Plays

Forget-me-not Lane

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Forget-me-not Lane is a bittersweet play about fathers, families and nostalgia – about (in Nichol’s words) a youth which was bitter to live through but sweet to remember.

Middle-aged Frank is packing his suitcase, and starts to tell the audience about his life. He summons up memories of his childhood and adolescence during the Second World War, watching the experiences of his younger self with a mixture of amiable amusement, mortification and nostalgia. Frank relives the grammatical pedantry of his father Charles, the bickering between his parents, his adventures in transvestism with his best friend Ivor, a juvenile attraction to the vivacious star of the local stage, and his awkward flirtations with Ursula, later to be his wife. Frank is gloomily disappointed by the contrast between his teenage sweetheart and the tired mother Ursula has become, his reminiscences gradually exposing his dissatisfaction with familial life.

Forget-me-not Lane was first performed in 1971 at the Greenwich Theatre, London.

The Freeway

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Nichols’s commentary on the modern attachment to the automobile, the traffic on the freeway has come to a complete standstill.

May, Les, Wally and Evelyn – elderly travellers doing the sights and on their way to Hadrian’s Wall – step out of their mobile home to stretch their legs. Next door, James and his dowager mother Nancy were on their way to the opera, but now they’re getting out of their estate car and picnicking on the verge. Grant returns to his wife, children and sports car from his reconnaissance of the traffic jam: nothing’s moving.

But what begins as an inconvenience – easily taken in the stride of the resourceful British motorist – becomes rather more desperate as the days wear on and there’s no way of going anywhere. Three very different sets of people try to keep their spirits up as the picnics run out, and wonder if this is the fair price of modern mobility.

The Freeway was first presented at the Old Vic in 1974.

German Skerries

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Robert Holman's play German Skerries is a portrait of life in industrial Teesside in the North of England in the 1970s. It won the 1977 George Devine Award, and was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 25 January 1977.

The play's action is set during the summer of 1977, and takes place, according to a note in the script, 'on an area of rough land known as South Gare at the entrance of the River Tees'. It is a popular birdwatching spot, and this is what brings together the 23-year-old Jack Williams, who works for British chemical manufacturing company ICI, and the 59-year-old Martin Jones, who is a primary school teacher. Jack, spurred on by his wife Carol, has applied for a technical course that will lead to promotion as a plant manager. In the course of a fortnight, the play plots the changing lives of its characters as they try to work out how to live, and of a community in which a thriving steel industry poses a threat to the natural environment.

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by Chris Parr and designed by Miki van Zwanenberg, with Paul Copley as Jack, John Normington as Martin, Mark Penfold as Michael and Caroline Hutchison as Carol.

A new production was staged at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, on 3 March 2016, in an Orange Tree Theatre/Up in Arms co-production in association with Reading Rep. It was directed by Alice Hamilton and designed by James Perkins, with George Evans as Jack, Howard Ward as Martin, Henry Everett as Michael and Katie Moore as Carol. The production subsequently toured the UK.

The Glad Hand

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In The Glad Hand a wealthy, communist-hating tycoon named Ritsaat leads a motley gang of explorers through the Bermuda triangle – and the space-time continuum – in pursuit of the antichrist, whom he hopes to lure out into the open for a battle, under the cover of the nineteenth century Cowboy Strike which ran in the wake of the American Civil War.

’A full-blooded theatrical experience which is also – praise be – good fun to watch. Its energetic imaginative nonsense spills out ideas, situations, crises, comedy and political harangue in a firework display of non-sequitur whizz-bang high spirits’–Sunday Telegraph

The Glad Hand was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre on 11 May 1978, with Anthony Sher in the lead role. It was directed by Max Stafford-Clark.

audio Good Black

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In Pittsburgh in the 1980’s, a young man falls in love with an older woman, and their lives are changed forever.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production, starring Rolanda Brigham, Yvonne Dabney, Ellis Foster, Donn Carl Harper, Runako Jahi, Audrey Morgan, Kemati Janice Porter, and Valerie Robinson.

Directed by Woodie King Jr.

Featuring: Rolanda Brigham, Yvonne Dabney, Ellis Foster, Donn Carl Harper, Runako Jahi, Audrey Morgan, Kemati Janice Porter, Valerie Robinson

audio The Goodbye Girl

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In this unique audio adaptation of Neil Simon’s screenplay, Paula McFadden’s a down-on-her-luck actress who’s forced to take in a new roommate – the eccentric, noisy, and generally unpleasant Eliot Garfield– who also happens to be an actor. As their careers and finances hit new lows, their reluctant partnership threatens to turn into something neither one wants. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast recording, starring (in alphabetical order): Ellis Greer and Donna and others; Anna Mathias as multiple characters; Matthew Floyd Miller as Eliot Garfield; Amy Pietz as Paula McFadden; Raini Rodriguez as Lucy; André Sogliuzzo as multiple characters; Inger Tudor as Mrs. Crosby and others; Matthew Wolf as Mark Bodine and others; Adam Wylie as multiple characters Directed by Rosalind Ayres. Recorded live in performance at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater in January 2018.

Grand Magic

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Unhappy wife Marta needs to take a drastic step if she wants to escape her jealous husband. To that end, she and her lover recruit the help of a seedy magician, who chooses Marta as his volunteer for the ‘disappearing person’ trick in his act.

When her jealous husband realizes that Marta is not reappearing, he demands that the magician return her.

In Grand Magic, Eduardo de Filippo, explores questions of faith, obsession, and delusion. This translation was first performed in England at the National Theatre, London, in 1995.

Hayavadana  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Based on a a tale found in a collection of Sanskrit stories dating from the eleventh century. The play focuses on Padmini who is attracted to Kapila, her bookish husband Devadatta's friend. In a jealous fit, Devadatta cuts off his own head leaving Kapila to find the body, worried he will be blamed, cutting off his own head. The gods intervene to try and restore the men to life but the heads become switched... 

Here I Belong

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Matt Hartley's Here I Belong is a play about a rural village community and the changes that affect it over several decades, seen through the eyes of one village resident. It was first produced by Pentabus and first performed at Bromfield Village Hall, Shropshire, on Wednesday 12 October 2016, before touring the UK.

The play's four scenes are set in the fictional village of Woodside, in the village hall, in four different time periods spanning the 1950s to 2016. In the opening scene, set on the day of the Coronation in 1953, Elsie is twenty-seven years old, and five months pregnant. She has turned up early to help get the hall ready for the Coronation celebrations, and is joined by her friend Dorothy, who brings her baby Marion with her in a pram. In the remaining scenes we revisit Elsie at three other key points in her life as loved ones die, and governments come and go. As Elsie gets older the question arises of how long she can stay in the village she has lived in for much of her life. As the younger generation is priced out, there are fewer local jobs, and even the bus service is cut, who will look after her?

The premiere production was directed by Elizabeth Freestone and designed by Ellan Parry. It was performed by Nathalie Barclay and Beatrice Curnew.

Huggy Bear

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Huggy Bear is a celebration of the primal energies of hunger for satisfaction and experience, in the form of Hooper, an infantile and philosophical dentist with a boundless enjoyment of mastication.

Hooper lives with his slightly distracted mother in a quiet suburb in Cambridge; she makes him a beautiful breakfast which he enthusiastically stuffs into his mouth and on to most of his clothes. He is nannied at work by his beautiful secretary Janine, while his prim fiancée Barbara tries to improve him, against his rather impassive will.

Huggy Bear is playful and anarchically optimistic, as Hooper glories in physical enjoyment and sensuality with a glee delightfully unsuited to his age and position. Mercer's play was first presented by Yorkshire Television in 1976.