1961-1970

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Plays

After Haggerty

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Gathering together the political and social concerns of an era, After Haggerty addresses with breadth and complexity the politics of theatre and personal liberation at a time when social certainties were being rapidly destabilised.

Bernard Link, a socialist middle-aged theatre critic, has leased a flat in London from Mr Haggerty without having met him. Claire, who is sharp, brittle and American, storms into the flat expecting to find the father of her child, but finds Bernard instead. He is having the flat done up by a couple of jobbing decorators, including an out-of-work homosexual actor. The unhappy cohabitation of this mixture of people is punctuated by excepts from Bernard’s pan-European lectures on Marxist theatre, cryptic telegrams from Haggerty in Paris, and the off-stage squalling of Claire and Haggerty’s baby, Raskolnikov. Then Bernard’s father visits, his reactionary, bigoted views clashing with what suddenly feels like a household.

After Haggerty was first presented in 1970 at the Aldwych Theatre, London.

audio After the Fall

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Arthur Miller’s famous autobiographical drama takes place inside the tortured mind of a 40-year-old lawyer. Quentin is haunted by his disastrous affair with a needy sex symbol - a character rumored to be based on Marilyn Monroe, Miller’s second wife.

Featuring: Amy Brenneman, Anthony LaPaglia, Amy Pietz, Amy Aquino, Gregory Itzin, Claudette Nevins, Natalija Nogulich, Al Ruscio, Raphael Sbarge, Kenny Williams

Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In their introduction to the play, authors Margaretta D'Arcy and John Arden say of Ars Longa Vita Brevis: 'This little piece is not exactly a play, nor is it anything else in particular. If we must call it something, it might well be termed "A Theme for Variations."'

A satirical play, Ars Longa Vita Brevis draws comparisons between education and military conquest, suggesting that the result of both is the suppression of individual expression, and, ultimately, the death of the individual, as seen in the life of the martially-minded art master Mr Miltiades. The free rein the authors give to the possibility for production is in marked contrast to the damning, and ultimately damned, techniques of the protagonist of the piece.

The Astronaut’s Chair

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Rona Munro's The Astronaut's Chair is a play about the race to be the first woman in space. The second of a proposed trilogy of plays about space exploration, it followed her earlier play Little Eagles (2011), about the engineer behind the Soviet space programme.

The Astronaut's Chair was commissioned by and first performed at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth, on 20 September 2012.

The play's protagonist, Renee Coburg (loosely based on pioneer woman aviator Jacqueline Cochran), is a gritty, glamorous aviator, the fastest, highest, bravest woman in the world. A self-made pilot, she battled against a poor childhood to fly planes in World War II. As America and the USSR enter the space race, she becomes determined to be the first woman to go into orbit. However, it won’t all be plain sailing as she faces stiff competition from an ambitious new rival. Jo Green is a determined, brilliant and much younger pilot with her eye on all Renee’s records. They both want to be the first woman in space but there’s only one chair at the top of the rocket.

The Drum Theatre production was directed by Simon Stokes and designed by Bob Bailey. The cast included Ingrid Lacey (as Renee Coburg), Tom Hodgkins, Jack Sandle, Eleanor Wyld and Amanda Ryan.

audio Barefoot in the Park

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A brand-new lawyer and his bride have returned from their honeymoon and are moving into a new apartment. Once there, they find the place is bare of furniture, the paint job is wrong, the skylight leaks and wacky neighbors keep popping up! A classic!

Includes an interview with Marc Masterson, the Artistic Director of South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California. Before joining South Coast in 2011, Marc was the Artistic Director of the Actors Theatre of Louisville for eleven seasons, and programmed the prestigious Humana Festival of New American Plays. During his tenure in Louisville, Marc directed a number of classic and contemporary works, including a highly-praised production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Norman Aronovic, Laura Linney, J. Fred Shiffman, Judy Simmons and Eric Stoltz.

Featuring: Norman Aronovic, Laura Linney, J. Fred Shiffman, Judy Simmons, Eric Stoltz

The Beggar or The Dead Dog

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

As a young university student in Munich, Bertolt Brecht was only a few years away from early success as a playwright when he wrote five one-acts. Of these plays, only one was performed in his lifetime, and none were published until after his death. They provide a retrospective look at Brecht before his evolution into the founder of epic theatre, demonstrating some of the tendencies that would mark his later work.

In The Beggar, a beggar dares to speak the truth to an emperor when the emperor descends to complain about the smell. It was neither produced nor published during the author’s lifetime.

Be My Baby

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Amanda Whittington’s debut play Be My Baby sheds light on teenage pregnancy in 60s Britain. Featuring an all-female cast the play has proved incredibly popular with schools and drama groups across the UK and is currently a set text for GCSE English Literature.

Set in a Mother and Baby Home in 1964 in the north of England, the play follows the fortunes of Mary Adams, aged 19, unmarried and seven months pregnant. Forcibly sent there by a mother intent on keeping up appearances, Mary – along with the other girls in the home – has to cope both with the shame and the dawning realisation that she will have to give the baby up for adoption whether she likes it or not. Despite this, and an overbearing matron, the girls’ youthful effervescence keeps breaking through, as they sing along to the girl-group songs of the period.

Commissioned by Soho Theatre, the play started out as a story of a grown woman meeting her adopted child. However, as Whittington began to research she came across the story of Britain’s Mother and Baby Homes. These homes were a well-kept secret that nonetheless blighted the lives of thousands of young women to whom Whittington has given a voice in this play.

Be My Baby was first performed by the Soho Theatre Company at the Pleasance Theatre in London in 1998. Since its initial production, the play has been revived many times including at the Soho Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse, Oldham Coliseum, New Vic Theatre and Hull Truck Theatre.

Bones

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In a rundown porn cinema in 1960s Gateshead, two Jewish brothers are at war with each other. Their business is on the verge of bankruptcy and they owe a shedload of money to a local gangster. But all their problems seem to be over when one of them kidnaps Reggie Kray . . .

Sharp, uncompromising and witty, Bones is a deliciously dark comedy about family ties, gangland warfare and a man in a dress.

Bones premiered at Live Theatre, Newcastle in 1999.

The Catch

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

As a young university student in Munich, Bertolt Brecht was only a few years away from early success as a playwright when he wrote five one-acts. Of these plays, only one was performed in his lifetime, and none were published until after his death. They provide a retrospective look at Brecht before his evolution into the founder of epic theatre, demonstrating some of the tendencies that would mark his later work.

When a fisherman’s wife is woken up by her drunk husband and his friends, anger and resentments explode. The Catch was neither produced nor published during the author’s lifetime.

The Cellar and the Almond Tree

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Cellar and the Almond Tree is the second part of a trilogy, sometimes called the Kelvin trilogy, with On the Eve of Publication and Emma’s Time. The play is similarly composed of juxtaposed cuts between past and present, fantasy and flashbacks, this time belonging to the Countess Isabel von Reger, and Volubin (who was known to Robert Kelvin in the first play as Sladek).

Beneath the web of conversation and memory are the harsh and troubling realities of conflict and upheaval in central Europe, as the cellar and the almond tree come to represent the constraints of totalitarian regimes and a disappearing aristocratic way of life. Exploring form with the same fluidity as On the Eve of Publication before it, The Cellar and the Almond Tree is a powerful exploration of socialism and memory.

The Cellar and the Almond Tree was first broadcast in 1970 by BBC Television.