Plays

An Adventure

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

On a stormy night in 1954, a woman doomed to marry one of five men discovers the wildcard choice might just be the person she'd been hoping for all along. An Adventure follows headstrong Jyoti and her fumbling suitor Rasik as they ride the crest of the fall of the Empire from the shores of post-Partition India to the forests of Mau Mau Kenya onto the industrial upheaval of 1970s London and the present day.

But what happens when youthful ambitions crash hard against reality? When you look back at the story of your time together, can you bear to ask yourself: was it all worth it?

Witty, charming and full of fearless historical insight, An Adventure is an epic, technicolour love story from one of the country's most promising young writers about the people who journeyed to British shores in hope and shaped the country we live in today.

Armadillo

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Bullets are not sexy. They are not sexy.
Armadillo – little armoured one. [Spanish]

A teenage girl disappears from a small town in America where fifteen years earlier, another teenage girl was kidnapped. Now a woman, she watches the news. She reaches for her gun. She holds it close.

Sarah Kosar's new play is about the dangerous ways we make ourselves feel safe.

Arrah-na-Pogue

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Written in 1864 and set during the Irish rebellion of 1798, Arrah na Pogue is an rollicking tale of romance and misadventure with rascally rebels, despicable villains and love-struck youths.

As night falls on the Wicklow mountains, the popular but incorrigible rebel Beamish MacCaul is lying in wait. He’s out to ambush the cowardly rent-collector Michael Feeny and collect some rent from him in turn. That done, he’s off to marry Fanny Power. Down in the valley, love is in the air for Shaun the Post and the play’s heroine Arrah Meelish too. But Arrah has a secret, and Michael Feeny has found it out. As Shaun and Arrah celebrate their wedding, revenge comes a-calling. Now love must conquer all – including the hangman’s noose. The play is brim-full of Boucicault’s trademark comic roguery, farce and melodrama.

Build a Rocket

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

"This isn't the story of Icarus and Daedalus.
It's Yasmin and Jack.
And we won't fly too close to the sun.
We'll fly through the f***er."

Yasmin is young and feisty and lives on the edge. A young mum, her Scarborough isn't sandcastles, arcades and donkey rides. She's been dealt a rough hand and has to decide whether to give in or get smart.
But can the thing which threatens to ruin her life be the one thing which saves her? Can she still be the architect of her own destiny?

An explosive and passionate portrait of a young heroine of our times.

Columbinus

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A play sparked by the April 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, probes the psychological warfare of alienation, hostility and social pressure that goes on in high schools across America. Columbinus weaves together excerpts from discussions with parents, survivors and community leaders in Littleton as well as diaries and home video footage to bring to light the dark recesses of American adolescence.

audio Dracula (adapt. Morey)

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Before Twilight and True Blood, only one vampire commanded “the children of the night.” In this blood-thirsty tale of unholy terror, Count Dracula slips into Victorian London with a cargo of his native Transylvanian soil - so he can rest between victims. The city seems helpless against his frightful power, and only one man, Dr. Van Helsing, can stop the carnage. But to do this, he must uncover the vampire’s lair and pierce his heart with a wooden stake.

Program note from Rosalind Ayres, director of the live performance by L.A. Theatre Works: “For centuries man has dreamed of a life beyond death. Chinese Emperors were buried with clay armies to protect them in the next world. Egyptian Pharaohs were entombed with all the belongings they would need in the afterlife. But how might it be possible to cheat death itself? Well, try the myth of the Vampire. One who, by constantly drinking the ‘life force,’ the blood of others, could ensure eternal survival. In Charles Morey's dramatization of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, the creed of the Vampire and the Christian belief in 'life everlasting' is juxtaposed. It's the eternal struggle between good and evil. Plus, the confidence of scientific beliefs and theory, marred only by that uncomfortable shaft of inexplicable fear when something goes 'Bump' in the night. Enter Dracula...” An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: David Selby as Abraham Van Helsing John Glover as Renfield Simon Templeman as Count Dracula Matthew Wolf as Arthur Holmwood Moira Quirk as Lucy Westenra Lisa O’hare as Mina Murray Harker Nick Toren as Dr. John Seward Karl Miller as Jonathan Harker André Sogliuzzo as Maxwell and others Sheelagh Cullen as Mrs. Westenra and others Denise Carole as Tart and others Directed by Rosalind Ayres. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Denise Carole, Sheelagh Cullen, John Glover, Karl Miller, Lisa O'Hare, Moira Quirk, David Selby, Andre Sogliuzzo, Simon Templeman, Nick Toren, Matthew Wolf

The Duchess of Padua

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Duchess of Padua is a tragic melodrama that centres around a young man named Guido Ferranti who has come to Padua to learn the secret of his birth. There he is told that his father's life was ruined by the current duke of Padua; Guido is convinced that he should revenge his father's life by murdering the duke. He agrees at first to undertake this mission, but later balks at the task, only for it to be carried out by his lover, Beatrice, the wife of the murdered Duke. The play ends in further bloodshed, with the double suicide of the lovers.

