Composers and their stage works 



Play. Arthur Kopit
M4 (30, elderly) F5 (elderly, 70s). Extras. A hospital recreation room and other locations.

Emily Stilson, once an aerial acrobat, has suffered a stroke and is in hospital. The play takes us into her strange, shattered world and concerns her gradual, painful, struggle to bring together the pieces of an existence in which time, place, language and thought have become terrifyingly dislocated. A human story of the utmost compassion, and even of hope.

The Winner

Play. Elmer Rice.
8 men, 4 women. Interiors.

Eva Harold, a lonely, small-town girl, is struggling to get on in New York She is pretty, well brought up and admired by several men, one of whom, a young lawyer, David Browning, she hopes to marry, as soon as he disentangles himself from an unhappy marriage. One night a middle-aged millionaire who is infatuated by her comes to her apartment to try to persuade her to run off with him. While he is pleading with her, he suffers a heart attack and dies - but not before he hands her a new will leaving his entire estate to her. The dead man's wife contests the will and spreads such unpleasant publicity about Eva that in order to establish her innocence, she is forced to defend the will. The wife's attorney, Martin Carew, a brilliant but dissolute man, puts Eva under continuous pressure to settle the case; and in the course of their long duel he becomes increasingly interested in her. Eva is finally vindicated and faces the happy prospect of possessing both money and a good name. But then another complication arises: the dead man has cheated the government on taxes for years, and his widow threatens exposure unless Eva agrees to buy her silence. Eva is forced to choose between abandoning her principles or giving up all she has fought for - and also between her fiancé, David Browning, and his adversary, Carew. It is upon her decision that the final resolution of the play turns.
ISBN: 0-8222-1263-3

The Winslow Boy

Play. Terence Rattigan
M7 (14, 20-40, 60) F4 (30-50, elderly). A living-room.

Cadet Ronnie Winslow is expelled from the Royal Naval College accused of stealing. His father, refusing to believe his guilt and dissatisfied with the manner in which the investigation was conducted, demands a new inquiry. This is refused and Arthur Winslow settles down to fight for his son's honour. Following an independent inquiry the matter is taken to the House of Commons but Arthur ruins himself financially and in health in the process. But his stubbornness wins, a civil trial is allowed and Ronnie is acquitted. Period Edwardian.
ISBN 0 573 01494 9

The Winslow Boy

Drama. Terence Rattigan.
7 men, 4 women. Interior.

What begins as a small incident ultimately grows into a "cause célèbre" nearly shaking the foundations of the government. The incident is simply that of a youngster in an English government school who is expelled for an alleged theft. As a matter of fact, the youngster was entirely innocent but practically all the evidence was against him. The boy's family, in particular his father, proceed to contest the decision of the school and challenge its right, as a government run institution, to damage the reputation of a boy without sufficient legal safeguards. The issue which began as a private matter involves the right of official agencies to impose their authority on the individuals of any democracy and, as the play moves relentlessly forward, we see in effect, citizens of a democracy challenging the forces of bureaucracy, thus keeping alive the issue of the basic rights of the individual.
ISBN: 0-8222-1264-1

Winter Glory

Peter Coke M1 (elderly) F7 (25, middle-age, elderly). Extras 2M. A drawing room.

We meet once again the redoubtable quartet of Dame Beatrice and her lodgers - Nan, Hattie and the Brigadier - who featured in Peter Coke's earlier comedies Breath of Spring, Midsummer Mink and Autumn Manoeuvres. This, however, will be positively their last appearance, as due to an unfortunate slip-up in their schemes to put a pathetic pet out of its misery and to help an ageing actress fade away at a peak of happiness, they dispatch themselves heavenwards as well!
ISBN 0 573 01674 7

The Winter Guest

Play. Sharman Macdonald
M3 (young) F5 ( young, 30s, elderly). A seaside promenade and beach.

The play is set on a seaside promenade and intermingles the lives of several sets of people found there. A grandmother is still clings on to her daughter, a young photographer, who is trying to come to terms with the death of her husband, while the photographer's son pursues love. Two young truant boys are concerned with the onset of puberty. And an elderly pair of ladies discuss their favourite pastime, funeral attendance. NB. Contains explicit language.

The Winter Wife

Play. Claire Tomalin
M 1 (30s) F3 (30s, 50s). A wagon-lit compartment, a surgery, a salon and terrace.

In the winter of 1920-21, the consumptive Katherine Mansfield went to Menton in the South of France in the vain hope of recuperating, accompanied by her lifelong friend and devoted companion Ida Baker, whom Katherine frequently treated abominably and called her 'wife'. Claire Tomalin's play concentrates on this episode, tracing the relationship between the two women as well as Katherine's role as wife to John Middleton Murry.


Maxwell Anderson : Drama
16M 3F 1 Interior, 1 Exterior set

A beautiful verse drama, this is one of the best-known works of the modern theatre. Mio, believing that his father was innocent of the crime for which he was executed, pursues his long search for proof of his innocence. Following new evidence, his path crosses that of Miriamne, a strange creature who lives with her family in the shadow of a towering bridge. The young people are drawn together through the tragedy of Mio's father. The themes of justice and loyalty are skilfully developed against this background.
ISBN: 0 8222 1266 8

The Wisdom of Eve

Play. Mary Orr. Adapted from the story by Mary Orr, on which the film All About Eve and the hit musical Applause were based.
5 men, 5 women. Divided Interior.

