Here’s the latest newsletter from my publisher, Lazy Bee Scripts. You may notice a few live links in it because TLC Creative have finally published our version of Sleeping Beauty! Our first pantomime in years.
Halloween is out of the way, time for the next dramatic challenge. If you haven’t yet sorted out a festive play for December, then there’s still time.
Many Christmas shows involve large casts of children. This often involves the need to keep them quiet and entertained backstage. That was part of the thinking behind the card game ‘Dame of Thrones’ from TLC Creative (put together with pantomime in mind).
We have plenty of festive plays, both religious and secular (mainly focused on Christmas, but other festivals do get a look-in.) By the way, you can separate out the religious from the secular (if you are looking specifically for one or the other) using the “Religious and Moral Plays” filter in our search engine.
Amongst our new scripts, the contribution to the season comes in the form of a new adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (and also a revision of a previously-published version). As usual, you can find all the new scripts via the “what’s new” link from the Lazy Bee Scripts home page. Talking of which…
Sketches, Skits and Short Plays
‘Sketch’ tends to be used in British English for a short comedy piece, whereas US English tends towards ‘skit’. I take a slightly different view. I think that a skit treats a known theme with an element of parody. By my definition, here we have two short plays, a sketch and a skit. (You can make up your own mind.)
- In Oh Frabjous Day (1M, 1F) from Maeve Edwards, Mark finds out he has a daughter he never knew about, and who could be the bone marrow donor he needs. It’s a bit of a weepie.
- For ancient tales of a Biblical bent, check out Ian Sharrock’s David and Goliath (2M, 1F), in which a Philistine soldier and serving girl witness the famous showdown.
- Robert Scott’s Just Good Friends (2M, 1F) is an easy to stage relationship comedy. After Jane’s latest break-up, Tim is waiting to console her. But is this his chance to step out of the friendzone?
- The Colonel’s Wife (2M) by Bob Hammond features an army officer who’s been caught with, well, the colonel’s wife. His confession gets a very different reaction from what he expects.
Plays for Schools and Youth Theatre
In the September edition of The Buzz, I mentioned that we had published several new plays with Greek themes. That trend seems to be continuing slightly…
- If you want to know all about Greek tragedy but never managed to finish the Iliad (it is a big book, and the text is really small), you need Nicholas Richards’ A Brief Guide To Greek Tragedy (6 Either).
- Adventures in Wonderland (35 roles, a minimum of 20 actors with doubling, of whom at least Alice is female) is a faithful Lewis Carroll adaptation from Bob Yelland, and an ideal choice for large youth theatre productions.
Musicals and Musical Plays
We had previously published Nicholas Richards’ piece as a play (and it could still be performed as such), but, in our view, it works better as a musical piece. (Generally aimed at secondary school ages.)
- Nicholas Richards’ Hunting Death (5M, 3 Either) is a short musical retelling of the Pardoner’s Tale from the Canterbury Tales, and can also be performed as a verse play without the music.
Previous winners include Damian Trasler, Richard James, Geoff Bamber and Cheryl Barrett. This time, Robert Scott seems out to get the largest number of mentions in this newsletter. But never mind the quantity, we are very enthusiastic about the quality of his writing, as are audiences around the world.
- Robert Scott wins our award for most prolific author of the month (and his plays are good as well as numerous!), bringing us The Babbling Brookes, a trilogy following one family:
Rags to Richie (3M, 3F, 2 Either) introduces us to Richie Brookes, who’s so much of a liability that his wife won’t leave him alone without a responsible adult.
Next up is Ed and Breakfast (3M, 2F, 2 Either), in which belligerent son Ed is at loggerheads with mum Lynda.
And in Keep Calm and Kerry-Ann (3M, 3F), Grandad Joseph shows up, sending the family into more of a spin than usual.
The three plays work as stand-alone pieces, but they could also be played in one evening as a trilogy.
- Serious stuff in Warm Crayons (2M, 3F) by Ashley Harris, in which a schoolteacher is accused of a vile abusive act. Is he innocent, or has he been hiding his deeds all along?
- For something lighter, try Richard Charles’s Dead Loss (4M, 2F). Aging rock star Trevor Loss has debts to pay off and the police after him; the drastic measures he resorts to make this a thrilling comedy.
