Plays

Abortive

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's Abortive is a short radio play first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 4 February 1971.

Roz and Colin are having a difficult time with sex, largely because of an invisible yet forbidding barrier between them. Roz became pregnant after being raped and had an abortion. Roz is not sure she made the right decision and Colin is not altogether convinced his wife was raped.

The BBC Radio 3 production was directed by John Tydeman, with Prunella Scales as Roz and Dinsdale Landen as Colin.

audio Absent Forever

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A bright and politically-engaged college student goes missing after a demonstration turns violent. But as her grieving mother begins her search, she uncovers a dark side to her daughter which she never knew existed.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast recording, starring: John de Lancie, Kaitlin Hopkins, Shirley Knight, Al Ruscio and Jennifer Warren.

Directed by Peggy Shannon and recorded before a live audience by L.A. Theatre Works.

Featuring: John de Lancie, Kaitlin Hopkins, Shirley Knight, Al Ruscio, Jennifer Warren

Accounts

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A rural counterpart to the urban Rents, according to author Michael Wilcox, Accounts touches on the same themes of homosexuality, money, and survival that the former play introduces. As teenage brothers Andy and Donald Mawson cope with the death of their father, learning how to run a farm with their widowed mother, Mary, the play primarily concerns the family’s processes of discovery – both in being independent land owners for the first time, and in terms of the brothers’ development during adolescence.

A bildungsroman, of sorts, Accounts details the daily routine of the family within their first year on the farm, and specifically demonstrates how Andy and Donald must mature quickly to take responsibility for its financial performance. With this mental maturity comes bodily maturity, as well; the audience becomes privy to Andy and Donald’s awakening sexuality, and in the case of Donald, emerging homosexuality. As a result, Accounts is a ‘coming out’ experience in the Scottish countryside, in the same way that Rents was in Edinburgh, for the play’s characters, the audience, and Wilcox, himself.

Accounts premiered at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre Club in May of 1981, with performances at the Fringe Festival following shortly after. The play made its way over to the US in 1983, and was shown in New York City’s Hudson Guild Theater.

Adult Child/Dead Child

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

How do we cope without love? The need for love and care, and the trauma that’s brought about by its absence is at the heart of Claire Dowie’s Adult Child/Dead Child.

The unnamed protagonist of this one-person show is confronted throughout her life with excessive discipline and punishment from her parents. Whether it’s the eye-for-an-eye punishment her father insists upon, or the hours of claustrophobia and inactivity spent corralled in the cupboard under the stairs, throughout the play we see the building tension that comes from living with parents who would rather chastise than show love.

Her only comfort comes in the shape of her imaginary friend, Benji, who becomes company of sorts at first, only to turn into something more troubling and sinister as her condition worsens.

Adult Child/Dead Child won a Time Out award in 1988, with Time Out magazine describing it as ‘A strangley exhilarating experience as well as a subtle exploration of a personality under siege.'

Adult Child/Dead Child was first presented at the Finborough Theatre Club, London, on 5 June 1987, before embarking on a national tour of the UK. Performed by the author, it was directed by Dowie’s long-time collaborator Colin Watkeys.

The After-Dinner Joke

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill’s The After-Dinner Joke is a satire on the charity business, written for television. It was first broadcast on BBC 1 on 14 February 1978 as part of the BBC's Play for Today series.

Told in 66 short, episodic scenes, the plot follows Selby, a young woman who quits her secretarial job in a big corporation to pursue her passion for ‘doing good’. As a charity worker, she studiously avoids becoming embroiled in political issues, only to discover during the course of the action that this is impossible.

The BBC production by directed by Colin Bucksey, with a cast including Paula Wilcox as Selby.

audio Agnes of God

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In this contemporary murder mystery, set within the confines of a convent, Agnes is a devout, innocent young nun accused of infanticide. As a psychiatrist, herself a lapsed Catholic, and the Mother Superior struggle over Agnes' fate, the play plunges deeply into the mystery of faith and the consequence of truth.

Includes an interview with Dr. Kevin Orlin Johnson, author of "Why Do Catholics Do That.”

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Barbara Bain, Emily Bergl and Harriet Harris.

Featuring: Barbara Bain, Emily Bergl, Harriet Harris

The Art of Success

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Eighteenth century London. The world of art is on the brink of transformation, about to spread from the drawing rooms of the rich to public houses across the country. Compressing the events of ten tumultuous years into a single night, Nick Dear uncovers the hidden world of seminal artist William Hogarth. The Art of Success is a raucous play with resonant debates about gender, sex, hedonism in the face of censorship and the responsibility of the artist.

The Art of Success by Nick Dear was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, in July 1986.

Bailegangaire

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Bailegangaire, an endless folk story told by a senile old woman is woven through her granddaughters’ arguments and struggles to free themselves from her.

Night after night, in lyrical and relentless detail, Mommo begins to relate the story of a laughing competition in Bailegangaire and how the town came by its name – ‘the town without laughter’. Of her two granddaughters, she only recognises Dolly, and not Mary who does most to look after her. The younger women yearn to be free of the past in order to make a new beginning, and Mary comes to believe that to do so the story of Bailegangaire has to be concluded.

In Mommo, Tom Murphy has created one of the greatest female characters of twentieth-century Irish literature. The play was first performed by Druid Theatre Company, Galway, in 1985.

Barnes’ People: Eight Monologues

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Barnes’ People is a series of wonderfully varied monologues from deeply imagined individuals. Whether their stories are historical, fantastic or familiar, they are always intimate and human.

‘Confessions of a Primary Terrestrial Mental Receiver and Communicator: Num III Mark I’ is spoken by a man who finds a meaning for his life through covert correspondence with aliens.

‘The Jumping Mimuses of Byzantium’, spoken by an aged hermit, is based on a legend of a tumbling jester and a wanton prostitute with a nocturnal secret.

‘The Theory and Practise of Belly-Dancing’ is about finding a way to survive the everyday.

‘The End of the World – And After’ is spoken by William Miller, a preacher who amassed a large following by predicting that Christ’s Second Coming would occur in 1844.

A one-hundred-and-thirteen year old woman tells an interviewer about her calmly scurrilous life in ‘Yesterday’s News’.

‘Glory’ is the final oration of Peregrinus Proteus, an Ancient Greek philosopher famous for parricide, before he steps on to his own funeral pyre.

In ‘No End to Dreaming’, an old man tells his psychoanalyst about growing up in the Cracow ghetto and about his dreams.

The monologues were presented by BBC Radio 3 in 1981.

Bazaar & Rummage

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Sue Townsend’s heartfelt comedy, three severely agoraphobic women have left their houses for the first time in years, and made it to a jumble sale. The sale has been organised by their social workers, the young trainee Fliss and the ex-agoraphobic volunteer Gwenda, though as the afternoon progresses, the distinction between them and the anxious people they are supposed to be looking after becomes less and less clear.

As Margaret, Bell-Bell and Katrina prepare to meet the public, armed with the suits of a deceased husband, old sequinned show dresses, bric-a-brac and a standard lamp, nerves and neuroses are running high, and a sensitive portrait of the suffering behind their phobia emerges.

Bazaar and Rummage was first presented in 1982 at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London.

The Belle of the Belfast City

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Belle of Belfast City is a story of loyalty, both political and familial. At its centre is Dolly, once a music-hall star, whose ballads and memories weave through the play recalling the past. Vi, the elder of her daughters, stayed with her in Belfast, while the younger Rose has travelled all over the world as a journalist. She returns, bringing with her for the first time her mixed-race and illegitimate daughter Belle, who is named for her grandmother’s stage name. The extended family also includes the Protestant Loyalist fundamentalist Jack, and his sister Janet.

Against the background of protests about the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the play confronts different models of Loyalism and allegiance, a rich and honest lament.

The Belle of Belfast City was first produced in 1989 by the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast.

Beside Herself

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

St. Dymphna's is a halfway house for people with mental illness. On the board of management there sits Evelyn, an MP's wife, who is struggling desperately to make people like her; helping her father round the house, acceding to colleagues' requests and absorbing the stress she is quite obviously feeling, her innermost thoughts voiced to the audience by the otherwise unseen Eve.

For it seems that Evelyn is also not well, the spectre of mental illness dogging her as she puts on a timid, polite manner and faces the world as though nothing is the matter.

Named after the patron saint of the mentally ill – a girl whose father tried to seduce her then murdered her when she refused – St. Dymphna's Community Group Home becomes not just a place of work for Evelyn, but a safer space in which she can work out the problems afflicting her, and cut right to the source that caused them.

Beside Herself was first performed by the Women's Playhouse Trust at the Royal Court, London, on 29 March 1990.

Bicycle  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Deals with the brutal burning of 127 suspected anti-communists in a South Korean village by retreating soldiers of North Korean People's Liberation Army in 1950.  

audio Biloxi Blues

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The second hilarious installment of Neil Simon’s autobiographical trilogy follows a naïve Eugene Jerome through boot camp. Performed by: Justine Bateman, Rob Benedict, Joshua Biton, John Cabrera, Matthew Patrick Davis, Steve Rankin, Josh Radnor, Russell Soder and Darby Stanchfield

Featuring: Justine Bateman, Rob Benedict, Joshua Biton, John Cabrera, Matthew Patrick Davis, Steve Rankin, Josh Radnor, Russell Soder, Darby Stanchfield

Blinded by the Light

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Blinded by the Light is a manic black comedy, a madcap farce of drinking, smoking, Mormons, Catholics, transvestites and a saint all crammed into the tiny bedsit of the hapless Mick.

Mick’s priorities in life are finding new ways to call in sick for work, getting hold of some roach paper, and seeing Siobhan again: he needs nothing else to make him happy. But in a moment of idleness he lets a couple of evangelical Mormons into his bedsit; they are so delighted to have found a friendly ear, it seems unlikely they’ll ever leave. Despite Mick’s increasingly desperate attempts to shock them out of all hope of converting him, soon they are visiting three times a week – prompting his landlord to invite over Lily and Jack from the Legion of Mary, to bring him back into the Catholic fold. Mick can just about juggle his schedule of visiting evangelicals, until the moment that the petty criminals from upstairs present him with the preserved head of Saint Oliver Plunkett.

Bolger’s increasingly surreal comedy is a triumph of riotous humour and sharp observation. It was first produced in 1990 by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

Blood and Ice

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Liz Lochhead's earliest play, Blood and Ice is a psychodrama that tells the story of Frankenstein’s creation and weaves a web of connections between Mary Shelley’s own tragic life and that of her literary monster. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 1982. It was later revived, in a revised version, by David McVicar at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1988, and subsequently toured by McVicar's company, Pen Name. It was again revived, in the version that was ultimately published, at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, on 24 October 2003.

