Post-WWII: 1945-1980

Plays

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

audio Additional Dialogue: An Evening With Dalton Trumbo

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In 1947, witty, outspoken, irascible Dalton Trumbo - the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Roman Holiday and Spartacus - went to prison for defying the House Committee on Un-American Activities and became one of the framed Hollywood Ten. Through his wildly funny and thought-provoking correspondence, Trumbo’s son has created a touching portrait of an extraordinary man.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Jeff Corey, Harry Groener, Christopher Trumbo and Paul Winfield.

Featuring: Jeff Corey, Harry Groener, Christopher Trumbo, Paul Winfield

After Haggerty

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Gathering together the political and social concerns of an era, After Haggerty addresses with breadth and complexity the politics of theatre and personal liberation at a time when social certainties were being rapidly destabilised.

Bernard Link, a socialist middle-aged theatre critic, has leased a flat in London from Mr Haggerty without having met him. Claire, who is sharp, brittle and American, storms into the flat expecting to find the father of her child, but finds Bernard instead. He is having the flat done up by a couple of jobbing decorators, including an out-of-work homosexual actor. The unhappy cohabitation of this mixture of people is punctuated by excepts from Bernard’s pan-European lectures on Marxist theatre, cryptic telegrams from Haggerty in Paris, and the off-stage squalling of Claire and Haggerty’s baby, Raskolnikov. Then Bernard’s father visits, his reactionary, bigoted views clashing with what suddenly feels like a household.

After Haggerty was first presented in 1970 at the Aldwych Theatre, London.

An Afternoon at the Festival

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

An Afternoon at the Festival is an elegantly-structured and reflective meditation on failure.

Leo Brent is an egotistical, successful and middle-aged film-maker. While he is waiting for the four o’clock showing of his new and last film, he spends the morning with a prostitute, Anita: more to find somewhere to sit down than to sleep with her. Back at the house where the film was set, the star — Leo’s ex-wife Dana — is drinking Chablis with his brother, Howard. The play splices these two disconsolate conversations with scenes from Leo’s new film, set in the Victorian era, about the abrasive and eventually violent relationship between a boy and his stepmother. The suggestion, only voiced by Dana, that Leo’s talent is running out sits at the heart of this subtle play.

An Afternoon at the Festival was first presented by Yorkshire Television in 1973.

audio After the Fall

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Arthur Miller’s famous autobiographical drama takes place inside the tortured mind of a 40-year-old lawyer. Quentin is haunted by his disastrous affair with a needy sex symbol - a character rumored to be based on Marilyn Monroe, Miller’s second wife.

Featuring: Amy Brenneman, Anthony LaPaglia, Amy Pietz, Amy Aquino, Gregory Itzin, Claudette Nevins, Natalija Nogulich, Al Ruscio, Raphael Sbarge, Kenny Williams

audio All My Sons

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

World War II is over and a family, mourning a son missing in action, plants a memorial tree and tries to go on with their lives. A storm blows down the tree and a devastating family secret is uprooted, setting the characters on a terrifying journey towards truth. Based upon a true story, All My Sons is a classic drama by one of America’s greatest playwrights.

At the heart of All My Sons lies a scathing criticism of the American Dream. After its publication Arthur Miller was called to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he famously refused to give evidence against others. A Tony Award Winner for Best Author (1947). Includes an interview with historian Bill Yenne, author of “The American Aircraft Factory in World War Two”, one of his many works that chronicle the history of wartime aviation and manufacturing. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Julie Harris as Kate Keller James Farentino as Joe Keller Arye Gross as Chris Keller Mitchell Hebert as Dr. Bayliss Naomi Jacobson as Ann Barbara Klein as Lydia Paul Morella as George Michaeleen O'Neil as Sue Nathan Taylor as Bert Jerry Whiddon as Frank Directed by Nick Olcott. Recorded at Voice of America, Washington DC.

Featuring: James Farentino, Arye Gross, Julie Harris, Mitchell Hebert, Naomi Jacobson, Barbara Klein, Paul Morella, Michaeleen O'Neil, Nathan Taylor, Jerry Whiddon

Alphabetical Order

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A provincial newspaper office in the 1970s – and it’s another day of chaos in the cuttings library. Files all over the floor, phones left ringing. And where is Lucy, the librarian . . . ? Her life (when she finally arrives), and the lives of the journalists who take refuge in her muddled retreat, turn out to be as confused as the library itself. Into this comfortable little world steps Lesley, Lucy’s new assistant. She’s young, bright, and she wants system and order. She wants things to change.

Writing about the play, The Times said: ‘The best of Frayn’s plays. He has found a way of writing broad comedy about ordinary and sympathetic people without resorting to artificial conflict or character distortion’.

Alphabetical Order was first produced at Hampstead Theatre on 11 March 1975 before transferring to the West End and winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy. It was revived at Hampstead Theatre on 16 April 2009.

American Buffalo

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Donny runs a junkshop with the help of his young, enthusiastic new employee, Bobby. When a customer comes in on the hunt for an antique coin, Donny sees a business opportunity. Between them, Donny and Bobby plot to rob their wealthy neighbour of his valuable coin collection. Donny’s friend, Walter, however, suspects that all is not as it seems. American Buffalo asks its audience: how do you know who you can trust?

First performed at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago, in 1975, American Buffalo transferred to Broadway in 1977, before playing the Cottesloe auditorium at the National Theatre, London, in 1978. It was revived at the Duke of York Theatre, London, in 1984, with Al Pacino as Teach.

audio American Buffalo

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

David Mamet’s gift for storytelling and forging poetry from both the plain-spoken and profane turns an ill-conceived scheme to steal a rare coin into a triumph of dramatic art. In a junk shop, three men of different generations plan their heist. But their fates, like the nickel’s worn image of the beleaguered buffalo, may have been sealed long ago. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production starring Rich Hutchman as Donny DuBrow, Josh Stamberg as Walter Cole (Teacher), and Maurice Williams as Bobby. Directed by Brian Kite and recorded before an audience by L.A. Theatre Works. Featuring: Rich Hutchman, Josh Stamberg, Maurice Williams

And A Nightingale Sang . . .

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A family try their best to get on with their lives as the bombs fall around them in Taylor’s warm and sincere play, which follows their loves, fears and joys through World War Two.

And A Nightingale Sang . . . opens just before the beginning of the war on a house in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne filled with well-meant and bustling domestic chaos. The scenes are partly related by Helen, who is stoical and self-deprecating and walks with a limp. Her grandfather Andie is recruiting mourners to attend the burial of his dog; her devout Catholic mother is fretting about the health of the local priest; her father is serenading an unwilling audience with the popular songs that light up the whole play. Joyce, Helen’s younger, prettier sister is dithering over whether to accept a marriage proposal from Eric, who is being deployed to France. Helen, depended on for guidance by the whole family, has never had any attention from men – until she meets Norman, who shows her that she can waltz and fall in love. But for all the family, nothing can be the same after the war.

And A Nightingale Sang . . . was first staged in 1977 by Live Theatre in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, and was presented in this version at the Queen’s Theatre, London, in 1979.

The Antigone of Sophocles

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In his book The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht, John Willett writes of The Antigone of Sophocles: 'Perhaps two-thirds of the play follows the Hölderlin version, but even here Brecht has largely reshaped the verse so that although much of the sense, many of the images, and even the words themselves are the same as Hölderlin's the cadence is different. Almost indistinguishable in style, his new passages are woven into this. Considerable changes result. A prologue set in Berlin of 1945 shows two sisters whose brother has deserted from the German army and is found hanged: should they risk being seen by the SS cutting his body down? In the play itself Creon becomes a brutal aggressor who has attacked Argos for the sake of its iron ore; Polyneikes deserts in protest against this war which has killed his brother; and Antigone is partly moved by a like disapproval of her uncle's policy.'

The Antigone of Sophocles was conceived as a new experiment in the epic theatre, and is linguistically an extraordinary composition. It was first produced in February 1948.

The Arcata Promise

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Arcata Promise is a study of the grotesque self-pity of an unstable actor, a merciless account of individual self-delusion and failure.

Once a successful actor, Gunge now lives in a grimy basement, arguing with a disembodied Voice and fantasising about violence. Glimpses of him prowling the stage as Richard II are intercut with memories of his relationship with Laura, a young woman who believed his promise of eternal devotion, but became gradually disillusioned as his alcoholism and hostility emerged. The sudden appearance of Tony, a valet, in Gunge’s squalid residence fractures Gunge’s reality and psyche even further, bringing Mercer’s story of tortured attraction to a destructive conclusion.

The Arcata Promise was first presented by Yorkshire Television in 1974.

