Plays

Picnic At Hanging Rock

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tom Wright’s stage adaptation of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, was first co-produced by Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne, and Black Swan State Theatre Company, Perth, and first performed at Malthouse Theatre on 26 February 2016. The play received its European premiere at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh on 13 January 2017.

The play's action is narrated by five performers, 'Five Australian women', who are named in the published script after the actors who played them in the first production. They are struggling to solve the mystery at the heart of Joan Lindsay's original novel, which presents itself as the true story of the disappearance of three schoolgirls and their teacher one summer's day in 1900 while on a picnic expedition to Hanging Rock in Victoria. Euphoria and terror reverberate throughout the community, as the potential for history to repeat itself becomes nightmarishly real.

The premiere production was directed by Matthew Lutton with set and costume design by Zoë Atkinson. It was performed by Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Arielle Gray, Amber McMahon, Elizabeth Nabben and Nikki Shiels.

audio The Playboy of the Western World

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Orson Bean and Alley Mills star in the story of a man who becomes the town hero after he boasts of murdering his father. Riots greeted the first performance of this 1907 comic masterpiece of the Irish Literary Renaissance.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Orson Bean, Robert Evan Collins, Alexander Enberg, Jacqueline Heinze, Stuart W. Howard, Dennis Madden, Seth Margolies, Alley Mills, Carolyn Palmer and Sarah Moyo Tracey.

Featuring: Orson Bean, Robert Evan Collins, Alexander Enberg, Jacqueline Heinze, Stuart W. Howard, Dennis Madden, Seth Margolies, Alley Mills, Carolyn Palmer, Sarah Moyo Tracey

The Playboy of the Western World

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

J. M. Synge’s tale of storytelling and strange idolisation is a humorous satire on Irish peasant life, a mock-heroic in lyrical leaping poetic prose.

When the young Christy Mahon stumbles into a tavern on the coast of Mayo, claiming to have killed his father, the excitement-starved villagers hail him as a hero instead of contacting the authorities. The barmaid and publican’s daughter Pegeen Mike falls in love with his glamour, to the dismay of her betrothed, who tries to set the stranger up with a predatory widow. But the dashing, silver-tongued hero is not all he seems, as a second stranger turns up to refute the story and the ‘playboy’s allure.

Synge created a huge scandal at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin where the play was first staged in 1907, because its audience did not take kindly to a comedy that seemed to portray the Irish as gullible, superstitious and violent, not to mention references to Irish womanhood that were construed as immodest. Today, The Playboy of the Western World is recognised as a finely balanced and blackly-humorous mix of Irish folklore and social observation.

Pot and Kettle

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Pot and Kettle by Ciciely Hamilton and Christopher St John tells the story of young Marjorie, a newly signed-up member of the Anti-Suffrage movement, whose parents are delighted at the decision she has taken, hoping that by joining, she will meet lots of respectable and well-to-do people. They are thus in shock to see her return from a rally in floods of tears. It turns out that she has been arrested for assaulting a Suffragette, Lady Susan Pengarvon.

Described in her introduction by Naomi Paxton as ‘a comic pleasure’, Pot and Kettle was first performed at the Scala Theatre, London on 12 November 1909.

Riders to the Sea

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Maurya's son Michael has been swept out to the sea, the latest of the men in her household to die. While they wait for his body to wash ashore, the last remaining man in the house, Bartley, decides to take a boat to the mainland for the Connemara horse fair. But Maurya's premonition of the ghost of Michael following Bartley out to sea proves ominous, leaving Maurya and her daughters alone.

First performed in 1904, Synge's one-act play Riders to the Sea carries with it the weight of a culture in thrall to the ocean around it, in a style reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedy,at once unmistakably local and inescapably epic.

Strife

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Strife charts the progress of an industrial strike at the Trenartha Tin Plate Works, dealing with the fanatical antagonism between industrial workers and those who are determined to remain their masters. The play’s structure is intended to present an impartial balance between the forces of revolt and conservatism, describing the fierce stalemate from both the workers' and the directors' points of view.

