Composers and their stage works 



Play. John DiFusco, et al. Conceived by John DiFusco; written by the original cast- Vincent Caristi, Richard Chaves, John DiFusco, Eric E. Emerson, Rick Gallavan, Merlin Marston, and Harry Stephens, with Sheldon Lettich. A powerful, unsettling and ultimately devastating account of the Vietnam War, written (and first performed) by men who were there. :
8 men. Unit Set.

A composite or collage of interrelated scenes, the play follows the lives of a group of "grunts' as they move from basic training, on to combat in Vietnam, and, finally to the shattering realisation that their lives will be forever affected by the horrors which they have witnessed - and been a part of. Dealing with the grim realities of the battlefield - free-fire zones, trip wires, drugs, body bags, rat infested bunkers, and the ever-present stench of death - the men become increasingly isolated from the "outside world" and from a society which finds honour in such mindless violence and destruction. Ultimately the play, through its gut-wrenching verisimilitude, becomes a moving and eloquent plea for sanity and forbearance, as it assails mind and hearts with the grim message of what can happen when conscience is overruled by expedience, and clear reason by a warped sense of national purpose.
ISBN: 0-8222-1164-5

The Trading Post

Play. Larry Ketron.
3 men, 3 women. Interior

The place is a secondhand shop in rural Tennessee, the time the recent past. Wallace, the middle-aged owner of the shop, is about to bid a reluctant farewell to his long-time lady friend, Claudia, who is going off to Canada to care for her ailing sister. Both Wallace and Claudia have been previously married and while everyone in town (including their own children) is aware that they are a perfect match, Wallace, particularly, seems unable to articulate his true feelings. Counterpointing the relationship of these reluctant lovers is the affair between'Wallace's son and Claudia's daughter - a much lustier arrangement, but, in its own way, marked with equal indecisiveness. The interplay of these four very believable and endearing people, abetted by the hilarious woes of a recently widowed friend, leads on to the cleverly devised resolution of the play - where things are set right in a most unexpected and theatrically inventive manner.
ISBN: 0-8222-1165-3


Play. Brian Friel
M7 (20s-middle-age, 60s) F3 (20s). A hedge-school.

In Baile Beag, an Irish-speaking community in County Donegal, a detachment of the Royal Engineers engaged on behalf of the British Army and Government are making the first Ordnance Survey. Lieutenant Yolland falls in love with Maire, a peasant girl, and with Ireland, but when he is murdered Maire goes mad. The British soldiers pillage the countryside in revenge. Period 1833

Trap For a Lonely Man

Robert Thomas, translated by Lucienne Hill and John Sutro : Thriller 4M 2F Interior set

Set in an isolated chalet in the French Alps, Trap For A Lonely Man is a gripping psychological thriller concerning a man who has apparently lost his wife, and is rapidly losing his mind. After having reported his wife's disappearance to the police, Daniel Corban is visited by a young priest who claims he has found Madam Corban well and repentant for running out on her husband. When Daniel's wife enters the chalet however, he is outraged to discover that she is not Madam Corban, though she insists she is. It becomes increasingly apparent to Daniel that he is facing some sort of conspiracy, as various witnesses declare that she is indeed the Madam Corban they have seen happily ensconced in the chalet with Daniel before her disappearance occured, and when the police fail to believe his story he can only conclude that they are trying to drive him mad - or worse still, to his death. We learn that there is a considerable inheritance at stake, which is reason enough for a scheme of deception and corruption - but just who is telling the truth and to what lengths can a person go to distort the facts? The tension and mystery are sustained to the very last moments of the play.
ISBN: 0 85676 029 3


Play. Caryl Churchill
M4 (20s, 30s) F2 (20s, 30). A room.

First staged at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in 1977. Caryl Churchill writes: 'When we were casting Traps, we found ourselves repeating the same two things as some kind of introduction to the play. First, that it is like a painting by Escher, where the objects can exist on paper, but would be impossible in life ... Second, that the characters can be thought of as living many of their possibilities at once. There is no flashback, no fantasy, everything that happens is as real and solid as everything else within the play.'

