Plays

13

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

At the beginning of Bartlett’s political and profound epic play, twelve completely different people across London wake up from an identical, terrifying dream – monsters and explosions, thousands of voices. At the same moment, a young man named John returns home after years away to find economic gloom, ineffective protest, and a Prime Minister about to declare war. But John has a vision for the future and a way to make it happen.

Coincidences, omens and visions collide with political reality in this ambitious and dextrous play, which depicts a London both familiar and strange, a London staring into the void.

13 explores the meaning of personal responsibility, the hold that the past has over the future and the nature of belief itself.

The play was first performed in 2011 at the National Theatre, London.

20th Century Blues

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Four women bond and become one another's timetable of history. Through the vagaries of love, careers, children, lost causes and tragedy, the women reunite once a year for a photo shoot, chronicling their changing (and aging) selves. But, when these private photographs have the potential to become part of a public exhibit, mutiny erupts and relationships are tested. The images unearth secrets and force the women to question who they are, what they've become, and how they'll navigate whatever lies ahead.

2 Pianos 4 Hands

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Amidst pushy parents, eccentric teachers, hours of repetitive practice, stage fright, the agony of competitions and exams and the dream of greatness, Ted and Richard grow up as ‘piano nerds’. As they mature, they become more aware of the gap between the merely very good and the great, and come to the humbling realization that concert stardom may be out of reach, but they just might be two of the best piano players in the neighbourhood, and that in itself is worth celebrating.

6 Essential Questions

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

6 Essential Questions tells the story of Renata as she travels to Brazil to reunite with the mother who abandoned her when she was just five years old. In Rio, Renata discovers more than she bargained for in her quest to uncover the truth of who abandoned whom. She is continually tossed about by her undead grandmother and a semi-invisible uncle as they choreograph the ultimate dance of mother and daughter, both of whom must confront their dreams before they can ever attempt to confront each other. Imaginations run wild in this strangely beautiful and funny story loosely based on Uppal’s critically acclaimed memoir, Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother, a finalist for both the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.

7/11

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

7/11 by Kia Corthron is a short play based on the September 11th attacks.

audio 8

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Martin Sheen lead an all-star cast in a powerful portrait of an American civil rights struggle, written by Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar) and directed by Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men).

In November 2008, California’s Proposition 8 stripped the freedom to marry away from gay and lesbian couples. Now, two of the nation’s most renowned attorneys, under the auspices of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, have joined forces to challenge Proposition 8 under the United States Constitution. “8” faithfully recreates the progression of the historic 2010 federal trial through original court transcripts and interviews conducted with the plaintiffs, as their stories are brought to life before a live audience. Exclusive interviews include: - Dustin Lance Black and Rob Reiner, playwright and director of “8” - David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, lead attorneys for the plaintiffs challenging Proposition 8 - Backstage interview montage with actors George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and James Pickens, Jr. A full-cast performance featuring: Brad Pitt as Chief Judge Vaughn Walker George Clooney as David Boies Martin Sheen as Theodore B. Olson Kevin Bacon as Charles Cooper Jamie Lee Curtis as Sandy Stier Christine Lahti as Kris Perry John C. Reilly as David Blankenhorn Jane Lynch as Maggie Gallagher Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Dr. Ilan Meyer Matthew Morrison as Paul Katami Chris Colfer as Ryan Kendall Yeardley Smith as Dr. Nancy Cott Matt Bomer as Jeff Zarrillo George Takei as Dr. William Tam Rory O’Malley as Dr. Gregory Herek Cleve Jones as Evan Wolfson James Pickens, Jr. as Dr. Gary Segura Jansen Panettiere as Elliott Perry Bridger Zadina as Spencer Perry Vanessa Garcia as Clerk Campbell Brown as Broadcast Journalist Directed by Rob Reiner. Recorded before a live audience at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, Los Angeles on March 3, 2012.

Featuring: Kevin Bacon, Matt Bomer, Campbell Brown, George Clooney, Chris Colfer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Vanessa Garcia, Cleve Jones, Christine Lahti, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Rory O'Malley, Jansen Panettiere, James Pickens Jr., Brad Pitt, John C. Reilly, Martin Sheen, Yeardley Smith, George Takei, Bridger Zadina

The Absence of War

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The Absence of War offers a meditation on the classic problems of leadership, and is the third part of a critically acclaimed trilogy of plays (Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges) about British institutions.

Its unsparing portrait of a Labour Party torn between past principles and future prosperity, and of a deeply sympathetic leader doomed to failure, made the play hugely controversial and prophetic when it was first presented at the National Theatre, London, in 1993.

The Absence of Women  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

- he hadn't forgotten i was there - he just didn't care whether i was there or not - it would've been better him forgetting rather than not caring at all

Gerry and Iggy face the ends of their lives in a London hostel. As they drift from present concerns – the funeral of an old drinking partner, the relative sizes of their swollen livers, tube routes, street names, God and the lure of Belfast – to remembering ghosts from long ago, we catch a poignant glimpse of what might have been.

Owen McCafferty's The Absence of Women, heartrending and darkly comic in turn, premiered at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, in February 2010. 

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

Absolutely! (Perhaps)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Absolutely! (Perhaps) is a sparkling comedy on the elusive nature of reality, in which truth is negotiable and identity is performed. It is an adaptation of Luigi Pirandello’s first play Così è (Se Vi Pare), and opened at the Wyndham’s Theatre in 2003.

In a small Italian town lives Signor Ponza, his wife and his apparent mother-in-law Signora Frola, who he will not allow to visit. With the neighbours gossiping over his cruelty, Signor Ponza claims that Signora Frola is mad and refusing to accept that her daughter is dead, and that he now lives with his second wife. Signora Frola counters the accusation, claiming that Ponza has unwittingly re-married his first wife. Impossibly, the Signora Ponza in question claims to be both daughter and second wife, plunging the play into a tangle of fractious theatricality.

audio Abundance

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

From the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Crimes of the Heart comes this poignant but unromanticized story of the hard lives of pioneers on the high plains of Wyoming in the 1860's. Macon and Bess are two mail-order brides, lured to the West by the promise of new beginnings through marriage to men they’ve never met. While waiting for their respective husbands-to-be, one bubbling with optimism, the other mousy and plain, the two women become instant best friends. As Abundance follows the two women through their friendship and adventures for the next 25 years, this Western epic unearths the dark underside of American mythology.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Ed Begley Jr., Gary Cole, Amy Madigan, Steven Weber and JoBeth Williams.

Featuring: Ed Begley Jr., Gary Cole, Amy Madigan, Steven Weber, JoBeth Williams

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.

The Accused

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Jeffrey Archer's play The Accused was written with a nod to the similarities of the performative environments that are the Courts of Justice and the theatre stage: here, the audience listen to the cases made by both sides of a murder trial, ask themselves if Dr Sherwood murdered his wife, if Jennifer Mitchell was his mistress, and which, if any, of his alibis should be believed.

At the end of the trial, the audience are then asked to deliver their verdict; do they think the doctor is guilty or not guilty. After their verdict is given, the play continues, with one of two endings, depending on how they have voted. Only then is the truth fully revealed.

The Accused premiered at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, in September 2000.

audio The Actor Retires

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Steppenwolf Theatre Company playwright and actor Bruce Norris presents a hilarious comedy in which an actor decides to end his career, burn his headshots and resumés, and become a serious furniture maker.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Bruce Norris, D.W. Moffett, Lucy Childs, Christopher Donahue, Kevin Hurley, Amy Morton, Susan Nussbaum and William Peterson

Featuring: Lucy Childs, Christopher Donahue, Kevin Hurley, D.W. Moffett, Amy Morton, Bruce Norris, Susan Nussbaum, William Petersen

Actor's Lament

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

'A one-act play is like a confession'. So writes Steven Berkoff in the preface to the collection of his One-Act Plays. In his introduction to the collection, Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting at Central School of Speech and Drama writes:'It is the one-act play, however, that most profoundly and immediately amplifies Berkoff’s extraordinary literary and theatrical voice. . . In discussion, [Berkoff's] eyes quite literally light up at the mere mention of the one-act construct. With relish, he outlines the bare-knuckled immediacy of its form and fatal but inevitable blow. Perhaps the very real pleasure in reading these nineteen one-act plays by Berkoff should not be about comparing them to his other plays at all, but imagining them newly and in performance. Berkoff’s theatre continues to refuse smallness of theme and narrative, and defies those who wish to collapse the place of theatre into reality-inspired ‘true’. A reading of these pieces will require the need for a performance alertness, ‘real’ at its very threshold.'

In Actor's Lament we meet John, an actor who although 'clever, cynical and witty' is nonetheless bitter as he moulders unappreciated in his career, and his age ticks along from forty to fifty.

Adam  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Frances Poet's play Adam is the true story of a young trans man, Adam Kashmiry, making the journey from his native Egypt to Scotland, across borders and genders, in his search for a place to call home. It was conceived by Cora Bissett and first performed, with Adam Kashmiry playing the part of himself, at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase, on 6 August 2017 (previews from 30 July), presented by the National Theatre of Scotland, winning a Fringe First award.

