Andrew Cullen : Comedy
5M 5F Composite set

On the eve of the 1979 General Election, a family gathers to watch the results. And again in 1983, 1987 and 1992. In four acts, over the results of four elections, Cullen's black comedy travels through thirteen years of personal and political drama, where the ups and downs of family members are reflected not only in the changes of the political tide, but the cultural changes as well. Set in four parts of the house - the living room, kitchen, bedroom and garden - we meet Pat, who dreams of being a cleaner; Helen, middle class and all for equal opportunities; Elizabeth, the family's matriarch; and her sons Richard, the true blue Tory self- made man and his wife Carol; Eddie and his girlfriend Helen, and Pat's husband Billy, a strong supporter of the unions. Their daughter Alice starts off a punk rebel of the 70s and ends up a teacher playing socialist monopoly with Simon, Richard and Carol's son as we complete the circle from Jim Callaghan through Margaret Thatcher to John Major. Packed with splendid dialogue and characters, Pig's Ear is a look back over the highs and lows of the Thatcher years, and the changing face of a nation.
ISBN: 0 85676 224 5

The Pigman

Play E Andrew Leslie, from the novel by Paul Zindel.
6 men, 3 women, boys and girls. (2 of the male roles are bit parts). Unit Set

Bored with school, Lorraine and John search for other activities to fill the time. One of these (random 'phone calls) leads to a meeting with a retired widower, Mr. Pignati, whose hobby happens to be collecting china, glass and marble pigs. Although their contact with Mr. Pignati is instigated by the selfish intention of collecting money for a bogus "charity," Lorraine and John soon find themselves drawn into the older man's life. Counterpointed by scenes with their parents, their relationship with "The Pigman" moves steadily and surely from casual visits to deeper involvement, inexorably to tragedy. But, throughout the fast-moving action, a seed of understanding is nurtured - leading on to a growing sense of compassion and "coming of age," which is strengthened and enhanced in the final, poignant moments of the play.
ISBN: 0-8222-0894-6

Pink String and Sealing Wax

Roland Pertwee
Drama 4M 5F Interior set

Set in the parlour of the Strachan's house in Brighton during the late 1800s, Pink String and Sealing Wax is a domestic drama concerning a repressed family, whose cold and undemonstrative father comes to realise the full worth of his children. Edward Strachan controls his family with little tenderness and understanding. His loving and ambitious children are pushed to the limits by his lack of attentiveness. When his eldest son becomes associated with a married woman who plots to incriminate him in the murder of her husband, Edward realises how very wrong his priorities and attitudes were and fights to protect his son and reunite himself with his estranged family.
ISBN: 0 85676 100 1


Family Entertainment. John Morley
9 to 14 principals, adult and/or juvenile chorus. One permanent set with three or four front cloths.

This delightful dramatisation of Collodi's story of Pinocchio has all the charm of the original. The story is simple to stage with many music and production suggestions, and the cast is flexible for both large and small companies.
ISBN 0 573 11345 9


Three plays. Hugh Leonard
(for trilogy). ISBN 0 573 01641 0

These three plays, intended solely as entertainment, share the common theme of travelling near Dublin, in Rome and on the Shannon river.

A View from the Obelisk.
M2 Fl . A hilltop.

Convalescing from heart surgery, Owen returns to his native Ireland with Rosemary and insists on showing her the view from a hilltop near Dublin. But the climb takes rather a lot out of him and Rosemary goes off to summon a car. While she is gone, a young man appears, sketching the view. Owen strikes up a conversation with him, talking as though he'd known him for years. The boy goes, and it is only when Rosemary returns that Owen realises why the boy seemed so familiar to him ...

Roman Fever. From the story by Edith Wharton
M 1 F2. A terrace.

On a restaurant terrace in Rome, Mrs Slade and Mrs Ansley are reminiscing about a Roman holiday they had together many years before. Mrs Slade, envious of Mrs Ansley's daughter's engagement to a young and rich marches cannot resist a spiteful jibe at Mrs Ansley, thereby destroying a cherished memory. But in the end it is Mrs Slade herself whose illusions are shattered. Period 1930  

M2 F3. A reception area.

Whilst waiting to hire out cabin cruisers on the River Shannon, two apparent strangers play an elaborate game, which involves re-enacting a marriage on the rocks, with the other people in the reception area as supporting cast. But this is a Chinese Box of a play, and all is not what it seems ...