Plays by Paul Godfrey

The Blue Ball

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Blue Ball is a strange and melodic play, an attempt to comprehend the experience of space travel.

Paul Godfrey used a travel grant from the National Theatre to visit centres of space travel in America and Russia to research The Blue Ball. His conversations with astronauts inspired the play and are partly replicated within it, as the play weaves his interviews into the story of a fictional first man in space.

It is an imaginative investigation of a culture in which the wondrous is rendered mundane, what seems commonplace is rendered absurd, and no-one ever stops asking, ‘What is it like?’ Godfrey explores the myths surrounding astronauts, and the impossibility of describing space, in scenes alive with irony and sharp comedy, creating a play which is both delicate and vastly ambitious.

The Blue Ball premiered at the Cottesloe Theatre in 1995.

A Bucket of Eels

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A Bucket of Eels is a skilful contemporary farce. A bridegroom runs away on the eve of his marriage and unleashes a sequence of increasingly bizarre events.

First staged 1994 by the RSC as a 'production without décor', and set on Midsummer's night A Bucket of Eels is a modern play with a classic edge, exploring the making and breaking of a relationship and the absurd interventions by fate and nature that defines it.

Inventing a New Colour

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Exeter in 1942. Eric and June, along with their son Francis, 16, welcome 17-year-old Londoner Peter to their home. Peter, an evacuee from the Blitzed capital, is marking time to his 18th birthday when he can finally be called up to the armed Forces. He arrives into a house of exams for Francis, night-classes for June, and night watches for Eric, a house where the threat of dying is tempered by the fear of never having lived.

Inventing a New Colour was given a private performance at the National Theatre Studio, London in April 1988. Its first public production came at the Bristol Old Vic in October that same year. It subsequently transferred to the Royal Court, London.

Once in a While the Odd Thing Happens

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Once in a While the Odd Thing Happens is drawn from the life of Benjamin Britten and informed by many personal interviews with the composer's friends and especially his sister Beth. The play has an austere beauty which serves to reveal the humanity of the composer and affords a glance at the ambition of the man. It explores the conflict between his association with W. H. Auden and his partnership with Peter Pears cuminating in the triumphant première of Peter Grimes in 1945. This is neither 'faction' nor drama documentary but a play which resonates beyond its specific characters.

Once in a While the Odd Thing Happens premièred at the Cottesloe in September 1990, in a production directed by Paul Godfrey.

Paul Godfrey was born in the West of England and trained as a director in the Scottish Theatre. His work includes Inventing a New Colour (Royal Court, Bristol Old Vic), A Bucket of Eels (RSC Festival: The Other Place, BT Connections Scheme: Royal National Theatre), Once in a While the Odd Thing Happens (Royal National Theatre), The Panic, libretto to a score by David Sawer (Royal Opera House, Garden Venture), The Blue Ball (Royal National Theatre), Trilogy of New Plays from Different Sources: The Modern Husband (Actor's Touring Company), The Invisible Woman (The Gate), The Candidate (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), and Catalogue of Misunderstanding.