Plays

A Christmas Carol

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year! Well, it is for everyone except the miserable Scrooge. He prefers to spend Christmas all alone in his large house, instead of celebrating with mistletoe and merriment. Bah, humbug! But one cold, dark Christmas Eve Scrooge is surprised by the ghost of Marley, his former business partner. Marley warns Scrooge that he will be called upon by three spirits - each will take him on a mysterious and magical journey to show him the error of his ways . . . Can Scrooge discover the true wonder and meaning of Christmas before it's too late? Adapted from Charles Dickens, by popular and acclaimed playwright Neil Duffield.

A minimum cast of 6 actors plus several children, the text contains traditional carols. Previous productions across the UK include Octagon Theatre, Bolton (2007); Dundee Rep (2009); Royal & Derngate, Northampton (2012); Edinburgh Lyceum (2013) and Derby Theatre (2014), plus numerous amateur and youth theatre productions.

De Monfort: a Tragedy

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

How far can jealousy take you? A rarely revived Othello-inspired tale of love, loss and obsessive passion. After fleeing in shame from a lost duel, De Monfort comes face to face with the man who spared his life. Overwhelmed by the lifelong grudge he holds, he tries in vain to follow the advice of his friends and beloved sister. Is his rival truly working against him or is he lashing out at shadows? As vengeance and envy take hold, friendship cracks and schemes push towards uncertainty and bloodshed. Much admired by Lord Byron, Joanna Baillie explores passions and their ability to take hold of the mind.

Faust: Part One

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Goethe's Faust is a two-part retelling of the story of Faust, the learned doctor who makes a pact with the Devil to obtain magical powers, but is finally carried off to hell when the Devil comes to claim his soul.

The work occupied Goethe during the whole of his creative life: he began work on it in about 1772-5; published a first fragment of it in 1790, then the whole of Part One in 1808; saw the first performance of Part One in Brunswick in 1829; and was still making minor revisions to Part Two shortly before his death in March 1832.

The two parts of the original are full of meandering plotlines and inconsistencies. Although Faust is written in dialogue form, it appears that Goethe did not intend it to be a play at all. John Clifford, the translator of this version, describes it in his introduction to the Nick Hern Books edition (published 2006) as 'a poetic autobiography and epic-dramatic confession'.

Clifford's task as translator, he writes, was to 'shorten the text, reducing it to a manageable length without compromising the richness and complexity of the journey; make abstractions vivid and fill them with life; discover a form of verse that would be faithful to Goethe's poetic spirit without reproducing his very literary and non-dramatic forms; reduce the worst of the meanderings and dead ends and discover a theatrical through-line that holds the whole journey together.'

The resulting version aims to be true to the spirit of Goethe's work, while also reflecting Clifford's own creative and personal life, including his identity as a transgendered person (he subsequently changed his name to Jo Clifford), and the traumatic loss to cancer of his lifelong partner, Sue Innes, in the course of working on this translation. 'While I hope the result is true to the spirit of Goethe's work,' he writes in his introduction, 'it is also most intimately autobiographical'.

This version was first performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, on 28 February 2006 (Part One) and on 1 March 2006 (Part Two). The production was directed by Mark Thomson and designed by Francis O'Connor.

Faust: Part Two

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Goethe's Faust is a two-part retelling of the story of Faust, the learned doctor who makes a pact with the Devil to obtain magical powers, but is finally carried off to hell when the Devil comes to claim his soul.

The work occupied Goethe during the whole of his creative life: he began work on it in about 1772-5; published a first fragment of it in 1790, then the whole of Part One in 1808; saw the first performance of Part One in Brunswick in 1829; and was still making minor revisions to Part Two shortly before his death in March 1832.

The two parts of the original are full of meandering plotlines and inconsistencies. Although Faust is written in dialogue form, it appears that Goethe did not intend it to be a play at all. John Clifford, the translator of this version, describes it in his introduction to the Nick Hern Books edition (published 2006) as 'a poetic autobiography and epic-dramatic confession'.