Traveller In the Dark

Play. Marsha Norman.
2 men, 1 woman, 1 boy. Exterior

A brilliant surgeon and cancer researcher, Sam basks in the aura of success and adulation which his career has brought him. But suddenly his world is shattered when his longtime nurse and confidant, Mavis, dies on the operating table because he failed to detect the seriousness of her condition in time. Gathering up his neglected wife and possessively loved son, he returns to the home of his aging father, a revivalist preacher with whom he has long been at odds. Guilty about his relationship with Mavis, his childhood sweetheart whose love he never returned, and jealous of his father's affection for her, Sam finds that the older man is unable, or unwilling, to assuage the guilt which torments him. In essence the play becomes an eloquent, deeply felt debate about the conflict between science and religion - Sam's growing doubts about the values he has lived by, and his father's flinty unwillingness to relax his own strongly held beliefs. As the play ends there is a tentative reconciliation between father and son, with love and self-knowledge mitigating, but not resolving, the alienation which their differing perceptions, and uncertainties, have forced on them.
ISBN: 0-8222-1168-8

The Travelling Lady

Play Horton Foote.
4 men, 6 women. Exterior

The play is set in a small town in Texas. Georgette Thomas and her small daughter arrive looking for Georgette's husband who, she believes, has just been released from the penitentiary. As she later learns, he has in fact been free for some time. During the six years of his imprisonment Georgette had worked and saved to obtain the money to help her husband get out of prison, and now she is here to join him. Slim, who had an unhappy marriage, becomes very fond of Georgette and the little girl, and feels considerable concern over their plight. When Georgette's husband finally appears he deserts his wife and child again almost immediately; he robs his present employer, who had befriended him and makes a calculated attempt to leave town. As he is captured, Georgette realises that she can never look to her husband for the love and support she had hoped for, and at the end she knows she will turn to Slim who already loves her.
ISBN: 0-8222-1169-6

Travels with my Aunt

Play. Adapted by Giles Havergal from the novel by Graham Greene
M15 F9, but very flexible casting. Various simple settings.

This stage adaptation of Graham Greene's novel of retired bank worker Henry Pulling and his eccentric Aunt Augusta was first presented at the Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow, in 1989, with a cast of four actors playing all 24 characters. It can be staged with a large or small cast and there are many schemes for doubling to suit the circumstances of the production and the wishes of the director.


Play. Tom Stoppard
M5 (20s, middle-age, 60s) F3 (young, 40s). A library, a drawing-room.

James Joyce, running a Swiss theatrical company, invites Henry Carr to play in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Carr agrees and scores a success, but later there is a dispute over Carr's claim for reimbursement of the cost of articles of clothing bought for his role. The author uses this factual framework on which to build an extravaganza of political history, literary pastiche, and Wildean parody, even song and dance, introducing Dadaist Tristan Tzara, and Lenin and his wife. Period 1918

Treasure Island

Play. Bernard Miles, Peter Coe and Josephine Wilson from the book by R.L. Stevenson
M21. Various settings on an open stage.

The story begins in the Admiral Benbow public house, moving thence to Bristol, the good ship Hispaniola, and to the famous island. It concerns a map of buried treasure, the fine old Squire Trelawney and a sea-cook with one leg called Long John Silver among other characters and pirates. This version avoids elaborate staging so it can be performed with a minimum of equipment.
ISBN 0 573 04017 6

Treasures On Earth

Comedy/Fantasy. William Walden.
3 men, 2 women. 2 Interiors.

Fred Stevenson, a well-to-do architect, who died suddenly at the age of thirtyone (of a heart attack, he believes), is told by his portal warden that he has successfully passed his three-year probationary period and can enter Elysium. When Fred learns that this would preclude his returning to earth for another ten years, he declines Elysium for the opportunity to visit earth immediately as a spirit in order to find out how his widow and his unmarried sister are faring. On earth Fred discovers, to his consternation, that his widow and his sister are engaged to marry the same man, Tom, who is an obvious fortune hunter 'and a possible murderer. Tom searches furtively in Fred's den for an envelope, hidden there by Fred, containing a large sum of money as well as Fred's diary. To Fred's chagrin, Tom finds the envelope and takes it. Some of the diary's entries, interpreted in the light of subsequent events, indicate that Fred was murdered - by the last person he would have suspected. Worse, it appears that his murderer will escape scotfree because legal proof is lacking. A cunning trap is laid for the murderer. The murderer, after pretending to fall into it, succeeds in turning the tables on the plotters. When it seems as though two more murder victims will shortly join Fred, he asks the help of the portal warden. In an exciting climax, the murderer is thwarted just in the nick of time, and symmetry (or justice, as it is called on earth) triumphantly prevails.
ISBN: 0-8222-1171-8


Play. Christopher Hampton
M2 (30s) F1 (20s). A living-room.

This play consists of the permutations and combinations of Ann and her two lovers. Dave, her previous companion, a journalist, has been away, and on returning finds that he has been replaced by Patrick, amiable but dull. Though Ann rules the roost -and also her two lovers - she herself is weak enough to be unable to do without one of them, and in the end Dave is reinstated and Patrick dismissed. But how long this will last is anybody's guess.