The play unfolds as a series of flashbacks from the perspective of Mary Shelley in later life, disillusioned, let down by her friends, and struggling to understand her own creation, Frankenstein, or why she wrote it in the first place. It focuses on the summer of 1816, when eighteen-year-old Mary and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley are joined at a house party on the shores of Lake Geneva by Mary’s half-sister Claire and the infamous Lord Byron. They take part in a challenge to see who can write the most horrifying story. Little do they know that Mary’s contribution is to become one of the most celebrated novels of all time, nor how her life, already burdened with the death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, is to be so full of tragedy.

Liz Lochhead, in a 2009 Introduction to the published text, writes 'It’s exactly thirty years since I first took down from a library shelf Muriel Spark’s Child of Light, her wonderful biography of Mary Shelley, and, shortly after, began my own pursuit. Could I make a play…? Naively, I was, at the time, quite blithely unaware that I wasn’t the first, and certainly wouldn’t be the last, to be fired by the dramatic possibilities of this moment in history, that iconic stormy summer of 1816 by the shores of the lake and beneath the high Alps.'

The 2003 Royal Lyceum production was directed by Graham McLaren and performed by Lucianne McEvoy, Phil Matthews, Alex Hassel, Susan Coyle and Michele Rodley.

Blood Brothers

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A compelling story of friendship, loyalty and fate, Blood Brothers is one of the longest-running and most successful ever West End musicals, as well as one of the most moving.

Twin brothers are separated at birth because their mother cannot afford to keep them both; one of them is given away to a wealthy woman, the other remains with his mother. They become friends and swear to be blood brothers, all the time unaware of their true fraternity. But as they grow older, the two brothers find they can no longer ignore the class difference that divides them, and the love triangle that has dominated their lives erupts into a quarrel. The staggeringly emotional climax of the play questions whether it was destiny, or the inevitable difference of class, that led to the fatal conflict of two brothers who were once so close. Blood Brothers was first performed at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983.

Bloody Poetry

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

An elegiac and fiery play about poetry and failed utopias, Bloody Poetry follows Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, and their lovers Mary Shelley and Claire Clairemont, into exile. This strange family, vilified for their private lives and socially banished to the Continent, try on the shores of Lake Geneva to find a new way of living, free of repression and constraint, and filled with love and revolutionary passion. But what emerges is a fascinating tangle of disappointments. Brenton stages the famous biographical events of the writers’ lives – the meeting of Shelley and Byron, the stormy night when Frankenstein was conceived – deftly and lyrically, a portrait of the failure of an ideal.

Bloody Poetry was first presented in 1984 at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester.

Bouncers (1990s Remix)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Bouncers by John Godber shows a night on the tiles from the point of view of the men on the door. It is a funny, energetic piece of highly theatrical storytelling where the men are at once themselves, and every character they happen to meet on a night at work at the nightclub.

In his introduction, the author writes: 'In many ways the content informed the form. The boredom of the men on the door spills over into grotesque violence and fantasy. The antics of the girls and boys out for a night on the town hardly need developing to make them dramatic. The conflict between those wanting a good time and those stopping a good time from being had is a basic dramatic premise . . . the central theme of Bouncers is universal: men after beer after women, and the beat goes on.'

Bouncers premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 1984. This revised version was first presented by the Hull Truck Theatre Company in 1991.

audio Breaking the Code

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Based on the book ALAN TURING: THE ENIGMA by Andrew Hodges.

Simon Templeman stars as brilliant mathematician Alan Turning, the man who cracked the German Enigma code and enabled the Allies to win World War II. But Turing was to find that the country he saved cared less about his genius and more about his sexual orientation.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Sheelagh Cullen as Sara Turing Kenneth Danziger as Detective Mick Ross Peter Dennis as John Smith Samantha Robson as Pat Green Orlando Seale as Ron Miller W. Morgan Sheppard as Dillwyn Knox Andre Sogliuzzo as Christopher Morcom and Nikos Simon Templeman as Alan Turing Directed by Rosalind Ayres. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles in July, 2003. Breaking the Code is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

Featuring: Sheelagh Cullen, Kenneth Danziger, Peter Dennis, Samantha Robson, Orlando Seale, W. Morgan Sheppard, Andre Sogliuzzo, Simon Templeman

audio Brighton Beach Memoirs

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In Neil Simon’s darkly funny memoir of his family in 1930’s Brooklyn, fourteen-year-old Eugene is preoccupied by his passion for the Yankees and his lust for his beautiful cousin, Nora. Eugene’s comic growing pains contrast with the darker issues troubling his family: poverty, illness and the growing Nazi threat to relatives in Europe. Simon creates a Brooklyn universe full of memorable characters, humor and truth. A BBC co-production.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Max Casella, Peter Michael Goetz, Valerie Harper, Alexana Lambros, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, Jonathan Silverman and Joyce Van Patten.

Featuring: Max Casella, Peter Michael Goetz, Valerie Harper, Alexana Lambros, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, Jonathan Silverman, Joyce Van Patten

audio Broadway Bound

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The final installment of the playwright Neil Simon’s acclaimed biographical Eugene Trilogy, preceded by Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues.

Having returned from World War II, Eugene Jerome and his brother Stanley pair up to break into the world of professional comedy writing. Inspiration strikes when they aim their sights on their dysfunctional family – and the network broadcasts it nationwide! A Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominee for Best Play.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Caroline Aaron, Dan Castellaneta, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, James Gleason, Alan Mandell, Jonathan Silverman, JoBeth Williams and Scott Wolf.

Featuring: Caroline Aaron, Dan Castellaneta, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, James Gleason, Alan Mandell, Jonathan Silverman, JoBeth Williams, Scott Wolf

Byrthrite

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set in the seventeenth century, Sarah Daniels' play Byrthrite tells the story of a group of women who, using a variety of tactics and paths, fight back against the growing, male-dominated obsession with herbal medicine, so-called 'witchcraft', and the purging of innocent women.

Grace, the oldest of the women, is to be condemned as a witch, but time and again, the women with whom she is friends band together in solidarity to protect her from the attention of the 'Newly appointed Woman-Finder General', Pricker.

In Byrthrite Daniels again and again shows the connection between the medical profession and the subjugation of women: as timely an observation in the era of IVF and the fight for abortion rights as it was in the seventeenth-century Britain, suggesting that solidarity amongst women in this matter can and should transcend all other dichotomies of politics, religion and wealth.

Byrthrite was first produced in the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, in 1986.

Can't Stand Up for Falling Down

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A woman's body is found in a quarry, eight years to the day since her son died in the same place. Three women, strangers to each other, are bound by these events through one man. They have to find a way to break free from 'the fallen' and stand up for themselves.

Winner of the 1990 Independent Theatre Award, Can't Stand up for Falling Down was first performed at that year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, before transferring to the Hampstead Theatre London.

A Chorus of Disapproval  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

‘Plunges us into an amateur operatic society production of The Beggar’s Opera. The result is magnificent comedy – symmetrically shaped, psychologically acute and painfully, heartbreakingly funny.’ Guardian

A Chorus of Disapproval premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in May 1984.

Christmas is Miles Away  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Chloë Moss's play Christmas Is Miles Away is a coming-of-age drama set in Manchester at the end of the 1980s. It was first performed at The Studio, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 2 November 2005, transferring to the Bush Theatre, London, in February 2006.

The play's action takes place in Manchester between February 1989 and October 1991. The play opens as best friends Christie and Luke, both sixteen, are camping out in a field not far from their homes. Christie is consumed with anxiety about whether he can pluck up the courage to ask Julie Bridges out on a date. Luke, brasher and more confident, offers to step in on his behalf and, in so doing, starts off a chain of events that will force a wedge between the two boys.

The premiere production was directed by Sarah Frankcom and designed by Jamie Todd. It was performed by David Judge (as Christie), Paul Stocker (as Luke) and Georgia Taylor (as Julie).

Coming Clean

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Coming Clean, Kevin Elyot’s first professionally produced play, looks at the breakdown of a gay couple’s relationship and examines complex questions of fidelity and love. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 3 November 1982.

The play is set in a flat in Kentish Town, north London, in 1982. Struggling writer Tony and his partner of five years, Greg, seem to have the perfect relationship. Committed and in love, they are both open to one-night stands as long as they don’t impinge on the relationship. But Tony is starting to yearn for something deeper, something more like monogamy. When he finds out that Greg has been having a full-blown affair with their cleaner, Robert, their differing attitudes towards love and commitment become clear.

In his foreword to Kevin Elyot: Four Plays (Nick Hern Books, 2004), Elyot writes 'From 1976 to 1984 I'd acted in several productions at the Bush Theatre, and Simon Stokes, one of the artistic directors, had casually suggested I try my hand at a play. I presented them with a script entitled Cosy, which was passed on to their literary manager Sebastian Born. He responded favourably and, largely through his support, it finally opened on 3 November 1982 under the title Coming Clean. Cosy had fallen out of favour – a pity, as I'd always liked the pun on the opera which plays such an important part. I came up with the present title as a necessary compromise after what had proved to be quite a bumpy ride from acceptance to premiere.'

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by David Hayman and designed by Saul Radomsky. The cast was Eamon Boland, C.J. Allen, Philip Donaghy, Ian McCurrach and Clive Mantle.

Coming Clean won the Samuel Beckett Award for writers showing particular promise in the field of the performing arts.

The Common Pursuit

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

'I finished this play at six this morning, having worked through half of the night. I'’d also worked through three packages of cigarettes and half a bottle of malt whisky. But the main thing is that it'’s finished. Olé. I numbered the pages, packed and shaped them into a completed looking pile, toasted myself with a further gulp of whisky and a few more cigarettes, gloated. This, for me, is the only moment of pure happiness I ever experience in the playwriting business.' Simon Gray

'A play that delivers an unexpected depth charge of emotion. Gray'’s writing is sharp, funny and clever, and, more than twenty years after the piece'’s premiere, the dramatist'’s assumption of intelligence and cultural knowledge on the part of his audience seems breathtakingly daring… What a pleasure to re-encounter a splay that combines unabashed intelligence and zinging wit with rare generosity of spirit.' Daily Telegraph

The Common Pursuit was first performed in July 1984 at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London.

