Composers and their stage works 


Wolf at the Door

Original play (Les Corbeaux) by Henry Becque, translated by David Walker and adapted by Alan Ayckbourn
M9, F6 plus M3 (non-speaking). A drawing-room.

When a sudden heart attack claims the life of the father of the Vigneron household, the family is plunged into economic turmoil. Madame Vigneron and her children are forced to rely on the advice of others in sorting out the complicated estate, and find they are surrounded by wolves at every turn in the form of creditors, business associates and 'friends'. Period nineteenth century
ISBN 0 573 01936 3


Play. Georgina Reid
M2 (20, 50) F4 (16, 45, 50s). A kitchen.

Joan, a renowned sculptor, forgets she has engaged Mrs Bond as cook, until the lady and her daughter, Sarah, turn up. Put off by Mrs Bond's attitude, they are won over by her cooking and the charming Sarah (who sits for Joan). Mrs Bond is furious when she finds out and a sequence of sinister events is set in train leading to the near-death of Gran. Mrs Bond is arrested for attempted murder, but it is up to Gran to reveal the would-be killer.
ISBN 0 573 11503 6

The Women

Play. Clare Booth Luce
F44: 11 principals and 33 small parts; doubling and trebling possible. Twelve interiors.

Mary Haines's friends are cynical about her happy, successful marriage. When news reaches the friends that Stephen, Mary's husband, is enjoying a dalliance with the gold-digging Crystal Allen, Mary is soon informed. Her mother, wise and worldly, advises her to forgive him, but she feels divorce is the only solution. Eventually, having learned from her friends the laws of the female jungle, Mary sharpens her claws, and prepares to win back the man she still loves.

Woman in Mind

Play. Alan Ayckbourn
M5 (20, 30, 40) F3 (20, 40s). A garden.

Seen at the Vaudeville, London, in 1986 with Julia McKenzie and Martin Jarvis this is one of Ayckbourn's blacker comedies, dealing with the gradual mental collapse of Susan. Starved of affectionate companionship and understanding love by an appalling husband and priggish son Susan conjures up an ideal family. But gradually she loses control over this dream and finally breaks down in a nightmarish fantasy involving her real and imaginary families.
ISBN 0 573 01662 3

The Woman in White

Play. Constance Cox, adapted from the novel by Wilkie Collins
M6 (20s to elderly) F5 (20s to elderly). A drawing-room.
Typescript on hire from Samuel French Ltd

The story of unhappy Laura Fairlie and the plot to deprive her of her fortune is as gripping now as when Collins first wrote it. Lovers of period drama will welcome Constance Cox's admirable dramatisation, neatly constructed as to allow presentation in one set. Period 1861-2

Woman of Manhattan

Play. John Patrick Shanley.
2 men, 3 women. Unit set

Rhonda, Judy and Billie are having dinner, over which they lament the fact that, while their careers are flourishing, their emotional lives are a wreck. Rhonda has just broken up with her boyfriend (but is unable to jettison the oversized sneakers still sitting in the corner of her room); Billie, "happily married," frets that she and her husband are stuck in their honeymoon phase; and Judy despairs of ever meet-ing an attractive man who isrit gay. But then, in a series of sharply written, subtly revealing scenes, their situations change. Billie fixes-up Judy with her ex-boyfriend, a debonair black executive who proves to be more than an adequate lover; Billie's husband gives her a black eye (which delights her because it finally proves that the honeymoon is over!); and Rhonda, still alone, summons up the courage to dispose of her boyfriend's sneakers. As the play ends, the three are hopeful about better times ahead, but also painfully aware that the brittle, competitive Manhattan lifestyle disappoints as quickly as it rewards.
ISBN: 0-8222-1274-9

Women on the Verge of HRT

Play. Marie Jones. Music by Neil Martin
M 1 (early 30s) F2 (40s). A hotel bedroom, a beach.

Vera and Anna have made the trip to Donegal to see their singing idol Daniel O' Donnell. Vera has been abandoned by her husband and Anna is content to dream of Daniel whilst sustaining a loveless marriage. Singing waiter, Fergal, invites the women to join him at dawn. In a series of dreamlike meetings the women confront their spouses and each other. Neil Martin's country style songs enhance this easily staged, telling look at the spirit of women.
ISBN 0 573 01939 8