In the play, the central figure of Adam Kashmiry is represented as two distinct but complementary characters, Egyptian Adam and Glasgow Adam, 'two sides of a single coin'. Together they narrate the story of Adam's realisation of his true identity while growing up in Egypt, his decision to leave his native country, his journey from there to a cramped room in Glasgow, and his ongoing struggle to assume his new identity as a man.

The premiere production was directed by Cora Bissett with music by Jocelyn Pook and set and costume design by Emily James. It was performed by Neshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry, featuring a recording of Myriam Acharki as Adam’s mother, and additional recorded performances from Rylan Gleave, Harry Knights, Juliana Yazbeck, Umar Ahmed, Adam Buksh and Nafee S. Mohammed.

Adam and Eve

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

'A one-act play is like a confession'. So writes Steven Berkoff in the preface to the collection of his One-Act Plays. In his introduction to the collection, Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting at Central School of Speech and Drama writes: 'It is the one-act play, however, that most profoundly and immediately amplifies Berkoff’s extraordinary literary and theatrical voice. . . In discussion, [Berkoff's] eyes quite literally light up at the mere mention of the one-act construct. With relish, he outlines the bare-knuckled immediacy of its form and fatal but inevitable blow. Perhaps the very real pleasure in reading these nineteen one-act plays by Berkoff should not be about comparing them to his other plays at all, but imagining them newly and in performance. Berkoff’s theatre continues to refuse smallness of theme and narrative, and defies those who wish to collapse the place of theatre into reality-inspired ‘true’. A reading of these pieces will require the need for a performance alertness, ‘real’ at its very threshold.'

Of his cycle of Biblical plays, Berkoff writes: 'There is something so vital and dynamic about our wonderful biblical stories, myths or parables that they lend themselves so easily to a modern interpretation. Of course their passion speaks directly to all of us and few of us are immune from the same problems and obsessions.'

Adam and Eve tells of Eden's first parents in a comically exaggerated London slang.

audio Adam's Rib

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A classic battle of the sexes and a courtroom farce, this peerlessly witty examination of husband and wife attorneys was first crafted for Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Commissioned by L.A. Theatre Works, David Rambo includes never-before-heard original material in this adaptation of the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Adam Arkin, Anne DeSalvo, Paul Eiding, Mary Pat Gleason, Annabelle Gurwitch, Anne Heche, Marvin Kaplan, Loren Lazerine, Robert Lesser, John Pankow, Amy Pietz.

Featuring: Adam Arkin, Anne DeSalvo, Paul Eiding, Mary Pat Gleason, Annabelle Gurwitch, Anne Heche, Marvin Kaplan, Loren Lazerine, Robert Lesser, John Pankow, Amy Pietz

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.

An Adventure

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

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

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

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

Advice for the Young at Heart

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It’s 2011 and 1958 and London is rioting. Candice is ordered by her gang-leading boyfriend to lure Clint into a honeytrap. Haunted by her grandfather’s mistakes, she stands at a crossroads. Will she do as she’s told, or will she learn to be true to herself before history repeats itself?

A modern tale for riotous times, commissioned and developed by Theatre Centre, Advice for the Young at Heart examines 2011’s unrest against the background of the 1958 race riots, exploring themes of race, family and misguided loyalty. A new play for young people aged 14+.

Advice for the Young at Heart was first performed at Redbridge Drama Centre, London, on 12 September 2013.

After Darwin

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Millie, a director, discusses with her actors, Ian and Tom, how to interpret two famous historical figures from the nineteenth century. It's 1831. The naturalist Charles Darwin is invited to travel with Robert Fitzroy into uncharted waters off the coast of South America aboard 'The Beagle'. Their five year journey is fraught with philosophical and personal tensions. Fitzroy, a staunch Christian, has faith in the unquestionable authority of the Bible; Darwin begins to explore a more radical vision, his theory of natural selection. A meditation on history and human relationships, After Darwin links past and present through these five characters, and raises timeless questions about faith, friendship and how we interpret the past.

After Darwin was first performed in July 1998, at Hampstead Theatre, London.

Afterplay

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

1920s Moscow, a small run-down café. Uncle Vanya's niece, Sonya Serebriakova, now in her forties, is the only customer. Until the arrival of Andrey Prozorov, the put-upon brother from Three Sisters.

Afterplay revisits the lives of two characters from Anton Chekhov's plays. It was first produced, with The Bear (also after Chekhov), at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in March 2002.

After The Rainfall

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Throughout history, the study of ants (myrmecology) has been used as an analogy for human behaviour. This piece uses myrmecology as a prism through which to view the present day. Navigating the arid Egyptian desert, continental Europe, the British Museum and a quiet village green, this piece is a patchwork of multidimensional narratives about the aftermath of the Empire.

curious directive conjure a world where multimedia, movement and sound unpick Britain's relationship to artefacts, mining and the secret life of ants.

An epic, thumping, passionate story asking questions about the relationship between our past, present and into eternity, After the Rainfall was a collaboration between curious directive, Watford Palace Theatre and Escalator East to Edinburgh and was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012.

Against  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

 Go where there's violence.

Silicon Valley. The future. A rocket launches.

Luke is an aerospace billionaire who can talk to anyone. But God is talking to him. He sets out to change the world. Only violence stands in his way.

Christopher Shinn's gripping play received its world premiere at the Almeida Theatre on 12 August 2017 in a production directed by Ian Rickson and featuring Ben Whishaw as Luke.

The Age of Consent

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Age of Consent places in counterpoint two acutely uncomfortable monologues about childhood, responsibility and the shattering of innocence.

One voice is a teenager awaiting his release from a correctional facility after serving his time for the murder of a child. The other is the young mother of a child performer, ruthlessly scheming for fame and fortune, and making sure her daughter will do absolutely whatever it takes.

The characters are united by a sense of denial, as well as the humanity that can exist behind even the most monstrous abuse. Morris’s controversial and powerful play premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001, and was condemned and acclaimed for tackling the subject of child killers.

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

Alaska

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Alaska is a tale of prejudice, sex and aggression, a portrait of unabashed racism.

The audience is introduced to Frank as a drug-dealing self-righteous History student. Having dropped out of university, he works at a cinema kiosk, where his colleagues are attracted to his tense and sullen manner. But brought into contact with Mamta, an Asian co-worker, he soon emerges as a hostile white supremacist, supporting his pseudo-intellectual prejudices by twisting history and quoting Biblical mistranslations. The play’s downward spiral of lies and violence unravels Frank’s desperation and obsession, and discusses identity and race in modern Britain.

The play was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in 2007.

Albert's Boy

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Graham’s portrait of Einstein’s tortured conscience is delightfully tinged with both homely and black humour, in a play that is nonetheless deeply serious about questions of pacifism and necessity.

It is 1953 and Albert Einstein’s house is empty, his cat is missing, he can’t unify the fields of relativity and particle physics and he can’t escape his guilt. When a family friend, newly released from a POW camp, comes to visit, a warm reunion soon becomes a collision of opposing beliefs on the subjects of evil, the winning of wars and the construction of the atomic bomb. Albert’s Boy is both a fascinating biographical sketch and a passionate duet about the ethics of moral responsibility. The play premiered at the Finborough Theatre in 2005.

Albion  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Mike Bartlett's play Albion is a tragicomic drama about national identity, family, mourning and the disappointment of personal dreams. It was first performed at the Almeida Theatre, London, on 17 October 2017 (previews from 10 October).

The play is set in a garden (known as Albion) attached to a country house in Oxfordshire. The house has been bought by successful businesswoman Audrey Walters, who intends to restore the garden, now in ruins, to its former glory, and to use it to memorialise the son she recently lost in a foreign war. In the course of the play, Audrey alienates her daughter Zara, her son’s lover Anna, her oldest friend Katherine, and the entire village.

The premiere production was directed by Rupert Goold and designed by Miriam Buether. It was performed by Nigel Betts, Edyta Budnik, Wil Coban, Christopher Fairbank, Victoria Hamilton (as Audrey), Charlotte Hope, Margot Leicester, Vinette Robinson, Nicholas Rowe, Helen Schlesinger and Luke Thallon.

Alice Trilogy

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Alice Trilogy is a haunting triptych of disappointment and gnawing sadness. Three acts, closer to monologues than conversations, show three ages in the life of Alice, an unhappy housewife.

1980, in the afternoon murk of her attic, with whiskey in her coffee, is she losing her grip on reality?

1995, she has summoned a lost love to meet her by the gasworks wall.

2005, at the airport, a tragedy presses to the surface of her internal monologue.

Alice is a mesmerising creation, existing only half in her domestic married life, and half in a dream-like world of alter-egos and strange detachment.

Alice Trilogy premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2005.

audio Aliens in America

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Contemporary satirist Sandra Tsing Loh spins a darkly comic, autobiographical tale of growing up middle class Chinese-German in Southern California. This witty monologue is for sons and daughters everywhere who feel that their parents must have been beamed to earth from another planet.

