NHB Modern Plays

Plays

Delirium

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A radical re-interpretation of Dostoyevsky’s seminal novel The Brothers Karamazov, Delirium is the result of a collaboration between Enda Walsh and acclaimed theatre company, theatre O. It was first performed on 9 April 2008 on tour prior to playing at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, and the Barbican, London.

The play loosely follows the plot of Dostoyevsky's novel: at its heart is a bitter rivalry between the tyrannical Fyodor and his eldest son Mitya over money and the affections of a young woman, Grushenka. This is complicated by another love triangle, in which Mitya’s fiancée Katerina is loved by his resentful, intellectual brother Ivan. Observing these tensions, and attempting to introduce benign Christian virtues, is the youngest brother Alyosha. Meanwhile the sinister manservant Smerdyakov looks on from the sidelines, filming the action.

In their Prologue to the published text (Nick Hern Books, 2008), Joseph Alford and Carolina Valdés, Co-Artistic Directors of theatre O, write that 'Delirium explores a world without morals, depicting the human condition in a harsh and uncompromising way. The determined brothers of the title, and their despicable father, are each driven by an individual mix of passion, intellect, faith and frustration. Feuds over women and money ensue and bad blood runs deep, as beliefs and spitefulness ignite a frenzy of emotion so strong it is impossible to contain.'

The theatre O production was directed by Joseph Alford and designed by James Humphrey. It was performed by Joseph Alford, Denis Quilligan, Julie Bower, Dominic Burdess, Carolina Valdés, Nick Lee and Lucien MacDougall.

Deposit

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Matt Hartley's Deposit is a play that explores the problems facing young people in London who want to buy their own property, focussing on two couples in their late 20s who together take a radical step in order to save for a deposit. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, London, on 12 March 2015.

The play's action takes place in a 'very, very small' one-bedroom attic flat in a terraced house in Herne Hill, London, over a period of nearly twelve months between September 2014 and August 2015. Rachel and Ben are looking to buy their first property, and so are their friends Melanie and Sam, but with rising rent prices, taxes to pay, student loans still outstanding and pensions to think about, the prospect of putting down a deposit seems ever-distant. So they decide to live together for a year in a rental property, sharing both costs and space in a cramped one-bedroom attic flat. But soon cracks in the paper-thin walls begin to appear, and as their increasingly limited living space gradually encroaches on household relations, the couples are faced with a choice between preserving their friendship, their relationships, or their dream of buying their own property.

The Hampstead Theatre premiere was directed by Lisa Spirling and directed by Polly Sullivan, with Ben Addis as Ben, Akiya Henry as Rachel, Jack Monaghan as Sam and Laura Morgan as Melanie.

dirty butterfly

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

debbie tucker green's debut play, dirty butterfly is about voyeurism, power and guilt. It was first performed at Soho Theatre on 26 February 2003.

Listening through their thin walls, Amelia and Jason are drawn into the dark and compelling world of their mutual neighbour, Jo. Something very nasty is going on next door, and Jason and Amelia know it, but do nothing.

Stage directions state that the audience 'should surround the actors' and that, prior to the play's Epilogue, 'the characters are always onstage'.

The premiere at Soho Theatre was directed by Rufus Norris and designed by Katrina Lindsay, with Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Amelia, Jo McInnes as Jo and Mark Theodore as Jason.

The critics were quick to herald the arrival of a distinctive new talent in British playwriting, with The Independent on Sunday describing the play as 'startlingly assured', while Lyn Gardner in The Guardian observed that 'There is a sly, controlled power in this writing... . And now I cannot get it out of my head'.

Disco Pigs

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Enda Walsh's breakthrough play Disco Pigs is a fast and formally inventive portrait of two teenage Irish misfits. It was first performed by Corcadorca Theatre Company at the Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, in September 1996, and subsequently at the 1996 Dublin Theatre Festival. It received its UK premiere at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 7 August 1997, before transferring to the Bush Theatre, London, in September 1997, and then on international tour.

The play is written for two performers. Pig (male) and Runt (female) are two 17-year-olds who share everything including a birthday, communicate in a distinctive private language, and occupy an intensely imaginative world of their own. They seem to be completely inseparable, but as adulthood beckons them, Pig cannot let go of Runt and the fragile world they have built.

The Corcadorca production was directed by Pat Kiernan and designed by Aedin Cosgrove, with Cillian Murphy as Pig and Eileen Walsh as Runt.

The production won the Best Fringe Production Award at the 1996 Dublin Theatre Festival. It went on to win the Stewart Parker Prize for the best Irish debut play and the George Devine Award in 1997.

A feature film version directed by Kirsten Sheridan was released in 2001 with a screenplay by Enda Walsh, and with Cillian Murphy and Elaine Cassidy reprising their roles as Pig and Runt.

In his foreword to the collection Enda Walsh Plays: One (Nick Hern Books, 2011), Walsh writes: 'Disco Pigs is a jumble of things. A failed relationship I had with a twin, my relationship with the Cork dialect as a Dublin man, the explosive nightlife of the city at that time and our company’s participation in that nightlife. The play wrote itself in two weeks, was hugely naive but had a language that surprised me and somehow captured something about the city.'

The Distance

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Deborah Bruce's The Distance is a play about the emotional fallout when a woman walks out on her husband and children. It was first performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, on 8 October 2014.

At the beginning of the play, 40-year-old Bea is staying with a group of old friends in Sussex, having abandoned her family in Australia. Her friends' attempts to comfort her only add to her sense of confusion. Kate insists that she and Bea fly straight back to Melbourne to claim custody of the children, while Alex is chiefly concerned that her own teenage son might be caught up in the London riots of 2011. What nobody seems to notice is that Bea is guiltily relieved to be rid of her family and doesn’t even want to talk to them via Skype. As the truth leaks out, things threaten to slide into chaos.

The Orange Tree Theatre premiere was directed by Charlotte Gwinner and designed by Signe Beckmann. It was performed by Helen Baxendale (as Lou), Emma Beattie, Daniel Hawksford, Timothy Knightley, Clare Lawrence Moody, Bill Milner and Oliver Ryan.

The play was a finalist for the 2012-13 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and premiered at the Orange Tree Theatre, London, in October 2014. It was revived at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, in 2015.

Doctor Scroggy’s War

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Howard Brenton's play Doctor Scroggy's War is the story of a fictional soldier, Jack Twigg, who, after receiving an injury on the front line during the First World War, encounters the polymath and celebrated surgeon Harold Gillies, acknowledged as the father of modern plastic surgery. The play was first performed at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, on 12 September 2014, marking the centenary of the war.

The play's action centres around the invented character Jack Twigg, a ship’s chandler’s son who enlists in the London Regiment, falls in love with the upper-class Penelope Wedgewood and works as a junior intelligence officer for Sir John French during the battle of Loos in 1915. But Jack leaves the staff, determined to serve in the front line, and there receives a terrible facial injury. This, in the play’s second half, brings him into contact with Harold Gillies, a real-life pioneering plastic surgeon who developed new methods of skin-grafting to restore the faces of badly mutilated men at the Queen’s hospital, Sidcup. The play’s title derives from the roistering alter ego Gillies created to prevent his patients from succumbing to despair. Gillies tries to convince Twigg not to go back to the front, but is unable to do so and the play ends with the young soldier back on the Western Front.

In an article published in The Independent (10 September 2014), Brenton says of the play: 'What helped me in dramatising Harold Gillies were accounts of his extraordinary way of speaking. He was renowned for being difficult to understand, flinging out sentences studded with bizarre metaphors, speeding ahead of his listeners and, at times, himself. Gillies had a hyperactive sense of humour: there were practical jokes and entertainments; there was cross-dressing and illicit champagne and oysters served at night in the wards. Queens was a military hospital and rumours of "goings on" troubled authority. But Gillies, who treated more than five thousand terribly wounded men, some needing as many as 50 operations, understood that souls as well as faces had to be healed. Some of his patients never reintegrated into society but an extraordinary number did, with an insouciance that Gillies's "goings on" encouraged. I have him say about the hospital "We don't do glum here" – that was his spirit. But he was also conflicted in his work by a great fear: that the men he healed would go back to fight at the front.'

The Shakespeare's Globe premiere was directed by John Dove and designed by Michael Taylor. It was performed by Catherine Bailey (as Penelope Wedgewood), Sam Cox, Patrick Driver, Will Featherstone (as Jack Twigg), James Garnon (as Harold Gillies), Daisy Hughes, Joe Jameson, Tom Kanji, Christopher Logan, William Mannering, Holly Morgan, Rhiannon Oliver, Keith Ramsay, Paul Rider, Katy Stephens and Dickon Tyrrell.

The Doctor’s Story (Play Three from The Middlemarch Trilogy)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

The Doctor's Story is part of The Middlemarch Trilogy, a three-part stage adaptation by Geoffrey Beevers of George Eliot's novel Middlemarch (published 1871-2).

The Middlemarch Trilogy comprises three interconnected plays (Dorothea's Story, The Doctor's Story and Fred and Mary's Story) telling the story of Eliot's fictitious town of Middlemarch from the perspective of three different sets of characters: from county, town and countryside. They were first performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in 2013. The Doctor’s Story opened on 13 November.

In The Doctor’s Story, set in the town of Middlemarch itself, where everyone wants to know each other’s business, idealistic Dr Lydgate arrives in Middlemarch determined to achieve great things. He catches the eye of the Mayor’s beautiful, self-centred daughter Rosamond but is torn between ambition and loyalty as he is drawn into an alliance with a corrupt banker.

The Orange Tree production was directed by Geoffrey Beevers and designed by Sam Dowson. The cast was Georgina Strawson, Daisy Ashford, Christopher Ettridge, Christopher Naylor, Jamie Newall, Liz Crowther, Ben Lambert, Michael Lumsden, NiamhWalsh, David Ricardo-Pearce and Lucy Tregear.

In his introduction to the published script (Nick Hern Books, 2014), Geoffrey Beevers writes, 'I’ve always loved the challenge of huge themes in intimate spaces, where the principle must be, not: ‘What can we do with this?’ but: ‘What can we do without? How can we tell this story, as simply as possible, so the story will shine through?’ I wanted to use only her words, a few actors and a minimum of setting, and leave as much as possible to the audience’s imagination.'

The Domino Effect

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fin Kennedy’s The Domino Effect is an ensemble play for teenage performers developed by Kennedy with his long-term collaborators, Mulberry School for Girls in Shadwell, East London. Incorporating dance and physical theatre sequences, the play revolves around a central character who is mute, and explores ideas about fate, self-determination and the law of unintended consequences. It was first performed by Mulberry Theatre Company at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe on 4 August 2014.

The play is set in the East End of London. Amina Rahman is fifteen and never speaks – a silent protest against a world in which bad things always seem to happen to good people. Instead, she retreats into fantasy. But when her mother walks out, Amina is left to fend for herself. It takes an ancient set of dominoes, and a mysterious antiques dealer, for Amina to discover her power. The antiques dealer teaches her how small actions lead to big effects, and how to master the law of unintended consequences.

In an introduction accompanying the published text, Fin Kennedy writes: 'The Domino Effect was conceived in summer 2013, while on a short break in France in which I watched again one of my favourite films, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie. Hang on, I thought. This is a Mulberry story. Set in the inner city, with a teenage girl at its heart, Amélie is about an introvert with an overactive imagination, which starts to spill out into the real world, until even she isn’t sure what is and isn’t real. I often met young women like this in Mulberry, and it seemed a good opportunity to develop a play looking at the interior worlds of these more introverted students (who are also not always the easiest students to engage in Drama). I started to wonder, what would an East London version of Amélie look like?'

The Mulberry School production was directed by Shona Davidson and designed by Barbara Fuchs.

Dorothea's Story (Play Two from The Middlemarch Trilogy)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Dorothea's Story is part of The Middlemarch Trilogy, a three-part stage adaptation by Geoffrey Beevers of George Eliot's novel Middlemarch (published 1871-2).

The Middlemarch Trilogy comprises three interconnected plays (Dorothea's Story, The Doctor's Story and Fred and Mary's Story) telling the story of Eliot's fictitious town of Middlemarch from the perspective of three different sets of characters: from county, town and countryside. They were first performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in 2013. Dorothea’s Story opened on 23 October.

In Dorothea’s Story, set among the big houses of the local aristocracy of Middlemarch, young, intelligent Dorothea is so enamoured of the pedantic Reverend Casaubon that she marries him, much to everyone’s disbelief. But her friendship with Casaubon’s young cousin Will Ladislaw arouses suspicions in her new husband, who will do anything to thwart their mutual affection.

The Orange Tree production was directed by Geoffrey Beevers and designed by Sam Dowson. The cast was Georgina Strawson, Daisy Ashford, Christopher Ettridge, Christopher Naylor, Jamie Newall, Liz Crowther, Ben Lambert, Michael Lumsden, NiamhWalsh, David Ricardo-Pearce and Lucy Tregear.

In his introduction to the published script (Nick Hern Books, 2014), Geoffrey Beevers writes, 'I’ve always loved the challenge of huge themes in intimate spaces, where the principle must be, not: ‘What can we do with this?’ but: ‘What can we do without? How can we tell this story, as simply as possible, so the story will shine through?’ I wanted to use only her words, a few actors and a minimum of setting, and leave as much as possible to the audience’s imagination.'

Dracula (adapt. Lochhead)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

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

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

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

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

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

Drawing the Line

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Howard Brenton's Drawing the Line is a historical drama about the partition of India in August 1947, an act that was to have huge ramifications for the modern world. It highlights the extraordinarily contingent and chaotic political circumstances that lay behind such a momentous historical act. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre, London, on 3 December 2013.

