Tag Archives: Lazy bee

More new releases from Lazy Bee Scripts!

As ever, I’m reprinting the newsletter from Lazy Bee about new scripts on their site because this month it includes one from me: “For Sale – Baby Shoes – Never Worn” , the play I mentioned in this previous post. But there are lots of other great scripts to see on the site, and they’re all FREE TO READ!

What’s New?

We’ve published 40 new scripts since our last newsletter, plus revisions of a couple of previous publications.
You can find all the scripts (and all the rest of the items detailed in this newsletter) on the Lazy Bee Scripts web site.
(If you’re looking for new scripts, the “What’s New By Category” page is a good place to start.)

 Kids Plays

  • In Hood – The Sequel, Geoff Bamber imagines (in his usual comic style) what happened to the characters from the Robin Hood legends when Robin had stopped being an outlaw – the sheriff has been deposed, but Prince John is back as King.
  • Simpleton and the Queen Bee is Olivia Arieti’s telling of one of the lesser-known of the Grimm brother’s fairy tales.
  • Caroline Spencer’s Unbitten is a short drama for a secondary school age-group: a vampire allegory.
  • Rings Around The World by Keith Badham has already won awards for its original production.  Young Mark is autistic and we are swept into his world in this moving and satirical picture of his short life.
  • Gem and Katy, in different social circles at school, are horrified to discover that their parents are dating.  Mary Stone’s short play The Game shows how they tackle the situation.
  • As you might expect from the title, Keep Smiling Through by Suzan Holder is a school play set in Britain during the Second World War, punctuated by the songs of that time.
  • Elsewhere on the junior school history curriculum, we have The Not-So-Vicious Viking by Vic Talecks dramatising the Viking invasion of north-east England.
  • Aaron Warren’s Frank Sent This… is a novel addition to our stock of nativity plays, genuinely funny, despite a serious core, and with the unusual twist of time travel.
  • Toil and Trouble by Karina Fernandez is a one-act comedy, set backstage at a school production of ‘The Scottish Play’.  Tensions mount as the young actors ready themselves for the impending curtain up.
  • Who on earth would turn The Hound Of The Baskervilles into a rhyming comedy ‘pantocrime‘?  Well, Richard Coleman, obviously.  Sticks reasonably well to the original story, give or take humour and verse!
  • Jonathan Caldicot’s The Delphi Dilemma is a one act play for a high school cast, set at an archaeological dig in Greece at which a schoolboy prank goes badly wrong.

Musicals and Musical Plays

  • An Heir for the King by Wesley A. Knoch is a one-act musical (probably for secondary school students or older juniors), portraying rich and poor, generosity and meanness.

 Pantomimes

  • We try to distinguish between multiple scripts with the same title by using a version number, thus Adrian Barradell’s panto treatment of A Christmas Carol is our Version 2.  A large cast piece, as you might expect from Dickens sweep of Victorian London, with 32 roles plus chorus.
  • Similarly, Suzan Holder’s Cinderella is our Version 6.  For 18 characters plus chorus.
  • Red Riding Hood [Version 3] comes from Luke Reilly, a modern, edgy retelling of the tale for a cast of 13 plus chorus.
  • Vicky Orman gives us our second version of Robin Hood (although we have plenty of other appearances of Robin Hood with variations on the title).
  • Getting around the version numbering problem with his title, Andrew O’Leary offers Sinbad – The Final Voyage.  Traditional in style, though the content of Sinbad stories tends to be more fluid that the core stories of the panto repertoire.
  • There was a race to published two new pantos by Dawn Cairns.  Pinocchio (our Version 2) just got his nose in front.  The other one is Alice in Pantoland with characters from the Lewis Carroll book plus a few extras on a quest to find who has stolen the jam tarts.
  • Bob Heather and Cheryl Barrett are running a series of pantomime workshops.  Their next scheduled event is at the Plaza Theatre in Romsey on August 31st.  (They are open for bookings elsewhere and elsewhen.) Meanwhile, they have been shortening some of their longer scripts (because some of them were getting a bit long for modern taste in family shows), so we have recently republished their Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (our version 4) and Cheryl’s rags-to-Lord-Mayor-of-London Whittington (our Version 7).

Full-Length Plays

  • Nigel Holloway has set a series of comedies amongst the members of the Off-The-Wall Theatre Group.  The latest is Blackmailing Butterflies, which sees the company preparing for a production of The Beggar’s Opera, tackling mid-life crises and dealing with an ambitious blackmailer.
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Vanishing Author is Peter John Cooper’s clever exploration of the relationship between Arthur Conan Doyle and his most famous creation.  A cast of 2M, 1F playing multiple roles.