An L.A. Theatre Works solo performance featuring Sandra Tsing Loh.

Featuring: Sandra Tsing Loh

All But Gone  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Love is the rarest of things...it's the rarest trick...and we feel entitled to it, don't we?

Owen may live in the present but his mind remains lodged firmly in the past. As he's forced into a relationship with a teenager with emotional behavioural problems he blurs aspects of his current life with the memories of what might have been and the opportunities and relationships that could have changed his world. Riddled with regret over the man he loved and the chance to flee rural Wales he's unable to detach himself from past mistakes.

An exciting new play by an established Welsh writer inspired by experiences working at an emotional behavioral difficulty education unit. All But Gone explores a man's relationship with his past as two world collide and his fractured mind merges the life he once knew with the lonely world in which he exists. 

All New People

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The dead of winter, Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Charlie has hit rock bottom. Far removed from the rest of the world, this perfect escape is interrupted by a motley parade of misfits who show up and change his plans. An eccentric English real estate agent desperately trying to stay in the country, a fireman, and a hired beauty all suddenly find themselves tangled together in a beach house where the mood is anything but sunny.

All New People is the hilarious and poignant playwriting debut of Zach Braff, writer and director of the acclaimed film Garden State which was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay and won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.

The play premiered at the Tony Kiser Theatre, New York City on 25 July 2011 in a production by Second Stage Theatre, and opened in the UK at the Manchester Opera House on 8 February 2012.

All of You Mine

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

All of you Mine is a mysterious drama set in a mining community, near 'any one of fourteen ex-pit villages around Doncaster, South Yorkshire, whose pits were closed either as a planned programme, or as a direct result of the 1984 miners' strike.'

Twelve years on from the mining accident which precipitated the closure of the mine and the breaking of the strike, a memorial is being erected to the five men who died. The Cade family lost and gained much from that accident: daughter Verna, now 37, lost the father of her son, while her older brother Danum gained the site for the garden centre which he still runs prosperously at the play's opening. Meanwhile, at the head of the family stands their half-blind mother Cissy, who sees more, and knows more, than she is willing to share freely.

This mysterious family drama, which slowly builds to the revelation that the disaster may not have been so accidental, was described at the time as an eloquent lament for an eclipsed mining community. It premiered at the Bush theatre, London, in 1997.

All Over Lovely

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

All Over Lovely is a two-character play, which frames a furious debate about politicising feminism and sexuality and darts between the intellectual and the deeply personal.

Two women who grew up together meet before a funeral. One of them maintains defiantly that lipstick and a Porsche is not a betrayal of feminism; the other’s anarchist principles have somehow turned into an organic fruit and vegetable company who supply to Sainsbury’s. Their conversation – sometimes vicious, sometimes comic, sometimes loving – reveals a relationship composed of childhood jealousies, adolescent sexual awakening, politicised lesbianism and feminist compromise. Dowie’s crackling, looping dialogue attacks constructions of femininity, love and success in this lithe and razor-sharp play.

All Over Lovely was first performed at the Traverse Theatre in 1996.

All the Little Lights

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jane Upton's play All the Little Lights is a drama about the sexual exploitation of young girls who have fallen through the system. It was produced by Fifth Word and Nottingham Playhouse, and first performed at Nottingham Playhouse, on 20 October 2015, later touring the UK in 2017. The play was the joint winner of the George Devine Award for most promising playwright in 2016.

The play is set 'somewhere on the outskirts of an urban sprawl, high up overlooking houses, next to a railway line.' Joanne (age 16) is throwing an impromptu birthday party for her friend Lisa (15), who has recently been taken into foster care and has reluctantly agreed to come along. Joanne has brought her new sidekick, Amy (12), promising to introduce her to TJ, an older man from the local chip shop. As the three young women camp out near the railway line, they talk about anything but the traumatic experiences Joanne and Lisa have been through. They also play games, from a version of chicken when they hear the trains approaching, to imagining who lives in the ‘little lights’ that they can see in the distance. But the horror of what has happened to them in the past, and what might yet happen to Amy, gradually emerges.

The original production was directed by Laura Ford and designed by Max Dorey. It was performed by Esther-Grace Button as Amy, Sarah Hoare as Lisa and Tessie Orange-Turner as Joanne.

All the Ordinary Angels

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

All The Ordinary Angels is a comedy of treats and dirty tricks in the world of ice-cream, as a family business becomes a family feud.

When ice-cream man Giuseppe Raffa decides it’s finally time to come in from the cold and retire, he sets his two sons in competition with each other. The winner will gain the family business; the loser will be left with nothing. Supported and obstructed by Rocco’s wife Bernie and Lino’s girlfriend Lulu, their fight for the hearts and money of the people quickly becomes deadly serious. It is a lively and satirical story of love, competition and selling ice-cream in rainy Manchester.

All the Ordinary Angels premiered at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2005.

All You Need Is LSD

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The drug laws in this country- the drug laws IN THE WORLD - all stem from this attitude that pleasure is a bad thing...

In 2015, acclaimed British playwright Leo Butler accepted an invitation from former Government drugs tsar, Professor David Nutt, to be a guinea pig in the world's first LSD medical trials since the 1960s. Monty Python, Being John Malkovich, and Alice in Wonderland all resonate in this exhilarating and original comedy as we watch Leo jump down the rabbit-hole of a medical trial in search of enlightenment - and a good story.

Along the way he meets an array of characters from Aldous Huxley and The Beatles, to Steve Jobs and Ronald Reagan, whose own stories in the history of LSD are hilariously and poignantly uncovered.
Does the world still need a psychedelic revolution? And will Leo make it back home in time for tea?

Part history, party wild fantasy, this darkly humorous new play illuminates the drugs debate that won't go away and examines the freedom we have to make our own choices in life, and death.

The Almighty Sometimes  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Diagnosed with a severe mental illness as a child, Anna was prescribed a cocktail of pills. Now a young adult, she’s wondering how life might feel without them. But as she tries to move beyond the labels that have defined her, her mother feels compelled to intervene – threatening the fragile balance they have both fought so hard to maintain.

Winner of a Judges Award at the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, Kendall Feaver’s The Almighty Sometimes premiered at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, in February 2018. The play received the the UK Theatre Award for Best New Play at 2018.

Almighty Voice and His Wife

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Almighty Voice and His Wife shakes up a familiar story from the Saskatchewan frontier, reimagining it from the postmodern late twentieth century. The “renegade Indian story” transforms into both an eloquent tale of tragic love and an often hilarious, fully theatrical exorcism of the hurts of history. A modern classic about the place of First Nations people in Canada.

An Almost Perfect Thing

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Greg is a once-respected journalist searching for a high-profile story that will help revive his career. Chloe is the missing girl he wrote about six years earlier who has just returned home to a world she no longer recognizes. Instead of leading police to her captor, Chloe turns to Greg to share her story. Unfortunately for him, Chloe won't provide names or locations, and instead dictates exactly how the story should be told. But Chloe has become an international celebrity – both respected and scrutinized by the public – and they all want to know, who is her kidnapper? Why is she protecting him? When Greg begins to question whether truth and fiction have collided, he takes matters into his own hands, in spite of the drastic consequences. Even if that means coming face to face with Chloe's abductor. Inspired by the story of Natascha Kampusch, An Almost Perfect Thing is a multi-perspective thriller about possession and desire, the need to own our stories and our right to the truth.

audio American Appetites

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

L.A. Theatre Works presents the exclusive dramatization of Joyce Carol Oates’ best-selling novel. In American Appetites, the façade of an affluent suburban couple crumbles under the weight of tragedy and scandal. When Ian McCullough accidentally pushes his wife through a plate glass window during an argument, the American dream turns into a nightmare. A sophisticated, witty and chilling tale.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Lisa Akey, Keith Carradine, Alastair Duncan, Paul Eiding, Anna Gunn, Dan Lauria, Jean Louisa Kelly, Frank Muller, B.J. Ward, Elizabeth Ward Land, Liza Weil and Tegan West.

Featuring: Lisa Akey, Keith Carradine, Alastair Duncan, Paul Eiding, Anna Gunn, Dan Lauria, Jean Louisa Kelly, Frank Muller, B.J. Ward, Elizabeth Ward Land, Liza Weil, Tegan West

American Beauty Shop

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It’s hard to pull yourself up by your bootstraps in this economy – Sue should know. It’s harder when you’ve got kids, even whip-smart, talented ones like Judy.

Sue has big dreams for both her basement beauty shop and her daughter, who’s anxiously waiting for a letter from MIT that could change her life.

