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Plays

A Bold Stroke for a Wife

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Though critics and literary historians have always had to admit that Susanna Centlivre’s comedies were extremely popular, they have tended to devote themselves to a search for evidence in them of supposed deficiencies of ‘the female pen,’ and to pay as much attention to the playwright’s marriages and amorous liaisons than to the plays themselves. Only in recent years has Centlivre come to be recognized quite straightforwardly as one of the most brilliant playwrights of her time. A Bold Stroke for a Wife is perhaps the finest example of Centlivre’s masterful plotting of comic intrigue. The soldier Fainwell and Anne Lovely are in love, but their path to the altar is blocked by her guardians, each of whom has a different view of what sort of husband would make the right match. Fainwell resorts to disguises of social types. The play thus provides a wide range of opportunity for Centlivre to satirize Tory respectability, religious propriety and capitalist speculative greed—and to give voice to tolerance: ‘tis liberty of choice that sweetens life.’ Yet in the end it is Centlivre’s comic muse that gives enduring life to the play as one of the most entertaining of eighteenth-century comedies.

The Bomb

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A topical play about terrorism and its aftermath. Inspired by Jo Berry, whose father was killed in the 1984 Brighton bomb and Patrick Magee who planted that bomb. In 2000, they met for the first time to promote understanding and conflict resolution. They have continued their dialogue ever since. At 16, she was shell-shocked and caught in the blast. Now the bomber's waiting on the other side of the door. The Bomb is a journey into the minds of two extraordinary people – one who destroys lives, the other who forgives the unforgivable.

Brothers in Arms

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Using a mixture of storytelling, theatre and song, Brothers in Arms draws on the true story of two brothers from a Yorkshire pit village – one of whom steadfastly refused to fight in World War I, while the other volunteered and served on the front line in France. Cast: eight minimum

Calcutta Kosher

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Set in the Indian Jewish community in Calcutta, how do young women educated in the West deal with family secrets back home? Sunday Times Pick of the Day

Care Takers

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Ms Lawson, a new teacher at Newall South High School, believes Jamie Harrow is being bullied because he's gay. She wants to help but Mrs Rutter, the Deputy Head, thinks it will sort itself out. Is Mrs Rutter speaking from experience or is there something more unsavoury about her uncaring attitude? A battle royale occurs between youthful idealism and the system that evolves to choke it.

Most plays that deal with homophobia in schools look at the children in the playground, but what happens when the people in charge of our children are homophobic? Care Takers is an intense two-hander that follows a new teacher who tries to do something about one of her pupils who is being bullied for being gay.

Homophobia remains a fault-line in our society and especially in our multicultural, inner-city schools where original research undertaken by writer Billy Cowan showed these tensions are still very real. The play shows how complicated things have become for teachers in these schools when it comes to dealing with homophobic bullying, and how vulnerable young gay people still are in these environments – especially if the system gets in the way of their safety.

Includes Teachers' Resources to aid structured discussion and exploration of the themes raised in schools, colleges and beyond. Care Takers is part of an Edge Hill University (Birmingham, UK) research project on homophobia; and can be used as a source text for all those interested in the impact of creative practices in health, psychological well-being and enhancing social inclusion of people (hospitals, social and community centres, mental health centres, schools, and museums).

The Chalk Garden

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Revived to acclaim on London’s West End in 2008, this psychological chamber piece explores the secret world of childhood through the prism of a dyed-in-the-wool British dowager Mrs St Maugham and her precocious and equally eccentric granddaughter Laurel. When enigmatic Miss Madrigal is hired as household companion and manager, the two finally meet their match. 'A tantalizing, fascinating and stimulating piece of theatre.' New York Daily News; 'A very fresh and personal kind of play with wit, literacy, and an almost unearthly integrity.' New York Herald Tribune.

A Change of Tenant

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

The play examines the reasons why Squire Brooks has decided to evict his long-standing tenant of 30 years, a widow, Mrs Basset, despite the fact that she is an industrious, reliable tenant who pays her rent on time and looks after his property well. The Squire reluctantly agrees to her visit to plead her case. He reveals that the insuperable problem is her sex. Not having a vote, she will not be able to support his son in winning a highly marginal election. In the meeting that follows with his prospective new tenant, John Smith, the Squire is forced to question the wisdom of the ‘Mrs Bassets’ being disenfranchised when the ‘John Smiths’ of the world have a say in government. John Smith is a drinker and a fool, in debt and ignorant, and when he has bothered to vote at all, he has spoiled his voting papers. The piece is weakened by the stereotypical portrayal of both John Smith and Mrs Basset. In choosing to make Basset unremarkable, merely the embodiment of reasonable ordinary civic virtue, the author bases her argument on justice: she is visibly no less worthy of a vote than a similar man in her circumstances, no less worthy than was her husband. She is a version of a virtuous, suffering (albeit middle-aged) heroine, victimised by the heartless squire. Her ordinary virtues: concern for her neighbours, maintaining and improving the property, are contrasted to Smith’s fecklessness and selfishness. However, she also reveals more dynamic virtues in her response to the situation – a determination to be given the reasons for her removal and an intelligence and adaptability. She understands the processes of political persuasion ‘talking to people, giving away papers’, in contrast to Smith, and is willing to earn more, take in washing rather than keep chickens, if required, but finally these cannot make up for her inability to vote. She is sent away for ‘a vote is a vote, and nothing else however good and necessary can make up for the lack of a vote’. It is only when faced with Smith’s record of rent arrears that the Squire relents in his decision.

The Chosen Ones

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Irina lives with her father, her daughter, her husband and his mistress in their decaying apartment, longing to change her life but with little hope of escape.

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.