The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband

Debbie Isitt : Comedy
1M 2F Flexible staging

Kenneth and Hilary have been married nearly twenty years, but as middle age approaches, Ken finds himself in the arms of another woman. At first, Laura appears to be everything that is missing from Ken's life with Hilary - young, slim, attractive and a vibrant free spirit - but his little fling quickly becomes desperately out of hand. Juggling the affections of two women, his world becomes a tangle of lies and deceit. After his initial denials to Hilary's increasing suspicions, he is soon forced to confront the truth and leaves Hilary for Laura. Only one problem ... Laura can't cook. As time passes, Kenneth mourns the loss of Sunday roasts and haute cuisine, and the comforts of the settled life he once knew. When Hilary invites Ken and Laura over for dinner, he readily accepts, unaware of what delicacies Hilary plans to serve. Told through a series of flashbacks interspersed with the 'last supper', The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband is a highly entertaining exploration of the old adage, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach"!
ISBN: 0 85676 163 X

A Woman Without a Name

Play. Romulus Linney. Based on the author's novel, Slowly, By Thy Hand Unfurled.
5 men, 4 women. Open Stage.

The place is a small American town. The time 1900. As the play begins the characters enter and seat themselves in a semicircle of antique chairs. The last to enter is the Woman, who carries a ledger, (her journal) from which she starts to read. It is quickly evident that the journal is not only a record of the Woman's daily life, but also a measure of her intellectual and emotional growth as she copes with the trials and tribulations with which she and her family are beset. As her story unfolds, the various characters involved in each episode leave their chairs and enter the action, while the others watch in silence. The Woman is sorely tried as she loses one daughter to a bungled abortion, another to a brain tumor, and a son to TB. But, despite all, she manages to grow in learning and strength of character, to deal with her husband's descent into alcoholism; to forgive the young doctor whose clumsiness caused her daughter's death; and to accept the malevolence of her surviving son, who holds her responsible for the tragedies which the family has suffered. In the end the play is a study in compassion, determination and the indomitability of the human spirit - soaringly depicted through the character of a simple, unschooled woman who, in coming to terms with herself and her life, was able to achieve a freedom and sense of being which her "betters" would never know.
ISBN: 0-8222-1269-2

Wonderful Time

Comedy. Jonathan Marc Sherman.
3 men, 2 women, flexible casting. Unit set

Linus Worth is graduate film student in California, getting ready to attend his best friend's wedding in New York. The morning of the flight, mistakenly thinking that this is the honest thing to do, he tells his girlfriend, Robin, that he's been unfaithful. She dumps him. Confused and dateless, he leaves for the airport. On his way, a fellow student, Betsy, asks him if she can video tape him doing something spontaneous. Linus and Betsy are strangers but have seen each other on campus. Linus agrees to be spontaneous, and what he does is offer her the extra ticket to New York. She accepts. Their time together over the weekend reveals a longing for intimacy they both feel, but look for in different ways. Attracted to each other, the find they enjoy spending a great deal of time kissing. They eventually fall into bed but Linus is looking for more. He's searching for a love he feels doesn't exist, so he hesitates to take what love he finds. He resists learning someone new, because too quickly, they become old and familiar. Yet he won't let go of the familiar, as unsatisfying as it has become, because he doesn't trust the new and unknown. Linus is a young romantic, and Betsy is a find he may lose. When they return to California, Betsy feels Lions withdraw, so takes him to her family beach house. They watch the waves break and Betsy invites Linus to the bedroom. He accepts, but he'll follow her in a moment. She goes inside, and calls to him, several times, but as the lights fade, Linus continues to watch the waves, unable to reach a decision.
ISBN: 0-8222-1541-1

The Wooden Dish

Play Edmund Morris.
6 men, 4 women. Cut-out Set showing Interior & Exterior.

The story concerns the cold war between a housewife (Clara) and the father-in-law she has been trying to dislodge ever since she married: a tough, asthmatic old wreck combining all the pride and cunning of his age with the simplicity of a baby. His son, Glenn, is tossed helplessly from one loyalty to another, and Clara has grown desperate enough for anything - even an attempted love affair with another man - to release her from this burden. When Pop finally gives up the fight to remain in his son's home, it is left to his granddaughter, Susan, to see with the compassion that only youth can feel for age, the true tragedy of his going.
ISBN: 0-8222-1276-5

A Word from Our Sponsor.

Words by Alan Ayckbourn. Music by John Pattison
M4 F5. A disused railway station.

This futuristic musical is set in a small-town railway station, sometime all too soon. Harry Wooller, a vicar, is looking for sponsorship for his group's musical Mystery play. His call is intercepted by a dubious but immensely powerful source - Valda/Valder who alternates between male and female forms. Artistry is soon compromised; this drastic interference forces the group to reveal their past deeds, and recognize the need for change.
ISBN 0 573 08105 0
Vocal score ISBN 0 573 08603 6


Play. Georg Buchner, translated by John MacKendrick
M10 F3, with doubling. Various interior and exterior settings.