Conversations after a Burial

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Simon Weinberg is dead. And, on a November morning, six people gather at his funeral - brothers and a sister, lovers and in-laws. Mourning allows them a special privilege and, for a few hours, they are isolated in another world under a lingering sun, in the shadow of the deceased.

Conversations after a Burial is a savage but richly comic play which explores that ineffable moment of mourning, when the newly deceased is still almost palpable, the moment in which one can maintain the memory of a breath, the intense pause between absence and the return to everyday existence, between loss and life.

Conversations after a Burial premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, in September 2000.

Conversations on a Homecoming

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Fresh from an apparently successful acting career abroad, Michael has returned to his old home town; back to the youth club-turned-pub where he and his friends once hashed out their plans for the future. That pub, 'The White House', stood as a place where free thought was possible for the young people of the town, away from the church and from the school. Now, though, the reunited friends are tied down to the realities of their lives after youth has given way to slow but steady decay, and as the evening wanes to night, their true lack of direction becomes clear through muddled conversations as pints are poured and drank.

Standing over all of this are the absent bar owner JJ and his beloved portrait of the late JFK, both fallen heroes from an idealistic and idealised time now long gone.

Conversations on a Homecoming was first performed by the Druid Theatre Company, Galway, on 16 April 1985, in a production directed by Garry Hynes.

The Crackwalker

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Teresa is sexy, seductive, and mentally challenged. Worshipped by her boyfriend, she turns tricks at $5, is addicted to Tim Hortons' doughnuts, lies without thinking, and overflows with endless kindness, but she continues to hold on to her limitless innocence. The Crackwalker captures the music, the dialect and the unpretty realities of the inner city. First produced thirty years ago, Thompson's striking portrayal of the discarded class in Canada continues to move audiences today.

audio David Mamet Shorts: Bobby Gould in Hell

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Three one-act plays from David Mamet, one of the master stage writers of our time:

The Shawl - A clairvoyant is in the process of swindling an unsuspecting woman on the basis of clever guess work and speculation. But it appears the clairvoyant has special powers that even he may not be aware of.

Reunion - After years of separation, Reunion follows the painful and deliberate efforts of a divorced and recovering alcoholic father, Bernie, and his daughter Carol to work their way back to early bonds of affection.

Bobby Gould in Hell - In this comic mediation on the nature of good and evil, Bobby Gould (from Mamet’s celebrated Speed the Plow) is interrogated by a pair of devils to decide his faith.

L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performances featuring Gus Buktenica, Dale Calandia, Marilou Henner, John Mahoney, Neil Pepe, Rebecca Pidgeon, Marc Vann and Dan LaMorte.

Featuring: Gus Buktenica, Dale Calandia, Marilou Henner, John Mahoney, Neil Pepe, Rebecca Pidgeon, Marc Vann and Dan LaMorte.

audio David Mamet Shorts: The Shawl

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Three one-act plays from David Mamet, one of the master stage writers of our time:

The Shawl - A clairvoyant is in the process of swindling an unsuspecting woman on the basis of clever guess work and speculation. But it appears the clairvoyant has special powers that even he may not be aware of.

Reunion - After years of separation, Reunion follows the painful and deliberate efforts of a divorced and recovering alcoholic father, Bernie, and his daughter Carol to work their way back to early bonds of affection.

Bobby Gould in Hell - In this comic mediation on the nature of good and evil, Bobby Gould (from Mamet’s celebrated Speed the Plow) is interrogated by a pair of devils to decide his faith.

L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performances featuring Gus Buktenica, Dale Calandia, Marilou Henner, John Mahoney, Neil Pepe, Rebecca Pidgeon, Marc Vann and Dan LaMorte.

Featuring: Gus Buktenica, Dale Calandia, Marilou Henner, John Mahoney, Neil Pepe, Rebecca Pidgeon, Marc Vann and Dan LaMorte.

Death and the Maiden

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden is a psychological thriller about a woman who, in a country newly released from dictatorship, seeks revenge on the man she believes to have been her torturer. Translated by Dorfman from his original version in Spanish, La Muerte y la Doncella, the play was first performed as a reading at the Institute for Contemporary Art in London on 30 November 1990, before receiving its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs on 4 July 1991. It was later turned into a feature film directed by Roman Polanski and starring Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley.

The play is set in a beach house in a country that, according to a note in the script, is 'probably Chile but could be any country that has given itself a democratic government just after a long period of dictatorship'. Years have passed since political prisoner, Paulina Salas, suffered at the hands of her captor: a man whose face she never saw, but whom she can still recall with terrifying clarity. Tonight, by chance, a stranger, Roberto Miranda, arrives at the secluded beach house she shares with her husband Gerardo Escobar, a human rights lawyer and member of the Commission set up to investigate the terrible crimes perpetrated under the dictatorship. Paulina is convinced the stranger was her tormentor and believes he must now be held to account.

The play's first performances took place soon after Chile's return to democracy following the end of General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. In an Afterword to the published edition of the play, Dorfman explains that, although he'd had the idea for the play some 'eight or nine years' before, 'It was not until Chile returned to democracy in 1990 and I myself therefore returned to resettle there with my family after seventeen years of exile, that I finally understood how the story had to be told'.

The first reading at the ICA in London was directed by Peter James, with Penelope Wilton as Paulina, Michael Maloney as Gerardo and Jonathan Hyde as Roberto.

A workshop production was staged in Santiago, Chile, on 10 March 1991directed by Ana Reeves, with Maria Elena Duvauchelle as Paulina, Hugo Medina as Gerardo and Tito Bustamente as Roberto.

The world premiere at the Royal Court Upstairs on 4 July 1991 was directed by Lindsay Posner with Juliet Stevenson as Paulina, Bill Paterson as Gerardo and Michael Byrne as Roberto. The production moved to the Main Stage at the Royal Court on 31 October 1991, with the same cast and director.

The play then transferred on 11 February 1992 with the same cast to the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End.

The American Broadway premiere opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater on 17 March 1992 directed by Mike Nichols, with Glenn Close as Paulina, Richard Dreyfuss as Gerardo and Gene Hackman as Roberto.

A feature film version followed in 1994, directed by Roman Polanski with a screenplay by Rafael Yglesias and Ariel Dorfman, starring Sigourney Weaver as Paulina, Ben Kingsley as Roberto and Stuart Wilson as Gerardo.

Derek

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Derek is a short farce with the significance of social commentary, telling a story of waste and exploitation.

The aristocratic Biff is the proud possessor of an Eton education, a Sandhurst polishing, and a mental age of a ten-year-old. To his disgust, some people have pointed out that because of the latter he should not be made a Member of Parliament. So Biff needs a genius desperate enough to sell his brain, and finds Derek, a floor-sweeper who has just outsmarted a safe and stolen two million pounds.

The play is a comic but sharp critique of social stratifications which allow those with a privileged background to steal the life and self of those less fortunate, and send them to die in wars they don’t understand.

Derek was first performed in 1982 at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Youth Festival at The Other Place, Stratford Upon Avon.

The Devil's Gateway

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Second floor flat in Bethnal Green, and the world is looming large over the lives of Betty and her neighbours. If it's not Social Services, then it's Social Security; if not's unemployment, then it's the bomb. Betty and her old friend Enid, who is trapped in an abusive marriage, are mirrored across town by Enid's daughter Linda, and Linda's lover Fiona, while Betty's daughter Carol tries and fails to duck in and around the whims of her bullying husband.

And all the while on Greenham Common, women are taking action. Against the bomb; and against the patriarchal system that would drop it. We're used, Daniels writes, to seeing men go off to war but we should get used to women going off for peace.

The Devil's Gateway was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, Upstairs, London, in 1983.

Did You Hear the One About the Irishman...?

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Did You Hear the One About the Irishman . . . ? is a painful love story divided by sectarianism, and punctuated by the tasteless racist jokes of an anti-Irish comedian.

Allison’s family don’t want her to marry Brian, a Catholic whose brother is serving a life sentence for terrorist offences. Brian’s family don’t want him to marry Allison, as she is a Protestant, and the niece of a Unionist politician. The play parallels scenes of their two families, doubling characters to bring together two groups so impossibly divided. Allison and Brian’s brilliant optimistic hope that they will rise above the feud becomes heartbreaking as the play shows that the perpetuation of conflict is more powerful than either of them.

Did You Hear the One About the Irishman . . . ? was first produced during a Royal Shakespeare Company tour of America in 1985; this revised version was first performed in 1987 at the King’s Head Theatre, London.

Dracula (adapt. Lochhead)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Liz Lochhead's Dracula is a stage adaptation of Bram Stoker’s hugely influential novel. It was first performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, on 13 March 1985.

Jonathan Harker, engaged to Mina Westerman, has come from England to Count Dracula’s crumbling mansion in the Carpathian Mountains to provide legal aid in a real estate transaction. Dracula has bought a castle next to an asylum in England and plans to travel over to take up his new residence. While at first impressed by Dracula’s inviting manner, Jonathan soon becomes unnerved by the sinister goings-on within the castle, including a terrifying encounter with three vampire brides. Meanwhile, back in England, strange things are also afoot. Asylum inmate Renfield is raving about ‘not letting him in’ and Mina’s sister Lucy is growing paler by the day. Dr Seward, in love with Lucy and fearful for her life, calls in his rival Van Helsing to help solve the mystery of her illness. It seems Dracula is on his way.

In her 2009 Introduction to the published text, Lochhead writes 'Rereading it now, my version – and I haven’t for years – I see what a strong debt the whole atmosphere of it owes to my other reading at the time. My appetites have always found deeply satisfying the work of Isak Dinesen (real name: Karen Blixen, the Danish baroness, author of Out of Africa), whose Seven Gothic Tales and, especially, her Winter’s Tales are so pervaded by loneliness and longing. And an aching luminous loveliness and "bottomless wisdom". She’s like an even more deeply visionary and romantic Hans Christian Andersen – for grown-ups, though.

'I also by then had read, and reread – it’s so gorgeous — The Bloody Chamber, by the great and original Angela Carter, whose equally delicious but deliberately more ornate and baroquely romantic tales were also soul food for the feminine imagination.'

The Royal Lyceum premiere was directed by Hugh Hodgart and designed by Gregory Smith. It was performed by Patricia Ross, Irene McDougall, Tamara Kennedy, Vari Sylvester, Laurie Ventrie, Robin Sneller, John McGlynn, Sean McCarthy and Tam Dean Burn.