Arlington

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Enda Walsh's play Arlington (subtitled 'A Love Story') is a story of love and oppression set in a dystopian world of entrapment, isolation and surveillance. It was first performed at Leisureland, Salthill, Galway, on 11 July 2016, as part of the 2016 Galway International Arts Festival.

The play is set in a 'realistic waiting room – of no fixed time or place'. Isla, a young woman, is trapped here, waiting for her number to be called on a prominent LED number display screen. Her only human contact is with a Young Man who sits in an adjacent control room operating the cameras that keep her under constant surveillance and listening to the stories she invents about the outside world. Both characters are victims of a tyrannical system, as is the Young Woman who, in a long, wordless, central section, dances her way to her own death. The play, however, concludes on a note that suggests that the human spirit can withstand oppression.

The Galway premiere was directed by Walsh with choreography by Emma Martin, music by Teho Teardo and designs by Jamie Vartan. It was performed by Charlie Murphy as Isla, Hugh O’Conor as the Young Man and Oona Doherty as the Young Woman, with additional voicework by Eanna Breathnach, Olwen Fouéré, Helen Norton and Stephen Rea.

Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In their introduction to the play, authors Margaretta D'Arcy and John Arden say of Ars Longa Vita Brevis: 'This little piece is not exactly a play, nor is it anything else in particular. If we must call it something, it might well be termed "A Theme for Variations."'

A satirical play, Ars Longa Vita Brevis draws comparisons between education and military conquest, suggesting that the result of both is the suppression of individual expression, and, ultimately, the death of the individual, as seen in the life of the martially-minded art master Mr Miltiades. The free rein the authors give to the possibility for production is in marked contrast to the damning, and ultimately damned, techniques of the protagonist of the piece.

audio The Autumn Garden

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A Chekhovian comedy from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lillian Hellman about the sad and funny frailties of human existence. As the summer of 1949 draws to a close, a group of middle-aged friends are gathering for their annual retreat at a genteel Southern resort. An acquaintance from the past thrusts himself into the yearly gathering, forcing them to re-examine their mundane yet seemingly idyllic existence, the opportunities they’ve lost, and the lives that have passed them by.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Glenne Headly as Rose Griggs Julie Harris as Mrs. Mary Ellis David Clennon as General Benjamin Griggs Eric Stoltz as Edward Crossman Scott Wolf as Frederick Ellis Roxanne Hart as Carrie Ellis Tracy Middendorf as Sophie Tuckerman Jeronimo Spinx as Leon Gates McFadden as Constance Tuckerman David Selby as Nicholas Denery Mary Steenburgen as Nina Denery Lynne Marta as Hilda

Featuring: David Clennon, Julie Harris, Roxanne Hart, Glenne Headly, Lynne Marta, Gates McFadden, Tracy Middendorf, David Selby, Jeronimo Spinx, Mary Steenburgen, Eric Stoltz, Scott Wolf

The Bankrupt

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

David Mercer’s play is a bleakly comic study of the introspective amnesia of Ellis Cripper, who has emerged from his recent dishonourable bankruptcy into a personal crisis, with no idea of how to construct his life.

He dreams of summoning a series of historical figures, who propose a series of abstract and general answers to his existential crisis, but neither their adages nor the analyses of doctors and psychiatrists are satisfactory. The play flickers between these conjurations, and Ellis’s visit to his father, his sister and her husband, who try to offer their own structures of Ellis’s existence. But Ellis would rather talk to worms, invoke Hamlet, and write down his dreams.

The Bankrupt is a darkly effective play about a man’s struggle for significance. It was first presented by BBC Television on BBC1, in 1972.

audio Barefoot in the Park

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A brand-new lawyer and his bride have returned from their honeymoon and are moving into a new apartment. Once there, they find the place is bare of furniture, the paint job is wrong, the skylight leaks and wacky neighbors keep popping up! A classic!

Includes an interview with Marc Masterson, the Artistic Director of South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California. Before joining South Coast in 2011, Marc was the Artistic Director of the Actors Theatre of Louisville for eleven seasons, and programmed the prestigious Humana Festival of New American Plays. During his tenure in Louisville, Marc directed a number of classic and contemporary works, including a highly-praised production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Norman Aronovic, Laura Linney, J. Fred Shiffman, Judy Simmons and Eric Stoltz.

Featuring: Norman Aronovic, Laura Linney, J. Fred Shiffman, Judy Simmons, Eric Stoltz

Bartholmew Fair

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Jonson’s exuberant comedy uses the carnival energy of Bartholmew Fair, an actual fair held in a disreputable suburb of London, to dramatize, satirize and celebrate the appetites and comic frailties of the human body.

The depiction of the Fair, teeming with sleazy but energetic life, is one of the great creations of English drama. There are crowds listening to a ballad-singer while a cutpurse plies his trade; sellers of toys and gingerbread raking in customers; drunken quarrels, arrests, and beatings. The climax is a puppet show in which a classic love story is reduced to raucous obscenity. At the centre is the gigantic pig-seller Ursla, whose tent, full of smoke, flame and frying carcasses, also doubles as a privy and a brothel.

There are also a number of respectable (and not so respectable) Londoners drawn to the Fair. Those who come to judge it end up in trouble. Those who come to enjoy it, and get something out of it, do not always get what they expect. Jonson’s gift for elaborate plotting draws all of his vivid characters together in a complex, beautifully structured mercantile cacophony.

Bartholmew Fair is said to have been first performed in 1613 at the Hope playhouse.

audio Becket, or The Honor of God

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Waiting to be punished for his part in Becket's murder, King Henry II re-lives his deeply felt relationship with the saint, once his dearest friend and partner in unbridled decadence. His catastrophic mistake? To appoint Becket Archbishop - for Becket finds his allegiance shifting from king and country to God and Church.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Asher Book, Kevin Daniels, Ken Danziger, Jean Gilpin, Alan Mandell, Charlie Matthes, Tim Monsion, Denis O' Hare, Jennifer Rau-Ramirez, Simon Templeman, John Vickery, Douglas Westen and Greg Woodell.

Featuring: Asher Book, Kevin Daniels, Ken Danziger, Jean Gilpin, Alan Mandell, Charlie Matthes, Tim Monsion, Denis O' Hare, Jennifer Rau-Ramirez, Simon Templeman, John Vickery, Douglas Westen, Greg Woodell

The Beggar or The Dead Dog

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

As a young university student in Munich, Bertolt Brecht was only a few years away from early success as a playwright when he wrote five one-acts. Of these plays, only one was performed in his lifetime, and none were published until after his death. They provide a retrospective look at Brecht before his evolution into the founder of epic theatre, demonstrating some of the tendencies that would mark his later work.

In The Beggar, a beggar dares to speak the truth to an emperor when the emperor descends to complain about the smell. It was neither produced nor published during the author’s lifetime.

Beside Herself

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

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

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

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

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

audio The Best Man

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This darkly satirical drama by Gore Vidal finds two presidential contenders seeking the endorsement of an aging ex-president, and explores how personal agendas can change the course of a nation's destiny. The political intrigues rampant in Vidal's 1960 setting are strangely similar what is going on today. Includes an interview with actors Fred Thompson and Marsha Mason.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Terrence Currier, Johnny Holliday, Naomi Jacobson, Timmy Ray James, Michael Kramer, Marsha Mason, Paul Morella, Kevin Murray, Judy Simmons, Gary Sloan and Fred Thompson.

Featuring: Terrence Currier, Johnny Holliday, Naomi Jacobson, Timmy Ray James, Michael Kramer, Marsha Mason, Paul Morella, Kevin Murray, Judy Simmons, Gary Sloan, Senator Fred Thompson

The Bewitched

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Bewitched is an astounding carousel of the grotesque and the lyrical, the baroque and the intimate, the horrific and the comic; Barnes’s vast play tells the story of Spain’s ill-fated King Carlos II in a luminous and visceral style.

In the seventeenth century, Spain’s political stability hinged on the continuation of the sovereign bloodline. Unfortunately Carlos, the son conceived by the elderly King Philip IV in the opening scene, has epilepsy, distorted limbs, impaired speech and mental confusion, the tragic result of centuries of royal inbreeding; in Carlos, the famous Hapsburg jaw had become so prominent that he could not chew. The play traces the grim attempts of his court to engineer the conception of an heir, involving a desperate exorcism and the burning of heretics as an aphrodisiac. Barnes offers a searing examination of the belief that certain persons are entitled to hold power, and a tragic account of a life of suffering, charged with pain and cold poetry.

The Bewitched was first presented in 1974 at the Aldwych Theatre, London.

Bingo

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Bingo, subtitled Scenes of Money and Death, uses the last days of a brooding and unheroic William Shakespeare to accuse art and capitalism of vile inhumanity.

