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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 05:01 pm
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Ali-ali-oh
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Mana: 
Hi all

I am about to start rehearsals in September for our November play.  We had planned to do Deathtrap however, the rights have been withdrawn as it is on in West End.  I now need a replacement URGENTLY.  I have spent a fortune over the last few weeks buying plays to review, but no luck so far.  Before I end up broke, could anyone suggest a couple of plays I could look at.  The biggest problem is I have a brand new member who has little confidence and limited skills, so I need to include him.  To further frustrate me, we are a community amateur theatre that has been going for about 80 years and I cannot produce a play that has been done before.  Also, our audience tends to be a little older so doesn't appreciate anything particularly contemporary or with a lot of swearing etc etc.

If anyone can suggest anything it would be really appreciated.

Thanks in anticipation - Ali

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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 05:10 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
If you want a thriller/mystery:

Take a look at Veronica's Room by Ira Levin.

Or for a comedy: Murder at the Howard Johnson (I forget the writer's name.)

in media res

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 Posted: Fri Jul 30th, 2010 09:33 pm
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Shanahan
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Mana: 
I'll throw my hand in here: Feel free to have a look at the first act of my romantic comedy, One Before Forty. It's been produced twice by small local theaters, so while it's not unproduced it's still quite unknown.

3M, 2F, very minor set (a loveseat, a stool, and a table with two chairs). Runs about 1:15. Only caveat is that you need a STRONG male lead. For all but about 10 minutes of the show he's got literally every other line, and he never leaves the stage.

It's at http://johnshanahan.net/playwright

Also: check your PM

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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 01:02 am
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Alan
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Loving Lives, available from Playscripts (playscripts.com).  Very community theater amenable play.

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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 01:35 am
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mrcollin
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A community theatre murder mystery:
The Man in Seat 24 or (The Uninvited Guest)
Brooklyn Publishers. http://www.brookpub.com
Good luck in your search!

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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 11:23 am
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Ali-ali-oh
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Mana: 
Hi everyone.  Thanks for your further suggestions.  The problem I have is that I have to find a play that suits not only the audience, but also the I have to cast a min of 2 men + 2 woment (possibly 3 if there was a small part) plus a man with less than 50 lines.  Any suggestions that fit this criteria?

Thanks - Ali

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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 06:04 pm
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Doug B
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Mana: 
We are a small Community theater with a 60 seat house (although we can squeak in an additional 36 people when needed).  We are a retirement community so I need plays that I can populate with older actors and that will appeal to older audiences.  Your situation may be very different.  When you say "West End" I think London.  Your audiences may have different tastes than mine do.  It depends on what you mean by "small role".

Here are my ideas - I don't know what your stage is like so it is hard to know what will fit.  Our stage is 16' deep by 25' wide with a 10' ceiling height.  The side walls are permanent.  

If you are looking for a thriller we recently did "Wait Until Dark" (1W, 4M - the husband probably has about 50 lines, 1G + 2 small roles)  to great acclaim and full houses.

I'm not a Neil Simon fan and many of his plays don't work well today.  They don't work as period pieces either. One that works is the Female Version of The Odd Couple (5W, 2M).

If you can handle the set requirements, Arsenic And Old Lace always works - also has a very small part for Mr Gibbs - probably more like 10 lines).

Doug

Last edited on Sat Jul 31st, 2010 06:21 pm by Doug B

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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 06:53 pm
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Mana: 
Hey Doug,

Before you write off Neil Simon, read this!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/theater/31prisoner.html?_r=1&hpw

best,

in media res

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 Posted: Sat Jul 31st, 2010 07:43 pm
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Doug B
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I don't write off Simon - the play I directed last month was The Sunshine Boys.  It had one of the best attendance (per performance) of any play we have done - although our attendance is growing rapidly so it is hard to compare to shows we did a year or two ago.  I like Neil Simon - I like the nice mixture of comedy and drama.

Since I started directing in 1999, I have directed over 60 shows and five or six have been written by Neil Simon - the most of any playwright.  They have name recognition.  They are popular with audiences.  But none of them have made my "all time best" list. 

For example, I have seen several productions of The Odd Couple.  It doesn't work today - even as a period piece.  I have also seen plays by Arthur Miller (most recently The Crucible) and Tennessee Williams (most recently Glass Menagerie) and they are still as relevant today as they were when they were written.  The fact that he has rewritten The Odd Couple in a new play called Oscar and Felix tells me something.

The Prisoner of Second Avenue is on my maybe someday list (along with Last Of The Red Hot Lovers). 

I was surprised at how many people found parts of the dialog in Sunshine Boys offensive.  These were not radical people - just average, everyday people.  I knew it was there.  I thought it would get by and we worked to minimize it but it was still there.  I find it interesting that the license for SSB had all the usual language about not changing the play but this one came with an additional page which stated in effect that they knew there was "offensive" language in the play and reiterated the don't change anything language of the license.   For what it's worth, I had trouble casting parts of the play because of the language.

I don't change language - if I can't handle the language I don't do the play. 

Since Simon has pretty much retired and his daughter is running things, I wonder if they allowed any dialog changes to get a major professional revival of Prisoner . . . .

In the article it is interesting that Brighton Beach Memoirs folded so soon - I think his autobiographical plays are his best - my favorite is Chapter Two.

Just some thoughts.

Doug

Last edited on Sat Jul 31st, 2010 08:02 pm by Doug B

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