1921-1930

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Plays

audio Anna Christie

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

"The passion of a coal barge captain’s daughter and a rough-hewn sailor takes a tumultuous turn when her secret past is revealed. Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill won the second of his four Pulitzer Prizes for this heroic classic.

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

Stacy Keach as Chris Christopherson

Alison Elliot as Anna Christopherson

Dwier Brown as Mat Burke

Scott Lowell as Larry

Alley Mills as Marthy Owen"

Featuring: Stacy Keach, Alison Elliott, Alley Mills, Dwier Brown, Maurice Chase, Scott Lowell

Baal

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The classic wandering-poet archetype of the Expressionist movement receives a dark makeover in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal. Brecht’s first full-length play portrays the seductions and manipulations of a dissolute poet with an inexplicable appeal to women. Baal descends from a civilised dining room to a hut in the woods, leaving a path of destruction in his wake.

First performed in Leipzig in 1923, Baal represents an early, almost pre-political stage in Brecht’s career, and shows the playwright experimenting with elements that would become his trademarks, such as the use of song. Even as a young writer, however, Brecht provoked controversy: Baal was immediately shut down by order of the city council of Leipzig.

audio Babbitt

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

With an all-star cast including Stacy Keach, Helen Hunt, Edward Asner, Ted Danson and Richard Dreyfuss, this epic of the booming 1920’s uniquely captures the relentless culture of American business. Babbitt is a true classic about conformity in small town America - celebrated for its comic tone, satire, and vivid dialogue. The play is based on Sinclair Lewis’ novel, first published in 1922.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Edward Asner, Rene Auberjonois, Bonnie Bedelia, Ed Begley Jr., Georgia Brown, Roscoe Lee Browne, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Ted Danson, William Devane, Richard Dreyfuss, Hector Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Robert Foxworth, Harry Hamlin, Julie Harris, Helen Hunt, Amy Irving, Stacy Keach, John Lithgow, Nan Martin, Marsha Mason, Richard Masur, Marian Mercer, Joanna Miles, Holly Palance, Judge Reinhold, Franklyn Seales, David Selby, Ally Sheedy, Madolyn Smith, James Whitmore, JoBeth Williams and Michael York.

Featuring: Edward Asner, Rene Auberjonois, Bonnie Bedelia, Ed Begley Jr., Georgia Brown, Roscoe Lee Browne, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Ted Danson, William Devane, Richard Dreyfuss, Hector Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Robert Foxworth, Harry Hamlin, Julie Harris, Helen Hunt, Amy Irving, Stacy Keach, John Lithgow, Nan Martin, Marsha Mason, Richard Masur, Marian Mercer, Joanna Miles, Holly Palance, Judge Reinhold, Franklyn Seales, David Selby, Ally Sheedy, Madolyn Smith, James Whitmore, JoBeth Williams, Michael York

The Bedbug

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Ivan Varlet is making a class change. As he prepares to marry his bourgeois bride, the former mechanic casts off his socialist acquaintances and re-invents himself as ‘Ivor Violet’. Before he can embark on his new life, however, a fire at the wedding kills all the guests, and sees Ivan trapped in the ice cellar, frozen into a state of cryogenesis. Fifty years later, after the creation of a global socialist state following a world war, Ivan is unfrozen into an unrecognizable Russia. He swears, drinks, smokes and feels in a state that eschews pleasure and emotion. He causes women to lose their senses at the plucking of his guitar, and hospitalises men with his introduction of beer. Before this ‘early mammal’ can cause more social unrest, he is brought to the civic zoo and displayed as a specimen of society’s primitive past, where school children can feed him with cigarettes and alcohol.

A satire on the distrust of authority and the threat of the independent voice to the socialist system, Vladimir Mayakovsky’s 1929 original was written at a time of growing disillusion with the Soviet Union. The Bedbug, adapted by Snoo Wilson, was commissioned by the National Theatre as one of six new plays, adaptations or translations for the 1995 BT National Connections, a collection of contemporary plays for young people.

audio The Constant Wife

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

There’s something Constance Middleton’s friends are dying to tell her: her husband is having an affair – with her best friend! Despite their hints, Constance remains ever cool, and seemingly oblivious. Or is she? In this biting comedy of manners, marriages and mistresses, Constance – a not-so-desperate housewife - has some ideas of her own about extra-marital activity that surprise everyone in the end!