The play opens in London in 1947. Summoned by the Prime Minister from the court where he is presiding judge, Cyril Radcliffe is given an unlikely mission. He is to travel to India, a country he has never visited, and, with limited survey information, no expert support and no knowledge of cartography, he is to draw the border which will divide the Indian sub-continent into two new Sovereign Dominions. To make matters even more challenging, he has only six weeks to complete the task. Wholly unsuited to his role, Radcliffe is unprepared for the dangerous whirlpool of political intrigue and passion into which he is plunged – untold consequences may even result from the illicit liaison between the Leader of the Congress Party and the Viceroy’s wife. As he begins to break under the pressure he comes to realise that he holds in his hands the fate of millions of people.

The play's premiere at Hampstead Theatre was directed by Howard Davies with Tom Beard as Cyril Radcliffe, Silas Carson as Nehru, Andrew Havill as Mountbatten and Abigail Cruttenden as Antonia Radcliffe.

The performance on Saturday 11 January 2014 was live-streamed to a worldwide audience for free by the theatre in association with The Guardian.

The Dream Collector

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fin Kennedy’s The Dream Collector is an ensemble play for teenage performers, the fifth developed by Kennedy with his long-term collaborators, Mulberry School for Girls in Shadwell, East London – but this time also involving students from a second local school, St Paul’s Way Trust School in Bow.

It was first performed by Mulberry Theatre Company, as the inaugural production at the Mulberry and Bigland Green Centre, in November 2013, with a parallel premiere production performed at St Paul’s Way Trust School in December 2013.

The play follows a school group who go on a Media Studies trip to an isolated country house which once belonged to a movie pioneer, Charles Somna. Upon arriving, they discover that Somna was responsible for much more than the creation of mere movies – as the inventor of the Somnagraph he had built the world’s first machine for screening your dreams. Once they step through the movie screen and enter the Dreamworld, each of the young friends meets their dream double, the sinister Neverborn.

In an author's note published with the script, Kennedy writes: 'The play has been written for sixteen young actors aged fourteen to sixteen. One group is a ‘Real World’ twenty-first-century group of school students from East London. These eight all have names and individual identities. The other is an ensemble cast of eight who inhabit the ‘Dream World’. They are known as the Neverborn. Their world is like a black-and-white film, and is stylised and movement-based. They bring to life the other cast’s dreams, and share lines as a chorus. Each Real World cast member has a Neverborn who shadows them, and plays them in their dream sequence. This means there needs to be a minimum of eight Neverborn, but there could be more if a larger cast is available.'

The Mulberry Theatre Company production was directed by Shona Davidson and designed by Barbara Fuchs and Afsana Begum. The St Paul’s Way Trust School production was directed by Kelly Jasor.

Dreams of Violence  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stella Feehily's play Dreams of Violence is a tragicomedy about love, death and responsibility. It was first performed at Soho Theatre, London, on 9 July 2009, in a co-production with Out of Joint.

The play is set in London in September 2008. For forty-something Hildy, political activism comes easier than dealing with the disorder of her family life: her druggie son, Jamie; her philandering soon-to-be-ex husband, Ben; her father, Jack, misbehaving in a hugely expensive retirement home. Then there's Shirley, Hildy's charismatic mother – a former pop star with a fondness for booze – who sets up camp in Hildy's spare room to belittle her from close range. By day, Hildy leads the City's cleaners in revolt against the bankers. But by night, she dreams of unsettling acts of violence.

The Out of Joint/Soho Theatre production was directed by Max Stafford-Clark and designed by Lucy Osborne. It was performed by Jamie Baughan, Nigel Cooke, Giles Cooper, Thusitha Jayasundera, Ciaran McIntyre, Catherine Russell (as Hildy), Mossie Smith and Paula Wilcox.

Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill’s Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? is a play that examines US foreign policy and international power politics since the mid-twentieth century through the lens of a gay relationship. It was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London, on 10 November 2006.

Guy has left his wife and children for fifty years of love and adventure with Sam. But fifty years is a long time, and although Sam is desperate to be loved, Guy gradually becomes disillusioned.

In the play, Sam (played by a man) is closely identified with America and US foreign policy. Guy (also played by a man) is a more human figure, a man initially in thrall to Sam/America (the character was called 'Jack' in the original version performed at the Royal Court, but Churchill subsequently changed the character's name to Guy, perhaps to deflect any specific associations between the character and Britain). Their dialogue is elliptical and fragmented. In the opening exchange, Sam bullishly asks 'who doesn't want to be loved?'; by the end of the play, however, he is imploring the now-disenchanted Guy to 'love me love me, you have to love me'.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by James Macdonald and designed by Eugene Lee, with Ty Burrell as Sam and Stephen Dillane as Jack (the character later renamed Guy).

The play had its US premiere at the Public Theater, New York, in March 2008, again directed by James Macdonald, with Samuel West as Guy and Scott Cohen as Sam.

The Drunks

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Nina Raine adapted this satirical play for the RSC as part of their four-year celebration of Russian Theatre. Its original authors, Russian brothers Mikhail and Vyacheslav Durnenkov, have written over thirty plays, both individually and together, and have had their work produced throughout the world.

A provincial town is in search of a hero. A shell-shocked soldier downs vodka on his return from the frontline in Chechnya. As Ilya arrives home from the hell of war, he finds himself beaten up and thrown off a train for being drunk. When he finally makes it home, he discovers his wife has cuckolded him with a new man and is informed of their son’s death. The mayor, the police chief and editor of the local newspaper immediately descend upon him eager to capitalise on his tragic story. Ilya discovers himself locked into an extraordinary power struggle that threatens to tear the town apart. The play owes something of a debt to the work of Nikolai Gogol in its exploration of small-town politics and the avarice of human beings.

The Drunks was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2009.

Dublin Carol

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Conor McPherson's Dublin Carol is a play about an ageing alcoholic who is forced to confront the failures of his past. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, London, on 7 January 2000.

It’s Christmas Eve and Dublin undertaker John Plunkett is sharing memories of funerals over the years and dispensing advice to his young assistant, Mark. But the arrival of his estranged grown-up daughter, Mary, shows him the time has come to face up to his own disastrous past in order to overcome his fear of the future.

The Royal Court premiere was the first production in the newly rebuilt theatre on Sloane Square. It was directed by Ian Rickson and designed by Rae Smith, with Brian Cox as John, Andrew Scott as Mark and Bronagh Gallagher as Mary.

The play was produced in Chicago by Steppenwolf Theatre Company in November 2008 in a production directed by Amy Morton.

It was revived by the Donmar Warehouse in their West End season at the Trafalgar Studios in December 2011, in a production directed by Abbey Wright.

Duck

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stella Feehily's first play Duck is a drama about female friendship set in contemporary Dublin. It was first performed at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, on 24 July 2003, in a production by Out of Joint. This production went on national tour, including a run at the Royal Court Theatre, London, from 20 November 2003 to 10 January 2004.

Set in present-day Dublin, the play follows Cat, a girl in her late teens, temping as a nightclub hostess in a seedy bar belonging to her thuggish boyfriend Mark. Cat (or 'Duck', as Mark unkindly calls her, because of the size of her feet) tries to kick-start her life by blowing up Mark's car and, later, starting a relationship with Jack, an ageing author with a drink problem. But for all her attempts to transcend the limitations of her life, she comes to realise that companionship with her best mate Sophie offers the best option after all.

The premiere production was directed by Max Stafford-Clark and designed by Jonathan Fensom. It was performed by Gina Moxley, Ruth Negga (as Cat), Aidan O’Hare, Tony Rohr, Karl Shiels (as Mark) and Elaine Symons (as Sophie).

ear for eye  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

debbie tucker green's play ear for eye is a dissection of racial injustice, exploring experiences of oppression and protest, and asking whether progress has really been made. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, London, on Thursday 25 October 2018.

The play is in three distinct parts. Part One comprises a series of encounters between both African Americans and Black British people, exposing generational and political divides over the response to oppression. In Part Two, a Caucasian academic in his fifties and an African American pupil in her twenties argue over the impulses behind a mass shooting. Part Three comprises filmed testimony detailing US segregation laws and British-Jamaican slave codes, spoken by Caucasian performers. Finally, in a brief Epilogue, some characters previously encountered return to offer a direct provocation.

The Royal Court Theatre production was directed by debbie tucker green and designed by Merle Hensel. It was performed by Jamal Ajala, Tosin Cole, Seroca Davis, George Eggay, Demetri Goritsas, Michelle Greenidge, Eric Kofi Abrefa, Lashana Lynch, Hayden McLean, Kayla Meikle, Shaniqua Okwok, Nicholas Pinnock, Sarah Quist, Anita Reynolds, Faz Singhateh and Angela Wynter.

East is East

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ayub Khan Din’s debut play East is East is a comedy about an Anglo-Pakistani family living in multiracial Salford in the 1970s. It was first performed at Birmingham Repertory Studio Theatre on 8 October 1996 in a co-production by Tamasha Theatre Company, the Royal Court Theatre Company and Birmingham Repertory Company, before transferring to the Royal Court, London. It was later adapted into a feature film, with a screenplay by the author, that became one of the most successful British films ever made.

Pakistani chip-shop owner George Khan – 'Genghis' to his kids – is determined to give his six children (Abdul, Tariq, Maneer, Saleem, Meenah and Sajit) a strict Muslim upbringing against the unforgiving backdrop of 1970s Salford. Household tensions reach breaking point as their long-suffering English mother, Ella, gets caught in the crossfire – her loyalty divided between her marriage and the free will of her children.

The premiere production was directed by Kristine Landon-Smith and designed by Sue Mayes, with Nasser Memarzia as George Khan and Linda Bassett as Ella. The production transferred to the Royal Court, London, where it opened in the Theatre Upstairs on 19 November 1996, then in the Theatre Downstairs from 26 March 1997.

East is East won the John Whiting Award in 1996 and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 1998.

The feature film adaptation, released in 1999, was directed by Damien O'Donnell and starred Om Puri as George Khan and Linda Bassett as Ella.

The play was revived in a new version at the Trafalgar Studios, London, in October 2014 in a production directed by Sam Yates and designed by Tom Scutt, with Ayub Khan Din as George Khan and Jane Horrocks as Ella.

Echoes  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Henry Naylor's play Echoes is a two-hander exploring aspects of colonialism, drawing parallels between the lives of a modern-day Jihadi bride and a Victorian pioneer. The play is part of Henry Naylor's Arabian Nightmares trilogy, which also includes The Collector and Angel.

Echoes was first performed at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, on 5 August 2015, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, transferring to the Arcola Theatre, London, later that year.

The story is told by two storytellers who, according to a note in the published script, 'speak directly to the audience, through the "fourth wall"’. Tillie is a 17-year-old Victorian pioneer, while Samira, also 17, is a Muslim schoolgirl. Both are from Ipswich, but they dream of a glorious future abroad. Samira wants to help build a caliphate; Tillie, an Empire. Both are idealists; intelligent adventurers, with strong religious beliefs. Both are frustrated by societies which offer them few opportunities. And both would travel to the East, to impose their ideals upon unwilling peoples.

The premiere production was directed by Henry Naylor and Emma Butler, and was performed by Felicity Houlbrooke (as Tillie) and Filipa Bragança (as Samira).

The cast stayed the same for the subsequent world tour, until 13 September 2016, when Rachel Smyth replaced Felicity in the role of Tillie, for the shows at the Brisbane Festival and the Melbourne Fringe. In April 2017, at the 59E59 Theater in New York, Serena Manteghi joined Rachel Smyth, and took the role of Samira.

Ecstasy

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

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

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

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

Edgar & Annabel

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Sam Holcroft's short play Edgar & Annabel is an Orwellian dystopian fable about a group of freedom fighters attempting to stand up to a repressive regime, while being continuously subjected to surveillance. It was first performed in a double bill with The Swan by D.C. Moore as part of the Double Feature season of paired short plays at the Paintframe, a specially converted space at the National Theatre, London, on 18 July 2011.

The play begins in Edgar and Annabel's kitchen, where dinner is being prepared. But the young couple who live here are only playing the roles of Edgar and Annabel: they are in fact Nick and Marianne, two members of the resistance movement plotting revolution. Since the house is bugged by a computer capable of analysing sounds and speech-patterns, they must play Edgar and Annabel, sticking to the script to ensure continuity and imperceptibility. The play explores the complex relationship that undercover agents, and actors, have with their allotted roles. In a key scene that uses motifs of high farce, the two dissidents prepare a bomb, while the sound they make is drowned out by four other dissidents singing karaoke.

The National Theatre premiere was directed by Lyndsey Turner and designed by Soutra Gilmour. It was performed by Trystan Gravelle, Kirsty Bushell, Damian O’Hare, Karina Fernandez, Tom Basden, Richard Goulding and Phoebe Fox.

Educating Agnes

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Liz Lochhead's Educating Agnes is a Scots-inflected adaptation of Molière’s classic comedy The School for Wives (L’Ecole des Femmes). It was first performed by Theatre Babel at Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, on 25 April 2008. Educating Agnes follows Lochhead's earlier adaptations of Molière’s Tartuffe (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh,1986) and The Misanthrope (as Miseryguts, Royal Lyceum, 2002).

In her introduction to the published edition, Lochhead writes 'The play [is] about an old man of forty-two [Arnolphe] who is so obsessed with the infidelity and treachery of womankind he decides the solution is to marry a young, young girl [Agnes] – his ward, a child innocent to the point of ignorance – and, all the worse for him, falls in love with her. ...

'Molière’s comedy is profound, universal and eternal. What he reveals here about the power-relationships between old men and young girls – about unhealthy obsession, about youth, sweetness and innocence versus middle-aged male self-deception, terror of sex and misogyny – are, of course, all equally pertinent today. Beyond all that though, it is – as are both of those other masterpieces of his I have come to know and love so well – finally about the comical, appalling suffering which love, especially inappropriate love, causes us human beings.'