This anti-romantic and starkly realistic tragedy is about a common soldier, Woyzeck, who attempts to make sense out of life in the face of the intolerance of those about him who think him stupid. Driven mad by external forces- inhuman military discipline, environment, class and religion he slaughters his wife and then drowns himself. Buchner's portrayal is ironic and compassionate: the play was a remarkable nineteenth-century call for the need for social reform.


Play. Bill C. Davis.
2 men, 1 woman. Unit set

Moving back and forth in both time and place, alternating flashbacks with present action, the play illuminates the lifelong rivalry of two brothers who differ radically in attitude and temperament. Bobby, the dominant older brother, was the one who always excelled at sports and studies, and from whom great things were expected; while his younger sibling, the easygoing, less ambitious Monty, always seemed to be cast in the role of the loser. But, as the play begins, Bobby, having flunked out of law school and making do with a dead-end job in a Manhattan department store, is the one adrift; while Monty, now a gym teacher, is happily ensconced with his girlfriend, Angie, in an upstate village. Concerned about his brother, Monty invites Bobby to -join them on weekends but, as the juxtaposition of scenes from the past and present so effectively underscores, the old competitiveness soon flares up, this time with Angie caught in the middle. While she loves Monty, she is drawn to the tidy, efficient and more worldly Bobby, and when he proposes to her, Monty, reacting instinctively to his accustomed domination by his brother, reluctantly backs off - before pulling himself together and making a counterproposal. In the end, however, Angie can't (or won't) decide between the two and departs - leaving Monty and Bobby as they were and always will be: two brothers inextricably bound by a filial affection forever challenged by rivalry and conflict.
ISBN: 0-8222-1278-1

Write Me a Murder

Mystery/Drama. Frederick Knott.
7 men, 2 women. Interior

The action of the play takes place in Rodingham Manor, an ancient but rather run-down stately home in England. There are two Rodingham brothers, sons of the lord of the manor who wastes no time in dying, off-stage, of natural causes. Upon the death of Lord Rodingham, eldest son Clive immediately sells the family estate and all its contents to local self-made businessman Charles Sturrock, and then goes off to Texas with his new American wife, a millionairess. Younger brother David, a well-known short-story writer, is disappointed, but strikes up a friendship with Sturrock's wife Julia. She is a would-be writer and he helps her plot a murder story set in the study of Rodingham Manor for an Evening News competition. But when her husband becomes objectionable, they decide to carry out the plot in earnest. It proves unnecessary; Charles is killed in a car smash, David and Julia marry and she begins a new story set on a houseboat. A year later while Julia is in London, Clive returns - he is broke and his marriage has failed. When he discovers David is interested in following through Sturrock's plans to exploit the estate, he threatens to blackmail him and expose the development plans to the local villagers. David then kills him according to the original story, but when Julia returns she reveals to David she has won first prize and was published in the Evening News - only it was not the houseboat story she entered - it was their murder collaboration. David looks out of the window and sees the police with the newspaper on the point of finding the incriminating evidence buried beneath a sundial.
ISBN: 0 8222 1279 X

The Wrong Way Light Bulb

Play Leonard Spigelgass.
7 men, 4 women, 1 boy. Interior

The action takes place in an apartment house in Brooklyn that is practically a slum. Harold Axman, the protagonist, is a young liberal of infinite goodwill who has inherited the apartment after the death of his grandfather. His tenants are a varied lot - a black woman and her militant son, a sexy Puerto Rican girl who shortly is sharing her landlord's bed, a gently humorous Jewish woman who knew him as a boy and uses this knowledge to get favours, a family of strict orthodox Jews - and at first they are filled with distrust of their new landlord. Little by little they begin to warm towords him, all except the black militant, filled with hatred of all whites, especially Jews. When the latter is arrested after the Jewish woman has been assaulted and robbed, a riot breaks out in the neighbourhood. A Turkish bath which has been left to Axman burns down and people are wounded and killed. The militant, released from arrest, is triumphant at one more incident to call attention to his cause. Axman is beaten, eager to retreat from the scene of what he believes is his failure and to find a place free of hatred and strife. He realises that there is no such place in our world today, but his message is tempered with hope.
ISBN: 0-8222-1280-3

Wuthering Heights

Play. Emily Brontë, adapted for the stage by Charles Vance
M6 F4. Composite setting.

A new version of Emily Brontë's great classic, the immortal love story set amid the bleak beauty of Haworth Moor, the landscape over which towers the wild, terrible figure of Heathcliff. The tale of his searing passion for the beautiful Catherine Earnshaw has the vividness of nightmare, the beauty and simplicity of an old ballad and the depth and intensity of ancient tragedy. Period nineteenth century.
ISBN 0 573 11474 9