Clifford's task as translator, he writes, was to 'shorten the text, reducing it to a manageable length without compromising the richness and complexity of the journey; make abstractions vivid and fill them with life; discover a form of verse that would be faithful to Goethe's poetic spirit without reproducing his very literary and non-dramatic forms; reduce the worst of the meanderings and dead ends and discover a theatrical through-line that holds the whole journey together.'

The resulting version aims to be true to the spirit of Goethe's work, while also reflecting Clifford's own creative and personal life, including his identity as a transgendered person (he subsequently changed his name to Jo Clifford), and the traumatic loss to cancer of his lifelong partner, Sue Innes, in the course of working on this translation. 'While I hope the result is true to the spirit of Goethe's work,' he writes in his introduction, 'it is also most intimately autobiographical'.

This version was first performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, on 28 February 2006 (Part One) and on 1 March 2006 (Part Two). The production was directed by Mark Thomson and designed by Francis O'Connor.

The Government Inspector

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector is a classic Russian satire of provincial bureaucracy, a comedy of errors that satirises small-town political corruption and human greed. It is arguably Gogol’s best known and most popular work. It was first performed at the Aleksandrinsky Imperial Theatre in St Petersburg on 19 April 1836 at the personal request of Tsar Nicholas I (who afterwards expressed his delight). It subsequently opened at the Maly Theatre, Moscow, on 25 May.

Stephen Mulrine, the author of this translation, describes what happens in the play in his introduction to the published edition: 'In all essentials, Gogol’s "case of mistaken identity" is a comic warhorse of some pedigree, reaching back to classical times and forward to our own day in seemingly inexhaustible variation. A penniless stranger arrives in a small provincial town, is mistaken for a VIP, treated like royalty by all and sundry, and eventually exposed – making his hosts look extremely foolish. [...] Detail is all-important in Gogol’s work, and The Government Inspector is no exception. Almost the whole of Act One, for example, is devoted to painting a picture of his nameless provincial mudhole, and its corrupt and self-serving administrators, long before the play’s eponymous "hero" makes his entrance, in the squalid inn which is the setting for Act Two.

'Khlestakov, the bogus inspector, is in fact a low-grade civil servant, travelling from St Petersburg to his family home – a young man living beyond his means, a follower of fashion, and inveterate card-player, temporarily holed up at the local inn, and unable to pay his bill. However, while Khlestakov and his manservant Osip debate where their next meal is to come from, the town mayor is at that moment reading out the contents of a letter to an urgently convened assembly of local officials and dignitaries.

'The letter warns of an impending visit by a government inspector, travelling incognito, and the anxious officials attempt to plan a strategy for keeping their various swindles under wraps, at least for the duration of the visit. The mayor himself might be described as bribe-taker in chief, preying on the local traders; the judge, obsessed with riding to hounds, treats his court as an extension of his tack-room; the postmaster diligently unseals the mail, and retails its contents as gossip; the charities warden, and a compliant workhouse physician maintain their charges on a régime of strict discipline and no expensive medicaments. Embezzlement is routine, the town is run for private profit, and the officials are further panicked when two local landowners, Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky, burst in to announce that the government inspector, in the person of Khlestakov, is in their very midst!

'The mayor promptly leads a delegation to Khlestakov’s inn, settles the latter’s unpaid account, and arranges for his removal to more comfortable quarters, i.e., his own mansion, where Khlestakov, the sophisticated St Petersburg dandy, instantly becomes a focus for the amorous yearnings not only of the mayor’s daughter, but also of his wife. While Khlestakov is enjoying life at the mayor’s house, he receives a series of visits from the guilt-ridden officials, each more eager than the last to purchase his favour, with extravagant "loans".

'Word of the inspector’s presence has filtered down to the longsuffering citizenry, however, and a deputation of traders and artisans also arrives with a catalogue of grievances for Khlestakov, accusing the mayor. Siberian exile, at the very least, appears to beckon, but in a neat twist, Khlestakov is inveigled into proposing marriage to the mayor’s daughter. Overcome with relief, now that his position is secure, the mayor envisages a glittering career in St Petersburg. Khlestakov, meanwhile, has yielded to the urgings of his manservant Osip to quit while ahead, and is already miles away by the time the postmaster unseals his letter to a St Petersburg journalist crony, revealing all.