Historical evidence suggests that not long before his death Shakespeare agreed to the enclosure of common land near Stratford, which was beneficial to landowners such as Shakespeare, but disastrous for small tenants and the parish’s poor. For Bond this incident is laced with damning echoes of King Lear’s injustices, and motivates his portrayal of the writer as a bourgeois and apolitical capitalist, more occupied with his profits and rents than with the distress of those who depended on the land.

The Shakespeare of Bingo is no national treasure; fretful, impassive and guilty, he is moved to splintered eloquence by the plight of a baited bear and a hanged vagrant woman, but is too slow to see the inhumanity and cruelty of his own position.

Bingo is a thorny cry against exploitation and passivity, and an original and coldly compelling portrait of the revered writer. It was first performed in 1973 at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter.

Bones

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In a rundown porn cinema in 1960s Gateshead, two Jewish brothers are at war with each other. Their business is on the verge of bankruptcy and they owe a shedload of money to a local gangster. But all their problems seem to be over when one of them kidnaps Reggie Kray . . .

Sharp, uncompromising and witty, Bones is a deliciously dark comedy about family ties, gangland warfare and a man in a dress.

Bones premiered at Live Theatre, Newcastle in 1999.

Breezeblock Park

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set on a Liverpool Housing estate in the run up to Christmas, Breezeblock Park is a comedy about the ups and downs of family life. Betty is preparing the decorations for her guest, and making her house neat and tidy for her guests. But what she hopes will be a respectable Christmas gathering of her daughter Sandra, brother Tim and sister Reeny, becomes a maelstrom of drunken bickering and petty recriminations when Sandra reveals the shocking news that she is pregnant.

One of Russell's first plays, Breezeblock Park was first presented in 1975 at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool before transferring to London that same year.

audio The Browning Version

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In Terence Rattigan’s classic drama, an aging schoolmaster at an English secondary school faces the harsh judgments of his students, his fellow teachers, and his vicious and spiteful wife. But can a lone act of kindness from a sympathetic student change his heart?

This recording also includes an interview with Michael Darlow, the author of “Terence Rattigan: The Man and His Work”. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Steven Brand as Frank Hunter Martin Jarvis as Andrew Crocker-Harris Ian Ogilvy as The Headmaster Darren Richardson as Peter Gilbert Devon Sorvari as Mrs. Gilbert Kate Steele as Millie Crocker-Harris Daniel Stewart as John Taplow Directed by Peter Levin. Recorded by L.A. Theatre Works before a live audience.

Featuring: Steven Brand, Martin Jarvis, Ian Ogilvy, Darren Richardson, Devon Sorvari, Kate Steele, Daniel Stewart

The Bundle: or New Narrow Road to the Deep North

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Bundle, or New Narrow Road to the Deep North is a compelling and forceful story exploring the origins and mechanisms of moral concepts through cruel ethical dilemmas.

Like Bond’s Narrow Road to Deep North, the play begins with the discovery of an abandoned child on a riverbank. The poet Basho who is searching for enlightenment protests that he cannot take it with him, so reluctantly the ferryman adopts the child though he can barely afford to feed another person. The play first describes the boy’s upbringing within the social values of his community, before turning to revolution to dissect and rework accepted attitudes and ideologies. The Bundle weaves together lives beset with social injustices and torn by agonizing choices, with the moral force of parable and the scope and depth of epic.

The Bundle was first performed in 1978 at the Warehouse Theatre, London.

audio Buried Child

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

It's a curious homecoming for Vince, the son nobody seems to remember. Violence is never far from the surface as his unexpected return uncovers a deep, dark secret that triggers catastrophe in Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize winning Buried Child.

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

Hale Appleman as Vince

Tom Bower as Dodge

John Getz as Father Dewis

Amy Madigan as Halie

Robert Parsons as Tilden

Jeff Perry as Bradley

Madeline Zima as Shelly

Directed by Peter Levin. Recorded before a live audience at the James Bridges Theater at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in December, 2011.

Featuring: Hale Appleman, Tom Bower, John Getz, Amy Madigan, Robert Parsons, Jeff Perry, Madeline Zima

The Business of Good Government

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Business of Good Government was written for and first performed in 1960 in the village of Brent Knoll, Somerset. Telling the traditional story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it focuses less on the divine and miraculous, and more on the geopolitical forces at play in Herod's kingdom.

Under threat of Roman invasion from the west and Persian invasion from the East, Herod is disconcerted to receive a party of Persian delegates, wise men, whom he fears are spies for his neighbour. Realising the threat that might come from a child born which might match and ancient prophecy, he issues an edict to slaughter all males aged under two-years-old.

In spite of this heinous crime, The Business of Good Government presents a not altogether unsympathetic portrait of that infamous king, in whom we can perhaps see echoes of calculated government policy in modern times.

Still, it is the goodness of Joseph and Mary, who parent a newborn, then bear it to safety out of a hostile kingdom, which shines through. The Business of Good Government is a traditional, if human, version of the story of Jesus' birth, and was first performed in Brent Knoll's Church of St. Michael, in 1960.

audio Bus Stop

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Upon hitting Broadway in 1955 Bus Stop was an immediate commercial & critical success. During a winter storm a busload of weary travelers are forced to shack up at a roadside diner until morning. Inge was renowned for his in-depth character studies, Bus Stop is no exception and offers a warm play about the intersecting lives of eight ordinary people.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Megan Anderson, Terrence Currier, Rachel Miner, Anson Mount, Kyle Prue, Lynnie Raybuck, Jefferson A. Russell and Gary Sloan.

Featuring: Megan Anderson, Terrence Currier, Rachel Miner, Anson Mount, Kyle Prue, Lynnie Raybuck, Jefferson A. Russell, Gary Sloan

Butley

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Butley

'What is so wondrous about a play so basically defeatist and hurtful is its ability to be funny. The stark, unsentimental approach to the homosexual relationship, the cynical send-up of academic life, the skeptical view of the teacher-pupil associations are all stunningly illuminated by continuous explosions of sardonic, needling, feline, vituperative and civilised lines.' Evening Standard

audio The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This acclaimed WWII psychological courtroom drama was the sensation of 1954. The play portrays a mutiny of naval officers aboard the U.S.S. Caine. Their suspicions concerning their captain’s sanity lead to their rebellion and a subsequent court - martial.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring James Avery, Chuma Hunter-Gault, Ian Lithgow, Scott Lowell, Frank Muller, Michael Rivkin, David Selby and Grant Shaud.

Featuring: James Avery, Chuma Hunter-Gault, Ian Lithgow, Scott Lowell, Frank Muller, Michael Rivkin, David Selby, Grant Shaud

audio California Suite

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A four part comedy confection as only Neil Simon can write it! Four couples arrive, in turn, from London, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York and separately inhabit a Beverly Hills hotel suite, bringing along their problems, anxieties, and comical marital dilemmas. Beverly Hills will never be the same.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Dennis Boutsikaris, Bruce Davison, Marsha Mason and Amy Pietz. “Visitor From New York” Marsha Mason as Hannah Warren Bruce Davison as William Warren “Visitor From Philadelphia” Dennis Boutsikaris as Marvin Michaels Amy Pietz as Millie Michaels “Visitors From London” Marsha Mason as Sidney Nichols Bruce Davison as Diana Nichols “Visitors From Chicago” Dennis Boutsikaris as Mort Hollender Amy Pietz as Beth Hollender Bruce Davison as Stu Franklyn Marsha Mason as Gert Franklyn Directed by Gwenn Victor. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Dennis Boutsikaris, Bruce Davison, Marsha Mason, Amy Pietz

The Catch

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

As a young university student in Munich, Bertolt Brecht was only a few years away from early success as a playwright when he wrote five one-acts. Of these plays, only one was performed in his lifetime, and none were published until after his death. They provide a retrospective look at Brecht before his evolution into the founder of epic theatre, demonstrating some of the tendencies that would mark his later work.

When a fisherman’s wife is woken up by her drunk husband and his friends, anger and resentments explode. The Catch was neither produced nor published during the author’s lifetime.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle (trans. J. Stern, T. Stern, Auden)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Written in exile in the United States during the Second World War The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a politically charged, much-revived and complex example of Brecht’s epic theatre.

In a prologue set in Soviet Georgia, a narrator-figure called The Singer introduces the story of choice and sacrifice. The servant girl Grusha sacrifices everything she has to look after an abandoned child, even marrying a dying peasant in order to provide for him. But when the boy’s biological mother attempts to reclaim him, the unruly judge Azdak, one of Brecht’s most vivid creations, calls on the ancient tradition of the chalk circle to resolve the dispute. Brecht subverts an ancient Chinese story (echoed in the Judgement of Solomon) into a parable advocating that resources should go to those best able to make use of them.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle was first performed in 1948 by students at Northfield, Minnesota in Eric and Maja Bentley’s translation, and has since become one of his most popular works. A morality masterpiece, the play powerfully demonstrates Brecht's pioneering theatrical techniques.