A heartfelt play about the true cost of dreams, American Beauty Shop received its world premiere at Chicago Dramatists in May 2016, having received readings at Steppenwolf, Pegasus Theatre Chicago, Florida Studio Theatre, Steep Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival and Chicago Dramatists.

audio An American Daughter

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Pulitzer-Prize winner Wendy Wasserstein spins a comic and moving tale about the pitfalls that await political appointees. As a respected health crusader and devoted wife and mother, Dr. Lyssa Hughes seems perfect for the role of U.S. Surgeon General, until a chance remark at a fashionable brunch sets off a media feeding frenzy.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring David Birney, Anna Gunn, Jamie Hanes, Gregory Itzin, Michael Malone, Kevin McCarthy, Mary McDonnell, Claudette Nevins and Denise Nicholas.

Featuring: David Birney, Anna Gunn, Jamie Hanes, Gregory Itzin, Michael Malone, Kevin McCarthy, Mary McDonnell, Claudette Nevins, Denise Nicholas

audio American Dreams

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

After World War II, an African-American war vet brings home his Japanese bride. The family must learn to be tolerant of their new family member, while dealing with prejudice in the outside world. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Mary Bond Davis, Yvonne Farrow, Bonnie Oda Homsey, Peter A. Jacobs, Carl Lumbly, Vonetta McGee, Don Reed, Charlie Robinson and Patricia Thompson. Directed by Peggy Shannon. Recorded before a live audience by L.A. Theatre Works.

Featuring: Mary Bond Davis, Yvonne Farrow, Bonnie Oda Homsey, Peter A. Jacobs, Carl Lumbly, Vonetta McGee, Don Reed, Charlie Robinson and Patricia Thompson

Featuring: Mary Bond Davis, Yvonne Farrow, Bonnie Oda Homsey, Peter A. Jacobs, Carl Lumbly, Vonetta McGee, Don Reed, Charlie Robinson and Patricia Thompson

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Mary Bond Davis, Yvonne Farrow, Bonnie Oda Homsey, Peter A. Jacobs, Carl Lumbly, Vonetta McGee, Don Reed, Charlie Robinson and Patricia Thompson.

Directed by Peggy Shannon. Recorded before a live audience in Santa Monica, CA in January, 1991.

Featuring: Mary Bond Davis, Yvonne Farrow, Bonnie Oda Homsey, Peter A. Jacobs, Carl Lumbly, Vonetta McGee, Don Reed, Charlie Robinson, Patricia Thompson

audio American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In this wild satire, a Mexican immigrant has a feverish dream while studying for his American citizenship exam. He meets a parade of characters ranging from Sacagawea to Teddy Roosevelt to Jackie Robinson, who take him on a mind-bending, hilarious, and poignant trip through American history.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast recording, featuring Keith Jefferson, Richard Montoya, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San José, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, and Caro Zeller.

Directed by Shana Cooper. Recorded before a live audience.

Featuring: Keith Jefferson, Richard Montoya, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San Jose, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, Caro Zeller

The American Pilot

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A spy plane crash-lands in a remote valley in a distant country. The local villagers take in the wounded pilot and argue his fate. The American Pilot explores the way the world sees America and the way America sees the world.

The American Pilot premiered with the RSC at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, in April 2005.

Amongst Friends

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Journalist Lara and her ex-MP and crime-writer husband Richard are happy and successful. Having moved to a fashionable gated community they invite their old neighbours Caitlin and Joe to dinner. When the security system fails, the food is delivered by a stranger and the dinner party takes quite a different turn.

April De Angelis's darkly comic social satire Amongst Friends premiered at the Hampstead Theatre, London, in May 2009.

Amy's View

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

It is 1979. Esme Allen is a well-known West End actress at just the moment when the West End is ceasing to offer actors a regular way of life. The visit of her young daughter, Amy, with a new boyfriend sets in train a series of events which only find their shape eighteen years later. A generational play about the long term struggle between a strong mother and her loving daughter, Amy's View mixes love, death and the theatre in a way which is both heady and original.

Amy's View was first performed at the National Theatre, London, in June 1997, and transferred to the Aldwych Theatre in January 1998.

Andersen's English

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Celebrated children's writer Hans Christian Andersen arrives, unannounced, for a stay at Gad's Hill Place in the Kent marshes – home to Charles Dickens and his large, charismatic family.

To the lonely and eccentric guest, the members of Dickens' household seem to live a life of unreachable bliss. But with his broken English, Andersen doesn't at first see the storms brewing within the family: undeclared passions, a son about to go to India, and a growing strangeness at the heart of Dickens' marriage.

Andersen's English by Sebastian Barry premiered at the Theatre Royal, Bury, in February 2010 in a production by Out of Joint.

… And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Marcus Gardley’s And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi (2007), the world of the Civil War provides the setting in which Greek myth, talking trees, singing rivers, and a moonwalking Jesus combine to interrogate the politics of sex and the body.

By disregarding and distorting sacrosanct narratives and images of Christianity and American history, Gardley pushes us to rethink the lessons and limitations of these institutions vis-à-vis our contemporary moment. His inventive and brazen formal approach not only prompts such re-evaluations, but also frames an affecting story whose essence is one of longing, redemption, and forgiveness.

audio Anna in the Tropics

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This poignant and poetic Pulitzer Prize winning play captures 1929 Florida at a time when cigars are still rolled by hand and "lectors" are employed to educate and entertain the workers. The arrival of a new lector is a cause for celebration. But when he reads aloud from "Anna Karenina", he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics, and The American Dream prove a volatile combination.

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

Jimmy Smits as Juan Julian

Onahoua Rodriguez as Marela

Adriana Sevan as Conchita

Alma Martinez as Ofelia

Jonathan Nichols as Palomo and Eliades

Winston Rocha as Santiago

Herbert Siguenza as Chéché

Directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Alma Martinez, Jonathan Nichols, Winston Rocha, Onahoua Rodriguez, Adriana Sevan, Herbert Siguenza, Jimmy Smits

Another Door Closed

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Have you grown hard? Is that it? You were never hard then, you know. Just two spoiled daughters. Two little, selfish daughters. Two unemancipated daughters. Without her you have become hard, is that it? She was so soft, you see.

Two elderly sisters get an unexpected visit from a younger man. It appears, many years ago, the sisters' mother had been very kind to him.

Peter Gill's Another Door Closed premiered at the Theatre Royal, Bath, in August 2009.

Antebellum

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Robert O’Hara’s Antebellum bridges continents to highlight the intractability of love and the power of desire. Set in 1939, amid the cabarets and concentration camps of prewar Berlin and the plantations of post-Civil War Atlanta, the play uses seemingly unrelated historical events to explore the dynamic interplay of race, sexuality, and religion in the production of identity.

Antebellum employs a complex yet stirring hodgepodge of dramaturgical techniques, ranging from naturalistic to Brechtian, that evidence the formal complexities and heterodoxy of post-black dramaturgy.

Even more than he did in his earlier play Insurrection: Holding History (1996), O’Hara seamlessly melds the personal and the political to create a world that, by his own admission, is intimately connected to his own ‘relationship to life and to love’ but remains expansive and generous enough that his audiences might recognize and learn something about their own.

Any Given Day  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Linda McLean's play Any Given Day is a drama about urban isolation, our fear of the unknown, and our guilt and responsibility towards ourselves and others. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 29 May 2010.

The play is divided into two acts or 'plays'. In Play One, we meet Bill (fifties) and Sadie (forties), a couple with mental disabilities, who live in a council-owned flat in the city. They are eagerly expecting a visit from their niece Jackie, but instead their day takes a turn for the worse, and their world is turned upside down when a stranger intrudes. Then, in Play Two, we meet Jackie (forties), who is working in a bar after having to give up her job as a nurse. When the bar's owner, Dave, passes on a phone message from her son, it leads Jackie to reassess her priorities and her emotional needs, and to throw caution to the wind.

The Traverse Theatre production was directed by Jonathan Fensom and designed by Lizzie Powell. It was performed by Kathryn Howden, Lewis Howden, Kate Dickie, Phil McKee and Jamie Quinn.

Any Which Way

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Stefan and Akin have known each other since childhood. But growing up, they grew apart. Now Akin lies dead. And Stefan walks through London's streets, trying to face up to what he's done.

Any Which Way opened at the Only Connect Theatre, London, in November 2008.

The Approach  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Mark O'Rowe's play The Approach is a drama about the inner lives of three Dublin women as they try to make sense of their world. It was first performed at Project Arts Centre, Dublin, on 6 February 2018, produced by Landmark Productions, and was staged at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The play's action comprises a series of two-way conversations between three women, Anna, Cora and Denise. In the first, Anna and Cora catch up after a substantial period of time, sharing news and gossip. They recall a girl they both knew from school, Emily Dowling, who later committed suicide. Anna says she hasn't been in touch with her sister, Denise, whom she blames for taking from her the man she loved, Oliver, who has subsequently died. They reminisce fondly about the time they lived together with Denise in a house in Ranelagh. They part, promising to meet again soon. In the next section, Cora meets up with Denise, and the details of what they share begin subtly to diverge from the previous conversation. Over the course of further meetings, only ever between two of the three women, Anna and Denise decide to put their differences behind them, while confidences exchanged between the women turn out to be less than reliable, new beginnings appear to falter, and darker confessions emerge.