'Finally, just as it seems the nadir has been reached, with the townsfolk’s realisation that they have been willing dupes, a policeman enters with the news that a genuine government inspector has arrived, and is waiting for them at the inn. The mayor and his officials, his wife and daughter, their various guests, all freeze in a dumb show precisely described by Gogol, a literal monument to human greed and folly.'

audio Jane Eyre

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Orphaned Jane journeys from a harsh childhood to become the loving caregiver of a child at the mysterious manor of Mr. Rochester. Jane is drawn to her enigmatic employer, but as dark secrets emerge, she must choose between her newfound security and the uncertainty of a life lived for oneself. An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: Emily Bergl as Jane Jane Carr as Mrs. Reed Alexis Jacknow as Grace/Amy/Diana Cerris Morgan-Moyer as Bertha/Adele/Blanche/Hannah Darren Richardson as St. John/Mason Alan Shearman as Brocklehurst/Dr. Carter/Reverend Wood/Porter Jeanne Syquia as Helen/Mary Nick Toren as Rochester Joanne Whalley as Mrs. Fairfax/Lady Ingram Directed by Marsha Mason and recorded before a live audience. Featuring: Emily Bergl, Jane Carr, Alexis Jacknow, Cerris Morgan-Moyer, Darren Richardson, Alan Shearman, Jeanne Syquia, Nick Toren, Joanne Whalley

London Assurance

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Following the courtships and disguises of its satirical, farcical characters, London Assurance is a merry parade of wittily constructed skirmishes between love and money, town and country, nature and artifice.

The preening Sir Harcourt sets off to Oak Hall in the country in order to marry the lovely eighteen-year-old Grace, little realising that his son, Young Courtly, is simultaneously wooing the same beauty under the assumed name of Augustus Hamilton. But Sir Harcourt finds himself stirred instead by the rumbustious Lady Gay Spanker, who married an exceedingly rich bachelor out of pity, and having squashed his spirit is now ready to flirt to the hilt with the devoted Sir Hamilton. The double courtship, surrounded by a set of brilliantly comic characters, ultimately exposes the falsity of judgements based on money or fashion, as well as gleefully lampooning all manner of social eccentricities.

The first performance of London Assurance was in 1841 at Covent Garden, London.

audio Mary Stuart

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Elizabeth I of England is threatened by the survival of her Catholic cousin, Mary Stuart. Wrestling with her own conscience, the Queen agonizes over Mary's fate, amidst fears for her own life. Court intrigue has never been more gripping than in this "acute study in the art of double-dealing politics." (The New York Times)

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Sheelagh Cullen, Kenneth Danziger, Seamus Dever, Jill Gascoine, Matt Gaydos, Martin Jarvis, Alex Kingston, Christopher Neame, Alan Shearman, W. Morgan Sheppard and Simon Templeman.

Featuring: Sheelagh Cullen, Kenneth Danziger, Seamus Dever, Jill Gascoine, Matt Gaydos, Martin Jarvis, Alex Kingston, Christopher Neame, Alan Shearman, W. Morgan Sheppard, Simon Templeman

Mary Stuart (trans. Harrower)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

One of European theatre's major plays, Schiller's masterpiece hinges on a brilliantly imagined meeting between Mary, Queen of Scots – focus of simmering Catholic dissent and her cousin Elizabeth, Queen of England, who has imprisoned her. Isolated by their duplicitous male courtiers, the women collide headlong, each wrestling with the rank, ambition and destiny their births have bestowed, against a thrilling background of intrigue, plot and counter-plot.

David Harrower's version of Mary Stuart premiered at the Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow, in October 2006.

audio Pilgrimage to Beethoven

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Adapted from the diaries of Richard Wagner, Beethoven’s music soars in the background as a poor young composer named Richard Wagner struggles toward Vienna to meet the composer he idealizes.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Edward Asner, Allan Corduner, Arye Gross and Paul Mercier.

Featuring: Edward Asner, Allan Corduner, Arye Gross, Paul Mercier