Charles Way

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Plays by Charles Way

Beauty and the Beast (adapt. Way)

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A play about overcoming fear, where the subconscious world is represented through imagery and movement. The play begins with a startling dream sequence and then segues into the drawing-room world of a Jane Austen novel, before moving to the wilds of Dartmoor. 'All the ingredients of the classic fairytale with the added dimension of rounded characters who are flawed human beings.’ Manchester Evening News

Cinderella

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Cinderella is a play about a journey from darkness to light, from sickness to health. Everyone in the play is under the influence of some kind of loss, and the play explores these feelings and the sometimes painful route one must take to accomodate them and move on in life. 'This adaptation of the world’s best-loved fairytale is not to be missed. A Christmas treat for all the family, whether one is five or 95.’ Morning Star

The Dutiful Daughter

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A group of troublesome actors arrive in a modern city. They tell the story of Ke Xin, princess of the Isle of Joy, who is always obedient until the day the sea brings to her island home a strange sailor, a raving fool without a memory, a man who will challenge everything she believes in. A timeless tale of love, power and transformation that explores many of the key issues faced by young people today. The print edition of the play contains the text of the play in both English and Mandarin.

Eye of the Storm

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Produced by companies in Britain and Ireland, the play offers a contemporary version of Shakespeare's The Tempest, exploring father/daughter relationships and the need for independence. For 12 years and over.

The Golden Goose

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A comedy for all the family that blends the Brothers Grimm folk tale with elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Once upon a time there was a boy called Dummling and everyone believed he was stupid just because of his name. He lived in a poor cottage in the woods with his mother and brother. One day he meets an old man in the woods and shares his humble supper with him. The man, is in fact the King of the fairies and a direct descendant of Oberon. He and his Queen, Titania need to get a worthy and humane king on the throne of the blighted land in which they live, a king who will save the forest in which the fairies live from destruction. The Fairy King gives Dummling good luck in the form of a magical golden goose. When he takes it home his mother and brother try to take it from him but once they touch the goose they find they cannot let go and what’s more they find that they cannot stop running. Run they must and run they do all the way to the palace where, as it chances, there resides the very mirror of their own family – but posh. The King Conrad has two daughters, Dajona who won’t laugh and Birgit who won’t stop. The King has sent out a proclamation that whoever makes his daughter laugh can have her hand in marriage, and thus be in line for the throne. When Dajona sees the Golden Goose and the people stuck to it, running for all they are worth she bursts out laughing. The King is thrilled until he discovers that the boy who made her laugh is called Dummling and is a peasant. He sends Dummling on two ridiculous quests but Dummling, with the help of the fairy kingdom succeeds in fulfilling both and thus – eventually becomes King thus completing a bloodless revolution and saving the Fairy Kingdom.

Merlin and the Cave of Dreams

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Finalist in the Helen Hayes Awards, USA. The King is dead and the Green Kingdom is in turmoil. Only Merlin knows that the future lies in the hands of young Arthur. Taken away from the only home he's known, Arthur slumbers in Merlin's Cave of Dreams. Here, his past and future are revealed in a glorious vision that will lead him on the adventure of a lifetime. Can Arthur slay the giants and dragons that stand in his way? Will he pull the sword from the stone and claim his rightful kingdom?

Missing (Way)

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Written for two theatres located in German and Welsh mining towns, Missing is distantly inspired by the Grimm’s fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel but more immediately by the question, “What does it mean nowadays to grow up poor in an economically depressed town?”

Way tells the story from the viewpoints of all four characters – the Dad, the Stepmother, Hansel, a withdrawn and alienated teenager, and Grethel, his much younger sister who has a mental disability that leaves her vulnerable to bullies and evil-doers.

When Hansel – like a detective – traces his sister’s disappearance to the horrible truth, he is still hampered by cops who have him pegged as a juvenile delinquent and a father who is rarely sober enough to act. A tragic outcome seems all but certain until Hansel’s daring plan to lure the kidnapper with a suitcase full of money pays off.