The Theatre Babel premiere at Citizens' Theatre was directed by Graham McLaren and designed by Graham McLaren and Robin Peoples. It was performed by Kevin McMonagle, Anneika Rose, John Kielty, Sean Scanlan, Lewis Howden and Maureen Car. The production then embarked on a national tour.

The play was revived in 2011 at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

Education, Education, Education  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Education, Education, Education is a play about British schools in the 1990s, exploring what we are taught and why, and where responsibility lies. It was devised by Bristol-based group, The Wardrobe Ensemble, and first performed at the Pleasance Dome at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2017 (a work-in-progress performance of the show was staged as part of Bristol Ferment at Bristol Old Vic in February 2017). It was co-produced by The Wardrobe Ensemble, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, and Shoreditch Town Hall. It won an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, and went on to tour the UK.

The play is set in a run-down British secondary school, Wordsworth Comprehensive, in 1997, just after the election that saw Tony Blair become Prime Minister. Tobias, a new German placement assisting with foreign languages, addresses the audience directly, and watches on as assorted members of the teaching staff struggle to deal with the demands of their job, their unruly students, and their various personal issues. With the nation riding the wave of New Labour's exhilarating success, Wordsworth Comprehensive continues its remorseless slide into chaos.

The play was devised and written by Tom Brennan, Tom England, Emily Greenslade, Jesse Jones, Kerry Lovell, Jesse Meadows, Helena Middleton, James Newton, Ben Vardy and Edythe Woolley.

The premiere production was directed by Jesse Jones and Helena Middleton, and designed by Lucy Sierra. It was performed by Tom Brennan, Tom England, Emily Greenslade, Kerry Lovell, Jesse Meadows, James Newton and Ben Vardy.

Eight

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ella Hickson's Eight is a play comprising eight monologues which together offer a state-of-the-nation group portrait of a generation growing up amidst a consumerist boom. It was first performed at Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, on 2 August 2008.

The eight different characters in the play (there is a ninth, Buttons, included in the published script) range in age from seventeen to their early thirties. Each of them, as Hickson writes in an introduction to the published script, is the product of 'a world in which the central value system is based on an ethic of commercial, aesthetic and sexual excess'. Millie is a jolly-hockey-sticks prostitute mourning the loss of the good old British class system. Miles is a survivor of the 7 July London Tube bombings. Danny is an ex-squaddie who makes friends in morgues. Teenager Jude finds himself attracted to an alluring older woman. André’s boyfriend has just committed suicide. Bobby is struggling to make ends meet for her two young children. Mona is trying to keep her secrets safe from prying eyes. Astrid is cheating on her boyfriend. Buttons is being released from jail tomorrow, having served ten years.

The premiere production was directed by Ella Hickson and designed by David Lookin. The cast was Henry Peters as Danny, Simon Ginty as Jude, Michael Whitham as André, Holly McLay as Bobby, Alice Bonifacio as Mona, Solomon Mousley as Miles, Ishbel McFarlane as Millie and Gwendolen von Einsiedel as Astrid.

In each performance of this production, only four of the monologues were performed, selected by the audience. As Hickson describes in her introduction, 'When I directed the first production of the play, I offered the audience short character descriptions of all eight characters before the play began. I then asked them to vote for the four characters whom they wanted to see. As the audience entered the auditorium, all eight characters were lined up across the front of the stage – but only the four characters with the highest number of votes would perform. The other four characters would remain onstage, reminding the audience that in each choice we make we are also choosing to leave something behind.' Hickson also gives her rationale for staging the production in this way: 'One of the central characteristics of the commercial world that Eight explores is ‘choice culture’. From channel-surfing to Catch-Up TV and X-Factor voting – we are a choosy bunch, we get what we want when we want it. Eight reflects this in its set-up.'

The play was awarded a Fringe First Award and the Carol Tambor ‘Best of Edinburgh’ Award.

The production transferred to Performance Space 122, New York, as part of the COIL Festival, on 6 January 2009, and Trafalgar Studios, London, on 6 July 2009.

Elephants

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Rose Heiney’s debut play Elephants is a domestic black comedy that explores the paths we take in life and their repercussions on the people we love most. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, London, on 11 December 2014.

The play is set in a house belonging to Sally and Richard, a couple in their mid-fifties. The play begins on Christmas Eve, with Richard and Sally waiting for their friends Dick and Valerie, their nineteen-year-old daughter Daisy, and their absent son Christopher's ex-girfriend Lizzy to arrive for the Christmas festivities. But behind the shiny façade, nothing is quite right – and as cracks start appearing, attempts to paper over them make for an explosive evening of revelations and dark secrets exposed.

The Hampstead Theatre premiere was directed by Tamara Harvey and designed by Polly Sullivan, with Helen Atkinson-Wood as Valerie, Adam Buchanan as Christopher, Jonathan Guy Lewis as Dick, Richard Lintern as Richard, Bel Powley as Daisy, Imogen Stubbs as Sally and Antonia Thomas as Lizzy.

The Encounter

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

The Encounter is a play by international theatre company Complicite and its artistic director Simon McBurney, inspired by the novel Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu. It was first performed at the Edinburgh International Festival on 8 August 2015, and received its London premiere at the Barbican in February 2016 before embarking on a world tour.

The play is performed by a single actor working with sound technicians to create a range of voices and aural effects conveyed to the audience via headphones. It tells the story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre, who, in 1969, found himself lost among the people of the remote Javari Valley in Brazil. It was an encounter that was to change his life, as he began to explore, through the indigenous culture in which he was immersed, the limits of human consciousness. The play traces McIntyre’s journey and experiences through a constantly shifting sound world created live on stage in front of the audience.

A 'Note on the Text' in the published script explains that 'During the introduction the audience are asked to put on a set of headphones, which they then wear for the duration of the performance. Everything they hear is through these headphones. The actor uses a range of microphones that can be modified to create the voice of Loren McIntyre and other characters. The actor also creates a variety of live foley sound effects onstage, and uses loop pedals to create exterior soundscapes and the interior worlds of the characters. The performer also plays some sound and audio recordings live through their mobile phone, iPod, and various speakers. All sounds created or played onstage are picked up and relayed to the audience’s headphones through a variety of onstage microphones, one of which is binaural. Other sound is played and mixed live by two operators who in part improvise in reaction to the performer onstage.'

The Complicite production was directed and performed by Simon McBurney, co-directed by Kirsty Housley and designed by Michael Levine, with sound design by Gareth Fry with Pete Malkin.

Epic Love and Pop Songs

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s play Epic Love and Pop Songs is a two-hander about teenage friendship and the pressures of growing up. It was first performed at Pleasance Dome as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on 6 August 2016, produced by Showroom.

The play's action is narrated, largely in direct address to the audience, by two sixteen-year-old characters, Doll and Ted. Doll has attitude and a pregnancy bump, while Ted – her friend, but not her boyfriend – is shy and vulnerable. It transpires that the pregnancy is Doll's fantasy, aimed partly at getting her mother's attention, partly at proving to her school friends that she's sexually active. Meanwhile, Ted's family is falling apart under the strain of coping with his sister's death, and in Doll he has found someone to love and protect. But as Doll's lie unravels, their friendship is tested to the limit.

An author's note included in the published playtext explains that 'Ted and Doll are the storytellers and this play is all about how you spin a tale. The set is negotiable, there could be a bed and a chair, a teenage bedroom from which a world is created, or nothing at all.'

The Edinburgh Fringe premiere was directed by Jamie Jackson and directed by Anna Reid, with Norah Lopez Holden as Doll and George Caple as Ted.

Escaped Alone

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's Escaped Alone is a play that combines neighbourly chit-chat with visions of apocalyptic horror. It was first performed in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London, on 21 January 2016.

The play's action takes place in Sally's backyard over a series of summer afternoons. Three friends – Sally, Vi and Lena – are chatting when another woman, Mrs Jarrett, less well known to them, appears at the open door in the fence and joins them. All four women are 'at least seventy'. Their relaxed, gossipy conversations – played continuously although, according to a note in the text, they actually take place over 'a number of afternoons' – are represented in a distinctively compressed, allusive style. The play is divided into eight numbered sections; in each section the conversation is suspended while Mrs Jarrett delivers a monologue describing an evolving apocalyptic scenario in horrific and frequently surreal terms. In addition, in the second half of the play, each of the other characters delivers a short soliloquy or aside, laying bare their own particular psychological troubles: Sally's phobia of cats; Lena's crippling depression; Vi's intense dislike of kitchens, having killed her husband in her own kitchen several years before. In section 6, in a departure from the established pattern, they all sing a song (the actual song is unspecified in the script; in the premiere production it was 'Da Doo Ron Ron', a song made popular by American girl group The Crystals).

The Royal Court premiere was directed by James Macdonald and designed by Miriam Buether, with Linda Bassett as Mrs Jarrett, Deborah Findlay as Sally, Kika Markham as Lena and June Watson as Vi.

Eternal Love

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Eternal Love tells the story of the passionate 12th-century love affair between Abelard and Héloïse. It explores the war of ideas that resulted from the ensuing scandal, and examines the complex relationship between logic and religion, humanism and fundamentalism, faith and power. The play was first performed under the title In Extremis at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, on 27 August 2006.

A new spirit of philosophical and religious enquiry is growing in the 12th century. In its vanguard is the brilliant Peter Abelard, a man of great learning, independence of mind and sensuality. He starts a war of ideas with the powerful Abbot and Pope-maker Bernard of Clairvaux, the arch-priest of mysticism and austerity. But when Abelard embarks on a passionate affair with his equally brilliant but disastrously connected student Héloïse, his enemies suddenly have the ideal pretext to destroy him.

The play's 2006 premiere at Shakespeare's Globe was directed by John Dove, with Oliver Boot as Abelard, Sally Bretton as Héloïse, and Jack Laskey as Bernard of Clairvaux. It was well received by the critics and was revived by the Globe in 2007 (first performance on 15 May).

It was later revived by English Touring Theatre in 2014 under the revised title, Eternal Love, and first performed on 6 February at Cambridge Arts Theatre before touring the UK. It was again directed by John Dove, with David Sturzaker as Abelard, Jo Herbert as Héloïse, and Sam Crane as Bernard of Clairvaux.

Every One

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jo Clifford's Every One is a modern-day reimagining of the 15th-century morality play Everyman, exploring the meaning of death and bereavement at a deeply personal level. It was first performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, on 19 March 2010. It was revived in a new production (with some minor textual changes) by Chris Goode & Company at the Battersea Arts Centre, London, on 2 March 2016.

The play unfolds as its principal characters – Mary, her husband Joe, her children Mazz and Kevin, and her Mother – speak in direct address to the audience, recounting (and at times re-enacting) their experience of Mary's sudden, unexpected stroke and subsequent death, together with the emotional devastation that ensued, and their gradual coming to terms with their loss.

In a note accompanying the published script, 'Before You Start to Read', Clifford states that the play 'came from the death of my wife, Susie, in February 2005', and from undergoing a subsequent heart-bypass operation. 'I became aware of how incompetent our culture is when it comes to the universal fact of death.'

The Royal Lyceum premiere was directed by Mark Thomson and designed by Francis O’Connor, with Kathryn Howden as Mary, Jonathan Hackett as Joe, Jenny Hulse as Mazz, Kyle McPhail as Kevin, Tina Gray as Mother and Liam Brennan as Man.

The 2016 Battersea Arts Centre production was directed by Chris Goode and designed by Naomi Dawson, with Angela Clerkin as Mary, Michael Fenton Stevens as Joe, Nicola Weston as Mazz, Nick Finegan as Kevin, Eileen Nicholas as Mother and Nigel Barrett as Man.

The Faith Machine

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

The Faith Machine, Alexi Kaye Campbell's third play after The Pride and Apologia, is about the conflict between faith and the free market in the modern world. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs on 25 August 2011.

The play begins in New York in September 2001. Sophie, an idealistic Englishwoman, presents her American lover, Tom, with a moral choice: she will dump him unless he abandons a massive advertising account he has secured with a pharmaceutical company that has used Ugandan children as a laboratory experiment. The play then jumps back to 1998: Tom and Sophie are visiting her father, Edward, on the Greek island of Patmos where another moral drama is being played out. Edward, an Anglican bishop, is under pressure from a Kenyan cleric not to quit the church over its inflexible attitude to homosexuality. The plot continues to jump forward and back in time as we witness Edward’s declining health and the path of Sophie and Tom’s turbulent relationship.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Jamie Lloyd and designed by Mark Thompson, with Hayley Atwell as Sophie, Ian McDiarmid as Edward and Kyle Soller as Tom.

Critical reception to the play was mixed. Michael Billington in The Guardian admired its 'expansive ambition and largeness of spirit', although he found it 'occasionally meanders'. Charles Spencer in The Daily Telegraph remarked that the play is 'blessed with a palpable generosity of spirit and many moments of sly humour', though concluded that 'Campbell is a better dramatist when he keeps his canvas smaller'.

The Fall

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

James Fritz’s The Fall is a play about ageing and intergenerational differences, written to be performed by young people. It was first performed by the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain at the Finborough Theatre, London, on 9 August 2016.

The play comprises three loosely connected scenes. In 'First', two young people, Boy and Girl, encounter a dead body for the first time. In 'Second', set 'years later', a married couple, One and Two, experience difficulty and frustration while caring for an ageing parent and supporting their child. In 'Third', again set 'years later', four older people, A, B, C and D, try to accommodate themselves to straitened circumstances in an institutional room intended for two, repeatedly tempted by the offer of cash settlements for their families if they agree to be euthanised.

The National Youth Theatre premiere was directed by Matt Harrison and designed by Chris Hone. The cast was Simeon Blake-Hall, Ben Butler, Oliver Clayton, Matilda Doran-Cobham, Hannah Farnhill, James Morley, Katya Morrison and LaTanya Peterkin.

