The Apple is a powerful indictment of inequality between the sexes and its economic consequences. It explores a family in which the grandfather has left his money to all his grandchildren, but it has been spent on the favoured son, Cyril, the ‘apple’ of his father’s eye, to establish his position in the world. Meanwhile his sister Ann acts as unpaid housekeeper and Helen works as a typist, about which Cyril is duly superior. When Helen is subjected to sexual advances at work from her father’s friend Nigel Dean, Helen determines to use her share of the money to go to Canada to make a better life. But Cyril has already made his claim for the money to buy the partnership which will allow him to marry. Where many of the AFL plays are propaganda pieces which use a comic mode to defeat anti-suffragist arguments, The Apple addresses larger grievances of women’s lives frustrated by lack of economic independence, the narrow options open to women in the workforce and the issue of sexual harassment. In its account of economic drudgery it has similarities to the work of Elizabeth Baker or Cicely Hamilton. It powerfully, and still unusually for its time, creates a heroine in Helen who gives unapologetic voice to her anger at the limitations imposed on her. The author juxtaposes her with her downtrodden, self-sacrificing sister, Ann, whose only access to money, is by pawning her possessions. It remains moving and resonant in its account of the frustration and oppressiveness of family structures in which Helen demands “a glimpse of life, a taste of the joy of living, a few pence in my pocket, my rights as an individual” but remains entrapped within a scenario, dictated by her boss, which alone seems to offer any chance of these. Inez Bensusan wrote three other plays, all unpublished: the duologue, Perfect Ladies (1909, now lost), Nobody’s Sweetheart, 1911 (produced at the Little Theatre) and The Prodigal Passes, 1914 (Cosmopolis).
The Arab-Israeli Cookbook is a drama created from the everyday realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The project began when the Caird Company sent the writer Robin Soans and directors Rima Brihi and Tim Roseman to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank in 2003. There they sampled a variety of dishes in homes, restaurants, shops and cafes and met dozens of people with different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. Each person had a story to tell and a recipe to cook. Robin Soans has constructed a verbatim play from the words he collected. Arab and Israeli voices come together to bring insight and understanding to the melting pot of Middle Eastern affairs.
At the Gates dates from and is based on the events of the same year when the Women’s Freedom League picketed the House of Commons from July 5th to October 28th, 1909: “an example of patient endurance which should go far to silence the foolish cry of “hysteria” as applied to the Suffrage Movement”.
Chapin was actually in prison when the play was first scheduled to be performed at the Albert Hall in December 1909. However, it was cancelled due to the “lateness of the hour” following a long programme. Based on the experience of a young woman’s 540-hour picket, it presents a series of encounters between her and various passers by, including: a male sympathiser, an embarrassed waiter, two well-disposed policemen ardently interested in politics, cynical about most of their rulers and one of them a great theatre-goer who likes serious drama. Others include: small boys and grown men who jeer; a drunk (who boasts that he has the vote while she does not); a seamstress (who works in a sweatshop and is battered by her husband) and who supports the suffragists as a means to gain the power, it is implied, to change her circumstances; an elderly, self-described “womanly woman”, who attacks the male sympathiser with her umbrella. The line: “These Antis are so militant”, spoken by the heroine, was added to the play between the submission of the manuscript to the Lord Chamberlain’s office and the play’s publication. It is interesting dramaturgically in its attempt to give theatrical form to a durational experience and find a theatrical language to describe an experience of multiple brief encounters, rather than a defining dramatic collision of different viewpoints. The piece makes reference to the biblical Book of Esther comparing the arbitrary exercise of power by the tyrannical King Ahasuerus who ordered the slaughter of the Jews of Persia to that of the government of the day – but “Ahasuerus was a gentleman. He did hold out his sceptre . . . He didn’t keep her waiting either”. The published play is rare and has attracted little critical attention
A funny, heart-warming comedy in which four northern women meet for a family reunion that lurches from one crisis to another. A left-wing grandmother asks whether feminism still means anything to the younger generation. Faced with the recession, her daughters and grand-daughter have to reassess what matters most.
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
Set in Sydney, Los Angeles and Prague on New Year's Eve, the play shows snapshots from everyday life of young people who fled abroad to escape the Balkan war and the choices they face as they attempt to build a new life for themselves as exiles. Winner of the Slobodan Selenic Prize
Beyond the Big Bangs tracks a day in the life of three female characters both as they interact with each other and in their individual engagements of the day. The structure of dialogues and long monologues is quite unique and is testimony to the skills of a writer who can command the attention of his reader through diverse and interrelated anecdotes. Sandra is a domestic worker who has been asked by her employer to work on a Saturday because her culinary and domestic skills are required to make an impression on the guests who will be arriving during the weekend. Gita is a grandmother who lives with her family and chooses to go gambling whenever possible. Lindiwe is a teacher who has to report to a disciplinary hearing following assaulting a student who had frequently provoked her and had made a racist statement. Sandra and Lindiwe work in the area where Gita resides which provides the opportunity for their meeting but it is their individualism and integrity that results in them connecting emotionally. Each character is quite different from the other, possessing contradictions, insecurities and strengths. The value in reading a slice in the life of each of them is that it allows the reader to engage with the façade and then it explores the emotional drive and centredness of the women.
On an ancient fortress, two boys swear a pact of friendship. Eddie and Tim create their own den up on the Knoll, a secret place for heroes. The only problem is, winter is setting in and Eddie won't come down. As the snow falls, Tim must decide whether to take food to Eddie or betray him by telling the grown ups where he is. It is a play about transitions from childhood to adolescence, from loner to friend.
Blackbirds is the play that emerged from the London Bubble Theatre's research and interviews of South Londoners who lived through the Blitz between 1940 and 1941. Using personal testimony, physical theatre and the combined skills of a cast of contemporary Londoners ranging in age from 7 to 78, the play explores the experiences and events that made London the city that we know today. For use in schools, colleges, community groups and youth theatres.
Two women meet in the aftermath of the Bosnian War. Both are struggling to find release from their inner battlefields.
Aurora Metro Books is an independent publisher of fiction, non-fiction, YA fiction and drama which was established by Cheryl Robson over 25 years ago. Based in Richmond-upon-Thames, near London, the company initiated the Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2009, in honour of Virginia Woolf, who lived for ten years in the same area that the office is based. With a growing list of high quality adult fiction, featuring both new and established novelists, the company has published select international authors and work in translation from around 20 languages.
With over 120 drama plays in print, including works from Robin Soans, Manjula Padmanabhan and Germaine Greer, as well as a formidable list of non-fiction books on theatre, Aurora Metro Books has built a wide-ranging and highly contemporary list of new drama, with collections of women’s drama, international drama and drama by black and Asian writers, proving to be popular with colleges and universities. Aurora Metro Books’ list of plays for Young People is the finest in the UK.