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

audio Each Day Dies With Sleep

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Written by José Rivera, recent Academy Award Nominee for The Motorcycles Diaries, Each Day Dies with Sleep is the story of a young woman’s struggle to find an identity apart from the two men in her life – her father and her husband. Written in Rivera’s typical satiric and super realistic style, this fantastical tragic-comedy leaps from coast to coast, and from one outrageous moment to the next.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Laura Ceron, Noe Cuellar and Frankie Davila.

Featuring: Laura Ceron, Noe Cuellar, Frankie Davila

Ecstasy

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Mike Leigh’s play is a paean to loneliness and longing that paints a portrait of a group of old friends catching up on a Friday night.

1979. The winter of discontent is over and Margaret Thatcher’s regime is about to transform the country. Stuck in her cramped Kilburn bedsit, Jean is trying to live some sort of life, trapped in a cycle of hopeless dalliances with violent men and continually drowning her sorrows. After an unexpected home invasion by the furious wife of her latest lover, she is persuaded by friend Dawn to throw a little get-together that evening for old times’ sake. Joining them is Dawn’s Irish husband, Mick and their old pal, Len for a drunken celebration of their mutual affection, filled with memories and songs from their youth. It is only after the fun has died down that Jean reveals the full extent of her aching melancholy.

Ecstasy was first performed at the Hampstead Theatre in London in 1979 with a cast that included Julie Walters, Stephen Rea and Jim Broadbent – all of them virtual unknowns at the time. In an unprecedented move, Mike Leigh returned to the play twenty-two years later when it was revived at the same venue in 2011. The revival transferred to the West End later that year and garnered excellent reviews.

Edmond

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A fortune-teller’s teasing rumination sends Edmond lurching into New York City’s hellish underworld, his whole life abandoned in a searing quest for self-discovery and redemption. From brothels to jail cells, card-sharps to chaplains, Edmond depicts a man on a mission which is doomed to cycle through hope and disappointment.

Writing about the play, the Financial Times wrote: ‘A stunning amorality play, glittering and disturbing, suspended in the dark void of contemporary New York. It is also a technically adventurous piece pared brilliantly to the bone, highly theatrical in its scenic elisions.’

Edmond was first performed at the Goodman Theater, Chicago, in June 1982, in a production directed by Gregory Mosher.

video An Englishman Abroad (BBC film adaptation)

BBC Video
Type: Video

Alan Bennett's award-winning film drama based on a meeting between Australian actress, Coral Browne and British spy, Guy Burgess. Alan Bates stars in a story based on a true incident which took place in Moscow in 1958. British spy, Guy Burgess encounters actress Coral Browne (who plays herself) on tour from the 'old country'. Invited to lunch at Burgess's shabby apartment, he presents her with a strange request. Both Browne and Bates were winners of BAFTA awards for acting for their roles in this production.

Credits:

Guy Burgess: Alan Bates; Herself: Coral Browne; Claudius: Charles Gray; Rosencrantz: Harold Innocent; Guildenstern: Vernon Dobtcheff; General: Czeslaw Grocholski; Boy: Matthew Sim; Hamlet: Mark Wing-Davey; Hotel Receptionist: Faina Zinova; Toby: Douglas Reith; Giles: Peter Chelsom; Tessa: Judy Gridley; Scarf Man: Bibs Ekkel; Tolya: Alexei Jawdokimov; Mrs Burgess: Molly Veness; Tailor: Denys Hawthorne; Shoe Shop Assistant: Roger Hammond; George: Charles Lamb; Pyjama Shop Manager: Trevor Baxter; Writer: Alan Bennett; Director: John Schlesinger; Producer: Innes Lloyd.

Distributed under licence from Educational Publishers LLP

The Factory Girls

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The Factory Girls was first performed at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin, in March 1982.

Fen

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Against the flat, bleak landscape of the Fenlands, men and women are cramped into bitterness by grinding labour and economic oppression.

Fen is composed of brief, fiercely resonant scenes, carving with powerful humanity the desolate lives of the village’s men and women. Three girls sing of being hairdressers or housewives when they grow up. Angela makes her stepdaughter drink water from the kettle. The representative of a City corporation purrs and placates her way to buying a farm that has been in the same family for generations. Ninety-year-old Ivy dreams aloud of union struggles. But the hard spine of the play is Val, a thirty-year-old who finds herself caught between her children and her lover – happy in brief moments, yet tormented past hope.

First performed in 1983 at the University of Essex Theatre, Fen is a flinty, eerie play, haunted by the ghosts of starving field workers and claustrophobic in its condemnation of agrarian and social exploitation.

The Ferryman

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jez Butterworth's play The Ferryman is about a family whose life on a farm in rural Northern Ireland is disrupted when the past comes back to haunt them. It was first performed at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 24 April 2017, and subsequently transferred to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End on 20 June 2017.

The play is set in rural County Armagh, Northern Ireland, in late August 1981.

A short Prologue, set the previous day in Derry, establishes the context: the body of Seamus Carney, who disappeared on New Year's Day 1972, when he was twenty years old, has been discovered in a peat bog in County Louth, just across the border; he had been shot in the head, apparently in retribution for his defection from the IRA. Now Seamus's widow, Caitlin, and their son, Oisin, live under the same roof as Seamus's brother, Quinn, a man who has had his own associations with the IRA, but who has long devoted himself to maintaining the family farm, as well as looking after his ailing wife Mary and their six children. Amongst the household too are Quinn’s uncle Pat, and his aunts, Patricia and Maggie, the one a staunch and bitter Irish republican, the other a gentle soul whose long silences are broken by voluble outbursts. Also present is an English factotum, Tom Kettle, a man of slow wits, but whose seemingly bottomless pockets provide amusement for the Carney children. Through it all, Quinn harbours an unspoken love for Caitlin as the family go about observing their ritual harvest celebrations, only to find their lives upended by the arrival of IRA power figure, Muldoon, out to prevent any further damage to the Republican cause resulting from the discovery of Seamus's body.

The premiere production of The Ferryman was directed by Sam Mendes and designed by Rob Howell. It was performed by Turlough Convery, Eugene O’Hare, Gerard Horan, Stuart Graham, Paddy Considine (as Quinn Carney), Laura Donnelly (as Caitlin Carney), Elise Alexandre, Meibh Campbell, Darcey Conway, Angel O’Callaghan, Clara Murphy, Bríd Brennan, Carla Langley, Des McAleer, Niall Wright, Sophia Ally, Grace Doherty, Rob Malone, Dearbhla Molloy, John Hodgkinson, Fra Fee, Genevieve O’Reilly, Tom Glynn-Carney, Conor MacNeill, Michael McCarth and Xavier Moras Spencer.

Gasping

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

When Philip is challenged by his boss to find a new way of making money from nothing, he invents the Suck and Blow machine and along with it the business of air – providing private air, stockpiling air, and eventually selling air. A flash advertising campaign soon convinces the public that everyone needs a Suck and Blow, but as the market for oxygen grows, the world’s supply is diminishing.

In this sharp-witted satire on the ludicrous, dangerous endgame of commodification, Ben Elton pushes the logic of capitalism through to its ridiculous and alarming conclusion. Gasping, first presented in 1990 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, is a whirl of innuendo, an exuberant mockery of yuppie culture and a scintillating parody of corporate greed.

The Genius

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A nuclear physicist runs away from the horrifying consequences of his research in this flinty, electric modern parallel to Brecht’s Life of Galileo.

Brenton’s genius is Leo Lehrer, a brilliant and magnetic American, in academic exile at a rainy English Midlands university because he refused to work for the Pentagon. His inability to confront the moral and ethical implications of his discoveries leave him unable to work, or do anything except get high and sleep with his friend’s wife in the snow.

Then he meets Gilly, a first year mathematics student, who can do the equations he has been trying to hide from: she has worked them out for herself. Together they struggle to deny science’s imperative for progress, and stare in horror at the momentous power which they have articulated.

The Genius was first performed in 1983 at the Royal Court Theatre, London.

The Gigli Concert

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

JPW King is a dynamatologist – an English purveyor of a cultish quack psychology-cum-science whose Dublin office is far from thriving; indeed his professional space is also his only domestic arrangement as he eats rough meals and sleeps in the office, occasionally receiving visits from his lover Mona and making phone calls to his 'true' love Helen.

When an Irish man arrives to enlist King's services – he wants to be able to sing like the great Italian opera singer Beniamino Gigli – a symbiotic deadlock of character ensues, with each man playing his part, at times believing and then despairing of ever achieving any goal, whether practical or fantastic.

In his introduction to Murphy: Plays 3, Irish critic Fintan O'Toole writes: 'With The Gigli Concert, arguably Murphy's masterpiece, we get something even more ambitious [than The Sanctuary Lamp], a full-scale dramatisation of the impossible. With one set and three characters, Murphy gives us an operatic drama complete with deaths and arias, a version of Faust in which the Irishman's Mephistopheles tempts JPW into taking on his own demonic striving, and in which against all the laws of reality this down-at-heel alchemist finds the philosopher's stone of despair that enables him to transmute the leaden metal of his life into a moment of pure, glittering possibility.'

The Gigli Concert is an astonishing story of human intention and achievement. It was first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in 1983.

Glengarry Glen Ross

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Glengarry Glen Ross is a spikey, powerful, and nerve-wracking story of four real estate salesmen, colleagues in the same firm, who are engaged in a sales competition to try and sell off as many units of real estate as possible. But when some of the character feel that the leads are weighted in favour of those already doing well, alternative tactics are deployed to try and gain ground.

The play has been critically acclaimed since its first release, garnering major awards including the 1983 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play, the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 1984 New York Drama Critics' Circle for Best American Play, the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play and the 2005 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Glengarry Glen Ross was first presented in the Cottesloe auditorium of the National Theatre, London, on 21 September 1983. The US premiere took place the following year at the Goodman Theatre of the Arts Institute of Chicago on 6 February 1984, before transferring to the John Golden Theater on Broadway on 25 March 1984. It was subsequently adapted for the screen by the author, the film being released in 1992 and starring Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Jonathan Pryce and Kevin Spacey.

audio Glengarry Glen Ross

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

"A group of low-ranking real estate salesmen are trying to survive in a cut-throat office culture. But when two of them devise a plot to redress the company’s wrongs, the resulting turmoil increases the pressure to unbearable levels.