This version is translated by James and Tania Stern with W. H. Auden.

The Cellar and the Almond Tree

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Cellar and the Almond Tree is the second part of a trilogy, sometimes called the Kelvin trilogy, with On the Eve of Publication and Emma’s Time. The play is similarly composed of juxtaposed cuts between past and present, fantasy and flashbacks, this time belonging to the Countess Isabel von Reger, and Volubin (who was known to Robert Kelvin in the first play as Sladek).

Beneath the web of conversation and memory are the harsh and troubling realities of conflict and upheaval in central Europe, as the cellar and the almond tree come to represent the constraints of totalitarian regimes and a disappearing aristocratic way of life. Exploring form with the same fluidity as On the Eve of Publication before it, The Cellar and the Almond Tree is a powerful exploration of socialism and memory.

The Cellar and the Almond Tree was first broadcast in 1970 by BBC Television.

audio Ceremonies in Dark Old Men

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This classic play by Academy Award nominee Lonne Elder III gives us the portrait of a Harlem family that dreams of a better life, but pursues it in tragic ways. First produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969, the critically acclaimed Ceremonies in Dark Old Men opened the door for a new generation of African American playwrights, including August Wilson and Lynn Nottage.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Rocky Carroll, Brandon Dirden, Jason Dirden, Julia Pace Mitchell, Charlie Robinson, Glynn Turman and Michole Briana White.

Directed by Judyann Elder. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Rocky Carroll, John Cothran Jr.(Sunday only), Brandon Dirden, Jason Dirden, Julia Pace Mitchell, Charlie Robinson, Glynn Turman, Michole Briana White

The Chalk Garden

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Revived to acclaim on London’s West End in 2008, this psychological chamber piece explores the secret world of childhood through the prism of a dyed-in-the-wool British dowager Mrs St Maugham and her precocious and equally eccentric granddaughter Laurel. When enigmatic Miss Madrigal is hired as household companion and manager, the two finally meet their match. 'A tantalizing, fascinating and stimulating piece of theatre.' New York Daily News; 'A very fresh and personal kind of play with wit, literacy, and an almost unearthly integrity.' New York Herald Tribune.

The Changing Room

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

On a cold morning in Northern England, a large group of men gather in the changing rooms of their local rugby club, preparing for the match. Through David Storey’s three-act play we see the players, and the men who own, run and work for the club, before the match, at half-time and after the game has finished. What emerges from this tripartite structure is a touching picture of camaraderie, community and commitment to their team.

Describing being inspired by the rituals of the footballer, Storey writes ‘he came into a room, changed from a private individual (conspicuously) into a public performer (he wore a uniform), went out, performed, returned, reverted to his previous persona – and departed: simultaneously the room itself underwent a not dissimilar transformation: empty to begin with, gradually filling, emptying again, the room, in short, both object and subject, active and passive: it changed those within it and, in turn, was changed itself.’

Described by The Times as ‘An excellent example of Storey’s ability to evoke lives from snippets and a society from those lives’, The Changing Room was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 9 November 1971.

audio Chapter Two

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Comedy and pathos mingle brilliantly in Neil Simon’s portrait of a widowed New York novelist who fears he’ll never love again and has no interest in dating. Neither does smart, attractive Jennie Malone, who has just returned from getting a Mexican divorce. A grudging five-minute meeting between them blossoms into a passionate, witty romance–until they decide to marry. A BBC co-production.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring David Dukes, Sharon Gless, Gates McFadden and Grant Shaud.

Featuring: David Dukes, Sharon Gless, Gates McFadden, Grant Shaud

The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

An exuberant and sweeping ‘Ceilidh Play with Scenes, Songs and Music of Highland History’ which tells the continuing story of the exploitation of the Scottish Highlands.

McGrath’s winding, furious, innovative play begins with the story of the Clearances: in the nineteenth century, aristocratic landowners discovered the profitability of sheep farming, and forced a mass emigration of rural Highlanders, burning their houses in order to make way for the Cheviot sheep. The play follows the thread of capitalist and repressive exploitation through the estates of the stag-hunting landed gentry, to the most recent rush for profit in the name of North Sea Oil. It is a passionate history told through ballads, Gaelic songs, poetry, comic sketches and tragic stories of resistance.

The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil was first performed in 1973 at the ‘What Kind of Scotland’ conference in Edinburgh, then toured throughout Scotland before being televised.

Chez Nous

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In the wake of the publication of his controversial book on adolescent sexuality, Dick and his wife, Liz, have retreated with their family to the French countryside. Joined by their friends Phil and Diana for a child-free weekend, they enjoy the sunshine and the cheap wine until certain unsavoury revelations come to light. At the worst moment possible, two reporters appear to interview Dick, causing great worry among the couples that all their secrets will be aired in the press.

Playwright Peter Nichols drew inspiration for Chez Nous from time spent at his own family’s home in France. This darkly comedic, and sometimes deeply shocking play was first produced in London in 1976. It went on to be performed at the Manhattan Theatre Club in a production starring Sam Waterston.

Chicken Soup with Barley

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

This landmark state-of-the-nation play is a panoramic drama portraying the age-old battle between realism and idealism.

The kettle boils in 1936 as the fascists are marching. Tea is brewed in 1946, with disillusion in the air at the end of the war. In 1956, as rumours spread of Hungarian revolution, the cup is empty. Sarah Khan, an East End Jewish mother, is a feisty political fighter and a staunch communist. Battling against the State and her shirking husband, she desperately tries to keep her family together. Chicken Soup with Barley captures the collapse of an ideology alongside the disintegration of a family.

The play, the first in a trilogy with Roots and I'm Talking about Jerusalem, was first performed at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in 1958.

Christie in Love

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Christie in Love is a distressing investigation into the mind of the infamous serial killer, John Reginald Halliday Christie, who strangled eight women in his flat in Notting Hill in the 1940s and ’50s. It is part of Brenton’s group of ‘Plays for the Poor Theatre’ – plays with minimal theatrical requirements and small casts, but fierce intensity.

In 1953 the police found the bodies of six women concealed in Christie’s house, including his wife. Christie was hanged for their murders, and found subsequently to have committed two others, crimes for which another man was hanged.

The first scene of Brenton’s play opens on a police constable digging for bones in his backyard and reciting obscene limericks. He is joined by a police inspector who tells an obscene joke and warns the constable not to dwell on Christie’s perversions. The play then resurrects and interrogates Christie, turning his mind inside out and refusing the spectator any palliative measure or escape. It is a naturalistic portrait in a bleak and surreal frame.

Christie in Love was first performed in 1969 by The Portable Theatre at Oval House, London.

Cloud Nine

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Churchill’s wickedly comic and compassionate study of sexual politics glimpses the relationships of a family and their lovers, with an interval of twenty-five years of their lives, and around a hundred years of history.

Highlighting the parallels of sexual and colonial oppression, the first act is set in a British colony in Africa in Victorian times. Clive is the traditional colonial patriarch, proud of his perfectly domesticated wife and black servant (‘played by a man’ and ‘played by a white’ respectively), and striving conscientiously to ensure his son and daughter play with gender appropriate toys. But furtive adultery and secret homosexuality threaten to subvert the moral order of the household.

The second act finds some of the same characters living in 1979, twenty-five years older and played by different actors, finding new liberations in bisexuality and polyamory, but finding new anxieties about gender and fulfilment. The intricacies of these relationships and the play’s doubling create a complex and moving account of the multiplicity of individual sexualities.

Cloud Nine was first performed in 1979 at the Dartington College of Arts, before touring and transferring to London.

Come into the Garden Maud: from Suite in Three Keys

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Come into the Garden Maud is the final play in the trilogy, Suite in Three Keys, in which each play is set in the same Swiss hotel suite. It was written by Coward in 1966, and represents the last of his output for the stage before he died.

Anna-Mary Conklin and her husband Verner are an exceedingly wealthy American couple and the stars of Come into the Garden Maud. While Anna-Mary, a social-aspirant, is nervously throwing a dinner-party offstage to entertain a prince she wants to impress, Verner – who cares little for the niceties of society life – gets along very well with the aristocratic, but down-to-earth, Maud Caragnani – very well indeed.

The Contractor

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Mr Ewbank, tenting contractor for all outside and inside occasions is organising the marquee for his daughter's wedding. His team of labourers banter and backbite as they work, erecting a huge muslin tent. The audience watch as these skilled men come together to facilitate an event they won't be attending, and come back the following day, after the fun has been had, to remove the construction again. Meanwhile, Ewbank watches as his labour and business are reined to deliver a send-off that will mark a fundamental shift in his working and family life.

