Plays

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.