Fanny and Faggot

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jack Thorne's play Fanny and Faggot presents two distinct moments in the life of Mary Bell, the eleven-year-old Newcastle girl who was convicted of the manslaughter of two toddlers in 1968. It was first performed at the Finborough Theatre, London, on 30 January 2007. (A version of the first part of the play, Two Little Boys, was staged at the Lift venue at the Pleasance as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2004).

The play is in two parts, which 'can be performed together or separately'. Part One: Two Little Boys is presented as an exercise in theatrical game playing, with two actors identified primarily with Mary Bell and with her friend Norma Bell (no relation, also involved but ultimately found not guilty of the crimes) playing childish games that gradually reveal the facts of the case. The two actresses step in and out of several other roles including judges, parents and abusers. Part Two: Superstar takes place ten years later in 1978. Mary and a friend from the open prison where she is serving her sentence abscond for the weekend to Blackpool, where they meet two young soldiers on leave from Northern Ireland.

The Finborough Theatre premiere was directed by Stephen Keyworth and designed by Georgia Lowe. It was performed by Sophie Fletcher, Elicia Daly, Diana May, Christopher Daley and Simon Darwen.

Far Away

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's Far Away is a play that looks at conflict and its unsettling effect on our lives, and on our humanity. It was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London, on 24 November 2000.

The play is in three short parts. In the first, a young girl called Joan can't sleep; she tells her aunt Harper that she has seen her uncle hitting people with an iron bar. In the second part, several years later, Joan has become a hat maker; she has a developing friendship with another hat maker, Todd. Towards the end of this section there is a procession of prisoners wearing hats, on their way to their execution. In the final section, several years later again, Joan and Todd are taking refuge at Harper's house, and the whole world – including birds, animals and insects – now appears to be at war.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Stephen Daldry and designed by Ian MacNeil, with Annabelle Seymour-Julen as Young Joan, Linda Bassett as Harper, Kevin McKidd as Todd and Katherine Tozer as Older Joan.

The production transferred to the Albery Theatre in the West End, with performances from 18 January 2001.

The play received its American premiere at New York Theatre Workshop in November 2002 in a production directed by Stephen Daldry, performed by Alexa Eisenstein, Marin Ireland, Frances McDormand, Chris Messina and Gina Rose.

Fast

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fin Kennedy’s play Fast is an ensemble play for teenage performers commissioned by Y Touring, an established theatre company that produces and tours plays for young people about complex, science-based issues. It explores issues around fasting, diet, food production and food security. The play was workshopped at Regent High School in Camden, London, before being performed as part of a young people’s summer school run by Y Touring on 22 August 2014.

The play is set among a group of Year 11 classmates (fifteen to sixteen years old) of mixed social backgrounds, in an unnamed state secondary school, in a medium-sized British town, near to some countryside. Cara, a sixteen-year-old student, is from a farming family, and we learn that one year previously her father had killed himself. When Cara’s school holds a twenty-four-hour fast in aid of Oxfam, Cara decides she will not eat again until Tesco’s and the other suppliers, whom she holds responsible for driving her father to suicide, are held to account.

The Y Touring premiere was directed by Dominique Poulter and Nathan Bryon and designed by The Company.

Fast Labour

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Steve Waters’ Fast Labour focuses on the growing culture of human exploitation in the UK focusing specifically on the experience of migrant workers.

In the Ukraine, Victor had a business, a family and a home, but things have changed and he’s fled to the UK in search of a better life. Now he’s doing everything from gutting fish to picking carrots. But he’s a strong-minded man who is determined not to stay at the bottom of the economic food chain forever. He decides to build a business of his own with the aid of two fellow East Europeans and his Scottish mistress. By offering cheap labour to a big shot gang master, Victor builds up a highly successful empire. But this rapid expansion exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of his business – by lining his own pockets he is necessarily cheating those illegal migrants whom he employs. Waters subverts an audience’s expectations by turning the victim into the perpetrator and also points to our own complicity in these exploitative working methods with our increasing consumer demands.

Fast Labour was first performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds in 2008 before transferring to the Hampstead Theatre in London.

Fault Lines

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ali Taylor's play Fault Lines is a comedy drama set in a disasters relief charity in the aftermath of a major earthquake. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, London, on 5 December 2013.

The play is set in the offices of Disasters Relief, a small charity in London. Colleagues Nick and Abi wake up on the morning of Christmas Eve, amidst the carnage of the previous night's office party, to breaking news: a massive earthquake has struck Pakistan. Gathering their clothes – and dignity – the race with rivals Oxfam begins. Who can be the first to dispatch branded aid in full view of the world media? And how far are they willing to go? With the appalling spectre of the previous night’s antics hanging over everything, the day rapidly spirals into a dizzying web of secrets and lies.

The production was directed by Lisa Spirling and designed by Polly Sullivan. It was performed by Natalie Dew, Samuel James, Alex Lawther and Nichola McAuliffe.

The Ferryman

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

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

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

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

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

Finsbury Park  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stephen Jeffreys’s play Finsbury Park is a short autobiographical monologue. It was first performed by Stephen Jeffreys as part of Paines Plough’s Come to Where I’m From at Park Theatre, London, on 6 July 2016.

The play is closely autobiographical, a series of anecdotes and recollections of Finsbury Park and Crouch End, of growing up there as a boy in the 1950s, of Arsenal games, buses, London fog and the kindness of strangers.

In her Introduction to the collection Stephen Jeffreys: Plays (Nick Hern Books, 2018), Jeffreys' wife Annabel Arden writes: 'The house Stephen grew up in, 45 Weston Park, had been acquired by his paternal grandfather in 1936, and three generations as well as many lodgers lived there in a very particular post-war austerity. It was a childhood full of eccentric characters, English humour and stoicism. His monologue Finsbury Park... captures the essence of this.'

Fleabag

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s debut play is a comic monologue for a female performer about the impact of female objectification on one young woman.

Fleabag is a rip-roaring account of some sort of female living her sort of life. Her best friend, Boo, has been tragically killed in a road accident leaving behind their guinea pig-themed café, which is in dire economic straits. She might be willing to prostitute herself to save the café, if society didn’t deem this highly immoral. To add insult to injury, her boyfriend Harry has left her, and her conviction that he’ll be back within a fortnight is slowly waning. She could ask her sister for the money, but they’re not all that close, in part due to the demands of her family life. On the surface Fleabag may seem over-sexed, emotionally underdeveloped and narcissistic, but slowly her vulnerability emerges and some uncomfortable home truths are revealed.

Fleabag was first performed at Underbelly as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013 and produced by DryWrite, the theatre company that Waller-Bridge co-founded. It was a word-of-mouth hit garnering strong reviews and winning a Fringe First Award. It subsequently transferred to Soho Theatre in London where it enjoyed a sell-out run. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright.

Folk

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tom Wells' play Folk is a comedy about three unconventional people finding themselves through music. It was first performed at The STUDIO at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 14 April 2016 at the start of a tour by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Hull Truck Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre.

The play is set in the front room of 'an old Victorian terraced house on Bannister Street, Withernsea', belonging to Sister Winnie, an Irish nun in her fifties. Winnie is no ordinary nun: she swears, she smokes, she drinks Guinness, and she loves a sing-song with Stephen (also in his fifties), who plays a battered guitar and some home-made tin whistles. But everything is about to change as Kayleigh, a reticent fifteen-year-old, extremely unsure of herself, throws a brick through Winnie's window without knowing what she was thinking, and is invited in by Winnie.

The premiere touring production was directed by Tessa Walker and designed by Bob Bailey, with Patrick Bridgman as Stephen, Chloe Harris as Kayleigh and Connie Walker as Winnie.

Forever House

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Glenn Waldron's debut play Forever House is a comedy-drama of three linked scenes, all set in the same house in different time-periods, in which three ill-matched pairs search for a new beginning. It was first performed at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth, on 21 March 2013.

The play is set in a Victorian terraced house in Plymouth. The first scene is set in September 1999: self-conscious teen Richard is keen to escape to art college in London, in the hope of finding somewhere more accepting of his artistic nature. Graham is older, still unpacking after moving to the city for his job. Both are finding their feet, and they seek common ground in art, music and photography. But Graham seems to have other, darker things on his mind. In the second scene, set in September 2005, local estate agent Becci is showing former school friend and returnee Laura around the same house; both pregnant, Becci looks forward to sharing new motherhood and nights of retro clubbing with her ‘oldest friend’, while Laura is adamant that she’s ‘not moving back’, simply choosing to relocate with her husband’s job, and is firm about her wishes not to reconnect. The third and final scene is set in May 2012: recently separated Mark is coming to terms with new and unfamiliar mating rituals with spiky Lucy, who may or may not have an ulterior motive for agreeing to come back to his for a drink after the pub.

The Drum Theatre premiere was directed by Joe Murphy and designed by Hannah Clark, with Dylan Kennedy as Richard, Tom Peters as Graham, Leah Whitaker as Laura, Becci Gemmell as Becci, Joana Nastari as Lucy and Tom Andrews as Mark.

Forty Winks

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

In Forty Winks Kevin Elyot explores the realm of thwarted desire, while playing on the painful comedy that can ensue from the gulf between social decorum and the turbulent emotions that lie just beneath.

From the back row of a local cinema to an anonymous hotel room, Don’s obsession will not let him rest. He’s still carrying a torch for Diana, his childhood sweetheart stolen away by Howard. He unexpectedly drops in on Howard and Diana having not seen them for fifteen years only to discover they now have a daughter, Hermia, who is the spitting image of Diana when Don first fell for her. Suddenly, all his old longings come bubbling dangerously close to the surface.

Forty Winks premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2004 in a production directed by Katie Mitchell.

Foxfinder

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Dawn King's play Foxfinder is a dystopian parable exploring belief, desire and responsibility, set in a world both strange and familiar. It won the Papatango New Writing Competition in 2011 and was first performed at the Finborough Theatre, London, on 29 November 2011.

William Bloor, a ‘foxfinder’, arrives at Samuel and Judith Covey’s farm to investigate a suspected contamination. He is driven by his education and beliefs to unearth and destroy an animal that threatens man’s civilisation, and to remain free from its influence himself. As his investigations proceed, the events that follow change the course of all their lives, forever.

The Finborough premiere was directed by Blanche McIntyre and designed by James Perkins, with Gyuri Sarossy as Samuel, Kirsty Besterman as Judith, Tom Byam Shaw as William and Becci Gemmell as Sarah.

The play was widely praised for its originality. Michael Billington in The Guardian described it as ‘the most compelling new work I have seen this year.’ King was named Most Promising Playwright at the Off West End Theatre Awards in 2012 and was the inaugural winner of the National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award, the successor to the Meyer-Whitworth Award. The play has since been professionally produced in Australia, Sweden and America.

Fragile!  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tena Štivičić's play Fragile! is a drama about the people behind the tabloid stories of migrant workers and sex-trafficking in twenty-first-century Europe. It was first performed at the Arcola Theatre, London, on 4 September 2007.

The play is set in present-day London (2007). Mila is a Croatian singer who dreams of a career in the musicals; Marko is a Serb who wants to be a stand-up comedian. They both work for Michi, a Bulgarian whose bar is a focal-point for immigrants from the former Yugoslavia who want to leave the Balkan war and its legacy behind. Another patron is Erik, a Scandinavian journalist who almost lost his life in the war and did lose his lover, Tiasha, who he believes to be dead. But after being trafficked throughout Europe as a prostitute, Tiasha arrives in London and everyone at Michi's discovers that dreams break easily and the past is not so easy to escape.

The Arcola Theatre production was directed by Michael Gieleta and designed by James Macnamara. It was performed by Catherine Cusack, Joseph Garton, Georgiana James, Edward Kingham, Rayisa Kondracki, Stella Maris and John Moraitis.

Freak

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Anna Jordan's play Freak is a two-hander that explores female sexuality, self-image and sexual exploitation. It was first produced by Theatre503 and Polly Ingham Productions at Assembly George Square during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2014 and at Theatre503, London, in September 2014.

The play's action unfolds, for most of the play's duration, in two parallel monologues delivered direct to the audience. A double bed centre stage represents separate beds belonging to the two characters, Georgie (age 30) and Leah (age 15). Georgie's boyfriend recently left her and, fed up of temping, she has retreated to her bedroom, where she drinks to excess and masturbates compulsively to daytime television. Meanwhile Leah dreams of losing her virginity and obsesses about her body image. The two characters gravitate towards each other until, in the play's final scene, their connection is more fully revealed.

The premiere production was directed by Anna Jordan and designed by Petra Hjortsberg, with Lia Burge as Georgie and April Hughes as Leah.

Fred and Madge

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Written in 1959 when he was only 26 years old, Fred and Madge was Joe Orton’s very first play and has been rarely produced since its composition.

The title characters of the play seem to be the stereotypical middle-aged couple, bored with one another and conversing in clichés. But it turns out that Fred’s job is to push boulders uphill like Sisyphus and Madge’s is to sieve water all day long. Furthermore, since the action is repeatedly interrupted by a quasi-director, it seems they are inhabiting a play about themselves. Soon, it becomes clear that London is becoming subsumed by rampant greenery and the whole cast dreams of escape. Orton’s play zings with sharp one-liners and dialogue that reeks of sexual and social innuendo – a foretaste of his inimitable theatrical style that would eventually turn him into one of Britain’s best-loved playwrights.

Fred and Madge fuses anger with absurdity in its portrait of a working-class couple dehumanised by the relentless routine of their mundane lives. These routines are paralleled by the rituals of the theatre itself, something with which Orton was all too familiar.

Fred and Mary’s Story (Play One from The Middlemarch Trilogy)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fred and Mary's Story is part of The Middlemarch Trilogy, a three-part stage adaptation by Geoffrey Beevers of George Eliot's novel Middlemarch (published 1871-2).