Described by the Observer as 'A subtle and poetic parable about the nature and joy of skilled work, the meaning of community and the effect of its loss', The Contractor was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 20 October 1969.

audio The Country Girl

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

"One of America's great dramatists rocked the worlds of Broadway and Hollywood in this moving drama about a desperately self-destructive alcoholic actor and Georgie, his long-suffering wife. A searing, emotional play of love and redemption.

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

Harry Hamlin as Bernie Dodd

Stacy Keach as Frank Elgin

Mare Winningham as Georgie Elgin

Jamie Hanes as Larry

Rick Podell as Phil Cook

Spencer Garrett as Paul Unger

Mandy Siegfried as Nancy Stoddard

Directed by Nancy Malone. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles."

Featuring: Spencer Garrett, Harry Hamlin, Jamie Hanes, Stacy Keach, Rick Podell, Mandy Siegfried, Mare Winningham

audio Crimes of the Heart

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This Pulitzer Prize-winner is a deeply touching and funny play about three eccentric sisters from a small Southern town rocked by scandal when Babe, the youngest, shoots her husband. Humor and pathos abound as the sisters unite with an intense young lawyer to save Babe from a murder charge, and overcome their family’s painful past. A BBC co-production.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Ray Baker, Donna Bullock, Arye Gross, Glenne Headly, Sondra Locke and Belita Moreno.

Featuring: Ray Baker, Donna Bullock, Arye Gross, Glenne Headly, Sondra Locke, Belita Moreno

Cromwell

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set in England during the 1600s, Cromwell depicts a world of conflict and survival as the warring of rival ideological factions decimates the opportunities for ordinary people to live ordinary lives.

The play centres on a man named Procter who finds himself drafted into war, and even accepts the principles for which he is fighting, until he falls in love with a woman, Joan, whose life has been decimated by the conflict around her. Procter lays down his weapon and becomes a pacifist, preferring a quiet life of domesticity. However, he and Joan are powerless to prevent the war from coming to their doorstep once more – and again find their lives torn to pieces at the point of a sword.

In his introduction, David Storey writes that ‘Cromwell was written when the war in Vietnam, and the troubles in Northern Ireland, were at their height . . . To some extent an enigma, the play’s form emerged at a time when I was much enthralled by naturalistic – or poeticised naturalistic writing, a sudden transposition to something approaching free verse reflecting, to a degree, the dilemma explicit in the play itself: how to reconcile humanity’s insatiable appetite for destruction with a longing for transcendence and peace.’

Cromwell was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 15 August 1973, in a production directed by Anthony Page.

A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer's Assistant

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

John Joe Moran is a 34-year-old dreamer, a 'fooleen' of a man who can't decide whether to stick it out at home, or emigrate out to the great unknown. Instead, he toes neither line, choosing to half-working and half-dreaming his way to unemployment amid a community which struggles unceasingly with disguising the outward signs of their poverty.

A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer's Assistant is a comedy about an unfunny situation, where laughs are found in the saying (in dreams) of what goes unsaid in real life. The resolution of John Joe's situation comes not from him maturing to a point of firm decision, but rather by shouting the absurdity of the choice from the rooftops.

A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer's Assistant premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in 1969.

audio The Crucible

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Richard Dreyfuss and Stacy Keach star in this full-cast performance of Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible, a central work in the canon of American drama.

In the rigid theocracy of Salem, Massachusetts, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town. In a searing portrait of a community engulfed by panic - with ruthless prosecutors, and neighbors eager to testify against neighbor - The Crucible famously mirrors the anti-Communist hysteria that held the United States in its grip in the 1950’s. A Tony Award Winner for Best Play. An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: Richard Dreyfuss as Reverend John Hale Stacy Keach as John Proctor Ed Begley Jr. as Thomas Putnam Michael York as Reverend Parris Hector Elizondo as Giles Corey Irene Aranga as Mercy Lewis Rene Auberjonois as Deputy Governor Danforth Georgia Brown as Rebecca Nurse Jack Coleman as Marshal Herrick Bud Cort as Ezekiel Cheever Judyann Elder as Tituba Fionnula Flanagan as Elizabeth Proctor Ann Hearne as Susanna Walcott Carol Kane as Mary Warren Anna Sophie Loewenberg as Betty Parris Marian Mercer as Mrs. Ann Putnam Franklyn Seales as Judge Hathorne Madolyn Smith as Abigail Williams Joe Spano as Francis Nurse Directed by Martin Jenkins.

Featuring: Irene Aranga, Rene Auberjonois, Ed Begley Jr., Georgia Brown, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Richard Dreyfuss, Judyann Elder, Hector Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Ann Hearne, Carol Kane, Stacy Keach, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, Marian Mercer, Franklyn Seales, Madolyn Smith, Joe Spano, Michael York,

The Cryptogram

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

One night in 1959, a boy, John, is preparing to go on a camping trip with his father. Getting his things ready, he listens to the conversations of his mother, Donny, and a family friend, Del. What unfolds is a mysterious drama of half-spoken sentences and semi-remembered moments all circling around an opaque instance of childhood grief.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Charles Spenser wrote that 'The Cryptogram powerfully pins down that moment when childish innocence gives way to adult knowledge, the moment when we recognise that the world can be a terryfying place. And as the meaning of Mamet's crypttogram sinks in, with its heart-rending depiction of our fall from grace, you find yourself assailtd by grief – both the author's and your own.'

The Cryptogram received its world premiere at the Ambassadors Theatre, London, on 29 June 1994. Its US premiere followed at the American Repertory Theatre, Massachusetts, on 2 February 1995.

Cuttin' A Rug

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Spanning the 1950s to the 70s, the Slab Boys trilogy – The Slab Boys, Cuttin' a Rug and Still Life – capture the rebellious mood of a post-war generation growing up to a backdrop of James Dean, Elvis, sharp-suited glamour, hope and despair.

John Byrne takes the slab room he worked in and makes it pure theatre: the scams, the dreams, the aloof but gorgeous girl, the despair of life back home, the obligatory tormenting of the office 'weed', and the mandatory boy chat and pranks all help the day to pass. Phil and Spanky explode onto the stage in a classic vaudeville double-act.

Now considered one of Scotland's defining literary works of the twentieth century, the Slab Boys trilogy premiered at the Traverse back in the late 1970s and early 80s taking Scotland, then Britain, and then Broadway by storm. Byrne returned to these characters thirty years later in Nova Scotia.

Dark Pony

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Dark Pony is a short, beautiful play in which a father shares a bedtime story with his daughter as they drive home late at night. The story he tells centres around a Native American named Rain Boy, and his horse, Dark Pony. The Star Tribune described the play as 'A subtle, lyrical, dreamlike vignette . . . It's a lovely little tale about childhood memories and emotions.'

Dark Pony was first performed on 14 October 1977, in a Yale Repertory production, New Haven, Connecticut, directed by Walt Jones.

audio David Mamet Shorts: Reunion

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A frank and remarkable play based on the author’s experience of having a disabled child, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg is about two parents caring for their 10-year-old girl Josephine.

Since birth Josephine has not been able to move or speak, and experiences frequent debilitating fits. Her father Bri, a weary schoolteacher, relies on desperate black humour to deal with the situation, while her mother Sheila still nurses hopes of a miraculous recovery.

In the first act the couple play out, for the audience’s benefit, the various scenes of condolence visited upon them by doctors and vicars, in comic routines that seem sadly well-rehearsed. The second act introduces another couple and Bri’s mother, creating an awkward sitting-room comedy that confronts the secret angers and fantasies of a family struggling to cope. The play’s treatment of taboos surrounding disability provokes both laughter and shock in the same moment, as the couple’s persistent jokes fail to disguise the strain placed on their marriage.

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg was first performed in 1967 at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow.

The Days of the Commune

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Days of the Commune tells the story of the uprising and ultimate failure of the Paris Commune in 1871, a city council in France's capital which based its policies on socialism and proclaimed its right to rule over all of France. It held out for two months of counter-attack by the regular French army before its final defeat in May, 1871.

Brecht's account of the Commune is based on Norwegian playwright Nordahl Grieg's play The Defeat. In his adaptation, Brecht eschews a central protagonist, focusing instead on the Commune as characterised by the people in the street.

Ultimately, as in life, the Commune is defeated. But, as the editors write in their introduction: 'In his interpretation of the Paris Commune Brecht adhered closely to the 'classical' line established by Marx . . . that the outcome of the siege of Paris after the Franco-Prussian War could only have been different if the ruling class had been prepared to align themselves behind the National Guard, but that the French bourgeoisie were terrified at the thought of an armed labour force, and so initiated the betrayal of the French people by its government and the capitulation of Paris.'