A 1984 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Joe Mantegna as Ricky Roma Gordon Clapp as David Moss Kyle Colerider-Krugh as Detective Baylen Richard Dreyfuss as Shelly Levine John Getz as James Lingk Richard Schiff as George Aaronow Josh Stamberg as John Williamson Directed by Eric Simonson. Recorded by L.A. Theatre Works before a live audience."

Featuring: Gordon Clapp, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Richard Dreyfuss, John Getz, Joe Mantegna, Richard Schiff, Josh Stamberg

Good

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A story about a liberal-minded university professor who drifts well-meaningly into a position in the upper reaches of the Nazi administration, Good is a profound and alarming examination of passivity and the rationalisation of evil.

John Halder, a professor of literature, seems to be a good man; he diligently visits his blind and senile mother and looks after his vacant wife and three children. He is unremarkable, other than an unusual neurotic tic: the imaginary sound of band music plays in the background of his life, particularly at moments of high emotion. But by writing a book – the result of his own experience – discussing euthanasia for senile elderly people and by lecturing on the delicacy of German literary culture, John has unintentionally made himself a very desirable acquisition for the Nazi party.

By rationalised and intellectually reasoned steps he is absorbed into the direction of the death camps, a transformation all the more chilling because it does not seem dramatic, until the last horrible resounding note of the play.

Good is a structured stream of consciousness, punctured by the musical medley that plays inside Halder’s head. The first production was staged at the London Warehouse in 1982.

audio The Grapes of Wrath

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

"A heart-wrenching full-cast adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by John Steinbeck, starring Jeffrey Donovan and Shirley Knight. Set during the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath tells the powerful story of the Joad family’s trek from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the promise of a new life in California. But what they find threatens to rip apart their lives, and sever the ties that bind them together. Starring Shirley Knight as Ma Joad, Frank Galati’s play finds its timeless heart in the generous spirit of the common man.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Shirley Knight as Ma Joad Jeffrey Donovan as Tom Joad Emily Bergl as Rose of Sharon Michael Buie as Connie and others Daniel Chacon as Al Joad Maurice Chasse as Deputy Sheriff and others Shannon Cochran as Mrs. Wainwright and Elizabeth Sandry Trista Delamere as 2nd Narrator and Al’s Girl Francis Guinan as Jim Casy Charlie Matthes as Willy and others Gas Station Attendant and Hooper Ranch Guard Rod McLachlan as Uncle John Robert Pescovitz as Pa Joad Joel Rafael as Car Salesman and Man with Guitar Stephen Ramsey as 1st Narrator and others Nick Sadler as Agricultural Officer and others Andy Taylor as Gas Station Owner and others Floyd Knowles and Weedpatch Camp Director Todd Waring as Hooper Ranch Bookkeeper and others Fredd Wayne as Grampa, Mayor of Hooverville and Camp Guard Michael Weston as Noah Joad and others Kate Williamson as Gramma and others Live music performed by the Joel Rafael Band. Adapted by Frank Galati. Directed by Richard Masur. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. "

Featuring: Emily Bergl, Mike Buie, Daniel Chacon, Maurice Chasse, Shannon Cochran, Trista Delamere, Jeffrey Donovan, Francis Guinan, Shirley Knight, Charlie Matthes, Rod McLachlan, Bob Pescovitz,Joel Rafael, Stephen Ramsey, Nick Sadler, Andy Taylor, Todd Waring, Fredd Wayne, Michael Weston, Kate Williamson

The Grass Widow

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Max Stafford-Clark of the Royal Court Theatre suggested that Wilson write an ‘American’ play and the result was The Grass Widow, a darkly comedic tale of four strangers who assemble to divide the estate of their mutual and mysteriously deceased friend, Morty, in the marijuana-rich valleys of Santa Cruz, California.

The Sunday Telegraph praised The Glass Widow as the play that ‘hilariously confirms that Mr Wilson is the liveliest and the most enlivening English dramatist of his generation.’

The Grass Widow was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre on 1 November 1983, in a production directed by Max Stafford-Clark.

The Great Celestial Cow

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Comic, moving and feminist, The Great Celestial Cow is a play about Asian women in England, who have moved to a cold grey city where they are expected to be silent.

When Sita and her children Prem and Bibi leave India to join her husband Raj in England, she is forced to sell her cow, but she keeps her milking bucket in the hope that she will be able to buy another cow in Leicester. But England is nothing like she expected: faced with prejudice from the English and restrictions of tradition from her family, Sita clings to the dream of the cow and some sense of her own identity.

The Great Celestial Cow was first presented in 1984 at the Leicester Haymarket Studio.

Groping for Words

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Groping for Words is a warm comedy about an adult literacy evening class run by the middle-aged and well-meaning Joyce. She knows that teaching adult literacy requires tact and respect – unfortunately the only room that was free for her evening class is the crèche.

For her students, even admitting which class they want to attend is agonising, let alone being confronted with the written word. Thelma works as a nanny and her employer wants her to teach her charges to read, but there’s a danger the three-year-old will get ahead of her. George’s family have moved to Australia and he’s lost his job, and is finding that his employment prospects are limited. And Kevin the young stand-in caretaker keeps turning up to the class.

Townsend records their embarrassment and life-long difficulty with sensitivity and humour, as well as inflecting the play with an indignant condemnation of the society which has abandoned the illiterate. Groping for Words was first presented in 1983 at the Croydon Warehouse Theatre.

The Gut Girls

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The women of Deptford Foreign Cattle Market are up to their elbows in the guts of animals, working twelve or thirteen hours a day preparing meat for London's butcher shops. They are pilloried, and marginalised, even if they are well-paid.

One local well-to-do woman decides that the Christian thing to do would be to teach these women how to act like young ladies, train them up for a life as maid-servants. 'Improve' them. Of course, it doesn't work out that way: the women get laid off from their jobs and end up separated and even imprisoned via the wealthy houses of London society.

Gut Girls contrasts the bloody mess of independence and solidarity with the apparently pristine face of upper-class life. It was commissioned by and premiered at the Albany Empire theatre in Deptford, London, in 1988.

audio The Heidi Chronicles

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This Pulitzer Prize winning play is the tale of a baby boomer's long, hard road from 60's confusion to 1990's self-assured woman...or so she hopes.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Lisa Akey, Kosha Engler, Kaitlin Hopkins, Barbara Klein, Lisa Pelikan, Martha Plimpton, Scot Reese, Raphael Sbarge and Grant Shaud.

Featuring: Lisa Akey, Kosha Engler, Kaitlin Hopkins, Barbara Klein, Lisa Pelikan, Martha Plimpton, Scot Reese, Raphael Sbarge, Grant Shaud

audio Henceforward...

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Starring Anne Heche and Jared Harris, the hilarious Henceforward... is one of Alan Ayckbourn’s most unusual works. In the near-future, a composer with creative block tries to re-unite with his estranged wife and daughter, hoping their reconciliation will free his mind to create his greatest musical masterpiece. But his own erratic impulses hinder his journey to creative freedom.

Includes a interview with playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:

Jared Harris as Jerome

Anne Heche as Nan (in Act I) and Corrina

Jack Davenport as Mervyn

Paula Jane Newman as Geain

Moira Quirk as Zoe and Nan (in Act II)

Darren Richardson as Lupus

Directed by Martin Jarvis. Recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood.

Featuring: Jack Davenport, Jared Harris, Anne Heche, Paula Jane Newman, Moira Quirk, Darren Richardson

Henceforward …  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

In a near dysfunctional future, an isolated composer – whose works are created through samples of his constant recordings – attempts to compose a definitive work on love. When his estranged wife returns, he uses a malfunctioning android to prove he's capable of looking after his lost muse; a daughter no longer the girl he remembers.

Henceforward… premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in July 1987.

audio A Hero’s Journey

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

An adaptation of the prose & poetry of author Raymond Carver and his wife Tess Gallagher. The story chronicles the final year of Carver’s life when he was struggling to finish his final book. This two-person play is a co-production with Chicago’s City Lit Theater.

Featuring: John Mahoney, Kelly Nespor

Hidden Laughter

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Harry is a literary agent. Louise is a writer. They are young and happily married. As the play opens, we find them choosing a country house, an idyllic place where she can write, where small children will be happy, and where they can both relax. Into their country garden walks the local vicar, Ronnie, who with some surprising revelations about faith, brings doubt into Harry and Louise’s smug existence. And, as the play moves on, and everyone grows up or grows older, country life seems to bring less and less joy and peace and proves to be quite the opposite of the idyll they envisage.

Hidden Laughter was first presented in June 1990 at the Vaudeville Theatre, London

The Holy Ground

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A widow packs her deceased husband’s papers into plastic bags and talks about her empty, silent life in Bolger’s sad and powerful monologue. Monica married a young man called Swifty Hurley, who was shy and sweet, and loved soccer more than anything. But unable to cope with his inability to conceive a child, he becomes a right-wing conservative campaigner, leaving Monica to disappear into silence and fantasy. Now, after a funeral at which no-one knew who she was, Monica looks back at how their love came to a bitter end.

The Holy Ground was first staged (with In High Germany as a double bill entitled The Tramway End) by the Gate Theatre, Dublin in 1990.

The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's short play The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution is based on Frantz Fanon's classic analysis of colonialism and decolonization, The Wretched of the Earth (Les Damnés de la terre). It was written as a radio play in the early 1970s, but not performed until March 2013, when it received its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre, London.

The play is set in the hospital at Blida-Joinville, Algeria, in about 1956, during the country's struggle for independence from French colonial rule. Frantz Fanon is head of the psychiatric department at the hospital, treating both oppressed and oppressor. A civil servant presents his psychologically disturbed daughter to the hospital for assessment and insists on her admittance. An inspector demands treatment for his helpless violence against his own family. And three in-patient revolutionaries are delusional and paranoid.

According to an author's note in the published text, Caryl Churchill: Shorts (Nick Hern Books, 1990), the play is based on Chapter 5 of Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, and also 'owes a lot to the writings of R.D. Laing'.

The Finborough Theatre premiere was directed by James Russell and designed by Rachel Stone. The cast was Giovanni Bienne, Bejamin Cawley, Ruth Lass, Miles Mitchell, Ruth Pickett, Kenneth Price, Tim Pritchett, Will Rastall and Simon Yadoo.

Hot Fudge

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's Hot Fudge was written as a short companion piece to Icecream, her play exploring Anglo-American relations in the late 1980s, first staged at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 6 April 1989. Hot Fudge was first staged as a performance reading at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in 1989.