The Middlemarch Trilogy comprises three interconnected plays (Dorothea's Story, The Doctor's Story and Fred and Mary's Story) telling the story of Eliot's fictitious town of Middlemarch from the perspective of three different sets of characters: from county, town and countryside. They were first performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in 2013. Fred and Mary’s Story opened on 4 December.

In Fred and Mary’s Story, set amongst hard-working countryfolk, Fred is trying to please his parents and become a country gentleman, but his childhood sweetheart Mary will have none of it.

The Orange Tree production was directed by Geoffrey Beevers and designed by Sam Dowson. The cast was Georgina Strawson, Daisy Ashford, Christopher Ettridge, Christopher Naylor, Jamie Newall, Liz Crowther, Ben Lambert, Michael Lumsden, NiamhWalsh, David Ricardo-Pearce and Lucy Tregear.

In his introduction to the published script (Nick Hern Books, 2014), Geoffrey Beevers writes, 'I’ve always loved the challenge of huge themes in intimate spaces, where the principle must be, not: ‘What can we do with this?’ but: ‘What can we do without? How can we tell this story, as simply as possible, so the story will shine through?’ I wanted to use only her words, a few actors and a minimum of setting, and leave as much as possible to the audience’s imagination.'

From Both Hips

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Mark O'Rowe's play From Both Hips is a black comedy revenge drama set in the suburbs of Dublin. O'Rowe's first professionally produced play, it was first performed by Fishamble Theatre Company at the Little Theatre, Tallaght, on 25 June 1997, transferring to the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, and the Tron Theatre, Glasgow.

Paul has been accidentally shot in the hip by a policeman. Back from hospital he is overcome with feelings of bitterness and self-pity. Determined to exact revenge upon his shooter, he sets out on a quest to find him. However, when the policeman in question appears with an apology, a gun and an extraordinary proposition, Paul is faced with a difficult choice.

The Fishamble production was directed by Jim Culleton and designed by Blaíthín Sheerin. It was performed by Marion O’Dwyer, Clodagh O’Donoghue, Ger Carey, Fionnuala Murphy, Seán Rocks and Catherine Walsh.

Fuck the Polar Bears

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tanya Ronder's Fuck the Polar Bears is a satirical domestic comedy about aspirational consumerism and environmentalist double standards. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 11 September 2015.

The play's action takes place in the 'central hallway/open living area of an ostentatious house in North London' belonging to Gordon and Serena, two 'down-to-earth people come to money late'. Gordon, Communications Director at a big energy company, frets about the loss of his daughter Rachel’s toy polar bear while working on schemes that will wreck the planet’s animal life. But, despite his claims that he is unaffected by stress, Gordon is troubled on several fronts. At work, he’s been offered the post of Chief Executive with a licence from the government to pursue fracking operations. At home, Serena bluntly tells him she doesn’t like their life. Meanwhile, Gordon's housepainter brother Clarence acts as a rebuke to his conscience, and domestic objects mysteriously go haywire. On top of that, the Icelandic au pair, Blundhilde, turns out to be a militant conservationist. Gordon and Serena ultimately start to wonder whether there is an alternative to their life of conspicuous consumption and discuss the future that awaits their daughter.

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by Caroline Byrne and designed by Chiara Stephenson, with Andrew Whipp as Gordon, Susan Stanley as Serena, Salóme R. Gunnarsdóttir as Blundhilde, Jon Foster as Clarence and Bella Padden/Eléa Vicas as Rachel.

Fugue

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Rona Munro’s play Fugue is a psychological horror story about a woman suffering a mental breakdown. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 28 April 1983.

The play's first act takes place in an isolated cottage in the Grampian Mountains in Scotland. Kay, a secretary, about 24 years old, frightened and depressed, is on holiday, getting away from it all, but is confronted there by a ghost, and also by traumatic memories of her past. In the second act, which takes place in a hospital ward a few days later, Kay is being treated by a young psychiatrist, played by the same actress as the ghost. The psychiatrist attempts to find her way in the labyrinth of Kay’s mind but encounters tragedy instead.

The Traverse Theatre premiere was directed by Les Waters and designed by Helen Turner. It was performed by Gaylie Runciman, Kath Rogers and Evelyn Langland.

Fury

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Phoebe Eclair-Powell's play Fury is a modern-day version of the Medea story, exploring issues around motherhood and class and focussing on the predicament of a young single mum in London. It was the winner of the Soho Theatre Young Writer's Award, and was first performed at Soho Theatre, London, on 5 July 2016 in a co-production by Soho Theatre and Damsel Productions.

The play's action is free-flowing, partly narrated and constantly commented on by a three-strong Chorus comprising Woman, Man and Fury (who also play additional roles in the action). Sam is struggling as a single parent in south-east London with her two young sons since Rob left her. Tom, a master's student who plays his music too loudly, rents the flat above, the one Sam cleans. If they can come to 'an arrangement', he won't report her to Social Services.

In a 'Note on the Play' in the published script, Eclair-Powell states that 'The Chorus act like every Greek chorus should – they ask us to bear witness. But this Chorus also manipulates our understanding of the story unravelling before us. They shape our idea of Sam and our sense of judgement. They are a three-headed hydra – with slight differences in allegiance. Fury is more on Sam’s side, Man is on the fence – sometimes playful, sometimes vengeful – and Woman is the least sympathetic – perhaps she has seen this all before and she’s tired of it. When the Chorus speak they take over – they infiltrate the stage and enhance the theatrical journey. They should be supported by music and underscore – they take us out of naturalism and into something far more heightened.'

The Soho Theatre production was directed by Hannah Hauer-King and designed by Anna Reid, with Sarah Ridgeway as Sam, Alex Austin as Tom, Naana Agyei-Ampadu as Woman, Daniel Kendrick as Man and Anita-Joy Uwajeh as Fury.

Game

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Mike Bartlett's Game is a play that explores ideas about aspiration and voyeurism, focussing on a young couple trying to create a home amidst a housing crisis. When offered the house of their dreams, a moral and ethical dilemma unfolds as the couple discover how far they are willing to go to retain it, and at what personal cost. Game was first performed at the Almeida Theatre, London, on 23 February 2015.

The play's action takes place in two adjacent, interrelated spaces: 'the house', where the young couple, Carly and Ashley, live; and 'the hides', where David, an ex-soldier, supervises punters paying £500 a go to fire tranquiliser shots at the occupants of the house. As the stakes are raised ever higher, Carly and Ashley find that they can no longer enjoy any kind of privacy, and even their nine-year-old son Liam is a legitimate target.

For the Almeida Theatre premiere, directed by Sacha Wares and designed by Miriam Buether, the auditorium was remodelled with the audience seated in dark, camouflage-draped 'hides', viewing the action via TV monitors with direct sight into the mocked-up, two-floor living space also granted by rising and falling shutters. Headphones worn by audience members relayed voice-simulated instructions and live-feed dialogue.

The cast was Georgina Beedle, Clare Burt, Daniel Cerqueira, Laurence Grant, Kevin Harvey (as David), Chloe Hesar, Jodie McNee (as Carly), Mike Noble (as Ashley), Ben Righton, Richard Sumitro and Susan Wokoma, with Oscar Bennett, Jonah Miller and Ben Roberts alternating as Liam.

The Gatekeeper  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Chloë Moss's The Gatekeeper is a darkly comic play about the disintegration of a family get-together. It was first performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 8 February 2012.

The play is set in a holiday cottage in the English Lake District. 35-year-old business woman Stacey celebrates her birthday by hiring the cottage where she and her family used to holiday when she was a child. She thinks it's just going to be her and her mum and dad, Julia and Mike, but there are surprise guests: her brother Rob (age 38), a drifter apparently recently returned from Thailand, and his new girlfriend Angela, who was Stacey's teenage friend. The family's attempts to keep up appearances soon fall by the wayside as secrets are revealed.

The premiere production was directed by Tessa Walker and designed by Chloe Lamford. It was performed by Helen Carter (as Angela), Kate Coogan (as Stacey), Tricia Kelly (as Julia), Nick Moss (as Rob) and Ian Redford (as Mike).

generations

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

debbie tucker green’s generations is a short play about a multi-generational family of black South Africans, ravaged by a disease (unnamed in the play, but strongly identified with AIDS). It was first seen as a Platform performance at the National Theatre, London, on 30 June 2005.

The play is set in the kitchen of black South African family. A family meal for three generations – from teenage daughters to grandparents – is being lovingly prepared with much story-telling and competitive banter. An onstage Choir (a stage direction states that a 'black South African choir would be great') sings. The family scene is enacted five times over. The dialogue is the same each time, but the scenes become shorter as gradually, beginning with one of the teenage daughters whose off-stage courtship provides a comic sideshow, members of the family leave the playing area, and their section of the dialogue is excised. Finally, the Choir sings the South African national anthem, 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika'.

The National Theatre Platform performance was directed by Sacha Wares with a cast including Jeffrey Kissoon, Golda John, Rakie Ayola, Danny Sapani, Sharlene Whyte, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Seun Shote, with members of the African Voices Choir.

The play was revived at the Young Vic, London, in March 2007, in a production directed by Sacha Wares.

German Skerries

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Robert Holman's play German Skerries is a portrait of life in industrial Teesside in the North of England in the 1970s. It won the 1977 George Devine Award, and was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 25 January 1977.

The play's action is set during the summer of 1977, and takes place, according to a note in the script, 'on an area of rough land known as South Gare at the entrance of the River Tees'. It is a popular birdwatching spot, and this is what brings together the 23-year-old Jack Williams, who works for British chemical manufacturing company ICI, and the 59-year-old Martin Jones, who is a primary school teacher. Jack, spurred on by his wife Carol, has applied for a technical course that will lead to promotion as a plant manager. In the course of a fortnight, the play plots the changing lives of its characters as they try to work out how to live, and of a community in which a thriving steel industry poses a threat to the natural environment.

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by Chris Parr and designed by Miki van Zwanenberg, with Paul Copley as Jack, John Normington as Martin, Mark Penfold as Michael and Caroline Hutchison as Carol.

A new production was staged at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, on 3 March 2016, in an Orange Tree Theatre/Up in Arms co-production in association with Reading Rep. It was directed by Alice Hamilton and designed by James Perkins, with George Evans as Jack, Howard Ward as Martin, Henry Everett as Michael and Katie Moore as Carol. The production subsequently toured the UK.

Gift  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ella Hickson’s short play Gift was first performed as part of Decade, a cycle of plays commissioned and produced by Headlong, at Commodity Quay, St Katharine Docks, London, on 1 September 2011.

The play is set in the present day, in New York City. Jason is from Panama but grew up in the southern states of America. With his dark skin, he can pass as an Arab. He works as a gift shop attendant at The Tribute Centre at the former World Trade Centre, which operates guided tours of Ground Zero. He takes a particular interest in certain vulnerable women who come for the guided tours, offering them comfort and solace in return for sex.

The Headlong production of Decade was directed by Rupert Goold and designed by Miriam Buether, and performed by an ensemble cast.

Gilt

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Gilt is a collaboratively written play by Rona Munro, Stephen Greenhorn and Isabel Wright with a multi-stranded narrative exploring the effect money has on personal relationships. Commissioned by 7:84 Theatre Company, it was first performed at Paisley Arts Centre on 2 October 2003 before touring.

The play weaves together the stories of seven characters. There’s Mick, the TV presenter, searching for reconciliation; Carla, who’s looking for love; Al, in search of security; teenager Jo, who’ll try anything for a way out; Chris, out of work and in need of respect; James, who’s put his faith in Anita; and Anita, who would just like to start all over again.

The 7:84 production was directed by Zinnie Harris with a cast including Andy Gray, Kath Howden and Neil McKinven.

After the first performances at Paisley Arts Centre, the production toured to the Tron, Glasgow; the Traverse, Edinburgh; the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen; the MacRobert, Stirling; Universal Hall, Findhorn; and Soho Theatre, London, where it opened on 3 November 2003.

The Ginger Ale Boy

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Enda Walsh's debut play The Ginger Ale Boy is cabaret-style piece about a ventriloquist who has a nervous breakdown. It was written for Corcadorca Theatre Company and first performed by the company at the Granary Theatre, Cork, on 30 March 1995 (previews from 27 March).

The play traces the story of Bobby, an ordinary young man who discovers he has talent and ambition, but that there are other forces that may conspire to deprive him of his dreams.

The Corcadorca premiere was directed by Pat Kiernan and designed by Pat Kiernan and Harry Moore, with an original score for string quartet by Eoghan Horgan. The cast was Eanna Breathnach, Bríd Ní Chionola, Fiona Peek, Myles Horgan, Sorcha Carroll, Valerie Coyne, Dominic Moore, Anita Cahill, Christine Utzeri and Michael McCabe.

The play marked the beginning of a fruitful relationship between Walsh and the company, in particular director Pat Kiernan, who nurtured Walsh's early writing career.

The Girlfriend Experience

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alecky Blythe's The Girlfriend Experience is a verbatim-theatre play about a seaside brothel that specialises in services to an older clientele. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 18 September 2008.

The play was created and performed using the verbatim-theatre techniques developed by Blythe with her company Recorded Delivery, and previously seen in her plays Come Out Eli (Arcola Theatre, 2003) and Cruising (Bush Theatre, 2006). The play is composed entirely from conversations recorded inside an actual brothel, edited and replicated on stage with meticulous verisimilitude. (Some names and place names in the script were changed.)

Tessa has set up a business: a brothel where mature women specialise in offering the ‘Girlfriend Experience’, a surprisingly caring and sympathetic service for their clientele. As the women (Amber, Poppy and Suzie) stoically strive to make a living in a competitive market, their personal lives start to crumble. The quartet reveal their thwarted desires, including a chance at a real monogamous relationship and their feelings about being ‘girlfriends’ themselves. There is a short introductory voice-over spoken by a character called Alecky, which serves to explain the verbatim-theatre technique used in the play.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins and designed by Lizzie Clachan, with Debbie Chazen as Tessa, Esther Coles as Amber, Lu Corfield as Poppy, Beatie Edney as Suzie and Alex Lowe as Man (playing various punters).