The Days of the Commune was first performed in November, 1956, shortly after Brecht's death.

audio Dear Elizabeth: A Play in Letters from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell and Back Again

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The complicated relationship between the poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell is revealed in nearly thirty years’ worth of correspondence. Taken from their exchange of letters, Dear Elizabeth is a study in friendship, intimacy, and the power of words. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production starring JoBeth Williams and Julian Sands, with narration by Chris Hatfield. Directed by Rosalind Ayres and recorded before an audience by L.A. Theatre Works.

Featuring: Julian Sands, JoBeth Williams

Destiny

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

First produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place in Stratford in September 1976, Destiny transferred to the Aldwych Theatre, London in May 1977 where it received exceptionally high praise from a wide range of critics. The production established David Edgar as a major playwright, one of the most important of the young generation of dramatists to emerge out of the 'portable' theatre movement of the late sixties.

1947. The twilight of Empire in India. Sergeant Turner and his Colonel share a bottle of whisky in reluctant celebration of Independence. 'Do you think Mr Churchill will do anything about it, sir? When the conservatives get back in?'

1976. A bye-election in the West Midlands against the background of an industrial dispute involving Asian labour. A three-cornered fight between Labour, Conservative (candidate: the Colonel's nephew) and the up and coming National Forward party (candidate: Sergeant, now Mr. Turner) – a contest in which the issue of race cuts like a razor through the conventional cosy assumption of British politics, with alarming and prophetic results.

It is impossible to read David Edgar's play without feeling provoked into re-examining one's own political sentiments. Impossible also not to admire the skill with which he has woven so many strands into an authentic, gripping and theatrically effective play of impressive scope and power.

A Doll’s House (trans. Meyer; Student Edition)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

This Student Edition of A Doll's House provides a wealth of scholarly information, annotation and background to aid the study of Ibsen's seminal play.

The slamming of the front door at the end of Ibsen’s electrifying play shatters the romantic masquerade of Nora and Torvald’s marriage. In their stultifying and infantilised relationship, they have deceived themselves and each other into thinking they are happy. But Nora’s concealment of a loan she had to take out for her husband’s sake forces their frivolous conversation to an irrevocable crisis, until Nora claims her right to individual freedom.

Ibsen’s 1879 play shocked its first audiences with its radical insights into the social roles of husband and wife. His portrayal of his flawed heroine, Nora, remains one of the most striking dramatic depictions of late-nineteenth century woman.

This version is translated by Michael Meyer, and was first performed in 1964 at the Playhouse, Oxford.

Driving out a Devil

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

As a young university student in Munich, Bertolt Brecht was only a few years away from early success as a playwright when he wrote five one-acts. Of these plays, only one was performed in his lifetime, and none were published until after his death. They provide a retrospective look at Brecht before his evolution into the founder of epic theatre, demonstrating some of the tendencies that would mark his later work.

A young boy attempts to outwit the parents of a pretty girl in this short farce. It was neither produced nor published during the author’s lifetime.

Duck Song

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Duck Song is a comic and half-surreal deconstruction, about collective and profound loss of meaning.

In a comfortable middle-class house in London, sixty-year-old Herbert is throwing walnuts at the cuckoo clock. His seventy-one-year-old brother Maurice is asleep, which is his usual pastime. Herbert was a safe-breaker, Maurice a successful artist. Herbert’s daughter Jane, a psychiatrist, and her unemployed boyfriend Eddie are living with them. Jane’s estranged mother and a native American, Swift Arrow (or Lee), are on their way. And one of Herbert’s old criminal associates is breaking in, looking for his cut.

The mood of crisis and dissolution is suggestive of a society in decline. Then the play flashes into the absurd in the second act, becoming fragmented and bizarre, an unsolvable, uncontrollable puzzle.

Duck Song was first presented in 1974 by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Duck Variations

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Emil and George, two gentlemen in their sixties, are sitting on a park bench by a lake in a big city. Wherever their conversation goes, it always comes back to ducks: their mating habits, their mortal enemies, their inevitable demise.

A wry, pseudo-existentialist discussion of what we do and why we do it, in fourteen ‘variations’, Mamet’s short duologue was first presented in the U.S.A. by the St. Nicholas Theatre Company at Goddard College, Vermont, in 1972, and had its British premiere at the Regent Theatre, London, in 1977.

Early Morning

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

At the beginning of the savage and satirical Early Morning, Bond asserts that, ‘The events of this play are true.’ The events of the play are starkly at odds with history as we know it: they show a world in which Queen Victoria is a lesbian, her sons Prince George and Prince Arthur are conjoined twins, and Disraeli is plotting her death. A man is put on trial for eating someone who pushed in front of him in a queue; Victoria arranges for Florence Nightingale to be married to George and then rapes her; Heaven turns out to be an eternity of cannibalism.

Bond’s iconoclastic rewriting of the Victorian monarchy peels apart humanity’s cruelty and consumption in a play that is by turns comic, shocking and macabre.

Early Morning was first performed privately in 1968. Banned by the Lord Chamberlain until the abolition of theatre censorship in 1968, it was revived as a full production at the Royal Court in 1969.

The Edge

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Ron is leaving home. After a night on the town with his friends, he is on his way home for a last meal with his mother before his flight abroad.

But in his path lies a homeless man, sleeping in the street. Ron tries to help him, but somehow ends up in his debt – or so believes the homeless man. He follows Ron home to exact what he believes is owed to him, even at the expense of Ron's last night with his mother Sal before leaving home forever.

The Edge was first produced by Big Brum Theatre in Education Company, 15 October 2012, in a production directed by Chris Cooper.

Edmond

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

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

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

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

Educating Rita (Modern Classic)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Educating Rita is a play for two actors about a working-class woman’s hunger for education, knowledge and culture, and her friendship with a weary, alcoholic, failed poet-cum-lecturer.

Susan is a hairdresser who feels that there must be more to life than having children, so she renames herself 'Rita' after her favourite fictional character and applies for an Open University course in English Literature. Set entirely in the scholarly clutter of Dr Frank Bryant’s office, the play follows Rita’s efforts to escape her old life, and her blossoming into a literary connoisseur under Frank’s sporadic direction. Terribly funny and terribly sad, the play is both a comic masterwork and a poignant examination of education, class and disillusionment.

Educating Rita premiered at the Warehouse Theatre, London, in 1980. It was subsequently made into a highly successful film with Michael Caine and Julie Walters. This revised version was first performed in 2002 at the Liverpool Playhouse.

Educating Rita (Student Edition)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

This Student Edition of Educating Rita provides a wealth of scholarly information, annotation and background to aid the study of Russell's much-loved play.

Educating Rita is a play for two actors about a working-class woman’s hunger for education, knowledge and culture, and her friendship with a weary, alcoholic, failed poet-cum-lecturer. This Methuen Drama Student Edition includes extensive notes for students and teachers of the play.

Susan is a hairdresser who feels that there must be more to life than having children, so she renames herself 'Rita' after her favourite fictional character and applies for an Open University course in English Literature. Set entirely in the scholarly clutter of Dr Frank Bryant’s office, the play follows Rita’s efforts to escape her old life, and her blossoming into a literary connoisseur under Frank’s sporadic direction. Terribly funny and terribly sad, the play is both a comic masterwork and a poignant examination of education, class and disillusionment.

Educating Rita premiered at the Warehouse Theatre, London, in 1980. It was subsequently made into a highly successful film with Michael Caine and Julie Walters. This revised version was first performed in 2002 at the Liverpool Playhouse.

The Education of Skinny Spew

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Education of Skinny Spew is a savage play, a brief journey through the life of a boy who gains consciousness in the womb and is immediately disgusted with the world. Skinny Spew is insulted by his parent’s inane attempts to talk to him, rips up his teddy bear, and eventually attacks those he sees as attempting to civilise him, and repress his right to play as he wants to.

It is part of Brenton’s group of ‘Plays for the Poor Theatre’ – plays with minimal theatrical requirements and small casts, but fierce intensity.

The Education of Skinny Spew was first performed in 1969 by the University of Bradford Drama Group.

Emma's Time

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Emma’s Time is the third part of a trilogy, sometimes called the Kelvin trilogy, with On the Eve of Publication and The Cellar and the Almond Tree. In Emma’s Time the fluid cuts between past and present, fantasy and flashbacks show Emma searching for the meaning of her relationship with Robert Kelvin, the socialist writer whose death was the subject of On the Eve of Publication.

Her attempts to come to terms with his psychological and political legacies are followed by a television documentary maker. She visits his mother, his dying brother in Paris, and meets Sladek, otherwise known as Volubin, tracing the international political events which were the landscape of Robert’s life, in a concluding play of great scope and power.