The premiere production was directed by Mark O’Rowe with set and lighting design by Sinead McKenna. It was performed by Cathy Belton (as Cora), Aising O’Sullivan (as Anna) and Derbhle Crotty (as Denise).

April in Paris

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

April in Paris is a delicately wrought comedy filled with raucous indelicate dialogue. Al and Bet are a married couple, living a monochrome life. Left half-broke by Al's continuing unemployment, the couple bicker about everything from having no hot water, to Al's uninspired black-and-white paintings to Bet's obsession with magazine competitions.

When Bet finally wins one – the prize being a trip for two to Paris – there is the glimmer of romantic hope for a complete reversal of fortunes. Instead, it is in the slow gains, the addition of colour and the learning to be nice to one another again that gives this play its surprising, uplifting dénouement.

April in Paris was first performed by Hull Truck theatre Company in 1992, with the author and his wife playing Al and Bet respectively.

The Arab-Israeli Cookbook

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

The Arab-Israeli Cookbook is a drama created from the everyday realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The project began when the Caird Company sent the writer Robin Soans and directors Rima Brihi and Tim Roseman to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank in 2003. There they sampled a variety of dishes in homes, restaurants, shops and cafes and met dozens of people with different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. Each person had a story to tell and a recipe to cook. Robin Soans has constructed a verbatim play from the words he collected. Arab and Israeli voices come together to bring insight and understanding to the melting pot of Middle Eastern affairs.

audio Arcadia

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” merges science with human concerns and ideals, examining the universe’s influence in our everyday lives and ultimate fates through relationship between past and present, order and disorder and the certainty of knowledge. Set in an English country house in the year 1809-1812 and 1989, the play examines the lives of two modern scholars and the house's current residents with the lives of those who lived there 180 years earlier.

The New York Times calls Arcadia: “Tom Stoppard’s richest, most ravishing comedy to date. A play of wit, intellect, language, brio and emotion,” and The Royal Institution of Great Britain calls it: “the best science book ever written.” Includes an interview with Steven Strogatz, the author of Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos and Professor at the Cornell University School of Theoretical and Applied Mathematics. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Kate Burton as Hannah Mark Capri as Chater Jennifer Dundas as Thomasina Gregory Itzin as Bernard Nightingale David Manis as Cpt. Brice Christopher Neame as Noakes and Jellaby Peter Paige as Valentine Darren Richardson as Augustus Kate Steele as Chloe Serena Scott Thomas as Lady Croom Douglas Weston as Septimus Directed by John Rubinstein. Recorded at the Invisible Studios, West Hollywood. Arcadia 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: Kate Burton, Mark Capri, Jennifer Dundas, Gregory Itzin, David Manis, Christopher Neame, Peter Paige, Darren Richardson, Kate Steele, Serena Scott Thomas, Douglas Weston

The Architect

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Architect is a play of crumbling walls and relationships, about the eternally disappointing gap between an idea and its reality.

At the play’s centre is Leo, once a highly successful architect, now in charge of designing ‘access’, or in other words, car parks. In the seventies he built a high-concept and cheap-to-build housing estate shaped like Stonehenge, which won awards and praise for its innovation from everyone except the uncomfortable residents.

Now, as they petition for it to be knocked down and rebuilt, Leo finds that his family is collapsing too. His wife is obsessed by pervasive pollution, unable to move for fear of pesticides and decay. His son is lost in day-dreams about jobs he will never get, and a tense, destructive relationship with a man he met in a public toilet, while his daughter hitchhikes all night with long-distance lorry drivers.

The Architect is a taut, barbed story about vision and the cold light of day. Greig’s play was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 1996.

audio Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In the mid-1950’s, the House Un-American Activities Committee began investigating the communist influence in the entertainment industry. This searing docudrama from actual transcripts of the hearings reveals how decent people were persuaded to “name names,” and the steep price paid by those who refused.

An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: René Auberjonois, Edward Asner, Bonnie Bedelia, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Richard Dreyfuss, Hector Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, Harry Hamlin, James Earl Jones, Richard Masur, Franklyn Seales, Joe Spano, James Whitmore, Michael York, and Harris Yulin.

Featuring: Ryan Vincent Anderson, Michael Canavan, Jake Green, Harry Hamlin, Shannon Holt, Alan Mandell, James Morrison, David Selby, Kate Steele, Nick Toren, John Vickery

The Argument

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Pip and Meredith have had a bust-up. It was only about their opinion of a film, but it’s led to more significant differences coming to light. Pip has been having an affair. Meredith is in total shock.

As families and friends become embroiled in Pip and Meredith’s crisis, past prejudices, harsh judgements and painful truths come to light. The arguments that ensue go far beyond just being about Pip and Meredith, and what they should do about their marriage.

In ten taut arguments, William Boyd explores what it is to dispute with those we love – and those we claim to love. He looks at our propensity to judge others and our inherent power to cause real pain. He shows how the arguments we have with one another get to the very heart and reality of our relationships.

Darkly funny in tone, The Argument offers a bitingly acute take on human dynamics. The play was first performed at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs in March 2016.

Ariel

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Fermoy Fitzgerald, a Irish midlands politician, haunted by the ghosts of the past and enthralled by dreams of the future, will sacrifice everything in pursuit of power – even the lives of his wife and family. On the day of his daughter Ariel's sixteenth birthday, he makes a terrifying bargain with God

Ariel was first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in October 2002.

Arigato, Tokyo

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

On a publicity tour in Japan, Carl, a Canadian author, finds himself falling in love amidst the sacred stages of Noh theatre and the seedy dance clubs in Tokyo, wired on cocaine and sake. His object of affection is the young, seductive actor, Yori, but the affair becomes complicated when Carl’s translator and Yori’s sister, Nushi, becomes entranced with him. As his tour continues, he straddles the fragmentary place between two cultures – one of individuality and directness, the other of tradition and formality – and uncovers the dualities that exist in life and love. Based on The Tale of Genji, one of the world’s oldest pieces of literature, MacIvor’s script takes us into the centre of a clandestine Japan as experienced by the visiting outsider.

Aristo

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Aristo, based on the life of the wealthy shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, is an explosive account of how those in positions of enormous power and wealth often live lives detached from the realities and moralities of everyday existence.

After a notorious affair with the opera singer Maria Callas, Onassis married Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the US President John F. Kennedy, in 1968. Commented on by a gossiping Greek chorus, Aristo is a portrait of the complex and sometimes dark entanglements of their families, his relationships with Jacqueline and the scorned Maria, and the tragedy of his son Alexandros. Aristo, like Onassis himself, is charming, charismatic, and inescapably sinister.

Based in part on Peter Evans’ book Nemesis, Aristo premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2008.

Armadillo

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

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

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

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

Arms and the Man

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Although Arms and the Man derives its title from a translation of Virgil’s phrase ‘arma virumque’ in the Aeneid, it does not reflect the subject or mood of the classical epic poem about mythic heroes waging war. Rather, the play is a light-hearted mixture of domestic and romantic comedy. Additionally, although the Serbo-Bulgarian war of 1885 provides a backdrop for the play, and military action is often discussed amongst the characters, it is never enacted.

The play predominantly deals with class conflict and twisted love affairs, detailing the illicit romance between Raina Petkoff and fugitive Swiss officer Captain Bluntschli, and the equally salacious relationship between Raina’s fiancé, Major Sergius Saranoff, and housemaid Louka. Despite the secrecy of these flirtations, there exist two very obvious tokens of the couples’ respective affection onstage – Saranoff’s coat that Raina gives to Bluntschli, and the bruise that Saranoff leaves on Louka’s arm. As such, George Bernard Shaw renders his somewhat commonplace plot line more interesting with a satirical self-awareness, imbuing the text with obvious theatricality, whimsy, and even burlesque. Rather than imparting a sense of realism, Shaw’s comedy is illusory, fictional, and overtly performative.

Arms and the Man debuted on the London stage in 1894.

Armstrong’s War

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

After suffering an injury during a tour of Afghanistan, Michael, a young soldier, is recovering in the rehabilitation wing of a hospital. The last thing he wants is to spend time with a twelve-year-old girl, but Halley, a spirited Pathfinder and ‘reading fiend’, is eager to earn her community service badge. The pair is at odds from the start, but they find a shared interest in The Red Badge of Courage, the classic American Civil War novel, which spurs them to reveal their own stories. As their friendship grows, uncomfortable truths are exposed and questioned, redefining the meaning of courage and heroism.

Arrivals and Departures  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Two strangers – a taxi driver and a soldier – brought together during a covert security mission, relive memories of their lives.

Arrivals and Departures premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in September 2013.

audio Art

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

How much would you pay for a painting with nothing on it? Would it be “art”? Marc’s best friend Serge has just bought a very expensive – and very white – painting. To Marc, it is a joke, and as battle lines are drawn, old friends use the painting to settle scores. With friendships hanging in the balance, the question becomes: how much is a work of “art” worth? A Tony Award winner for Best Play and Oliver Award winner for Best Comedy.