The production transferred to the Young Vic, London, on 29 July 2009 (previews from 24 July).

Girl from the North Country  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Girl from the North Country is a play by Conor McPherson with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan. It was first performed at The Old Vic, London, on 8 July 2017, transferring to the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End on 29 December 2017.

The play's action is set in a guesthouse in Duluth, Minnesota, in the winter of 1934. The guesthouse proprietor, Nick Laine, owes more money than he can ever repay, while his wife Elizabeth is losing her mind and their daughter Marianne is pregnant with a child that no one will account for. When a preacher selling bibles and a boxer looking for a comeback turn up in the middle of the night, things spiral beyond the point of no return. Interwoven with the action are songs selected by Conor McPherson from the extensive songbook of Bob Dylan.

In an introduction to the published script, Conor McPherson writes: 'Maybe five years ago I was asked if I might consider writing a play to feature Bob Dylan’s songs. I initially didn’t feel this was something I could do and I had cast it out of my mind when, one day, walking along, I saw a vision of a guesthouse in Minnesota in the 1930s. ... And I saw a way Mr Dylan’s songs might make sense in a play.'

The first production was directed by Conor McPherson and designed by Rae Smith. It was performed by Sheila Atim, Ron Cook, Bronagh Gallagher, Shirley Henderson, Ciarán Hinds (as Nick Laine), Claudia Jolly, Arinzé Kene, Debbie Kurup, Kirsty Malpass, Jim Norton, Tom Peters, Karl Queensborough, Sam Reid, Michael Shaeffer, Jack Shalloo and Stanley Townsend.

Girl in the Machine

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stef Smith's play Girl in the Machine is a dystopian drama exploring our potential digital future, and what it might mean for 'life' as we know it. The play was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 5 April 2017.

The play is set 'not too far into the future', in a house belonging to corporate lawyer Polly and her husband, Owen. Polly has recently been promoted, and spends most of her time working, so Owen presents her with a new gadget, 'Black Box', to help her relax. Black Box is a headset that offers virtual reality experiences that are both seductive and addictive, communicating by spoken voice. As Polly slides inexorably into digital dependency, it becomes apparent that, beyond the isolation of this apartment, people are rising up in protest at the new technology and its increasing hold over human life. Polly and Owen are forced to question whether their definitions of reality and freedom are the same.

The premiere production was directed by Orla O’Loughlin and designed by Neil Warmington. It was performed by Michael Dylan as Owen, Rosalind Sydney as Polly and Victoria Liddelle as the voice of Black Box.

A Girl’s Bedroom

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

At the age of 6, a girl leaves her bedroom and family home and walks. She never stops. Until now

A Girl's Bedroom was first performed at the 2015 Galway Arts Festival, and was revived at the 2016 Galway International Arts Festival alongside two other short plays by Enda Walsh - Kitchen and Room 303 - under the collective title Rooms.

The Girl’s Guide to Saving the World  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Elinor Cook's The Girl's Guide to Saving the World is a play about friendship, feminism and what it means to be successful. It was first produced as part of the 2014 HighTide Festival, Halesworth, Suffolk on 11 April 2014.

The play centres on a friendship between Jane and Bella, two young women in their late twenties. Bella has had an idea for a blog which might possibly revolutionise the way women (and men) think about each other. Meanwhile, Jane's boyfriend Toby dreams of babies, buggies, and home improvement, even though he can’t properly look after his cat. As they try to make sense of their uncertain worlds, Jane and Bella find themselves falling out of step.

The HighTide Festival production was directed by Amelia Sears with set and costume design by Jamie Vartan. It was performed by Jade Williams, Georgina Strawson and Ben Lambert.

Girls Like That

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Evan Placey's Girls Like That is an ensemble play exploring the pressures on young people today in the wake of advancing technology. It was specially commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Theatre Royal Plymouth. It was first performed by The Young REP as part of The Young Rep Festival at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham, on 12 July 2013; the West Yorkshire Playhouse Youth Theatre at the Courtyard Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, on 18 July 2013; and by the Theatre Royal Plymouth Young Company at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, on 14 August 2013.

When a naked photograph of schoolgirl Scarlett goes viral, rumours spread across smartphones like wildfire and her reputation becomes toxic, threatening to shatter the fragile unity of the girls she has grown up with. But how long can Scarlett remain silent? And why isn't it the same for boys? Using music and dance sequences, and featuring shifts in time to explore the evolution of feminist consciousness, the play focuses on adolescent female friendship in the present day and its fragility in the face of societal and cultural pressures.

The premiere productions were directed by Daniel Tyler (Birmingham Rep), Gemma Woffinden (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Beth Shouler (Theatre Royal, Plymouth).

In January 2014, members of the West Yorkshire Playhouse Youth Theatre travelled to Westminster to perform an extract from the play in Parliament as part of the launch of YoungMinds Vs, a new children’s mental health campaign.

The play was revived at the Unicorn Theatre, London, on 6 November 2014 in a co-production by the Unicorn and Synergy Theatre, directed by Esther Baker and designed by Katy McPhee.

The play was awarded Best Play for Young Audiences at the 2015 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards.

Glory Dazed

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Cat Jones's play Glory Dazed is a darkly comic examination of the plight of ex-servicemen in modern Britain, focussing on an Afghanistan veteran's attempt to find redemption through reconciliation with his ex-wife. It was developed in collaboration with ex-soldiers serving prison sentences at HMP & YOI Doncaster by Second Shot Productions, a social enterprise that exists to give serving prisoners and ex-offenders opportunities within creative industries. It won the BBC's Alfred Bradley Bursary Prize 2011 and was first performed as part of the Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh Season 2012 at the Underbelly, Edinburgh, on 2 August 2012.

The play's action is set in a backstreet pub in Doncaster, after hours. When ex-squaddie Ray, mentally scarred from his time in Afghanistan, knocks on the door, demanding to be let in, his old friend, Simon, the pub's landlord, feels he has no alternative but to let him in. Also in the pub are Leanne, a teenage barmaid, and Carla, Ray's ex-wife and the mother of his children. The stage is set for off-kilter drama and heart-wrenching recrimination.

The premiere by Second Shot Productions was directed by Elle White and designed by Becky Warnock. It was performed by Chloe Massey as Carla, Kristin Atherton as Leanne, Adam Foster as Simon and Samuel Edward-Cook as Ray.

The production transferred to the Adelaide Fringe Festival at the Holden Street Theatre in February 2013, and then to Soho Theatre, London, where it opened on 23 April 2013.

Glory On Earth  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Linda McLean's play Glory on Earth is a historical drama about Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. It was first performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh on 20 May 2017.

The play is set in Scotland between 1561 and 1563. The French-raised Mary Stuart arrives in Leith docks with her female retinue. She is eighteen and on her young shoulders rest the hopes of the Catholic establishment of Europe. The nation that receives her has just outlawed her church and its practices. Its leader is the radical cleric and protestant reformer, John Knox. Both believe themselves ordained by God. Both believe themselves beloved by their people. Both were exiled and returned home... but only one can make Scotland their own.

The premiere production was directed by David Greig and designed by Karen Tennent. It was performed by Rona Morison (as Mary), Jamie Sives (as John Knox), Christina Gordon, Christie Gowans, Kirsty Eila McIntyre, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Shannon Swan and Fiona Wood.

The Glove Thief  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Beth Flintoff’s play The Glove Thief is a historical drama about a group of Elizabethan tapestry-makers whose embroidery expresses their deepest longings and perhaps has the power to change the course of English history.

The play was commissioned as part of the Platform initiative from Tonic Theatre in partnership with Nick Hern Books, aimed at addressing gender imbalance in theatre by offering a series of big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by young actors.

It was first performed by students of Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance at Ugly Duck, London, on 15 June 2017.

The play is set in the year 1569, and Elizabeth I is Queen of England. With no heir to the throne, political unrest is growing. Elizabeth has spies everywhere, and there are rumours of threats against her life, which begin to centre on her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. When Mary arrives in England, escaping Scotland in fear for her life, Elizabeth sends her to Tutbury Castle, the home of Bess of Hardwicke, once the richest woman in England. Is Mary a guest, there for her own safety, or is she Elizabeth’s prisoner? In the play, the three most powerful women in England are seen through the eyes of an ordinary young girl, Rose. When Rose is accused of stealing, Bess steps in and takes her into her household, on condition that Rose spies on Mary for Queen Elizabeth. Rose must spend her days sewing with Mary and her attendants. Sewing is a subversive and escapist act: for Rose, it is an art form and a chance to break away from her background; for Bess, it is an expression of her love and loss, and liberation from her marriage; and for Mary, it might literally be her way out of captivity.

The play can be performed by a minimum of sixteen people (twelve female, four male), with no maximum size.

In an Introduction to the published playtext, Beth Flintoff writes: 'This is the fourth in a series of historical plays I am lucky enough to have been asked to write in the past couple of years. The experience has made me realise how profoundly dissatisfied I am with the way history has been presented to us so far, and how happy to discover that all along there have been countless stories of remarkable women, sitting unnoticed in the dustbin of history, waiting for someone to brush them off. This story, of a group of women forced to spend years closed up together and trying not to go mad in the process, was one such forgotten tale of courage and ingenuity that deserves to be told.'

The Rose Bruford production was directed by Ola Ince and designed by Elle Rose. It was performed by Katie Spencer-Blake, Adriana Moore, Daisy Adams, Jesse Bateson, Alice Renshaw, Ellie-Jane Goddard, Siobhan Bevan, Rachel Lemon, Billie Hamer, Grace Liston , Jorginho Osuagwu, Robert Rickman, Niall Cullen, Tayla Kovacevic-Ebong and James Killeen.

Godchild

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Deborah Bruce's play Godchild is a dark comedy about the rewards and pressures of childlessness on a woman approaching middle age. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, London, on 31 October 2013.

The play is in four scenes, three of which take place in a flat belonging to Lou, 40, whose god-daughter Minnie, 19, has moved in to take up a place at university. Minnie’s arrival shines a harsh light into the corners of Lou’s life – revealing it to be not as it seems. Her relationships are complicated, her neighbours are closing in on her, and the clock is ticking.

The Hampstead Theatre production was directed by Michael Attenborough and designed by Francesca Reidy. The cast was Pearl Chanda, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Chook Sibtain and Michael Shaeffer.

God’s Property

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Arinze Kene's play God's Property is about racial tensions in 1980s London, and was first performed at Soho Theatre, London, on 26th February 2013.

The play is set in 1982, in the kitchen of a small council house in Deptford, South London. The city is gripped by spiralling unemployment and inner city riots. Chima (late twenties) and Onochie (mid teens) are two mixed-race brothers, sons of an Irish mother and a Nigerian father. Returning home after a long spell in prison, Chima is horrified to find that Onochie has become a skinhead who no longer thinks of himself as black. Chima has been blamed for the death of a white girl and the hostile world outside won't rest until it delivers its rough justice. But will Onochie side with the community he's tried so hard to belong to, or stand by the brother he barely knows?

The Soho Theatre production was directed by Michael Buffong and designed by Ellen Cairns. It was performed by Kingsley Ben-Adir as Chima, Bradley Gardner as Liam, Ash Hunter as Onochie, and Ria Zmitrowicz as Holly.

A Going Concern  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stephen Jeffreys’s play A Going Concern is a drama about an ailing family business in 1960s London that specialises in making billiard tables as the trade is overtaken by the times. It was first staged at Hampstead Theatre, London, on 2 September 1993.

The action of the play takes place in the workshop of Chapel and Sons (Billiards) Ltd in the City Road, London, in April 1966. The company still makes billiard tables the old-fashioned way, in a dilapidated workshop, where three generations conspire against each other for control of the firm, while their livelihood is threatened by technological advances and the coming of American pool.

In her Introduction to the collection Stephen Jeffreys: Plays (Nick Hern Books, 2018), Jeffreys' wife Annabel Arden writes: '[Stephen's] father’s family ran a business making billiard tables, where he himself spent a short time working after university and which he immortalised in his play A Going Concern. According to family legend his great-grandfather taught the Pankhurst sisters how to play billiards.'

The Hampstead Theatre production was directed by Matthew Lloyd and designed by Sue Plummer. It was performed by Henry Stamper, David Horovitch, David Killick, Adam Godley, Reece Dinsdale, James Clyde, Shaun Prendergast and Samantha Holland.

Gone to Earth  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Helen Edmundson's stage adaptation of Mary Webb's 1917 novel Gone to Earth was first performed by Shared Experience Theatre Company at the Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton on 25 March 2004 and subsequently at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford; Nuffield Theatre, Southampton; Cambridge Arts Theatre; Thoresby Riding Stables; Bristol Old Vic; Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, and Oxford Playhouse.

The play tells the story of Hazel, an innocent and free-spirited seventeen-year-old child of nature living in rural Shropshire. But when both the local squire Jack Reddin and the altruistic minister Edward Marston fall in love with her, she is drawn into a world of earthly passions which threatens to destroy her – as simply and relentlessly as a Greek tragedy.

In an Introduction to the published script, Helen Edmundson writes: 'I love the mythical feel of this story... I have tried to capture some of this quality in the play (the songs and the dancing are vital in this respect). I have taken great liberties with the narrative, changing the way the story is told, but the ideas behind it all remain Mary Webb’s and are, I feel, as relevant and challenging as they were when she first put pen to paper.'

The Shared Experience production was directed by Nancy Meckler and designed by Niki Turner. It was performed by Natalia Tena (as Hazel), Roderick Smith, Jay Villiers (as Reddin), Michelle Butterly, Simon Wilson (as Edward), Amelda Brown, James Staddon, Paul Parris and Fiona Clifton-Welker.