Ruby is dating Colin. He thinks she runs a travel agency and she thinks he runs his own media company. Unbeknownst to Colin, Ruby is in fact part of an elaborate financial con. What she doesn't know is that Colin is in fact unemployed and has an acrimonious relationship with his ex-wife, Lena. Over four succinct scenes, the play depicts an amoral world where money is all and lies are the only truth.

The Royal Court production was directed by Max Stafford-Clark, with Gillian Hanna as Ruby, Allan Corduner as Colin, and other parts played by Carole Hayman, Philip Jackson, Saskia Reeves and David Thewlis.

In her introduction to Caryl Churchill: Shorts (Nick Hern Books, 1990), Churchill writes 'I wrote Hot Fudge ten years later [than Three More Sleepless Nights]. Max Stafford-Clark, who was about to direct Icecream, was concerned at it being so short, and suggested I write something to go with it. I made it so the two actors who doubled in Icecream could play the main parts in Hot Fudge and the other four double as their friends. In the end I wasn't sure it did go well with Icecream and was afraid it would somehow spoil it. But when we did Hot Fudge as a reading anyway we found we liked it. So now I feel the two plays can be done either together or separately.'

Human Cannon

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Human Cannon is a narrative of class struggle, set in a small village consumed by the fight against Fascism in Spain, a play which swells from resentment against the privileged landowners to blazing revolution.

At the centre are Agustina and her family, who we see in the first scene preparing to bury her nameless child, while her husband explains the violent origins of capitalism. When the war takes over the village and the play, Agustina begins by learning to fire her enemies’ cannon, and ends by herself becoming – through the strength of human will – the most effective weapon in the armoury of revolution.

Human Cannon is a tremendous manifesto of resistance and an unflinching interpretation of the Spanish Civil War.

Icecream

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's play Icecream, set in the late 1980s, is an unsettling look at British attitudes to America and vice-versa. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 6 April 1989.

The first act of the play is set in the UK 'during a summer in the late eighties'. A middle-aged American, Lance, is seeking out his British ancestors along with his wife, Vera. They are in awe of England’s rich and ancient history, until they meet up with Lance’s low-life English third cousins, Phil and his sister Jaq, who entangle them in a murder. The second act is set in the US the following year, this time with Phil and Jaq as the tourists who pitch up unexpectedly at Lance and Vera’s house.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Max Stafford-Clark and designed by Peter Hartwell, with Philip Jackson as Lance, Carole Hayman as Vera, David Thewlis as Phil and Saskia Reeves as Jaq. Other parts were played by Allan Corduner and Gillian Hanna.

Caryl Churchill wrote a short companion piece to Icecream, entitled Hot Fudge, which was given a performance reading at the Royal Court Upstairs on 11, 12, 15, 19, 22 and 26 May 1989.

The Ideal Gnome Expedition

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

What if the gnomes in your garden were freed from their boring, static lives, and allowed to go off on an adventure? Would they find excitement, or danger; would they be scared or thrilled?

Two garden gnomes, Mr Fisher and Mr Wheeler, find out in David Wood's delightful play for children The Ideal Gnome Expedition. Picking their way through a concrete cityscape, via alley-cats and streetlamps, a jungle for which they are altogether the wrong size, they meet all sorts of urban characters. But will they find their way back home?

The Ideal Gnome Expedition was first produced by the Liverpool Playhouse Company in December, 1980 before touring Britain in 1981.

In Event of Moone Disaster  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Andrew Thompson's play In Event of Moone Disaster is a family drama about space exploration and its impact on the lives of three women across a time-span of 80 years. The play won the 2016 Theatre503 Playwriting Award, and was first performed at Theatre503, London, on 9 October 2017.

The play's action takes place between 1969 and 2056, primarily in a small northern English village. In 1969, a young Sylvia Moone watches the moon landing and longs for someone to sweep her off on an adventure. In 2017, she’s a crotchety old woman, her memory failing, and her son and daughter-in-law are trying to conceive. In 2055, her granddaughter, also named Sylvia Moone, is preparing to become the first person to set foot on Mars.

The premiere production was directed by Lisa Spirling and designed by Sarah Beaton. It was performed by Rosie Wyatt (as Sylvia Moone), Thomas Pickles, Will Norris, Alicya Eyo and Dar Dash.

In High Germany

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

On a railway platform in Hamburg, Irish emigrant Eoin tells the story of his life, his country, and football. Bolger’s monologue is comic, thoughtful and poignant by turns, as he shows Eoin struggling to find an Ireland in which he can feel truly at home.

Eoin recalls his childhood in Dublin, playing football every day, watching his dad leave over and over to work in England, seeing the fighting on the news. He remembers growing up – or trying not to, following the European Championships, having to emigrate to Germany. He can never find what his father wished for him, a country to call his own. But it is on the terraces of the 1988 Championship where he finds the first sense of unity and belonging, a vision of Ireland in a foreign stadium.

In High Germany was first staged in 1990 at the Gate Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

In the Blue

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

When Stewart, a hedonistic drifter, and Michael, a timid hospital auxiliary, embark on a love affair, the odds are set against them. For as much as Stewart is assertive and streetwise, Michael is introverted and awkward. In this two-hander Peter Gill explores the simultaneous attraction and incompatibility of two social worlds.

Peter Gill’s In the Blue was first performed in the Cottesloe auditorium of the National Theatre, London, in March 1985.

In the Ruins

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Windsor Castle, 1817. King George III contemplates his life, drawing on his personal past as well as momentous political and historical events over the course of his reign. An almost uninterrupted monologue of digressive musings, In the Ruins unpicks the psychological reality of the Mad King.

Nick Dear’s In the Ruins was first broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in June 1984.

Inventing a New Colour

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Exeter in 1942. Eric and June, along with their son Francis, 16, welcome 17-year-old Londoner Peter to their home. Peter, an evacuee from the Blitzed capital, is marking time to his 18th birthday when he can finally be called up to the armed Forces. He arrives into a house of exams for Francis, night-classes for June, and night watches for Eric, a house where the threat of dying is tempered by the fear of never having lived.

Inventing a New Colour was given a private performance at the National Theatre Studio, London in April 1988. Its first public production came at the Bristol Old Vic in October that same year. It subsequently transferred to the Royal Court, London.

Invisible Friends

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Teenage Lucy’s family is too busy to pay her attention, so she decides to revive Zara, her imaginary childhood friend. This time, however, Zara really comes to life materialises, bringing with her a replacement father and brother. Lucy is about to learn you have to be care what you wish for. Even fantasy familes aren’t perfect, after all.

Invisible Friends premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in November 1989.

© Haydonning Ltd, 1991

Jackets: or The Secret Hand

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Jackets sets out a resonant and poetic counterpoint between two scenes of martyrdom, a powerful dyadic commentary on the politics of sacrifice. Part One is set in eighteenth-century Japan and Part Two is set in modern Europe. The head of a boy is needed so it will appear that the prince has been killed, but the head needs to be convincing and must look like an upper-class boy. A dead solider is needed to increase the morale of the soldiers who are fighting rioters, and he needs to look like an officer so that the conspiracy will work. The play produces detailed and human portraits, the force of its argument emerging from their vividly drawn responses and the potent interaction between its two parts.

Derived from ‘The Village School’ scene of Sugawaraby Takeda Zumo, Jackets premiered in 1989 at Lancaster University.

audio Jane Eyre

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Orphaned Jane journeys from a harsh childhood to become the loving caregiver of a child at the mysterious manor of Mr. Rochester. Jane is drawn to her enigmatic employer, but as dark secrets emerge, she must choose between her newfound security and the uncertainty of a life lived for oneself. An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: Emily Bergl as Jane Jane Carr as Mrs. Reed Alexis Jacknow as Grace/Amy/Diana Cerris Morgan-Moyer as Bertha/Adele/Blanche/Hannah Darren Richardson as St. John/Mason Alan Shearman as Brocklehurst/Dr. Carter/Reverend Wood/Porter Jeanne Syquia as Helen/Mary Nick Toren as Rochester Joanne Whalley as Mrs. Fairfax/Lady Ingram Directed by Marsha Mason and recorded before a live audience. Featuring: Emily Bergl, Jane Carr, Alexis Jacknow, Cerris Morgan-Moyer, Darren Richardson, Alan Shearman, Jeanne Syquia, Nick Toren, Joanne Whalley

Joyriders

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Joyriders is the moving, tragicomic story of four teenagers taking part in a Youth Training Programme in Belfast, 1986, surrounded by the violence of The Troubles. When unemployment seems their most likely prospect, it is difficult for them not to be cynical about a training scheme which seems little more than a cheap way to keep them off the streets. Some of them sometimes dare to wish for greater things, but others find that growing up surrounded by violence and crime does not leave much room for hope.

The play, with its refreshing focus on working-class young people, was inspired by Reid’s visits to Youth Training Programmes and the Divis Community Centre in Belfast in the 1980s; the songs were written and first performed by residents of Divis Flats. It opened in 1986 at the Tricycle Theatre in London. The sequel Clowns revisits the characters eight years later.

The Judge’s Wife

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's The Judge’s Wife is a short play for television. It was first broadcast on BBC 2 on 2 October 1972

A Judge passes a harsh sentence on a young man, the violent revolutionary Vernon Warren. Warren's brother, Michael, kills the Judge in revenge. Caroline, the Judge's wife, explains her husband's reactionary behaviour, seeing his death as 'his way of committing suicide'; deliberately making himself a parody of a right-wing bigot, thereby giving his life for the oppressed, for the revolution.

The BBC production was directed by James Fearman, with Sebastian Shaw as the Judge, Rachel Kempson as Caroline, Valerie White as Barbara, Evin Crowley as Peg, Anthony Andrews as the Warren brothers and Grace Dolan as Warren's mother.

Kick for Touch

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Kick for Touch tells, in jumbled fragments, the story of a love triangle between two brothers, Joe and Jim, and Joe's wife Eileen. A difficult childhood has left the brothers loving, jealous and incredibly close, so close that – ultimately – they crush Eileen between them.

Kick for Touch premiered at the National Theatre, London, in February 1983.

The Lament for Arthur Cleary

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A play about one world giving way painfully to another, The Lament for Arthur Cleary is enacted on the borders of life and death. In a series of smooth fragments, two acts tell the story of Arthur Cleary’s return to Dublin, and his relationship with Kathy, with the other characters shifting roles around them to summon the landscape of the city in the 1980s. But Arthur can’t find the city of his youth, and feels lost in the same streets he grew up in; the new Dublin, damaged by unemployment and heroin, is unrecognisable to him.

