Letter To A Daughter
MELANIE is an established 'chansonnier' with a cult following. She is writing a letter to her daughter, which she imagines is going to be a letter of advice. It develops into a letter confessing guilt for having been what she feels was an inadequate mother.
The play is punctuated by six songs, five of which are part of the letter, the sixth is MELANIE performing in concert.
Lyrics by the author, beautiful melodies composed by Benjamin Till.
Men Die Women Survive
Her writer husband, MONTCRIEFF, left MINERVA, a businesswoman, five years ago. MISCHA, a Hebrew scholar, left her financier husband, LEO, two years ago. CLAIRE, researcher for, and mistress of, shadow cabinet minister, VINCENT, has just been abandoned by him to pursue family and career. The three women have come together for dinner in order to console CLAIRE. Each has prepared one of the three courses and selected an accompanying wine. Each explains the reason for their choice. In the process we hear of the relationships with their men and gradually realise that CLAIRE has revenged herself by betraying her politician lover. In between, an actor plays out scenes from the life of the three men.
In 1144 a young boy, WILLIAM, was found brutally murdered in Thorpe Wood, Norwich. The Jews were accused of slaughtering a Christian child to use his blood for Passover and mock the crucifixion. This is the genesis of the first ever 'blood libel' accusation - a calumny which has spread throughout Europe and persists to this day. The Prior of the Norwich Priory, ELIAS, did not believe the accusation. The charge was dropped. Twenty years later the monk, THOMAS OF MONMOUTH, joined the priory and, together with the zealous priory monks, campaigned to have WILLIAM named a martyr. They succeeded. Pilgrims came in search of miracles. The church grew rich. WILLIAM's death would today be known for what it almost certainly was in the 12th century - a crime of sexual assault. Blood Libel repeatedly enacts this while playing out the myth of martyrdom - a contrapuntal of furious irony.
GERTIE, a forty-four year old actress at the peak of her career, befriends SAM, aged nineteen. He believes he can only ever be a black car park attendant, she believes she can be more useful than a mere actress. Each tries to argue the other out of the fond images they have of themselves. Fifteen years later, GERTIE'S career is in crisis. She's in love - unrequited - with KENNEDY, the younger black company manager who believes he's an 'artist' but who in fact is a born entrepreneur. The play explores acting as a metaphor for the false images of ourselves with which we fall in love.
A woman persuades her lover to trust her and confide in her his most heinous act. As soon as he does she is so appalled that she taunts him with it. Disappointed, his love fades. For revenge she betrays his trust.
HILARY HAWKINS is a judge who has reached a crisis of confidence. A suppressed incident from the past has been working corrosively within his sub-conscious. A particularly nasty court case stirs memory of an incident during his student days when he worked on a building site, and reluctantly became involved with other builders in stealing lead from a roof which they were repairing. Failing to shout a warning before throwing down the lead HILARY badly scars a plumber's face. At the height of his crisis he goes in quest of the plumber. When he finds him he can only stand and observe him from a distance imagining three possible outcomes of a confrontation he has not the courage to face, as years ago he had not the courage face a dying old sweetheart.
As Much as I Dare
An autobiography up till the first years of becoming a playwright, but flashing forward to beyond those years on certain topics.
Circles of Perception
Originally entitled 'The New Play'. Very personal, very experimental and not intended for performance.
While trying to write The Old Ones the author developed writer's block. Accompanying this block was a profound urge not to write plays the old way. He was "…tired of the conventional stage with actors coming on and off, sets changing, slightly different characters with slightly different names …I decided to call everyone by their real name ... the play is about people and events I imagined were causing the block… technically ambitious I used everything - slides, films, the Czech device of 'Laterna Magica' …"
The BIRTH of Shylock and the DEATH of Zero Mostel
Wesker has kept a diary since 1966. From it he extracted those entries which charted the writing, the marketing, the rehearsal, and final Broadway performance of his play Shylock in which the lead actor, Zero Mostel, died after giving one performance. The company had to rehearse again using the understudy.
About the 'false memory syndrome'.
Based on a case history of a daughter who turns on her parents accusing them of sexually abusing her as a child.
Break, My Heart
A working-class couple - a carpenter and his wife.
MAEVE has outgrown her husband. She has discovered Shakespeare and poetry, which she learns by heart and recites to herself. MICHAEL is intimidated by her new persona. His impoverished swearing sharply contrasts with Shakespeare's language. MAEVE wants to find a job, get out of the house. MICHAEL's pride forbids her. "I don't want people to think I can't support my family."
Each time she uses what he considers a long word he beats her. After each act of violence he is filled with remorse and she has to comfort him.
The cycle of beating and remorse seems never-ending.
The King's Daughters
Twelve erotic stories based on a tale by the brothers Grimm.