Goodbye to All That

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Luke Norris's Goodbye to All That is a play about the possibilities of love and the fateful consequences of a 69-year-old man's decision to leave his wife for his lover. It was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs on 23 February 2012.

The play's action is set in various locations in Essex. When 18-year-old David discovers that his 69-year-old grandad, Frank, is having an affair, he threatens to expose the whole thing. Compelled to act, Frank reveals to Iris, his wife of 45 years, that he plans to leave her for the widowed Rita. But when Frank has a stroke that puts him in intensive care, the two women are left to battle over his sadly disabled body.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Simon Godwin and designed by Tom Piper, with Alexander Cobb as David, Roger Sloman as Frank, Linda Marlowe as Rita and Susan Brown as Iris.

good dog

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Arinzé Kene's good dog is monologue play that chronicles growing up in a multicultural community in the first decade of the twenty-first century. It was first produced by tiata fahodzi in association with Watford Palace Theatre, receiving its world premiere at Watford Palace Theatre, London, on 17 February 2017, before touring the UK.

The play is set in inner-city London in the early noughties. It follows a young black schoolboy, known only as 'Boy', as he chronicles his teenage years: the events which led him from a responsible but naïve outlook to a mood of bitter disillusionment that peaks around the time of the riots that took place in several cities across England in 2011, sparked by unrest in north London. Bullied at school, neglected at home, and conscious of the violence in his multicultural neighbourhood, the boy is plagued by the moral quandary of whether feeling good is a simple question of doing good. The ‘good dog' is supposed to always get its rewards - so why does this good boy never get a shiny new bike from his mum, but instead a beating-up in the playground?

The premiere production was directed by Natalie Ibu and designed by Amelia Jane Hankin. It was performed by Anton Cross.

The Good Thief

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Conor McPherson's The Good Thief is a monologue play that recounts the misfortunes of an unnamed petty criminal whose conscience punishes him when he becomes involved in a bungled kidnap.

The play was first performed under the title The Light of Jesus by Fly By Night Theatre Company at the City Arts Centre, Dublin, on 18 April 1994. It was directed by Conor McPherson and performed by Kevin Hely.

The Good Thief was subsequently performed as a Loopline production, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival on 4 October 1994. It was performed by Garrett Keogh and directed by Conor McPherson.

The play was awarded the Stewart Parker Award, an annual award for the best Irish debut play.

Good Things

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Liz Lochhead's Good Things is a bittersweet romantic comedy about finding love later in life. It was conceived by Lochhead as a loosely thematic sequel to her earlier play Perfect Days (Traverse Theatre, 1998). Good Things was first performed by Borderline Theatre Company, in association with the Byre Theatre, St Andrews and Perth Theatre, at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow on 16 September 2004, prior to an extensive national tour.

The play is set in a charity shop where Susan – newly single and approaching fifty – works as a volunteer. She also has to cope with a father in his second childhood, a daughter in the throes of aggravated adolescence, a blind-date stalker and an ex who, unfortunately, still has the power to wound. So when David comes in to drop off a bag of his late wife’s possessions, Susan barely has time to notice him or how he keeps coming back. The play is written to be performed by two male and two female performers, with one male actor playing all the male parts except for David, and one female actor playing all the female roles except for Susan.

In her Foreword to Liz Lochhead: Five Plays (Nick Hern Books, 2012), Lochhead writes that Perfect Days and Good Things were 'conceived as part one and part two of a loose trilogy of popular comedies, romantic comedies, about the lives of modern women as they approached what the women’s mags would have us regard as big milestones – fear of forty, Perfect Days, and fear of fifty, Good Things.'

Lochhead also explain that 'The extensive doubling, originally for reasons of economy, done by two of the actors, which means that they are literally never off the stage except for the most bravura of quick changes, well, this doubling was for me the point of it, the structural fun in the writing of it.'

The Borderline Theatre Company production was directed by Maureen Beattie and designed by Finlay McLay. It was performed by Annette Staines, Vincent Friell, Molly Innes and Kenneth Bryans.

Growth

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Luke Norris’s play Growth is a dark comedy about masculinity and testicular cancer. It was commissioned and first performed by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in collaboration with Paines Plough. A new production by Paines Plough opened in their pop-up theatre, Roundabout, as part of the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, on 6 August 2016. It subsequently toured the UK.

The play's action unfolds in a series of duologue exchanges (the final scene breaks the pattern, introducing a third character), with Tobes as the one constant character throughout. Tobes is a young man who hates his job at a garden centre and has no plans for the future. When his long-term girlfriend, Beth, dumps him in the opening scene, his boss, Jared, tells him not to come back to work 'till someone’s made you a man', and advises Tobes to get himself on Tinder. He does so, but his date, Ellie, notices a 'lump', and tells Tobes he should get it checked. The revelation that he has a cancerous growth on one of his testicles leads to a crisis of embarrassment and worse for Tobes, as he struggles to maintain his self-respect despite encountering others with far worse problems than his own.

The Paines Plough production in the Roundabout was directed by George Perrin, and was performed by Remy Beasley, Richard Corgan and Andy Rush.

Gut  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Frances Poet's play Gut is a drama exploring parental anxieties about child abuse, and what happens when trust breaks down between family members. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Scotland, on 24 April 2018, produced by the Traverse Theatre Company in association with National Theatre of Scotland.

The play opens in a kitchen belonging to Maddy and Rory, a couple in their thirties, who have just returned from a romantic anniversary getaway. When Rory's mother, Morven, who has been looking after their three-year-old son Joshua, tells them that, while queuing at a supermarket café, she allowed a man she didn't know to take Joshua to the toilets, Rory reacts with alarm. Maddy, at first conciliatory, begins to fear the worst, and as her anxieties mount, she finds she can no longer trust those closest to her – with disastrous consequences.

The Traverse Theatre production was directed by Zinnie Harris and designed by Fred Meller. It was performed by George Anton, Peter Collins, Lorraine McIntosh and Kirsty Stuart.

Halcyon Days (Kinahan)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Deirdre Kinahan's play Halcyon Days is a bittersweet drama set in a nursing home, celebrating friendship and the human spirit. It was first performed in preview at the Solstice Arts Centre, Co. Meath, Ireland, on 4 October 2012. The production received its Irish premiere at Smock Alley Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival on 10 October 2012.

The play was developed and expanded from an earlier short play, Salad Day, separately published by Nick Hern Books in the volume Irish Shorts (2013).

It is set in a nursing-home in Dublin. Sean Ceabhruill (aged 72) is an actor stricken by dementia and a stoic acceptance that his life is over. But when he's joined by former-teacher Patricia Whelan (aged 67), a feisty woman with a zest for life and a refusal to relinquish her independence, an unforeseen relationship develops, by turns charming and combative, tender and funny.

The premiere production was directed by David Horan and designed by Maree Kearns, with Anita Reeves as Patricia Whelan and Stephen Brennan as Sean Ceabhruill.

The production was revived under a new title, These Halcyon Days, at Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, in August 2013 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it won a Fringe First Award.

hang  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

debbie tucker green's play hang is a drama exploring justice, and the point at which punishment for a crime becomes revenge. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, on 11 June 2015.

The play is set in the 'nearly now', in an undefined space in which three unnamed characters (One, Two and Three) are engaged in a judicial process. One and Two are officials overseeing the process, while Three (a Black woman) is there to decide the fate of a man who has committed an unspecified crime against her family. She must choose the punishment he is to face. But the perpetrator has written her a letter and, having made her choice, she must now read his letter.

The Royal Court Theatre production was directed by debbie tucker green and designed by Jon Bausor. It was performed by Marianne Jean-Baptiste (as Three), Claire Rushbrook and Shane Zaza.

A Hard Rain

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper's A Hard Rain is a play about a key moment in the history of gay rights, set in New York in the weeks leading up to the Stonewall riots in 1969. It was first performed on 26 February 2014 at Above the Stag Theatre, London, a fringe theatre with a focus on producing LGBT-themed theatre. Above the Stag Theatre had previously staged several adult pantomimes written by Bradfield and Hooper.

The play's action takes place mostly in New York City in June 1969. It centres around a seedy, illicit gay bar in Greenwich Village owned by the mafia. Kicked out of the military after a year in Vietnam, cross-dressing Ruby (male, aged 26) winds up in Greenwich Village with no prospects. There he meets Jimmy, an abused, cheeky 16-year-old street kid who will change his world.

The premiere production was directed by Tricia Thorns and designed by David Shields. It was performed by Nigel Barber, Stephanie Willson, Michael Edwards (as Ruby), Rhys Jennings, Oliver Lynes and James El-Sharawy (as Jimmy).

Hedda

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Lucy Kirkwood's version of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler relocates his nineteenth-century heroine to 21st-century Notting Hill. It was first performed at the Gate Theatre, London, on 21 August 2008.

Hedda, still mourning the father she adored, returns from honeymoon with a husband she doesn’t love, to a flat they can’t afford and a pregnancy she doesn’t want. Trapped by her past and terrified by her future, bored by her life but too cowardly to walk away from it, she finds herself caught between three men. Ultimately, something has to give.

The Gate Theatre premiere was directed by Carrie Cracknell and designed by Holly Waddington, with a cast including Cara Horgan as Hedda and Tom Mison as her husband, George.

The Herd

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Rory Kinnear’s first play The Herd is a witty and heartfelt portrait of a family falling apart – and finally pulling together again – when life doesn’t turn out quite the way they imagined it. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 13 September 2013.

The play is set in the downstairs kitchen and living room of a suburban house. Carol, an anxiety-ridden mother, has arranged a small family party to celebrate the 21st birthday of her severely disabled son, Andy, who has long been in a care home. Those invited are Andy's elder sister, Claire, and his grandparents, Brian and Patricia. But there are also two unexpected guests: Claire's boyfriend, a Lancastrian performance-poet, and Andy's father, Ian, who abandoned the family and who is loathed by everyone in the room. It is Ian's presence in particular that bursts open old wounds and leads to explosive recriminations and the uncovering of a life-changing secret. Meanwhile, Andy and his caregiver are running late – very, very late.

The premiere production was directed by Howard Davies and designed by Helen Goddard. The cast was Amanda Root, Louise Brealey, Anna Calder-Marshall, Kenneth Cranham, Adrian Rawlins and Adrian Bower.

Kinnear won the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Award in 2014.

The play was premiered in the US by Steppenwolf at their Downstairs Theater, Chicago, from 2 April 2015. The production was directed by Frank Galati.

The Here and This and Now  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Glenn Waldron's play The Here and This and Now is a darkly comic drama that explores the threat to world health posed by antimicrobial resistance, and the role of the pharmaceutical industry in promoting excessive use of antibiotics. It was first performed at Theatre Royal Plymouth, on 9 March 2017.

The play opens in the conference room of a functional country-house hotel in 2017. Three sales reps for a pharmaceutical company called McCabe – Gemma, Robby and Helen – are on a training day led by Niall. They practise delivering their sales pitches, and participate in games and exercises to remember the terminology of the new drug they will be selling. The action then moves forward to May 2023, in Niall's house, at night. Helen is giving a presentation to Niall, and reveals that in the period since the training day, she lost her job at McCabe, and the world's population has been decimated by a viral epidemic. Helen has already lost one child, and her son Calum now has the virus. She is desperate to obtain the precious vaccine, called the 'Unicorn Pill', that is rumoured to have been developed by pharmaceutical companies including McCabe. She wants Niall to understand that she will go to any length to obtain it. In a final scene, set at a point in the future when the deadly virus has finally been brought under control, we learn that McCabe is now marketing a new drug, a 'neuro-enhancer', that it claims has the power to grant an 'unceasing state of happiness and well-being'.

The premiere production was directed by Simon Stokes with set and costume design by Bob Bailey. It was performed by Jessica Clark, Simon Darwen (as Niall), Becci Gemmell (as Helen) and Andy Rush, with Gracie Giles, Isabella Ackerman, James Critten and Lilly Crawford as 'A.', and the voice of Bill Paterson.

Here I Belong

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Matt Hartley's Here I Belong is a play about a rural village community and the changes that affect it over several decades, seen through the eyes of one village resident. It was first produced by Pentabus and first performed at Bromfield Village Hall, Shropshire, on Wednesday 12 October 2016, before touring the UK.

The play's four scenes are set in the fictional village of Woodside, in the village hall, in four different time periods spanning the 1950s to 2016. In the opening scene, set on the day of the Coronation in 1953, Elsie is twenty-seven years old, and five months pregnant. She has turned up early to help get the hall ready for the Coronation celebrations, and is joined by her friend Dorothy, who brings her baby Marion with her in a pram. In the remaining scenes we revisit Elsie at three other key points in her life as loved ones die, and governments come and go. As Elsie gets older the question arises of how long she can stay in the village she has lived in for much of her life. As the younger generation is priced out, there are fewer local jobs, and even the bus service is cut, who will look after her?

The premiere production was directed by Elizabeth Freestone and designed by Ellan Parry. It was performed by Nathalie Barclay and Beatrice Curnew.

The Heresy of Love

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Helen Edmundson's play The Heresy of Love is based on the extraordinary life of Sor (Sister) Juana Inés de la Cruz, a poet, nun and major literary figure of Mexico. The play was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and first performed in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 2 February 2012.

In a convent in seventeenth-century Mexico, Sister Juana strives to reconcile her love for God with her desire for a life of the mind. Her gift for writing plays and poems is celebrated by the Court, but her success creates alarm within the Church. Persecuted by a zealous archbishop, Sister Juana’s world threatens to crumble around her as everything she holds dear is jeopardised by dangerous ambitions and illicit desires. The play places Juana’s faith at the centre of the story and provokes questions about orthodox belief systems and the silencing of women within the Church.