Includes interviews with actors Bob Balaban and Brian Cox, as well as an interview with translator Christopher Hampton.

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

Bob Balaban as Serge

Brian Cox as Marc

Jeff Perry as Yvan

Directed by Peter Levin. Translated by Christopher Hampton. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Bob Balaban, Brian Cox, Jeff Perry

'Art'

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Serge has bought a modern work of art for a large sum of money. Marc hates the painting and cannot believe that a friend of his could possibly want such a work. Yvan attempts, unsuccessfully, to placate both sides with hilarious consequences. The question is: Are you who you think you are or are you who your friends think you are?

'Art' in this translation was first performed at Wyndham's Theatre, London, in October 1996.

In 1998, the play received the Evening Standard and Laurence Olivier awards for Best Comedy and the Tony and New York Drama Critics' Circle awards for Best Play.

The Artist Man and the Mother Woman

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Geoffrey Buncher is an art teacher. Until now his only meaningful relationship has been with his mother, Edie, who doesn't want her 'wee man growing up too fast'. But when one day he reads in the newspaper that he's working in one of the top ten sexiest professions, he decides to advertise in the local papers for a wife.

Straying outside of his comfortable existence, where his mother continues to buy her middle-aged son's Ribena, Geoffrey enters a frightening world of adulthood and female companionship that he struggles to adjust to. Attraction manifests itself in warped and disturbing ways and leads to a terrifying conclusion.

Written in Morna Pearson's trademark 'lurid, post-modern Doric' (Scotsman), and with hints of Joe Orton and Harold Pinter, The Artist Man and the Mother Woman is a wickedly funny, deceptively simple, surreal portrait of a spectacularly dysfunctional relationship.

The world premiere was staged by the Traverse Theatre Company, Edinburgh on 30 October 2012, in a production directed by Orla O'Loughlin.

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.

Ashes to Ashes

Grove Atlantic
Type: Text

Ashes to Ashes was first presented by the Royal Court at the Ambassadors Theatre, London, in September 1996.

The Ash Girl

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

When an invitation to The Ball arrives at the Ash girl's house, from Prince Amir, she can't bring herself to believe that she, like her sisters, can go. With her mother dead and her father away, she must learn to fight the monsters that have slithered and insinuated their way into her heart and mind. In this wondrous drama Timberlake Wertenbaker explores the beauty and terror inherent in growing up.

The Ash Girl premiered at Birmingham Rep in 2001.

As the Crow Flies

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Alfie keeps hiding Beth’s gardening gloves. She’s got lots to do and it’s just not funny anymore. Why won’t he realise that gardening is helping her forget everything? Why can’t he see she’s still not over her divorce? Why can’t he just be nice? Based on a true story of a woman who struck up an unlikely friendship with a wounded crow, As the Crow Flies is a heart-warming story of friendship, healing and kindness from award-winning playwright Hattie Naylor. A funny, moving and timeless story of our endless fascination with birds As the Crow Flies was first produced by Pentabus Theatre Company in March 2017.

audio At Long Last Leo

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Leo Beagle has spent two years writing a 638 page manifesto on human harmony that just might change the world. The problem is only that no one wants to read it, especially not Leo’s unharmonious family.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Barbara Bain, Arye Gross, Mary Gross, Valerie Mahaffey, Marc-Bradley Phillips and Robert Symonds.

Directed by Steve Albrezzi. Recorded before a live audience in Santa Monica, CA in March, 1992.

Featuring: James Farentino, Arye Gross, Julie Harris, Mitchell Hebert, Naomi Jacobson, Barbara Klein, Paul Morella, Michaeleen O’Neil, Nathan Taylor, Jerry Whiddon, Steven Culp, Maureen Flannigan, Jason Henning, Jane Kaczmarek, Stacy Keach, Sam McMurray, Kathryn Meisle, Tim Monsion, John Sloan, Kate Steele, Kenneth Williams, Irene Aranga, Rene Auberjonois, Ed Begley Jr., Bud Cort, Richard Dreyfuss, Judyann Elder, Hector Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Ann Hearne, Carol Kane, Stacy Keach, Joe Spano, Michael York, Charles Cioffi, Harry Hamlin, Jamie Hanes, Mary McDonnell, Peter Morse, Ed O’Neill, Amy Pietz, Don Tieri, Amy Brenneman, Anthony LaPaglia, Amy Pietz, Amy Aquino, Gregory Itzin, Claudette Nevins, Natalija Nogulich, Al Ruscio, Raphael Sbarge, Kenny Williams, Ben Diskin, Arye Gross, Jamie Hanes, Andrew Hawkes, Gregory Itzin, Robert Lesser, Jon Matthews, Lawrence Pressman, Raphael Sbarge, Armin Shimerman, Shahar Sorek, Richard Dreyfuss, Amy Irving and Harris Yulin, Brian Cox, Jenny O’Hara, Amy Pietz, Kirsten Potter, Gregory Itzin, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Jane Brucker, David Dukes, Lawrence Pressman, Linda Purl, John Vickery, JoBeth Williams

audio Atomic Bombers

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In 1943, something strange is going on in the New Mexican desert. By night, the starkly beautiful canyons of Los Alamos fill with the sound of exploding graphite – and by day, the crackle of scientific brainpower. Fifty years after Hiroshima, Atomic Bombers takes us into those secretive canyons to meet the cadre of brilliant scientists who worked there. With wisecracking physicist Dr. Richard Feynman as our guide, the race to the atom bomb comes alive as a very human endeavor, filled with humor, playfulness and dread.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Larry Cox, Jeannie Elias, Robin Gammell, Jon Matthews, Phillip Mershon, Danny Mora, Wolf Muser, Lisa Jane Persky, John Vickery, Tom Virtue and Ron West.

Featuring: Larry Cox, Jeannie Elias, Robin Gammell, Jon Matthews, Phillip Mershon, Danny Mora, Wolf Muser, Lisa Jane Persky, John Vickery, Tom Virtue, Ron West

At the Inland Sea

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

At The Inland Sea is a strange, searing, dream-like play, showing a child coming face to face with humanity, and all its horror and neglect.

As a boy prepares for the first day of his exams, fussed over by his mother, he meets a woman from the past, and her baby, and the soldiers with rifles who are coming to take them away. The woman tells him about the hardness of her life, and demands a story from him, which will stop the soldiers, but the boy can’t find one that will work. Following his desperate search for a story to save them, the play is a struggle of imagination and compassion, the crux of humanity.

At The Inland Sea is subtitled a play for young people; it was written for the Big Brum Theatre-in-Education company, and was toured to schools and colleges in the West Midlands in 1995.

audio Atwater: Fixin’ To Die

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Gregory Itzin portrays the brilliant but flawed Lee Atwater, a self-styled master of negative campaigning and a tightly wound country boy from South Carolina, who rose to the chairmanship of the Republican Party.

An L.A. Theatre Works performance featuring Gregory Itzin.

Featuring: Gregory Itzin

audio August: Osage County

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Play, Tracy Letts' darkly comic epic offers a painfully funny look at a family struggling in the desolate heart of America.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast recording, featuring members of the original Steppenwolf Theatre and Broadway productions: Tara Lynne Barr, Shannon Cochran, Deanna Dunagan (Tony Award®, Best Leading Actress), Kimberly Guerrero, Francis Guinan, Scott Jaeck, Ron Livingston, Robert Maffia, Mariann Mayberry, Rondi Reed (Tony Award®, Best Featured Actress), and David Warshofsky.

Directed by Bart DeLorenzo. Recorded by L.A. Thetare Works before a live audience.

Featuring: Tara Lynne Barr, Shannon Cochran, Rosemarie DeWitt, Deanna Dunagan, Kimberly Guerrero, Francis Guinan, Scott Jaeck, Ron Livingston, Robert Maffia, Mariann Mayberry, Robert Pine, Rondi Reed, David Warshofsky

The Awkward Squad

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A funny, heart-warming comedy in which four northern women meet for a family reunion that lurches from one crisis to another. A left-wing grandmother asks whether feminism still means anything to the younger generation. Faced with the recession, her daughters and grand-daughter have to reassess what matters most.

Babies

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Babies is a warm-hearted, buoyant and very funny comedy about homosexuality and judgement in a working-class setting.

Liverpudlian Joe Casey is twenty-four and a form tutor at a south-east London comprehensive. Alternately advising and battening down a group of fourteen-year-olds with a mixture of naivety and Scouse nous, Joe keeps his homosexuality a secret from the insult-slinging Year Nines. At home, he is flummoxed by his partner Woody’s reliance on drugs. Then there is a pupil’s birthday party to negotiate: Joe must fend off the advances of her rapacious, wisecracking mum, only to find himself entangled with her uncle.