Bolger’s potent play is inspired by the Gaelic poem ‘Caoineadh Airt Ui Laoire’, a lament for a man who dies because he cannot bend his pride to the demands of oppressive English rule. The Lament for Arthur Cleary was first performed in 1989 at the Project Arts Centre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

La Ronde

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Schnitzler’s comic masterpiece shows a spectrum of social class from prostitutes to noblemen in a series of drily observed sexual encounters. It is a cycle of ten dialogues, retaining one character from each scene into the next one, so that a prostitute picks up a solider who then seduces a housemaid who then falls into bed with her master. The cycle is completed by a return to the prostitute of the first scene. Famously, each scene features a set of dashes, denoting sexual intercourse. It is a witty, knowing examination of the rituals of seduction and shame and the hollow sounds of courtship.

La Ronde formed the basis of a famous film in 1950, but its real notoriety goes back to 1900 when it was privately printed and subsequently banned. It was not performed until 1920 in Berlin, where anti-Semitic riots broke out, resulting in the arrest and trial of the cast and director, allegedly for obscenity. The controversy continued with David Hare’s 1998 adaptation, The Blue Room.

Frank Marcus’s translation was aired on the BBC in 1982.

Leave Taking  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Winsome Pinnock's play Leave Taking is a drama about a woman who came to England from the West Indies, bringing up her two daughters in North London, and the frictions between the two countries and cultures. It was first performed at the Liverpool Playhouse Studio, on 11 November 1987, was toured by the National Theatre's education department in 1994, and was revived at the Bush Theatre, London, on 24 May 2018.

The play is set in North London. Enid Matthews is a hard-working mum who arrived in London from Jamaica and who, abandoned by her husband, has struggled to bring up their two teenage daughters, Viv and Del. Viv is a high achiever with the chance of going to university, while Del has lost her job and stays out all night. When Enid takes her daughters to see Mai, a clairvoyant obeah woman, for some traditional Caribbean soul-healing, secrets are spilled and the family can only heal its divisions by truthfully confronting who and what they are.

In her Introduction to the published script (Nick Hern Books, 2018), Winsome Pinnock writes: 'I wrote Leave Taking, my first full-length play, when I was twenty-three years old. I wanted to make Enid the heroine of the play because I couldn’t recall ever seeing such a character – a hospital cleaner – as the lead in a British play. I specifically wanted to write about the black British experience as distinct from African American culture because producers often seemed to think that they are interchangeable. ... Years after the play was produced at the National Theatre (1994) I was told that it was the first play written by a black British woman to have been produced there. I also learned that it was the first time that a black woman writer and director (Paulette Randall) had worked together at the venue.'

The Liverpool Playhouse production was directed by Kate Rowland and designed by Candida Boyes. It was performed by Ellen Thomas (as Enid), Natasha Williams (as Del), Lisa Lewis (as Viv), Lucita Lijertwood (as Mai) and Tommy Eytle (as Broderick).

The Bush Theatre production in 2018 was directed by Madani Younis and designed by Rosanna Vize. It was performed by Adjoa Andoh (as Mai), Seraphina Beh (as Del), Nicholle Cherrie (as Viv), Wil Johnson (as Brod) and Sarah Niles (as Enid). 

Lent

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set in an Edwardian boarding school in Berkshire, that was based on the preparatory school that his own family owned and operated, Michael Wilcox’s Lent is a semi-autobiographical account of boyhood and developing sexuality. As it depicts a ‘young boy centre stage in an adult play’, the work is fraught with the preoccupations of a thirteen-year-old adolescent, superimposed within the larger and more mature themes of orphanage and abandonment, societal and financial pressures, and love and companionship. As protagonist Paul Blake builds a bond with the school’s elderly Latin master, Matey, the relationship they foster is based on mentorship, and is even familial and avuncular. However, there is an ambiguously homoerotic dimension to their interaction, though it is concealed by Paul’s lack of self-awareness and misunderstanding of his own sexuality, along with the careful self-control and self-denial of Matey.

Wilcox’s play takes place in a bygone era, and in an enclosed and inaccessible setting as the Gorse Park School; still, the uncertainties and growing pains associated with young adulthood depicted within Lent transcend these dramatic limitations, and speak clearly to the modern experience.

Lent was originally commissioned in 1983 for performance at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. Though it was never produced there, it instead premiered in London’s Hammersmith Lyric Studio in the same year. The play was subsequently reproduced for television and radio, and has continued to be staged in a number of amateur performances.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The scandalous reputation of Laclos's novel, first published in 1782, is based on its chilling portrayal of the mannered decadence and sexual cynicism of the French aristocracy in the last years of the ancien regime. Christopher Hampton has made a masterful adaptation for the stage of the conspiracy to corrupt a young girl barely out of her convent.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses was premiered by Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 24 September 1985, and won Christopher Hampton won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in 1986.

Limehouse

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Steve Waters' play Limehouse is a dramatisation of the clandestine meeting of the so-called Gang of Four that in 1981 led to a breakaway from the UK Labour Party and ultimately the formation of the Social Democratic party. It was first performed at the Donmar Warehouse, London, on 8 March 2017 (previews from 2 March).

The play is set in Limehouse, London, in a house belonging to Labour MP David Owen and his wife Debbie, on Sunday 25 January 1981. Disillusioned with his party's leftwing bias, Owen has convened a meeting of supposedly like-minded figures: Bill Rodgers, Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins. Torn between ancestral loyalty to Labour and dismay at what they see as its current zealotry, the four are desperate to find a political alternative. Should they split their party, divide their loyalties, and risk betraying everything they believe in? Would they be starting afresh, or destroying forever the tradition that nurtured them? As the day proceeds, the time for decisive action draws ever nearer.

The Donmar Warehouse production was directed by Polly Findlay and designed by Alex Eales. It was performed by Nathalie Armin as Debbie Owen, Tom Goodman-Hill as David Owen, Paul Chahidi as Bill Rodgers, Debra Gillett as Shirley Williams and Roger Allam as Roy Jenkins.

Lovesick

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's Lovesick is a short radio play that takes a satirical look at the abuses of psychiatry. It was first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 8 April 1967.

Hodge is a psychiatrist practising aversion therapy to rid his patients of sexual or romantic preferences that interfere with their lives. But he falls in love with Ellen, a patient he's treating who is in love with Kevin, a homosexual man whom Hodge is also treating. His medical interfering produces unexpected results when Kevin’s disapproving brother, Robert, switches the cures so that Kevin falls in love with Hodge and Ellen ends up despising all men.

The BBC Radio 3 production was directed by John Tydeman, with Anthony Hall as Hodge, Harold Kasket as Max, Gudrun Ure as Ellen, Ian Thompson as Robert, Clive Merrison as Kevin and Margaret Robertson as Jessica.

Low Level Panic

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Clare McIntyre's play Low Level Panic is considered a modern feminist classic, examining the effects of society's objectification of women. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in association with the Women’s Playhouse Trust on 11 February 1988, winning the Samuel Beckett Award the following year.

The play is set in a bathroom in a house shared by three women: Jo and Mary (both in their twenties) and Celia ('possibly older but not much'). There are two scenes set outside the house, and the voices of two men are heard in scene two. Jo is worried that she is fat; she doesn’t have as much sex as she would like but fantasises about having rough sex with lorry drivers and being a beautiful, mute woman with amazing legs having sex with a yacht-owning millionaire. Mary, however, is the recent victim of a sexual assault, and wonders if the way she was dressed contributed to her assault. Celia believes that the right shade of eye shadow can secure life-long happiness. Forced to share the bathroom, the three women confide in each other, as well as with the mirrors, revealing their private fantasies and anxieties.

The premiere production was directed by Nancy Meckler and designed by Lucy Weller. It was performed by Caroline Quentin as Jo, Lorraine Brunning as Mary and Alaine Hickmott as Celia.

audio The Lucky Spot

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

It’s Christmas Eve, 1938, and 15-year-old Cassidy Smith is very pregnant with the child of 40ish Reed Hooker. Cassidy is desperate to marry Reed, Reed is desperate to open Louisiana’s hottest new taxi-dancing emporium and neither are prepared for the arrival of Reed’s wife, Sue Jack Hooker, a dangerous beauty who has just been let out of the penitentiary. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley spins one of her most colorful tales, as she follows a hilarious band of ne’er-do-wells trying to scratch dreams from the Louisiana mud.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Jack Black, Brandon Maggart, Jim McLure, Laurel Moglen, Elizabeth Ruscio, Jean Smart and Kurtwood Smith.

Featuring: Jack Black, Brandon Maggart, Jim McLure, Laurel Moglen, Elizabeth Ruscio, Jean Smart, Kurtwood Smith

Mad Forest

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's play Mad Forest is a response to events in Romania following the overthrow of Nicolae Ceaușescu in December 1989. It presents a kaleidoscopic and often surreal look at life under oppression and the painful difficulties of lasting change. It was first staged by students at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London, on 25 June 1990. It was subsequently performed at the National Theatre, Bucharest, from 17 September, and opened at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 9 October 1990.

In early 1990, Churchill was asked by Mark Wing-Davey, director of the Central School of Speech and Drama, if she would like to join his students on a trip to Bucharest, to work with students there and then to write a play for the Central students' end of year show. Ceaușescu’s dictatorship had been overthrown only a few months before and, as Churchill writes in her introduction to Plays: Three (Nick Hern Books, 1998), 'Emotions in Bucharest were still raw and the Romanian students and other people we met helped us to understand what Romania had been like under Ceaușescu as well as what happened in December and what was happening while we were there.'

The play focuses on the reactions of ordinary people to the sudden and dramatic events that unfolded in late December 1989, focusing in particular on two families, the Vladu family and the Antonescu family. Part I tells the story of Lucia Vladu’s engagement and wedding to an American, which arouses the suspicions of the Securitate (Romania’s secret police). Part II features testimony from a host of Romanian citizens (none of whom have appeared in Part I), about their experiences of the revolution. Part III begins with a dialogue between a vampire and a dog before reintroducing several characters from Part I, now in a hospital having sustained injuries in the fray. They discuss the nature and the impact of the revolution.

The play's premiere at the Central School of Speech and Drama was directed by Mark Wing-Davey and designed by Antony McDonald, and performed by final-year students from the drama school. It was subsequently performed by the same cast at the National Theatre in Bucharest and at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

Making Noise Quietly

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Robert Holman's trilogy of short plays, Making Noise Quietly, explores the devastating impact of war on ordinary lives. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 26 June 1986.