In an author's note in the published edition of the play, Edmundson writes, 'I decided early on that I wanted to try to write about [Sister Juana] rather as a seventeenth-century Spanish playwright might have done. The context and high drama of her story seemed to invite this. So I have luxuriated in intrigues and rivalries, in disguised identities and mischievous servants. I have made full use of the bold and sudden contrast of the comic and the dramatic, characteristic of the period, and enjoyed forging a rhythmic and heightened language.'

The RSC production was directed by Nancy Meckler and designed by Katrina Lindsay. The cast was Teresa Banham, Geoffrey Beavers, Matthew Flynn, Raymond Coulthard, Dona Croll, Marty Cruickshank, Laura Darrall, Catherine Hamilton, Diana Kent, Youssef Kerkour, Catherin McCormack, Ian Midlane, Sarah Ovens, Daniel Stewart and Simon Thorp.

The play was revived in a new production at Shakespeare's Globe, London, in July 2015, directed by John Dove and directed by Michael Taylor.

Here We Go

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Caryl Churchill's Here We Go is a short play about death, first performed in the Lyttelton auditorium of the National Theatre, London, on 27 November 2015 (previews from 25 November).

The play is in three parts. The first part, 'Here We Go', takes place at a party after a funeral. An unspecified number of characters (the lines are not attributed to specific characters) reminisce about the dead man in abbreviated, compressed lines of dialogue. The author provides ten speeches, printed together at the end of the scene, that are intended to be inserted 'at random' into the dialogue, as many as are required for each character to have one. The speeches are spoken directly to the audience, and each contains a brief account of the circumstances and timing of the speaker's death. The second part, 'After', is a monologue in which a recently deceased man gives an account of his transition into the afterlife, and expresses his yearning to return to the world of the living to re-experience life. In the third and final part, 'Getting There', a 'very old or ill person' is helped by a carer to get dressed and undressed, repeatedly and without dialogue, 'for as long as the scene lasts'.

An author's note in the published script states that 'The number of actors can vary in different productions. Not fewer than three in the first scene and not more than eight – five or six is probably good. Age and gender can also be decided'.

The National Theatre premiere was directed by Dominic Cooke and designed by Vicki Mortimer. The cast was Madeline Appiah, Susan Engel, Patrick Godfrey, Hazel Holder, Joshua James, Amanda Lawrence, Stuart McQuarrie, Eleanor Matsuura and Alan Williams.

Holes

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tom Basden's play Holes is an apocalyptic comedy in which four survivors of a plane crash realise they may be all that's left of the human race. It was first performed on 4 August 2013 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in a production by The Invisible Dot Ltd.

When a plane crash kills all but four of its passengers, the survivors are left stranded on a desert island. Gus, Marie and Ian are colleagues who were on their way to a conference, whilst the other is a lone teenage girl, Erin. After trying to send out a Mayday message through the radio, they are stunned to discover that a nuclear catastrophe has wiped out the entire civilised world. Now it’s up to them to try and preserve the knowledge built up by centuries of human civilisation and to argue about which of the men gets to propagate the human race with the unfortunate Erin.

The Edinburgh Fringe premiere was directed by Phillip Breen and designed by Rhys Jarman, with Matthew Baynton as Gus, Bebe Cave as Erin, Daniel Rigby as Ian and Katy Wix as Marie.

The play opened in London at the Arcola Tent on 16 July 2014 in a production also directed by Phillip Breen and designed by Rhys Jarman, with the same cast except for Sharon Singh playing Erin and Elizabeth Berrington playing Marie.

Holes in the Skin

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Robert Holman's play Holes in the Skin is about a group of troubled teenagers, and their equally disturbed adult counterparts, struggling to connect with one another on a deprived housing estate in North Yorkshire. It was first performed at the Chichester Festival Theatre on 13 June 2003.

The play begins in a council house in Stokesley, North Yorkshire. Fifteen-year-old Kerry and her mum Hazel have recently moved to the estate. Kerry hates it. She also hates Dennis, Hazel’s slimy new boyfriend. When she meets Luke, an ex-offender and heroin addict, in the playground, a spark of something is ignited between them. They are soon joined by Luke’s bullish older brother, Ewan, who temporarily diverts Kerry’s initial affections. Seeing her chance to punish Dennis for molesting her, Kerry asks Ewan to rough him up as punishment. However, when Ewan beats Dennis to death and Kerry provides Luke with a false alibi, it seems all their freedoms are at stake. The only person who can offer them shelter is local woman Freya, mother to 21-year-old Dominic. But it’ll take more than a change of scene to solve their problems.

The premiere production at Chichester Festival Theatre was directed by Simon Usher and designed by Anthony Lamble. The cast was Sarah Cattle, David Hounslow, Jane Hazlegrove, Andrew Sheridan, Daniel Abelson, Marion Bailey, Jamie Parker and Peter Sproule.

Holloway Jones

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Evan Placey's Holloway Jones is a play about a teenage girl in foster care. It was commissioned and produced by Synergy Theatre Project, and was first performed at the Unicorn Theatre, London, on 2 November 2011, following a tour to schools and pupil referral units. It won the 2012 Brian Way Award for Best Play for Young People.

The play is set primarily in London, between 2008 and 2012. Holloway Jones is sixteen, her Mum is in prison and she is in foster care. Despite all this, her life is on track. She has a goal and is training hard for a place in the BMX Olympic Talent Team. But when she falls for charming, generous bad boy Avery, things start to unravel fast. Suddenly she’s in too deep, involved in the kind of joint enterprise that it is very hard to walk away from.

The Synergy production was directed by Esther Baker and designed by Katy McPhee. It was performed by Danielle Vitalis (as Holloway Jones), Doreene Blackstock, Mandeep Dhillon, Holli Dempsey, Femi Wilhelm, Frank Prosper and Karl Smith.

Home (Fall)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Nadia Fall's Home is a verbatim drama that combines real testimonials with music and song to explore the issue of homelessness amongst young people in London. It was first performed in The Shed, a temporary studio venue at the National Theatre, London, on 9 August 2013 (previews from 7 August).

The play's action is set in an inner-city high-rise hostel for the homeless, Target East. We encounter the hostel's residents and workers, each speaking to an unseen interviewer. Amongst them are: Bullet, who doesn’t want to call a hostel home; Eritrean Girl, who was smuggled into the country in a lorry; Singing Boy, who dreams of seeing his name in lights; and Garden Boy, who just wants to feel safe.

In an introduction to the published script (Nick Hern Books, 2013), Nadia Fall writes: 'I carried out interviews with the residents and some staff at [one of the largest hostels in East London] between autumn 2012 and spring 2013, collecting over thirty hours of interviews that have formed this play. ... I hope this play and the accompanying research and writing carried out by Esta [Orchard, Fall's friend and collaborator, and an active campaigner for young people] will give a voice to the all-too-often silenced young people of our capital'.

The National Theatre premiere was directed by Nadia Fall and designed by Ruth Sutcliffe, with music by Tom Green and Shakka. It was performed by Michaela Coel, Jonathan Coote, Trevor Michael Georges, Kadiff Kirwan, Ashley McGuire, Grace Savage, Shakka, Antonia Thomas and Toby Wharton.

Hope

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jack Thorne's play Hope is about the pressures on a local council to carry out funding cuts imposed by the government. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 26 November 2014.

The play's action is set in the present day (winter 2014), predominantly in and around a council office in a working-class town where the Labour council is faced with having to cut £22 million from its budget. Hilary, the pragmatic council leader, proposes cuts across the board, with the intention of sharing the misery. Mark, her deputy, is a thwarted idealist who fights for the library, the museum and street lighting. But a more urgent problem arises over the closure of a day centre for adults with learning difficulties. Gina, Mark’s ex-partner who runs the centre, organises a petition that becomes national news and embarrasses both the local authority and the Labour party. In a dramatically rebellious gesture designed to get themselves out of this policy hole, the council finally takes the rare step of refusing to sign off the budget at all.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by John Tiffany and designed by Tom Scutt. It was performed by Rudi Dharmlalingam, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Jo Eastwood, Christine Entwisle, Tom Georgeson, Stella Gonet, Paul Higgins, Tommy Knight and Nisha Nayar.

The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

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

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

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

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

Hotel (Churchill)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Hotel is multidisciplinary performance piece with a libretto by Caryl Churchill, music composed by Orlando Gough and choreography by Ian Spink. It was first staged in a production by Second Stride at the Schauspielhaus Hannover, Germany, on 15 April 1997. Churchill had previously collaborated with Second Stride on Lives of the Great Poisoners in 1991.

Hotel is in two parts. In the first, Eight Rooms, fourteen people – tourists, couples, business people – spend an ordinary night in a hotel. But they all occupy the same space, and their stories overlap and interweave creating a collage of words, voices, music and movement. In the second part, Two Nights, a dance piece, we see two nights happening at the same time. Two people find different ways to disappear, while a diary found in the hotel room tells of another extraordinary disappearance.

In an introduction to the published text, Churchill writes 'In Eight Rooms each of the thirteen singers is a different character; in Two Nights they all sing a diary that has been left in a hotel room. The silent performers in Eight Rooms now play two people who spend different nights in the same room.'

The Second Stride production was directed by Ian Spink and designed by Lucy Bevan. It was performed by a company of thirteen singers, two dancers and three instrumentalists.

Hot Fudge

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

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

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

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

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

Hot Mess

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ella Hickson’s Hot Mess is a dark, lyrical play about twins who share a single heart, examining contemporary society's paradoxical need for emotional connection and sex without emotional investment. It was first performed at the Hawke & Hunter Below Stairs Nightclub, Edinburgh, on 6 August 2010, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Twins Polo and Twitch were born with only one heart between them. Twitch was the lucky recipient and therefore cannot stop falling in love. Polo, on the other hand, is literally heartless – a cold and clinical creature who shies away from intimacy of any kind. As they return to the island of their birth for their twenty-fifth birthdays, they meet up with Twitch’s new American boyfriend, Billy, and her feisty best friend, Jacks, for a night on the town and some trips down memory lane.

The premiere production was directed by Ella Hickson with Gwendolen Chatfield as Twitch, Michael Whitham as Polo, Kerri Hall as Jacks and Solomon Mousley as Billy.

The House They Grew Up In  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Deborah Bruce's play The House They Grew Up In is about a co-dependent relationship between a reclusive brother and a sister, and how they cope when the world bursts in on them. It was first performed at Chichester Festival Theatre (in the Minerva Theatre) in a co-production with Headlong on 14 July 2017.

The play is set in the present day, in the interiors of two adjacent houses on a Victorian terraced street in South East London. The house where reclusive siblings Peppy and Daniel (both now in their forties) were born is now stuffed full of everything they have ever owned. This hoard, their eccentric appearance, and their overgrown garden hedge set them conspicuously apart from others on their road. When 8-year-old Ben visits from next door, he is simply looking for friendship; but the closeness that develops between Ben and Daniel is misinterpreted, heralding the arrival of the police, an angry mother, predatory property hunters and even a snooping photographer.

The Chichester Festival Theatre production was directed by Jeremy Herrin and designed by Max Jones. It was performed by Samantha Spiro (as Peppy), Daniel Ryan (as Daniel), Leonardo Dickens and Rudi Millard (as Ben), Michelle Greenidge, Matt Sutton, Mary Stockley, Matt Sutton, Philip Wright, Daisy Fairclough, Michelle Greenidge and Philip Wright.

Howie the Rookie

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Mark O’Rowe’s breakthrough play Howie the Rookie is a wild urban odyssey through a nightmare Dublin as two youths recount their intertwined stories of one fateful night. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 12 February 1999 (previews from 10 February).

The play is formed of two monologues delivered by characters that share a surname and intertwined destinies. The first monologue is spoken by 'The Howie Lee', a young man who gets dragged into a bizarre feud of honour against 'The Rookie Lee' – a feud that spirals out of control and ends in The Howie Lee's own personal tragedy. The second monologue belongs to The Rookie Lee, who has problems of his own. Massively in debt to terrifying gangland leader The Ladyboy for killing his precious Siamese fighting fish, he steels himself for a hideous revenge. That is until he is championed from an unlikely quarter by his onetime enemy.

In his foreword to Mark O'Rowe Plays: One (Nick Hern Books, 2011), O'Rowe acknowledges the influence on the play of Conor McPherson’s monologue play This Lime Tree Bower (Bush Theatre, 1996) as well as Samuel Beckett’s stream-of-consciousness novel Molloy (first published in English in 1955), which similarly features two interconnected interior monologues.

The Bush Theatre production was directed by Mike Bradwell and designed by Es Devlin, with Aidan Kelly as The Howie Lee and Karl Shiels as The Rookie Lee.

The play won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 1999.

The play was revived in June 2013 by Landmark Productions at Project Arts Centre, directed by Mark O’Rowe, with both characters played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. The production transferred to Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, as part of the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before returning in 2014 to the Olympia Theatre, Dublin; the Barbican, London; and BAM, New York.

How Love Is Spelt  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Chloë Moss's play How Love Is Spelt is a playful tale of growing up and finding yourself in the city. It was first performed at The Bush Theatre, London, on 1 October 2004.

The play is set in a small, sparsely furnished bedsit in London occupied by twenty-year-old Peta, who has recently moved to the city from Liverpool. Rejecting the comfort and security of her home town, she's looking for excitement and adventure in the big city. But going solo isn't quite so simple, especially when there's a constant reminder of the life you're trying to escape. Over the course of the play, Peta has a series of fleeting and almost anonymous encounters with other lonely, lost souls. With each new encounter Peta flirts with what might have been... but can you ever really run away from yourself?

The premiere production was directed by Julie Anne Robinson and designed by Nathalie Gibbs. It was performed by Kay Lyon (as Peta), Joe Armstrong, Roger Evans, Petra Letang, Joanne Pearce and Colin Tierney.

Nick Hern Books is one of the UK’s leading specialist performing arts publishers, with a vast collection of plays, screenplays and theatre books in their catalogue. They also license most of their plays for amateur performance.