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Kate Burton as Constance Middleton Rosalind Ayres as Barbara Fawcett Mark Capri as Bentley and Mortimer Durham Stephen Collins as Bernard Kersal John De Lancie as John Middleton, F.R.C.S. Jen Dede as Marie-Louise Durham Christina Pickles as Mrs. Culver Kirsten Potter as Martha Culver Directed by Jeanie Hackett. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Rosalind Ayres, Kate Burton, Mark Capri, Stephen Collins, John de Lancie, Jen Dede, Tony Palermo(Sound Effects Artist), Christina Pickles, Kirsten Potter

audio Desire Under the Elms

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Eugene O’ Neill’s tale of Ephraim Cabot, greedy and hard like the stone walls that surround his farm, the family patriarch brings home his new young bride, Abbie. His grown sons disapprove; one leaves but the other stays to fight for the family fortune. What follows is a tragedy of epic proportions.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Paul Adelstein, Orson Bean, Amy Brenneman, Dwier Brown, Maurice Chasse and Charlie Kimball.

Featuring: Paul Adelstein, Orson Bean, Amy Brenneman, Dwier Brown, Maurice Chasse, Charlie Kimball

Drums in the Night

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It has been four years since Anna’s fiancé, Andreas, was declared missing in action in the trenches of World War I. Therefore, she is understandably shocked when he reappears. Andreas discovers that in his absence, Anna has agreed to marry a man who became rich dealing in the black market during the war. This ‘anti-romantic’ love story is set against the Spartacist uprising of 1919, an attempt by the German Communist party to destabilize the Weimar government.

Renowned Brecht scholar John Willett translated this edition of Drums in the Night, one of the early plays that earned Bertolt Brecht the prestigious Kleist Award for German writers. Drums in the Night was an immediate success when first performed in 1922, and went on to play all over Germany, but Brecht later admitted that he only wrote the play to make money.

Easy Virtue

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Easy Virtue, John Whittaker brings home his new wife for the first time. Some years older than her husband, Larita is a woman of class, beauty and experience, with a worldview, we find, in stark contrast to the single-minded morality of her new sisters- and mother-in-law.

At first a tense truce reigns, but after a summer of boredom and mental lassitude, Larita is confronted with the facts of her past: scandalous according to her outraged in-laws; but mere truth to Larita, who refuses to be brow-beaten into hypocrisy by the priggish social system of her new relations.

In the introduction to Coward’s Collected Plays: One Sheridan Morley wrote: “Easy Virtue is essentially The Second Mrs Tanqueray brought up to date... What is intriguing about the play, apart from the light it throws on Coward as a craftsman working from the models of his immediate theatrical and social past, is the way it mocks the conventions, prejudices and complacencies of its period while remaining well inside the drawing-room barricades. No writer of Noël’s generation ever went more directly to the jugular of that moralistic, tight-lipped but fundamentally Twenties society.”

Easy Virtue was first performed in New York in 1926.

The Elephant Calf: An interlude for the foyer

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Originally written as part of Mann ist Mann (Man Equals Man), The Elephant Calf was later removed and redrawn as a play in its own right, to be performed as an interlude in the foyer during performances of the former play.

The Elephant Calf sees Galy Gay – the protagonist of Man Equals Man – undergo a trial for the murder of his mother (who, in a surreal turn of events, is in rude health on the stage, and even called as a witness). The play’s farcical denouement is critiqued by ‘audience members’ – in fact, part of the cast – who storm the stage and insist on having their money back, with the threat of menaces to come if the cast don’t accede.

Sometimes subtitled ‘You Can Prove Anything’, this version of The Elephant Calf was translated by John Willett, and was first published in 1979.

Enemies

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

1905. Russia is at a turning point. Zakhar Bardin is from the landowning class, but is now the uneasy owner of a factory. His managing director is determined to face down militant workers on a point of principle. But the shutting of the business has tragic consequences for everyone concerned.

Gorky's extraordinary play, which was written in exile and banned in his home country, presents a panoramic view of a restless society, with a bourgeoisie no longer sure of its own values, and a working class steadily facing up to the terrifying sacrifices ahead. Described by Ronald Bryden in the Observer in 1971 as 'a real discovery... the missing link between Chekhov and the Russian revolution', Enemies has a dramatic breadth, humour and ambition unique to Gorky.

Maxim Gorky's Enemies is adapted by David Hare and premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, in May 2006.