Plays by Alan Harris

How My Light Is Spent

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alan Harris's How My Light is Spent is a play exploring themes of loneliness, longing and being left behind. It was the winner of the Judges’ Award in the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, and was first performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 24 April 2017, in a co-production with Sherman Theatre and Theatre by the Lake, Keswick.

The play's principal characters are Jimmy and Kitty. Jimmy is thirty-four, lives with his mum and works at Newport's only drive-through doughnut restaurant. Every Wednesday evening, while his mum is out at Salvation Army meetings, Jimmy calls a premium-rate adult chatline and talks to Kitty, one of the chatline's operators. Kitty lives in the granny flat of a topiary enthusiast, and is trying to save funds for a psychology course. Things were looking up for Jimmy, but then he loses his job and he begins to disappear, starting with his hands.

The original production was performed by two actors, although an author's note in the published script states that the play was 'written for any number of performers, and the lines of dialogue can be divided up as future productions see fit.'

The premiere production was directed by Liz Stevenson and designed by Fly Davis. It was performed by Rhodri Meilir and Alexandria Riley.

Love, Lies and Taxidermy

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alan Harris's play Love, Lies and Taxidermy is an offbeat love story set in a small town in Wales. It was first produced by Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru and Theatr Clwyd, and was first performed in Paines Plough’s Roundabout venue at Summerhall on 5 August 2016 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The play is set in the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil, where Valentine, the son of a Polish taxidermist, meets Ashley, the daughter of a debt-ridden ice-cream salesman called Mr Tutti-Frutti. They meet at a medical-research facility and tentatively embark on a romance, via a first date in Tesco's supermarket. Their relationship is obstructed, however, when Valentine’s attempts to save his parents’ marriage collide with Ashley’s attempt to save her dad’s business.

The original production was performed by three actors, although an author's note in the published script states that the play was 'written for any number of performers, and the lines of dialogue can be divided up as future productions see fit.'

The premiere production was directed by George Perrin. It was performed by Remy Beasley, Richard Corgan and Andy Rush.

Sugar Baby  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alan Harris's Sugar Baby is one-man comedy-drama about a small-time drug dealer in Cardiff. It was first produced by Dirty Protest at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017, and first performed there on 4 August in Paines Plough’s pop-up theatre venue, Roundabout @ Summerhall.

The play's action takes place over the course of a few hours in Fairwater, a deprived suburb in west Cardiff. Weed-dealer Marc is on his way to the local mob boss Oggy to try to plead with him to transfer his dad's £6,000 debt to him, so that his dad avoids yet another beating from the angry bully-boys. While he's there, he bumps into his sassy high-school sweetheart Lisa, who is also in debt, and in lieu of payment, Oggy wants Lisa to become his woman. Lisa and Marc bond over the mess they are each in, but, while they are hanging out in front of a statue of a famous seal in Victoria Park, Oggy turns up. Marc manages to knock him down, and he and Lisa embark on a hallucinatory caper in a desperate attempt to escape violent retribution.

The Dirty Protest production was directed by Catherine Paskell and performed by Alex Griffin-Griffiths.

Alan Harris is a playwright and librettist. His plays include: Sugar Baby (Dirty Protest, 2017); How My Light Is Spent (Royal Exchange, Manchester / Sherman Theatre / Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, 2017; winner of the Judges’ Award at the 2015 Bruntwood Prize); Love, Lies and Taxidermy (Paines Plough UK tour, 2016); The Opportunity of Efficiency (New National Theatre Tokyo/National Theatre Wales); The Magic Toyshop (Invisible Ink/Theatr Iolo); The Future for Beginners (liveartshow/Wales Millennium Centre); A Good Night Out in the Valleys (National Theatre Wales); Re-Set (Mess Up The Mess); Marsha (Capital Fringe, Washington DC); Cardboard Dad (Sherman Cymru); Miss Brown To You (Hijinx Theatre); Orange (Sgript Cymru); Come To Where I’m From (Paines Plough). He has also written radio plays for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3.
Libretti include: Marsha: A Girl Who Does Bad Things (liveartshow/Arcola Grimeborn Festival); The Hidden Valley (Birdsong Opera/Welsh National Opera/Tête à Tête Opera Festival); The Journey (Welsh National Opera); Rhinegold, Manga Sister (liveartshow/The Yard, London).