Emma’s Time was first broadcast in 1970 by BBC Television.

Entertaining Mr Sloane

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Sharp, alarming and hilarious, Entertaining Mr Sloane is a subversive black comedy of unscrupulous sexual manipulation.

In three deft acts, Orton tells the mischievously provocative story of Mr Sloane, a sly and handsome young man who works his way into the household of Kath, her brother Ed, and their father. Kath wants something between a lover and a substitute baby, while Ed wants someone to drive his car dressed in a tight t-shirt and leather cap. But though the charismatic youth thinks that he holds all the cards with both brother and sister vying for his attention, the play soon becomes a shameless and unnerving tangle of sex, blackmail, bribery and violence.

Entertaining Mr Sloane was Orton’s first full-length play. It was first staged in 1964.

Ernie's Incredible Illucinations

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Ernie’s incredible imagination is alarming his parents. They go to the doctor in search of a cure. Once they’re there, they discover Ernie’s ‘illucinations’ are more powerful than they realised. Everything Ernie imagines – from secret agents to a boxing granny – becomes real.

Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations was first performed at the Unicorn Theatre For Children, London, in September 1971.

© Alan Ayckbourn, 1969

audio Exchange

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The dreary aspects of Soviet housing and one family’s attempt to “exchange” its tiny Moscow apartment for a larger one. Adapted from a novella by the respected Russian writer Yuri Trifanov, as translated by playwright Michael Frayn.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Ian Abercrombie as Viktor’s Father Rosalind Ayres as Lena Sharon Bamber as Aunt Ahenya Joyce Blair as Viktor’s Mother Barbara Bosson as Lora Peter A. Jacobs as Kalugin and Felix Martin Jarvis as Viktor Zosukuma Kunene as Alik Anna Sophie Loewenberg as Natashka Vonetta McGee as Tanya Marian Mercer as Lena’s Mother Robin Nordli as Factory Director and Funeral Orator William Palmieri as Snitkin and others John Randolph as Viktor’s Grandfather Melissa Smigley as Marina, and Girl Next Door Malachi Throne as Lena’s Father Translated and adapted by Michael Frayn. Directed by Robert Robinson. Recorded before a live audience in Santa Monica, CA in April, 1992.

Featuring: Ian Abercrombie, Rosalind Ayres, Sharon Bamber, Joyce Blair, Barbara Bosson, Peter A. Jacobs, Martin Jarvis, Zosukuma Kunene, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, Vonetta McGee, Marian Mercer, Robin Nordli, William Palmieri, John Randolph, Melissa Smigley, Malachi Throne

Filumena Marturano (trans. Ardito)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Filumena is De Filippo’s best-known work and arguably his finest comedy-drama, drenched in Neapolitan atmosphere and full of entanglements at once cynical and romantic.

In the heat of late-1940s Naples, Filumena Maraturano lies on her deathbed awaiting her marriage to Domenico Soriano, the man who has kept her as his mistress for twenty-seven years. But no sooner has the priest completed the ceremony than Filumena makes a miraculous recovery. As he reels in shock, Domenico discovers that this brilliant, iron-willed woman has a few more surprises for him.

Is Filumena a simple, illiterate woman who wants to create a family for her children, or a ferine, opportunistic prostitute? Will Domenico, the selfish aged gigolo, learn to accept his responsibilities? Exploring themes of family, age and love, Filumena exemplifies De Filippo’s trademark moral optimism and warmth, coupled with unflinchingly astute and humorous observation of his characters.

This translation is by Carlo Ardito.

Find Me

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Through a story of a poet and a novelist, Mercer studies the position of the political writer in post-war Europe.

Marek, the celebrated Polish novelist, turns up outside Olivia’s house. Olivia the poet, whose older husband was killed in the Second World War in the company of Marek, is writing an article about her guest, trying to pin down the politics and psychology buried beneath his constant drinking and womanizing. Their relationship is strained and sad, and swiftly intercut with footage of WWII air strikes, Olivia with her husband, and her husband’s meeting with Marek. Mercer creates through the interaction of Olivia and Marek a bleak portrait of profound historical consciousness.

Find Me was first presented by BBC Television in December 1974.

Flint

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The eponymous Flint is a seventy-year-old swinging vicar and romantic Communist, the centre of Mercer’s play about the obsolescence of institutions. The atheistic Flint rides a motor bike, goes bowling, sets fires, and makes love in the vestry in order to avoid his paralysed wife, to the continuing despair of his curate.

The play is a mixture of farce, monologue and moments of violent destruction, undercut by the vicar’s profound awareness of mortality. Through Flint’s hedonistic revolt against convention, and caricatures of figures of the establishment, Mercer explores the collision between the exuberant personal explorations of the Sixties and the inherited power of established institutions.

Flint premiered in 1970 at the Criterion Theatre, London.

The Fool

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

An account of the life of the poet John Clare, The Fool is set against rural dissent and industrialisation, an interrogation of the relationships of capitalism, class and art that burns with pain and anger.

The Fool sees Clare taking part in the Littleport riots of 1816, when England was steeped in unemployment, high prices and low pay, and the labourers of Littleport in Cambridgeshire attacked the shops and wealthier residents of the town. Bond’s play shows the parson being looted, stripped and clawed by the workers who accuse him of starving their children. Living with hardship and unrest, Clare’s life is torn into pieces as the woman he loves disappears, the countryside is eaten up by the advance of industrialisation, his fashionable and condescending patrons refuse to print what they call radicalism, and illness and literary fervour mean he cannot provide for his family.

The Fool was first performed in 1975 at the Royal Court Theatre, London.

Forget-me-not Lane

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

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

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

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

The Freeway

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

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

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

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

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

The Glad Hand

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

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

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

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

Gladly Otherwise

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

N. F. Simpson led the twentieth-century British absurdist movement. Gladly Otherwise is an early sketch of his, first performed as part of the revue One to Another, which opened at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, on 15 July 1959, and transferred to the Apollo Theatre, London, on 19 August 1959.

Gladly Otherwise was revived with his play A Resounding Tinkle at the Donmar Warehouse in July 2007.

audio Good Black

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

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

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

Directed by Woodie King Jr.

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

The Governor's Lady

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A strange and elusive short play about governors, gorillas and colonialism.

In a bungalow in Africa, Harriet is talking about her husband Gilbert as if he was still alive. She refuses to accept that he died of pneumonia six months ago, that he is no longer the Governor, and that the colony has become independent. And the servants have run away, Gilbert is smashing tea cups and climbing on to the wardrobe, and behaving in a manner which is rather more ape-like than his wife is accustomed to. For the reactionary Harriet, the impossibility of accepting the prevailing political and social reality leads to her breakdown into an astonishing fantasy.

The Governer’s Lady was first staged in 1965 at the Aldwych Theatre, London, in a programme of short plays entitled Expeditions Two.

audio The Graduate

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

An American classic adapted for the stage, starring Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson and Matthew Rhys as Benjamin Braddock. A fresh-faced college grad returns home, diploma in hand, to seek an answer to that age old question: “Now what?” Lacking any clear career path, he falls prey to the original “cougar”, the predatory Mrs. Robinson, wife of his father's business partner. But it’s Mrs. Robinson’s daughter who captures his heart.

Includes an interview with the star of The Graduate, screen legend Kathleen Turner. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Kathleen Turner as Mrs. Robinson Matthew Rhys as Benjamin Braddock Bruce Davison as Mr. Braddock John Getz as Mr. Robinson Jamison Jones as Hotel Clerk and others Devon Sorvari as Elaine Robinson Linda Purl as Mrs. Braddock and others Adapted for the stage by Terry Johnson, based on the novel by Charles Webb and the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Directed by John Rubinstein. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Bruce Davison, John Getz, Jamison Jones, Devon Sorvari, Linda Purl, Matthew Rhys, Kathleen Turner

Gum and Goo

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Gum and Goo is a short dark play about the world inside the mind of a young autistic girl. It is part of Brenton’s group of ‘Plays for the Poor Theatre’ – plays with minimal theatrical requirements and small casts, but fierce intensity.

The play opens on two boys who torment a young girl, lifting up her skirt and calling her goofy. She starts screaming and retreats into her own head. There the actors who played the boys become Gum and Goo, gremlins who offer to be her friends. They send her home for tea, and she wanders through a distorted world of confusing streets, dirty old men and a mother whose head comes off.

Gum and Goo was first performed in 1969 by the Brighton Combination.

Heads

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Heads is a short and brutal play about greed and the perfect man. It is part of Brenton’s group of ‘Plays for the Poor Theatre’ – plays with minimal theatrical requirements and small casts, but fierce intensity.