Based on Harvey’s own experiences as a teacher, but with a comic spring in its step, Babies premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 1994.

audio Baby Dance, The

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A desperate L.A. professional couple, unable to have children, arrange to buy the unborn baby of a dirt-poor Louisiana pair. Emotions run high and relationships hang by a thread in this passionate and heartbreaking Off-Broadway drama by Mad Man writer Jane Anderson. “It is a play that audiences will take home with them; it might provoke disagreement, as do the issues themselves.” The New York Times

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring David Ellenstein, Valerie Landsburg, Bruce McIntosh, John Bennett Perry and Jacqueline Schultz.

Featuring: David Ellenstein, Valerie Landsburg, Bruce McIntosh, John Bennett Perry, Jacqueline Schultz

Baby Reindeer

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

I looked at her, wanting her to laugh. Wanting her to share in the joke. But she didn't. She just stared. I knew then, in that moment – that she had taken it literally...

Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Richard Gadd has a chilling story to tell about obsession, delusion and the terrifying ramifications of a fleeting mistake.

This powerful and engaging monologue play portrays a man brought to the edge by the actions of a chance encounter which takes a toll on all aspects of his life. In doing so it asks important questions about victims, the justice system and how one decision has the ability to change your life.

The Bacchae

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

One of the greatest of all Greek tragedies – savage, comic and intensely lyrical – The Bacchae powerfully dramatises the conflict between the emotional and rational sides of the human psyche. The magnetic young Dionysus – icon, hedonist, god – returns home with his cult of female followers to exact his revenge, unleashing the full force of female sexuality on the city.

David Greig's version of The Bacchae premiered at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh, in August 2007 in a co-production between the Edinburgh International Festival and the National Theatre of Scotland.

audio Bad Axe

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The story of a woman accused of murdering her husband at a military outpost in the Old West. Did hostile Indians force her to scalp him as revenge for his brutality, or did she kill him out of frustration with her plight as a soldier’s wife?

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring John Castellanos, Harry Hamlin, Amy Irving, Peter Jacobs and Jessica Walter.

Recorded before a live audience.

Featuring: John Castellanos, Harry Hamlin, Amy Irving, Peter Jacobs, Jessica Walter

Bad Roads  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Natal'ya Vorozhbit's Bad Roads is a play about life in war-torn Ukraine, focussing in particular on the war's impact on women. It was developed by the Royal Court International Department, and first performed in this English translation by Sasha Dugdale at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, on 15 November 2017.

The play has six scenes, each one exploring a facet of the war. In the first scene, a Kiev-based writer tells the story of a research trip she made to the battle zone a year after the siege of Donetsk airport, and how she fell for her patriotic escort. The ensuing scenes show teenage girls eagerly waiting for soldiers, a female medic transporting her lover’s headless corpse, and a young journalist outwitting her captor.

The premiere production was directed by Vicky Featherstone and designed by Camilla Clarke. It was performed by Ronke Adekoluejo, Samuel Anderson, Vincent Ebrahim, Anne Lacey, Tadhg Murphy, Mike Noble and Ria Zmitrowicz.

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.

Bajazet  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Bajazet is Racine’s most violent drama; it ends, like Phèdre, with a female character’s on-stage suicide, here the culmination of a vividly described sequence of off-stage murders. The setting, in a claustrophobic space within the harem at Constantinople, menaced from both without and within, seems to license a violence of emotion as well as of deed. Violent too are the repeated reversals of fortune, and the terrifying acceleration of the play towards its inexorable catastrophe.

Alan Hollinghurst’s translation of Bajazet premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, in November 1990.

The Balancing Act

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Could there be one thing that holds the world together: amidst all the chaos, of war, poverty, illness and ecological breakdown, could one spot anchor it all?

Viv thinks so, and cowers beneath the floorboards of a soon-to-be-demolished tower block to protect the notion. Nelson tries to convince her otherwise, but fails, then lives his life in penance. The demolition expert who demolished the tower block (and unwittingly killed Viv) believes it, and wittingly kills his wife to protect the notion too.

The Balancing Act, is a hilarious and unsettling black comedy that shows what happens when people let the world be run by superstition, obsession and confusion.

audio Ballad of Yachiyo

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The Ballad of Yachiyo is a tale of illicit passion by Guggenheim-winning playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, set in 1919 among the lush cane fields of Hawaii. Inspired by true events in the playwright’s family, The Ballad of Yachiyo follows 16-year-old Yachiyo as she reluctantly leaves her impoverished parents to live with sophisticated relatives. Her mother hopes she will learn the Japanese tea ceremony and other refinements that will help attract a wealthy husband. But as Yachiyo acquires civilized graces from her hostess, Okusan, she also struggles with a growing passion for Okusan’s handsome, dissolute husband. The Ballad of Yachiyo is a gripping story of poetic imagery by one of America’s leading contemporary playwrights.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring June Angela, Takayo Fischer, Dian Kobayashi, Lane Nishikawa, Sab Shimono, Greg Watanabe and Annie Yee.

Featuring: June Angela, Takayo Fischer, Dian Kobayashi, Lane Nishikawa, Sab Shimono, Greg Watanabe, Annie Yee

audio The Baltimore Waltz

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A darkly satirical play written at the height of the AIDS crisis. As a young woman is diagnosed with a mysterious new illness, she and her beloved brother flee to Europe in search of a cure … and to escape the pain and uncertainty of the future.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Jenny Bacon, Christopher Donahue and Jerry Saslow.

Featuring: Jenny Bacon, Christopher Donahue, Jerry Saslow

Bang Bang Bang  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stella Feehily 's play Bang Bang Bang is a drama that looks at what goes on behind the public face of charities, journalists and NGOs. It was first performed at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, on 5 September 2011, in a production by Out of Joint that subsequently toured the UK, including performances at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in October 2011.

Sadhbh, a seasoned human rights defender, and her idealistic young colleague, Mathilde, embark on a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. For Mathilde, it's an induction into a life less ordinary, while for Sadhbh, it's back to madness and chaos away from her lover and London – exactly as she likes it. While Mathilde lets off steam with a photographer and a spliff, Sadhbh has her own encounter: tea with a smart but brutal young warlord she's investigating. But things are about to escalate, with terrifying consequences.

The Out of Joint production was directed by Max Stafford-Clark and designed by Miriam Nabarro. It was performed by Orla Fitzgerald (as Sadhbh), Julie Dray (as Mathilde), Babou Ceesay, Dan Fredenburgh, Frances Ashman, Zara Brown, Pena liyambo, Akleia Louis-Frederick, Jessica Richardson, Paul Hickey and Jack Farthing.

audio Bang the Drum Slowly

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A new dramatization of one of the greatest baseball stories of all time. A poignant, touching, and often comic tale of a baseball team’s friendship and loyalty to a dying teammate. Adapted from the novel by Mark Harris.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Ed Begley Jr., John Freeland Jr., Henry Harris, Brent Hinkley, Bruce Nelson, Joshua Rifkind, David Robbins, Marcia Rodd, Elizabeth Ruscio, Enrique Sandino, David Schwimmer, Harry Shearer and Jonathan Silverman.

Featuring: Ed Begley Jr., John Freeland Jr., Henry Harris, Brent Hinkley, Bruce Nelson, Joshua Rifkind, David Robbins, Marcia Rodd, Elizabeth Ruscio, Enrique Sandino, David Schwimmer, Harry Shearer, Jonathan Silverman

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 Bear (after Chekhov)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Elena Popova, a young and attractive widow, has immersed herself in the role of mourning for her once philandering late husband. Luka, her frail and ancient man-servant, tries in vain to snap her out of it. Then Smirnov barges in.

The Bear (after Chekhov) was first produced, with Afterplay, at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in March 2002.

Contemporary British theatre

British theatre culture is characterised by innovative new writing, naturalistic acting and responsiveness to political change. During the past three decades, upheavals in society have been mirrored by the theatre. The long reign of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which started in May 1979 and ended in November 1990, broke the economic, social and political consensus of postwar Britain, introducing the ideology of monetarism, the practice of privatisation and the rule of the market. In the 1980s, the money distributed by the Arts Council to theatres was repeatedly cut. In 1994, the National Lottery was created by John Major’s Conservative government, and this paid for ambitious theatre building projects. The arrival of Tony Blair and New Labour in 1997 continued these trends, but it was not until the 2000s that, following the Boyden Report, an extra £25 million was pumped into the beleaguered theatre system nationwide. One result was a boom in new writing in the first decade of the new millennium.