- Nickers (1M, 4 Either) by Robert Scott – yes, him again – is not about smalls, but a gang of thieves who all have their sights set on a priceless diamond…
- Another classic is adapted – and abridged – in Martin Prest’s A Christmas Carol In 60 Minutes Or Less! (1M, and up to 28 others). We should probably also credit Dickens for this one. It’s an unusual treatment in that Martin wrote it as a one-man show, but with 29 roles it could also be played by a larger cast. We published it some time ago, but Martin has tweaked it based on experience of a recent production.
- Welcome Home (2M, 1F) is an original drama from Roger Lee. Jimmy is finally out of prison after twenty years and returns to a hostile reception from his son.
- How else would we end this section but with another Robert Scott play? Jim Jam (2M, 1F) is about the familiar situation of being stuck in a traffic jam… and your kid needing the loo.
There are four broad flavours of pantomime: the core folk tales (Cinderella, Aladdin, etc.), adaptations of other stories, amalgams of multiple stories and completely original stories. (Richard Coleman thinks we should have a section of the Lazy Bee Scripts web site just for the third type, although I suspect that is mainly because he has written several in that vein.) We have so many versions of the core stories that we are cutting down on new publications – picking out just the truly exceptional. Hence on this occasion that category is represented just by TLC Creative’s adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, whereas Sharon Hulm raises her flag in the original stories category.
- Double Trouble (4M, 5F, 8 Either), an original panto by Sharon Hulm, follows a pair of twin Princes. A true love’s kiss will release them from a curse, but can those true loves recognise which prince is which?
- And then we have TLC Creative’s take on Sleeping Beauty (4M, 7F, 8 Either). It’s a classic tale, here littered with extra doses of malicious fairies and outright silliness.
Another very varied selection of full-length plays, with a couple of adaptations and three original pieces together touching on comedy, drama, history and thriller.
- Another take on A Christmas Carol – well, the festive season is fast approaching – comes courtesy of Michael Morton, whose full-length version (37 roles, with a minimum of 3M, 3F, and eight of Either with a lot of doubling) is a faithful adaptation of the Dickens classic.
- End of the Ban (6M, 3F) by Anne Graham is a comedy set in 1980s Nottinghamshire. Miner Les is already drifting apart from his family – and then he gets trapped down the mine shaft.
- Richard Hills has adapted Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women (4M, 7F). With their father away in the American Civil War, four sisters must support the household as they grow up.
- In Death’s Desire (3M, 4F) by Robert Scott, therapist Lawrence has a worrying new patient who confesses to murder… and who knows a surprising amount about Lawrence’s fiancée.
- Two families are brought together by the engagement of their children in David Allan’s Happy Families. They immediately warm to each other, never get into any conflicts, and none of them hold any secrets. Just kidding. (4M, 5F)
There is a variety of ways of executing dinner theatre murder mysteries. Different options will suit different theatre companies. Our latest two both have scripted dialogue, but Geoff Fulford’s piece requires the cast (working from character briefs) to be interrogated by the audience, whereas Eileen Clark wants the audience to decide whodunnit purely on the basis of what they have seen on the stage.
- Just as a country hotel is about to close for refurbishment, one of the last guests to leave is found dead. The audience must figure out whodunnit in Eileen Clark’s Murder at Morpeth Manor (3M, 4F, 1 Either).
- In Some Anniversary! (3M, 5F, 1 Either) by Geoff Fulford, Clark and Barbara Seville are celebrating thirty years of marriage – but several guests hold grudges against Clark, who won’t make it to thirty-one.
When we publish musical pieces, we try to offer recordings (at least backing tracks) as an optional extra. Sometimes we add things at a later date…
- For the new version of Sleeping Beauty by TLC Creative, there are high-quality backing tracks (familiar music, new lyrics) created by Sound-Board.com
- The CD for Nicholas Richards’ musical version of Hunting Death has a complete (25 minute) backing track/underscore and also a vocal demo of the whole piece.
- At a customer request, we’ve made available MP3 downloads for the backing tracks and vocal demos for Greece – The Musical by Sue Gordon as an alternative to the CDs.
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Lazy Bee Scripts