In the first play, Being Friends, two young men meet by chance in a field at Oxen Hoath, Kent, in July 1944. Oliver Bell is a conscientious objector, spending the war working on a farm; Eric Faber is a roaming artist, uninhibited by his homosexuality. As doodlebugs fly overhead, they talk of the war and its morality, and an intense bond forms between them.

In the second play, Lost, Geoffrey Church, a young naval Lieutenant, visits the home of May Appleton in Redcar, Cleveland, in June 1982. He has come to inform her that her son Ian has been killed in action in the Falklands.

The third play, Making Noise Quietly, is set in August 1986 in the Black Forest in south-west Germany. Helene Ensslin, a German Jewish woman and concentration camp survivor, plays host to a brutish British squaddie, Alan Tadd, and his autistic stepson, Sam. Alan, haunted by his experiences in the Falklands, has been abandoned by his wife, and takes out his violent, inarticulate feelings on the son, whom she also left behind, with cruel beatings. As a result the traumatised Sam now communicates only with feral screeches and by writing words on his arm. Yet beyond the violence both the man and the boy clearly care for each other deeply, and Helene attempts to break the cycle of anger and abuse.

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by John Dove and designed by Kenny Miller. The cast was Jonathan Cullen, Ronan Vibert, Jean Boht, Jonathan Coy, Helen Ryan, Paul Copley and Daniel Kipling.

The trilogy was revived by the Oxford Stage Company at the Whitehall Theatre, London, on 14 April 1999 after touring to Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Edinburgh. It was directed by Deborah Bruce and designed by Anthony MacIlwaine. The cast was John Lloyd Fillingham, Peter Hanly, Eleanor Bron and Philip Dowling.

It was revived again at the Donmar Warehouse, London, on 19 April 2012 in a production directed by Peter Gill and designed by Paul Wills. The cast was Ben Batt, Susan Brown, Jordan Dawes, Sara Kestelman, John Hollingworth, Matthew Tennyson, Lewis Andrews, Jack Boulter and Ethan Hammer.

audio Man of the Moment

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The price of accidental fame is hashed out in this comedy about a famous bank robber and the clerk who foiled his biggest heist. Ayckbourn’s 1988 play anticipates the popularity - and absurdity - of reality TV.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:

Rosalind Ayres as Jill Rillington

Jane Carr as Trudy Parks

Kenneth Danziger as Douglas Beechey

Martin Jarvis as Vic Parks

Ian Oglivy as Kenny Collins

Yeardley Smith as Sharon Giffin

Directed by Robert Robinson. Recorded before a live audience in Santa Monica, CA in February, 1994.

Featuring: Rosalind Ayres, Jane Carr, Kenneth Danziger, Martin Jarvis, Ian Oglivy, Yeardley Smith

Man of the Moment  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

‘This is Ayckbourn at the peak of his powers using comedy to say harsh, true things about our society. With the cleansing force of a satirist, he suggests we are constantly fed a doctored version of reality in which virtue is treated as disposable and even as sexy. What he has written is a tonic comedy that defends traditional values without a trace of moral sententiousness.’ Guardian

Man of the Moment premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in August 1988.

The March On Russia

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Twenty years on from his 1969 depiction of class division and family troubles in In Celebration, David Storey wrote The March on Russia, a further domestic drama centring around the tensions that arise when an aging family gathers together and rakes over their past in a northern mining community.

The Pasmores are celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary, when their children Colin, Wendy and Eileen, all decide separately to surprise them with a visit and a posh lunch. Over the course of their stay, the siblings come to see the reality of their parents’ marriage: an endless cycle of bickering and contempt between two people who feel shackled to one another for the rest of their days, who resent their children for their social mobility. As Mrs Pasmore ruminates on the hypothetical benefits of divorce, Mr Pasmore slumps into a depression; the only way for their marriage to continue is to employ the lies and fantasies Mr Pasmore has been creating their whole married life.

Linking twentieth century British politics to the heart of domestic life in working class northern England, The March on Russia was first produced at the National Theatre, London, in 1989.

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Liz Lochhead's play Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off is about the bitter rivalry between Mary, Queen of Scots, and her cousin and fellow ruler, Elizabeth I of England. The story is presented in a distinctive cabaret style, with much of the dialogue in the 'Braid Scots' vernacular. It explores the deep sectarian divisions within Scotland and dramatises the fateful moment the country rejected Mary’s Catholicism for the Protestantism of anti-feminist revolutionary John Knox.

It was first performed by the Communicado Theatre Company at the Lyceum Studio Theatre, Edinburgh, on 10 August 1987. It was revived, with a revised text, by the National Theatre of Scotland in 2009, when it was first performed at Druimfin, Tobermory, Mull, on 18 April at the start of a tour.

The play's action is introduced and narrated by a crow-like character known as La Corbie. Following the death of her husband, the Dauphin of France, the beautiful and staunchly Catholic Mary Stuart returns to the British Isles to rule Scotland, a country she neither knows nor understands. Ill-prepared to rule in her own right, Mary has failed to learn what her Protestant cousin, Elizabeth Tudor, knows only too well: that a queen must rule with her head, not her heart. All too soon the stage is set for a deadly endgame in which there can only be one winner and one queen to rule the green island.

In her introduction to the revised text published in 2009, Lochhead describes the play as 'a debate about the then current state of affairs between Scotland and England. ... Margaret Thatcher is not Queen Elizabeth the First, but questions of women and power – and how to hold on to it – are always there as we consider either icon. There was at that time a real sense of frustration in Scotland, a need for us to tell our own stories and find our own language to tell it in.'

The 1987 Communicado Theatre production was directed by Gerard Mulgrew and designed by Colin MacNeil. It was performed by Anne Wood, Myra McFadyen, Anne Lacey, Alison Peebles, Stuart Hepburn, Gerard Mulgrew, Frank McConnell and John Mitchell.

The 2009 National Theatre of Scotland revival was directed by Alison Peebles (a member of the original cast) and designed by Kenny Miller. It was performed by Joyce Falconer, Jo Freer, Angela Darcy, John Kielty, Lewis Howden, Marc Brew and Owen Whitelaw.

Massage (Wilcox)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In contrast with Accounts and Lent, Massage presents the confusion of discovering one’s sexuality from the perspective of an adult who is already sexually developed. It tells the story of Tony Dodge, a bicycle builder, and his ambiguous relationship with Simon, the twelve-year-old son of his former girlfriend Jane. As in Lent, this play does not explicitly address the notions of homosexuality and paedophilia that it suggests. Instead, Dodge displaces his feelings of lust toward Simon, and accordingly, his guilt and shame, with Rikki, a boy he hires from a massage agency. Rikki, himself, has endured sexual abuse in his childhood, and thus dissociates the emotional dimension from sexual relations; he considers it merely as an exploitative means to earn money.

Though all of the characters in Lent are technically heterosexual, they relate to each other in a way that Michael Wilcox describes as ‘sexual cannibalism’ – feeding off one another in a disturbing, visceral sense, in order to allay their own feelings of fear, uncertainty, and insecurity.

Massage is a single-scene play set in real time. As such, the audience is able to see on stage an organic response and resolution to the emotional chaos presented within it. The play was first performed in the Hammersmith Lyric Studio in London, in 1986.

audio Mastergate

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The Tony Award-winning playwright and creator of TV's MASH has fashioned a wickedly funny satire about the Iran-Contra Senate hearings and their participants. A top-notch Hollywood cast, headed by Edward Asner and Walter Matthau, brings this scathing comedy to life.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Edward Asner, Melanie Chartoff, Jack Coleman, Eric Douglas, Charles Durning, Judyann Elder, Hector Elizondo, Robin Gammell, Harold Gould, Arye Gross, Walter Matthau, John Randolph, William Schallert, Joe Spano, Jesse White and Harris Yulin.

Featuring: Edward Asner, Melanie Chartoff, Jack Coleman, Eric Douglas, Charles Durning, Judyann Elder, Hector Elizondo, Robin Gammell, Harold Gould, Arye Gross, Walter Matthau, John Randolph, William Schallert, Joe Spano, Jesse White, Harris Yulin

audio Master Harold and the Boys

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Academy-Award winner Athol Fugard, one of theatre's most acclaimed playwrights, finds humor and heartbreak in the friendship of Harold, a 17-year old white boy in 1950's South Africa, and the two middle aged black servants who raised him. Racism unexpectedly shatters Harold's childhood and friendships in this absorbing, affecting coming of age play.

The play, initially banned from production in South Africa, is a Drama Desk Award winner for Outstanding New Play.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Leon Addison Brown, Keith David and Bobby Steggert.

Featuring: Leon Addison Brown, Keith David, Bobby Steggert

Masterpieces

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Masterpieces is a fiery and uncompromising condemnation of pornography and the objectification of women.

The play opens on three couples having dinner in a restaurant, exchanging sexist jokes. The response is varied: some of them laugh uproariously, some of them uncomfortably, and one is deeply unhappy. Their domestic discussion about the morality of pornography is suddenly amplified a thousand-fold in the next scene, in which Rowena is on trial for murder. She had just been to see a ‘snuff’ film, in which a porn actress is actually mutilated and killed on screen, and then pushed a man under a train because he was harassing her. The play is the story of her journey, through seeing a porn magazine for the first time to a thwarted attempt to help an unhappy prostitute, from uncomfortable laughter to radical and disgusted protest at female subjugation.

Masterpieces is an angry and defiant play, first staged in 1983, at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Maydays

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

David Edgar's monumental Maydays dissects the saga of post-war political awakenings, as the many dedicated devotees of the ideals of communism become disillusioned, and dissent. In a play that spans five decades, we see socialists of various dedication and origin – from the apparatchik of the Soviet Union down to the radical university lecturer – each finding that the distance between their conscience and their comrades has become too great to traverse.

Written in the early eighties, Maydays was first presented against a backdrop of many prominent members of the Left abdicating and turning Tory. Edgar writes in his introduction that for Maydays, the "starting point was the insight that the unique thing about the conservative revival of the late seventies was that it was led largely by defectors from the left".

Described by the author as being "about as grand a narrative play as it's possible to be this side of Tamburlaine the Great", Maydays offers a rise-and-fall look at the ideals of communism, and its supporters, from the popular post-war rise of the 40s to the stagnant and jargon-laden demise of the 80s.

Maydays premiered at the Barbican, London, in 1983, in a production by the RSC.