As risky in form as it is in content, this piece leaves the assignment of specific lines to the discretion of each producing company and demands a creative use of movement to support and, in places, replace the text. Evocative and eloquent on the page, Missing has proven its effectiveness in production and in 2010 was honored with the highly prestigious German Children’s Theatre Prize.

Nivelli’s War

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Written for Belfast based Cahoots, NI, Nivelli’s War is set in Germany in the aftermath of World War II where displaced people are desperately trying to return home to find their loved ones. Six-year-old Ernst is an evacuee who finds himself alone on his aunt’s farm two hundred kilometers from Frankfurt am Main with only a mysterious chicken thief to turn to for help. The story of the unlikely bond between Mr H (the thief) and Ernst, and their difficult journey home is literally conjured up before our eyes by a world famous, yet strangely weary, magician – the Mr. Nivelli of the play’s title. As he prepares on stage for the night’s performance, he blows up a balloon that transports us back through time to key moments in the past that still tug at his mind: the parting with his mother after a devastating bombing of the city; his aunt Sophie wandering off insane with grief; the cart Mr H makes from his uncle’s bicycle in order to carry the boy along the road; the Russian soldiers Mr H distracts with sleight-of-hand tricks; and an aristocrat and her butler hiding out in a boarded-up mansion who offer the travelers a rare evening of respite – a warm fire and a decent meal. The acclaimed magician has devoted his life to the art that his friend and saviour taught him, a friend who he learns was a Jew and whose survival in Nazi Germany seems to have been for the sole purpose of delivering little Ernst back into his mother’s arms. How to repay such a debt? Can Ernst or any of us, trapped in the inhumanity of war, ever become whole again?

Pirates!

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Pirates! is a bi-national co-commission which Way wrote for theatres in the London and the Washington, DC, suburbs. The protagonist Jim is an eight year old who is fascinated by 18th-century pirate lore. He is also on the brink of being reunited with the mother who left him and his father four years earlier for a life on the road with a new partner. As he struggles to come to terms with whether or not he wants to renew this relationship, Jim dreams that he is caught in an adventure on the high seas in which he must choose between allegiance to the charismatic female pirate Captain Freely or to her arch nemesis – the strict disciplinarian, Captain McGovern. Like most children touched by divorce, Jim’s deepest wish is to force a stop to the fight between his parents. In a moment of striking theatrical imagery, Way has Jim interrupt the duel between the two warring captains and demand that they throw down their swords forever. Instead they pause just long enough to tell him, “This is our fight lad – ours. And you are not the cause of it. ‘Tis time for you to go.” The fantastical journey into history allows Jim to process his fears about his very present dilemma. He gains the courage to speak directly to his father about the past and realizes that he can choose to what degree he wants to allow his mother back into his life. Pirates! was much praised by critics on both sides of the Atlantic for its premiere productions and was nominated for Washington’s Helen Hayes Outstanding New Play Award in 2011 and given the Distinguished New Play Award by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education in 2012.

Playing from the Heart

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Commissioned by Polka Theatre and nominated for TMA's Best Children's Play award, this is a poetic yet gritty piece exploring the trials of the young Evelyn Glennie to become a percussionist despite her profound deafness. It provides an opportunity for movement, music and text to be combined in performance. For eight years and over.

Charles Way spent all of his working life in the professional theatre and believes in its power to affect not only individual lives but also, and perhaps as a consequence of changing individuals, the very nature of our world. Young people need theatre and all it can offer, both as participants and as audiences, more than ever. In the theatre one can reshape the world for a time and examine it from different points of view in a safe and socially cohesive environment. Charles Way tries to create work that does not preach, but that examines the pressures under which we live through story and metaphor, that is fun, sometimes dangerous, but always trusting, humane and hopeful. Charles Way was born in 1955, brought up in Devon and educated at Queen's College, Taunton. In 1974, he auditioned to train as an actor at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, and during his time there began to write plays for students to perform. It was from the college, via tutor Stuart Bennett, who is well known for his contribution to young people's theatre, that he received his first paid commission. In the autumn of 1977 he joined Leeds Playhouse Theatre in Education team as an actor. The group toured plays to schools, but before long he was offering his services to the company as a writer. The company was hugely supportive and he was able to continue learning his craft by writing successive, if not always successful, plays.