Plays by Simon Gray

Spoiled

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Simon Gray adapted Spoiled from a television play of the same name. The television version of Spoiled was first broadcast by the BBC on 28th August, 1968, as part of the Wednesday Play series.

Spoiled is a play about the tensions that arise in a schoolmaster’s home when he invites one of his 'O'-level French pupils to spend the weekend before the exam there for some last-minute coaching. Donald is a nervous, over-mothered boy who works in a shop; he is anxious to better himself for his mother’s sake and to please his teacher. Howarth is a born teacher, but his enthusiasm and flair for play-acting and for getting the best out of dull pupils seem to mask a kind of self-indulgence. Joanna, his heavily pregnant wife, full of unease, begins to see this clearly as the weekend progress: the realization only makes her more vulnerable.

Spoiled was first performed at the Close Theatre Club in Glasgow in 1970.

Stage Struck

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

In his younger days, Robert Simon was a first-rate stage-manager in provincial rep. Now he keeps house for his West End actress wife, while amusing himself with lots of little sexual adventures. In fact, a thoroughly happy man. Until one evening, through the clumsy intervention of a psychiatrist, his happiness and his marriage are destroyed. He plans a hideous revenge, both on his wife and on the psychiatrist…a revenge which allows him to discover all his old talents.

Stage Struck was first presented on 21st November 1979, at the Vaudeville Theatre

Tartuffe

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

An adaptation of Moliere's classic, Tartuffe was first performed at The Kennedy Center, Washington DC, in May 1982.

'[This] version of Tartuffe…was commissioned by the Kennedy Center, Washington, and performed in May 1982. My impertinent intention in undertaking it was to find, if such a thing were there to be found, a completely English play that could pass under the original title, set in the original social and historical context. The Englishness of it was therefore a matter of the psychology and, of course, the expression. The first entailed the transformation of some of the characters in order that I, at least, should understand why they behave as they do. The second, which followed from the first, entailed that the characters should speak in a language that expressed the needs and fears of their natures as I understood them…

But really I make no apology for having a go—or making a stab—at Tartuffe. However much I might damage my own reputation, I’m unlikely to damage Moliere’s.' — Simon Gray

Wise Child

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

What business have Mrs. Artminster and her son Jerry in the Home Counties that necessitates a long stay in a small-town hotel in the off-season? The explanation they give the proprietor is obviously contrived, but he has his reasons for allowing them to stay.

In Simon Gray’s first play for the stage - which opened at Wyndham’s Theatre in October, 1967 with Sir Alec Guinness in the lead - the truth is complex and its revelation electrifying.

Picture of Simon Gray

Simon Gray was born in 1936. He began his writing career with Colmain (1963), the first of five novels, all published by Faber. He is the author of many plays for TV and radio, also films, including the 1987 adaptation of J L Carr's A Month in the Country, and TV films including Running Late, After Pilkington (winner of the Prix Italia) and Emmy Award-winning Unnatural Pursuits. He wrote more than thirty stage plays amongst them Butley and Otherwise Engaged (which both received Evening Standard Awards for Best Play), Close of Play, The Rear Column, Quartermaine's Terms, The Common Pursuit, Hidden Laughter, The Late Middle Classes (winner of the Barclay's Best Play Award), Japes, The Old Masters (his ninth play to be directed by Harold Pinter) and Little Nell, which premiered at the Theatre Royal Bath in 2007, directed by Peter Hall. Little Nell was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2006, and Missing Dates in 2008. In 1991 he was made BAFTA Writer of the Year. His acclaimed works of non-fiction are: An Unnatural Pursuit, How's That for Telling 'Em, Fat Lady?, Fat Chance, Enter a Fox, The Smoking Diaries, The Year of the Jouncer, The Last Cigarette and Coda. He was appointed CBE in the 2005 New Year's Honours for his services to Drama and Literature. Simon Gray died in August 2008.