On the one hand there is the dynamic, white-haired John Antony, who dominates the Board of Directors with his fixed ideas of class supremacy; on the other, David Roberts is the passionate and righteous orator who leads the strikers through the struggle. As starvation threatens the families of the strikers, the relationships of the women on either side of the dispute falter across the class divide.

Galsworthy’s patterned naturalism leaves the argument carefully poised and ultimately unresolved, as the vehement ideologies of each side are eventually defeated by the negative, reductive force of compromise. But the power of his characters is designed to resonate beyond their circumstances as portraits of absolute extremism. The play was first produced in 1909 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London.

audio Three Sisters

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A full-cast performance of Chekhov’s masterpiece starring Jennifer Westfeldt, Tessa Thompson, Sarah Zimmerman and Jon Hamm.

Meet Olga, Masha, and Irina, warm and cultured young sisters who were reared in the exciting hubbub of Moscow, but have been living in the dull, gossipy backwaters of Russia for far too long. With their father’s passing, and the ordinary grip of day-to-day life slowly suffocating them, the urge to return to the city with its rich and exciting life rises to a fever pitch. First performed in 1901, Three Sisters beautifully mixes humor and heartbreak and is a perennial favorite of actors and audiences alike. The great Russian playwright Anton Chekhov is one of the most influential figures in modern literature, whose classic works include Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard (also available from L.A. Theatre Works). An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Jennifer Westfeldt as Masha Tessa Thompson as Irina Sarah Zimmerman as Olga Jon Hamm as Vershinin Josh Clark as Solyony and Rode Josh Cooke as Kulygin Dan Donohue as Tuzenbach Pamela Dunlap as Anfisa Marc Halsey as Fedotik Rebecca Mozo as Natasha Robert Pine as Chebutykin and Ferapont Reid Scott as Andrei Translated by Christopher Hampton. Directed by Jenny Sullivan. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Josh Clark, Josh Cooke, Dan Donohue, Pamela Dunlap, Marc Halsey, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Mozo, Robert Pine, Reid Scott, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Westfeldt, Sarah Zimmerman

The Tinker's Wedding

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Sarah Casey, an Irish traveller woman, has for years been going the roads with Michael Byrne, a casual tinsmith; now she would like to get married. She has saved up just enough money to pay the priest to marry them; half a sovereign plus the tin can Michael has made is to be the fee for the ceremony. But the tin can is too much of a temptation for Michael's mother Mary, who sees in it a quick sale that would give her ample money for alcohol, leaving Sarah unable to pay the unsympathetic pastor for the wedding, and the respectability, she so craves.

A broad comedy with elements of social truth, The Tinkers' Wedding was refused production in the Abbey Theatre, instead premiering at His Majesty’s Theatre London, 11 November, 1909, after Synge had passed away.

The Voysey Inheritance

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Financial chicanery and ethical concerns conflict in this early twentieth-century classic.

Edward’s highly principled world is turned upside down when his father reveals that he has been illegally speculating with clients’ money. To make matters worse, he soon discovers his large, scandal-fearing family would perpetuate the crime rather than risk public dishonour.

This magnificently observed, hugely enjoyable portrait of an upper-middle-class family was written by Granville Barker, just ten years before the First World War finally sent old values flying.

The play was first staged at the Court Theatre, London, in November 1905.

audio The Voysey Inheritance

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In this surprisingly modern psychological portrait, a prosperous Edwardian family is torn apart when young Edward Voysey discovers that his family’s wealth was obtained through three generations of deceit and theft. A captivating study of turn-of-the-century morals.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Suzan Crowley, Kenneth Danziger, Diana Douglas, Arabella Field, Robin Gammell, Paul Gutrecht, Arthur Hanket, Robert Machray, Christopher Neame, Judith Owen, Serena Scott Thomas and Paxton Whitehead.

Featuring: Suzan Crowley, Kenneth Danziger, Diana Douglas, Arabella Field, Robin Gammell, Paul Gutrecht, Arthur Hanket, Robert Machray, Christopher Neame, Judith Owen, Serena Scott Thomas, Paxton Whitehead