The profoundest effect of Thatcherism was commercialisation: during the 1980s and 1990s, theatres became businesses as well as arts organizations. These years also saw the amazing triumph of the commercial West End. Composer and theatre-owner Andrew Lloyd Webber made theatre history in 1991 with six shows running at the same time in London’s Theatreland. In July 1993 his Sunset Boulevard opened with £4 million in advance bookings, and in January 1996 Cats (1981) — with its instantly recognisable yellow-eye logo — became the longest running musical in history. In 1994, he repeated his achievements of 1982 and 1988 by having three musicals running in London and three in New York at the same time. Two years later, Madonna starred in the film version of his Evita. In the 1997 New Year’s honours list, as a farewell gift from the departing Conservatives, he was made a life peer, a high point of a career that made him one of the richest men in Britain. Likewise, Cameron Mackintosh, the other major musical producer, enjoyed continued success with Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boubil’s Les Miserables (1985), which had been developed by the RSC and is currently the longest-running musical, closely followed by Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera (1986), both making billions in box office worldwide. The decade ended with Schonberg and Boubil’s Miss Saigon (1989) and the arrival of jukebox musicals, led by Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (1989). Since then, other West End long-runners include Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers (1983), Disney’s The Lion King (1997) and Abba’s Mamma Mia! (1999). Agatha Christie’s museum-piece The Mousetrap (1952) was joined by Stephen Mallatratt’s The Woman in Black (1987) and more recently by Patrick Barlow’s The 39 Steps (2005). By 2012, the Society of London Theatre announced that annual West End ticket sales had topped £500 million.

The broad trends of British theatre in the 1980s included not only the emergence of blockbusting musicals, but also the arrival of epic theatre. A good example is David Edgar’s eight-and-a half-hour adaptation of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby for the state-subsidised RSC in 1980. Another is Tony Harrison’s three-part version of The Mysteries (1985) for the National Theatre. Traditionally, a mixture of naturalism and socially progressive realism was, to a greater or lesser extent, the main aesthetic of British theatre. Playwrights sought both to mirror society, and to change it. Controversial new plays by the 1968 generation of radicals were headed by Howard Brenton’s The Romans in Britain (1980), which was the subject of a private prosecution for obscenity by Mary Whitehouse. Other notable plays were Brenton and David Hare’s satirical Pravda (1985), Jim Cartwright’s debut Road (1986), Alan Ayckbourn’s A Small Family Business (1987) and Hare’s The Secret Rapture (1988). Each engaged with the social impact of Thatcherism.

Two other trends were visible: the rise in women playwrights and of black and Asian theatre. Older women such as Caryl Churchill, Pam Gems and Timberlake Wertenbaker were joined by new arrivals such as Sarah Daniels, April de Angelis, Charlotte Keatley, Sharman Macdonald and Andrea Dunbar. Churchill’s Top Girls (1982) and Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should (1987) are now modern classics. Characteristically, these plays represent women’s lives through an innovative approach to structure. Churchill’s Serious Money (1987) and Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good (1988) explore the contemporary by engaging with history. Dunbar was a genuinely working-class writer, and her play Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1982) was also filmed. Daniels’s Masterpieces (1983) is a feminist tract.

Black and Asian companies such as Tara Arts, Tamasha and Talawa, plus playwrights Hanif Kureishi (Outskirts), Mustapha Matura (Playboy of the West Indies) and Winsome Pinnock (Leave Taking), made their presence felt during the 1980s. Another trend involved the creation of small-scale companies, whose highly recognisable aesthetic styles proved widely influential. These were headed by Théâtre de Complicité, which later became Complicite, and whose long line of physical-theatre productions culminated in Mnemonic (1999). Likewise, Shared Experience pioneered outstanding adaptations of classic novels, often scripted by Helen Edmundson, while Cheek by Jowl concentrated on vividly acted revivals of the classics. But, across the decade, the embattled feeling due to cuts in state subsidy had a demoralising effect. By the end of the 1980s, there was talk of a crisis in new writing.

In the 1990s, new writing revived, but political plays gave way to personal ones. Starting with younger playwrights such as Philip Ridley (The Pitchfork Disney) and Anthony Neilson (Penetrator), a new sensibility, called in-yer-face theatre, developed. While the moment of in-yer-face theatre — raw, uncompromising drama that smashed taboos and provoked audiences — was short-lived, spanning the four years between the arrival of Sarah Kane’s notoriously shocking debut Blasted at the Royal Court in January 1995 and her suicide in February 1999, it changed the face of new writing.

The sudden emergence of a large number of new voices — Mark Ravenhill, Jez Butterworth, Martin McDonagh, Patrick Marber, Joe Penhall, David Eldridge, Moira Buffini, Phyllis Nagy, Judy Upton, Rebecca Prichard and Nick Grosso — suggested a renaissance and some critics spoke enthusiastically of a golden age. Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking (1996) publicised the new sensibility, while Butterworth’s Mojo (1995), McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy (1997) and Marber’s Closer (1997) were commercially successful.

From Scotland came David Greig and David Harrower (Knives in Hens); from Ireland arrived Conor McPherson, whose The Weir (1997) was a massive West End success. Elsewhere, Roy Williams and Tanika Gupta moved across the theatrical spectrum from writing plays about their Caribbean and Bengali heritage to penning dramas about contemporary Britain. Ayub Khan Din’s East Is East (1997) was a big hit. In terms of the avant-garde, Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life (1997) was the most experimental and daring play of the decade. It could never be as commercial as Jonathan Harvey’s feelgood Beautiful Thing (1993), Kevin Elyot’s comic My Night with Reg (1994) and Shelagh Stephenson’s resonant The Memory of Water (1996). Bucking the widespread trend against political drama, the Tricycle Theatre produced The Colour of Justice (1999), a tribunal theatre piece based on the Stephen Lawrence enquiry.

In the 1990s, many new writers were interested in the overarching subject of masculinity in crisis, but older playwrights had other concerns: having penned a farce classic — Noises Off (1982) — in the 1980s, Michael Frayn wrote a dazzling science play, Copenhagen (1998), while Stoppard’s Arcadia (1993) and The Invention of Love (1997) explored Englishness, as did Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III (1991) and The Wind in the Willows (1991). David Hare’s Trilogy (1993), Skylight (1995) and Amy’s View (1997) confirmed his status as the National’s in-house political dramatist, while David Edgar’s Pentecost (1994) examined global politics after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. By contrast, Terry Johnson’s Hysteria (1993) and Dead Funny (1994) mixed farce with gender insights. Howard Barker and Edward Bond continued to write their uniquely challenging work.

In the 2000s, as state funding for theatre rose, new writing multiplied in its practitioners and diversified in its subjects — and young writers rediscovered overtly political concerns. In the aftermath of 9/11, the fashion for verbatim theatre was widespread: David Hare’s Stuff Happens (2004) mixed fact and fiction, while My Name Is Rachel Corrie and Talking to Terrorists are but two of many examples. Other political plays were headed by Alistair Beaton’s Feelgood (2001), which satirised Blair’s obsession with spin. Likewise, typical 2000s’ themes were the War on Terror, the Iraq War and the culture of fear, the social problems of poverty and violence, the effects of migration from the EU and beyond, and the disaffection of segregated communities. Joe Penhall’s ethical debate drama Blue/Orange (2000) and Charlotte Jones’s family drama Humble Boy (2001) were often revived.

As far as new arrivals are concerned, Simon Stephens (On the Shore of the Wide World) and Richard Bean were two of the most prolific and powerful new voices to emerge in this decade. Bean’s England People Very Nice (2009) was very provocative and his Goldoni adaptation, One Man, Two Guvnors (2011) was a huge international success, as was Jez Butterworth’s battered pastoral Jerusalem (2009). Similarly, in Scotland, Gregory Burke joined David Greig, David Harrower and Liz Lochhead as a chronicler of the new millennium. His Black Watch (2006) and Anthony Neilson’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia (2004) were hits for the newly established National Theatre of Scotland. Meanwhile, the most controversial play of the decade, Gurprett Kaur Bhatti’s Behzti (2004), was staged in Birmingham, and concerned religion and abuse.

While new black playwrights such as Kwame Kwei-Armah (Elmina’s Kitchen) and debbie tucker green (Stoning Mary) were staged at the National and Royal Court, The Big Life, a musical about the Windrush generation, moved from the Theatre Royal Stratford East into the West End in 2005. Roy Williams’s Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (2002) and Tanika Gupta’s Sugar Mummies (2006) were notable successes. The increase in dystopic visions of the future testifies to the imagination of playwrights: examples include Caryl Churchill’s Far Away (2000), her A Number (2002) and Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur (2005). Lucy Prebble’s Enron (2009) summed up the economic crisis; Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (2004) and Lee Hall’s The Pitman Painters (2007) explored the past.

A new crop of talents, such as Dennis Kelly, Laura Wade, Mike Bartlett, Tim Crouch, Steve Waters, Bola Agbaje, Chloe Moss, Polly Stenham, Penelope Skinner and James Graham, together ensured that the 2000s were a remarkable decade for new writing. Many were also commercially successful: Peter Gill’s The York Realist (2002), Polly Stenham’s That Face (2007), Laura Wade’s Posh (2010), April De Angelis’s Jumpy (2011) and Nick Payne’s Constellations (2012) all transferred to the West End. As did National Theatre shows such as Nick Stafford’s adaptation of War Horse (2007), with its puppetry, and One Man, Two Guvnors, with its slapstick. Finally, new forms of non-text-based theatre, such as the work of the Shunt and Punchdrunk companies, as well as experiments in site-specific, immersive theatre and one-on-one theatre, made a big impact. By 2012, the effects of Coalition government cuts in funding for the theatre had not as yet been felt.

Aleks Sierz