When we first meet Eve Harrington she is standing in the rain by the stage door of the theatre in which the renowned Margo Crane is starring in her latest long-run hit. Waiting for a glimpse of her professed idol she accosts Karen Roberts, Margo's good friend and the wife of the playwright, Lloyd Roberts, and inveigles an invitation to meet the great actress herself. The meeting leads to unexpected opportunity as Margo, struck with Eve's "sincerity," takes her on as a personal secretary. Before long Eve has done such a fine job of straightening out the clutter of Margo's personal affairs that Margo, while she had always jealously resisted the engagement of an understudy for her own role, allows Eve to have the assignment. Then Eve begins to move ahead in earnest, her true character emerging as she lies, cheats and blackmails her way to Broadway stardom - and then a Hollywood career - leaving the wreckage of her friends' trust behind her. As the play ends there are rumours that Eve has found a new "friend," this time a movie tycoon, so it appears that perhaps we have not, for the moment, heard all there is to tell about Eve.
ISBN. 0-8222-1429-6

The Wisteria Trees

Play. Joshua Logan. Based on Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.
8 men, 6 women. Interior.

When the lovely Lucy Andree Ramsdell is told by her practical business advisers that she must drastically alter all the traditions and extravagance of her individual way of living, she refuses to believe that a mere matter of debt could possibly endanger her home or gracious habits of hospitality. She does, however, make feeble and ineffective gestures in the direction of economy. But it is no use. Everything that made life pleasant and leisurely begins to crumble, and Lucy finds herself powerless to act, or even to think, effectively. Meantime, modern "progress" takes over. Wisteria Plantation will soon be only a memory, and Lucy begins to realise what is happening. As she takes a look out of the window of her old home she muses: "We're ridiculous people! We're jokes! We don't even know how to keep a roof over our heads!"


Margaret Edson : Drama
3M 3F +4 M or F Interior set

Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Edson's extraordinary play tells the story of Vivian Bearing, a renowned professor of English who is diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. Vivian has spent years studying and teaching the brilliant and difficult metaphysical sonnets of John Donne through aggressively probing and rationalising his works. But during the course of her illness - and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy programme at a major teaching hospital, Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with a profundity and humour that are transformative both for her and the audience.
ISBN: 0 8222 1704 X

With and Without

Play. Jeffrey Sweet.
2 men, 2 women. Unit set.

Shelly and Mark have rented a lake-sidè house for a week to relax. They are sharing the house with Jill, who waits to be joined by her husband, Russ. The fact that Russ does not show, and does not call or return calls, foreshadows a rough week. Jill and Russ are having marital problems and Shelly and Mark are feeling put in the middle. Do they advise, make a call, or lie about who is where? Because of the connections to their old friends, feelings of guilt and obligation prevail, whether real or imagined. While they wait for Russ, Jill decides to go rent a bad movie. At the video store she meets, Glen, a recently divorced father, and invites him back to the house for a one night stand. But Mark hears their conversation, intervenes and proceeds to tell Jill she's about to make a mistake. Jill doesn't want anyone to tell her what to do, but while she and Mark argue, Glen drives away. Furious at Mark for causing Glen to leave, Jill decks him and goes after Glen. The next morning, when Jill returns, Shelly gives her a piece of her mind. The two make up, then Shelly tells Jill that her husband called to say he's on his way up after all, full of apologies. But now Mark looms as a possible obstacle, and for Shelly and Mark, finally the issue of how to deal with their friends reveals fault lines in their own marrige. ISBN 0-8222-1558-6

Witness for the Prosecution

Play. Agatha Christie
M: 9 principals, 15 extras. F: 4 principals, 2 extras. Justice's chambers. Law Courts

Although circumstantial evidence is damning, Leonard Vole convinces even the perceptive Sir Wilfred that he is innocent of murder. In the mounting tension of the trial there are three amazing developments. Vole's wife takes the stand and coldly swears away her husband's alibi. A brassy young woman then sells Sir Wilfred letters proving Mrs Vole has committed perjury. Vole is acquitted but only then does Sir Wilfred discover how this acquittal has been engineered by Mrs Vole. But there is still the dramatic finale ...
ISBN 0 573 01500 7

The Wizards of Quiz

Drama. Steve Feffer. Based on the true story of the quiz show scandal of the 1950s.
6 men, 1 woman. Unit Set.

The play takes place in various locations around New York City and a Congressional Committee hearing room in Washington D.C., between the winter of 1956 and the winter of 1959. Herbert Stempel, a 29-year-old Jewish ex-GI from Forest Hills, New York, and a genius with a 170 IQ watches the quiz show 21 in his living room and effortlessly answers the questions on the television. He is persuaded by his wife, Toby, to apply for the show, and is quickly accepted by the show's producer, Daniel Enright. Enright encourages Herb to play up his character as the penniless ex-GI, attending the free City College of New York. He is also told that because of his genius, he will have to be told when to miss answers in order to create suspense for the viewers. Herb becomes the first big winner on the show and begins to see himself as hero for the Jewish people and all of society's more down trodden. When Herb's success peaks, Enright offers Herb another job and asks him to lose to Charles Van Doren by missing a question about his favourite movie, Marty. Herb resists losing to Van Doren, who he sees as everything that he is not - but could be - on a question about a movie that he relates to so personally. After much self-examination that includes a visit from the fictional movie character, Marty, and a talk with his friend and barber, Gordon, Herb takes the dive. Unable to deal with life after celebrity, amid broken promises from Enright and the rise of Van Doren's fame, Herb attempts to expose the scandal. After doubts are cast about Herb's sanity, his claims against Van Doren's integrity and Enright's own mounting offensive, the scandal finally breaks and Washington hearings are called. It is there that Herb expects to find retribution as the whistle blower, only to discover that Van Doren is elevated once again.
ISBN: 0-8222-1406-7