The Duchess of Padua, written in 1883, is Oscar Wilde's second play. Written for, but ultimately rejected by, the American actress Mary Anderson, it finally premiered anonymously at the Broadway Theatre in New York.

Easy Virtue

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Easy Virtue, John Whittaker brings home his new wife for the first time. Some years older than her husband, Larita is a woman of class, beauty and experience, with a worldview, we find, in stark contrast to the single-minded morality of her new sisters- and mother-in-law.

At first a tense truce reigns, but after a summer of boredom and mental lassitude, Larita is confronted with the facts of her past: scandalous according to her outraged in-laws; but mere truth to Larita, who refuses to be brow-beaten into hypocrisy by the priggish social system of her new relations.

In the introduction to Coward’s Collected Plays: One Sheridan Morley wrote: “Easy Virtue is essentially The Second Mrs Tanqueray brought up to date... What is intriguing about the play, apart from the light it throws on Coward as a craftsman working from the models of his immediate theatrical and social past, is the way it mocks the conventions, prejudices and complacencies of its period while remaining well inside the drawing-room barricades. No writer of Noël’s generation ever went more directly to the jugular of that moralistic, tight-lipped but fundamentally Twenties society.”

Easy Virtue was first performed in New York in 1926.

Gidion's Knot

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Over the course of a 90-minute parent/teacher conference, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher have a fraught conversation about the tragic suicide of the mother's son, the teacher's student, Gidion.

Gidion may have been bullied severely – or he may have been an abuser. As his story is slowly uncovered, the women try to reconstruct a satisfying explanation for Gidion's act and come to terms with excruciating feelings of culpability.

Hay Fever

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Hay Fever, one of the best-loved of all Coward’s plays, was reckoned by Tyrone Guthrie to have ‘as good a chance of immortality as any works of an author now living’. This comic masterpiece, first performed in June, 1925, has survived the years beyond even Guthrie’s glowing prediction.

Hay Fever tells the story of a busy weekend at a country house, where each member of the Bliss family has invited a guest to stay, without informing anyone else. Judith, a recently retired actress contemplating a swift return to the stage, has invited her young admirer Sandy Tyrell, who believes he is in for a romantic tryst with an unattached beauty. Judith’s husband David is working on the last chapter of his novel The Sinful Woman, and has invited the sweet ingénue Jackie Coryton to keep him company, and perhaps provide fertile ground for research. Not to be outdone, brother and sister Simon and Sorel have each invited an older lover, Myra Arundel and Richard Greatham respectively, each one anticipating having the house, and their lover, to themselves.

Instead, all four guests are forced into close quarters with the four members of the host family, each one more eccentric than the last. Parlour games turn to rancour; romantic alliances split and reform with flippant ease, recalling at once the dry wit of Wilde and the carnivalesque atmosphere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As Saturday evening climaxes into a clamour of melodrama, each of the invited guests begin to rue ever accepting an invitation from the inimitable Blisses.

A popular theatre genre that came to be equated with sensationalism and excess. Melodramas emerged in the nineteenth century from eighteenth-century French and German productions that combined music (melody) with drama. The use of music and the Gothic influence of virtue overcoming horror diminished, and melodramas turned to more domestic themes and later gave way to realism before succumbing to cinema and subsequently television. Few original melodramas were written; many were simply translations or adaptations from novels. By the beginning of the twentieth century productions were becoming increasingly spectacular. The genre lost its impetus early in the century but survived in various forms. David Belasco in the United States generated his own version; Alfred Jarry in Ubu Roi wrote a highly influential comic melodrama; and Sartre wrote an intellectual melodrama in Crime Passionel. Stoppard parodied the form in The Real Inspector Hound while Orton offered a burlesque of it in Loot. According to some theorists, a distinction can be made between tragedy, which deals with internal flaws, and melodrama, which deals with external forces.

from Adriana Hunter, The Continuum Companion to Twentieth-Century Theatre, ed. Colin Chambers (London, 2002).