A woman is in love with two men: one for his physical power; the other for his brilliant mind. But one’s muscles begin to disgust her, and the other’s obsession with increasing his vocabulary cannot satisfy her. She can never be happy while the two halves of perfection remain unreconciled.

Heads was first performed in 1969 by the University of Bradford Drama Group.

Hedda Gabler (trans. Meyer)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Hedda Gabler is a hard and brilliant tragedy on the purposelessness of life, and a comment on the difficulty of finding personal fulfilment in the stifling world of late nineteenth century bourgeois society, particularly for women.

The eponymous Hedda is an electrically complex woman bored to death by her suburban life. Recently married to George Tesman, an academic happily absorbed in his obscure research, she returns from their honeymoon to a handsomely furnished house and a meaningless existence. In the drawing room, with an insidious judge, a wayward visionary writer and his loyal wife, she impulsively creates a dark, mercurial, anxious drama.

Ibsen wrote Hedda Gabler in Munich in 1890 shortly before his return to Norway. The play initially met with universal condemnation and misunderstanding. This translation was first performed in 1960 at the 4th Street Theatre, New York.

audio The Heiress

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A Tony Award-winning play based on the novel Washington Square by Henry James - one of James’ most complex and satisfying portraits of the American character. Set in New York City in 1850, the play centers on the painfully shy Catherine and her austere father. When Catherine falls in love with a handsome suitor, her father threatens to disinherit her, convinced that the young man could only be interested in Catherine’s fortune.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Amy Irving, George Gaynes, Chris Noth, Jane Beard, Helen Hedman, Maureen Kerrigan, Marty Lodge and Halo Wines.

Featuring: Jane Beard, George Gaynes, Helen Hedman, Amy Irving, Maureen Kerrigan, Marty Lodge, Chris Noth, Halo Wines

The Holy Terror

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The Holy Terror: Melon Revised is a reworking of Simon Gray's earlier play Melon, originally performed in 1987. It was first performed on 15th February 1991 at the Temple of Arts Theatre, Tucson, Arizona.

Home (Storey)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

As five apparently unrelated characters meet in a seemingly insignificant garden, the autumnal sun shines overhead and everybody waits for rain.

What they discuss is superficially anything that can pass the time. What is portrayed is the very essence of England, Englishness, class, unfulfilled ambition, loves lost and homes that no longer exist.

Home is a beautiful, compassionate, tragic and darkly funny study of the human mind and a once-great nation coming to terms with its new place in the world. It was described by the Guardian as ‘A sad Wordsworthian elegy about the solitude and dislocation of madness and possibly about the decline of Britain itself . . . part of the play’s appeal is that Storey leaves us to draw our own conclusions . . . a play that contains within itself the still, sad music of humanity.’

Home was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 17 June 1970.

The Hotel in Amsterdam

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Six London friends, whose lives and work are overshadowed by a demanding film producer, flee the country for a weekend to escape his clutches.

Safely ensconced in a hotel in Amsterdam, the uneasy equilibrium that has existed between them is joyously exposed as the alcohol starts to flow.

John Osborne's funny and moving account of friendship won the Evening Standard Best Play of the Year Award in 1968. The play was revived by the Donmar Warehouse, London, in September 2003.

The House of Bernarda Alba

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Finished just two months before the author's murder on 18 August 1936 by a gang of Franco's supporters, The House of Bernarda Alba is now accepted as Lorca's great masterpiece of love and loathing.

Five daughters live together in a single household with a tyrannical mother. When the father of all but the eldest girl dies, a cynical marriage is advanced which will have tragic consequences for the whole family. Lorca's fascinatingly modern play, rendered here in an English version by David Hare, speaks as powerfully as a political metaphor of oppression as it does as domestic drama.

This version of The House of Bernarda Alba premiered at the National Theatre, London, in March 2005.

audio The House of Blue Leaves

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

John Guare poignant Obie Award-winning comedy unfolds in New York City on the day the Pope is expected to visit. Hearts are palpitating in the sleepy borough of Queens, but not entirely on account of His Holiness. Bunny Flingus, a femme-fatale from Flushing (or thereabouts) is stirring things up in the quiet, unfulfilled life of aspiring songwriter Artie Shaughnessy. Artie longs to leave his unhappy marriage, elope with Bunny, and write a hit song that will top the charts.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Mary Teresa Fortuna, Sharon Gless, Deb Gottesman, Christopher Lane, Ron Leibman, Cam Magee, Jennifer Mendenhall, Jessica Walter and Michael Willis.

Featuring: Mary Teresa Fortuna, Sharon Gless, Deb Gottesman, Christopher Lane, Ron Leibman, Cam Magee, Jennifer Mendenhall, Jessica Walter, Michael Willis

Huggy Bear

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

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

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

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

In Celebration

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

As the Shaw sons gather to celebrate their parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary, the tensions of their family history come to the surface. Their father, who’s spent his life on his back down the mines, has always been proud of the grammar school and university education he provided for his sons. Now, however, he sees that education betraying the very work ethic he hoped to instil in them, as his working-class sons become middle-class professionals.

‘Iconoclastic’ Andrew, the eldest, has packed in his job as a successful lawyer in order to concentrate on his painting; Colin invests in the motor industry; silent Steven, the child prodigy, has given up on his novel and entered the teaching profession.

As the Shaw sons question their mother’s insistence on moral rectitude and strict hygiene, they shed light on the saintly memory of their deceased fourth brother, and the consequences of his life and death on their upbringing.

A provocative response to the impact of warfare and poverty on working-class family life over the course of the mid-twentieth century, In Celebration was first produced at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1969.

video An Inspector Calls (BBC film adaptation)

BBC Video
Type: Video

Emotionally powerful and sharply relevant, this is a stylish new adaptation of JB Priestley’s timeless masterpiece. An Inspector Calls is both an enthralling mystery and a scathing critique of a hypocritical, class-obsessed society. Set in 1912, it vividly evokes a thriving industrial age built on crippling social inequality. Taking place over the course of a single night, this taut, affecting and ultimately tragic story centres on the prosperous Birling family. They receive a surprise visit from Inspector Goole who investigating the suicide of a young girl, a former factory worker of Mr Birling’s. Interrogating each family member in turn, Goole’s incisive questioning reveals that each one not only had a connection to the girl but also may have played a significant part in her demise. As the family’s callous actions are brought to light, so are dark and shameful secrets that threaten to tear the Birling household apart and destroy its reputation.

Credits:

A Drama Republic production for BBC. Director: Aisling Walsh (Wallander, Room at the Top); Adapted by: Helen Edmundson (The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Coram Boy) from the play by JB Priestley; Producer: Howard Ella (The Interceptor, Good Cop); Executive Producers: Greg Brenman (The Honourable Woman, Peaky Blinders) Roanna Benn (My Mad Fat Diary, Prisoners’ Wives). Starring: David Thewlis (The Theory of Everything, War Horse, Harry Potter); Ken Stott (The Hobbit, The Missing, Rebus, Messiah); Miranda Richardson (Mapp & Lucia, Testament of Youth, Parade’s End).

Distributed under licence from Educational Publishers LLP

The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

When Albie Sachs walks into his chambers one morning, he feels a hand on his shoulder and soon finds himself surrounded by men in suits. Arrested and imprisoned without trial for speaking out against apartheid law, the young lawyer is held in solitary confinement in a concrete cell without a bunk or a chair, and only the Bible to read. Albie’s refusal to answer the special officers’ questions ensures his continued detainment, as he struggles to retain his convictions, and his sanity, alone in jail.

Based on the real-life figure of Albie Sachs, a South African lawyer, and drawing heavily on his diaries which detail his experience of apartheid in South Africa in the 1960s, this adaptation by David Edgar explores the endurance of the individual against loneliness, oppression and a justice system that is threatened by a growing movement towards emancipation.

The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs was first presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Warehouse Theatre, London, in June 1978.

audio Judgment at Nuremberg

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Abby Mann's classic story about the Nuremberg trials, under which German leaders were found guilty of crimes against humanity in 1945 and 1946. Even today, the play remains a shattering indictment of the consequences of unchecked authority and the seductive power of group thought.

Includes an audience talkback with Judge Bruce Einhorn, who served at the Justice Department supervising litigation against Nazi war criminals and is currently a professor at Pepperdine University.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production, starring Ryan Vincent Anderson, Michael Canavan, Jake Green, Harry Hamlin, Shannon Holt, Alan Mandell, James Morrison, David Selby, Kate Steele, Nick Toren, and John Vickery.

Honorary Executive Producer, David Kavner. Special thanks to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. Directed by Shannon Cochran and recorded before an audience by L.A. Theatre Works.

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