 One-Act Plays

  • For Sale – Baby Shoes – Never Worn is a complete story in six words attributed to Ernest Hemingway.  Damian Trasler has taken each element of the phrase to make three linked short plays following the life of a young couple.  (Requires 2 to 4 actors to play 2M, 2F)
  • According to Jonathan Edgington, We’re All Dead.  This is a one act ghostly drama with time shifting between the present day and 1973, and some strong language.
  • David John Manning’s Race To The Wheelchair is a comedy for a couple of old buffers, Catchpole and Rees, long-standing friends, despite their very different characters.  (2M)
  • The Spasm is Tony Best’s adaptation of a short story by Guy de Maupassant.  It could be performed by a youth theatre group or older company, and uses a group of demons as a sort of Greek chorus.  (Consequently very flexible numbers, from 8 upwards, of whom 4M, 2F.)
  • More comedy from Michael Pearcy in The Class (1M, 5F) set in a church hall where we join Melanie’s self defence for ladies class, and we wonder about Brian’s interest.
  • A charity (second-hand) emporium is The Shop, the venue for a drama by Allan Williams (2M, 5F)
  • Frances A. Lewis’s farce Switched has a single set split between a living room and a dentist’s waiting room.  Jeffrey gets himself into a tangle when his girlfriend and wife end up with identical handbags.  (Minimum of 2M, 3F)
  • Mum’s the Word by Damian Woods is a one act comedy with a single domestic set wherein David and Janet try to solve their money worries with the aid of David’s mother.   (2M 3F)
  • We’re not sure where to place Of Edible Houses, Risky Bargains, and Other Grimm Happenings.  Steven Stack has created two one-act Grimm adaptations firstly in the form of Hansel and Gretel…  and Sadie and secondly Ted.  These might be done separately or put together as a full evening’s entertainment.  They could be done by kids, or they could be performed by an older company to a family audience.  Anyway, the tales are very neatly twisted into off-beat comedy.
  • Impisi by Clive Essame is also difficult to classify.  There are 22 named roles, although there could be many more, but in the original professional production, these were all played by two actors.  We’re not even sure how long it is.  The script itself is short, but it is essential a physical theatre piece, with the actors playing a variety of animals and recreating the African bush with movement and sound.  Unusually, we’ve put a link on the web site to a video of extracts from the original production to give a feel for the possibilities of this startling piece of theatre.

Abridgements

Having completed his one-act abridgements of all of Shakespeare’s plays, Bill Tordoff has turned his attention to other parts of the 17th century.  This time it’s Webster’s turn.

  • A Fifty-Minute Duchess of Malfi cuts John Webster’s original text down to 50 minutes or so.  The eponymous heroine is a rich widow.  Her brothers – a duke and a cardinal – want control of her wealth and so have forbidden her from marrying.  This being Webster, it’s not going to have a happy ending for anyone.
  • A Fifty-Minute White Devil combines politics, power, marriage and murder.  This is Grand Guignol; don’t bother to ask who dies, it’s just a matter of where, when and how.

Sketches, Skits and Short Plays

  • The Perfect Couple compare their idyllic marriage with those of their friends in Jonathan Edgington’s comedy sketch (1M, 1F).
  • Telephone (and romantic) etiquette is the theme of The Hang-Up by Helen Gent, a very short sketch for a cast of two, each blessed with a cell-phone.
  • Keith Badham’s Well-Read was probably written for a pair of high school students, but would also be suitable for a slightly older cast (1M, 1F).
  • We’ve published a couple of new comedy sketches by Cheryl Barrett – there’s The Ice Cream Man Cometh (3M), set alongside an ice cream van and First Impressions (2F) set in an (invisible) art gallery.
  • In Biter Bit by Mo Foster, two women sit back-to-back on stage – but they are not in the same place; what they are sharing is a phone call.

Other Things

We’ve added to our catalogue of recordings

  • We have vocal and backing CDs available for An Heir for the King, Wesley Knoch’s new musical play (see above).
  • We’ve added backing tracks (as MP3 files) for two of the pieces for Nigel Holloway’s Blackmailing Butterflies (see above).  The show includes a few more musical pieces, for which we supply scores with the Producer’s Copy of the script, but these are intended to be sung unaccompanied.
  • At the request of a customer, we’ve created a vocal CD for Sue Gordon’s kids’ musical The Point of the Pyramid (an educational musical comedy mystery!)

That’s all for now, but as ever there will be more along soon.
(Follow us on Twitter – @LazyBeeScripts – to receive updates whenever we publish new scripts.)

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A watched phone never boils…..

I really wanted to wait until I’d heard something from someone about employment, because I always think a blog without something positive is a whinge. But, there’s also the feeling I’ve  mentioned before, about an idea not being properly developed until it’s been expressed. Makes me wonder about “Think before you speak”.

So here I am, at Friday, a whole week into February and still with only the usual suspects of work. I spent yesterday in a fever of creativity, reviewing a play and writing two and half sketches. TLC have been asked to write a sketch evening on a specific theme and I decided it was time I tackled the sketches I’d volunteered for. If you asked me, I’d have said I don’t like working that way, that I prefer to wait until I get a great idea and then work that one out. I would have said I can’t write to order, or if I do it comes out as merely workmanlike. Modesty prevents me saying the two sketches I completed yesterday were good, but the better of the two made me laugh while I was writing it, and the second one made me laugh when David re-wrote the ending to make it funny. The third will have to wait to be written up, since I wrote it longhand while watching Eldest and Middle Weasel doing their Ice Skating lesson.

I don’t know what people think it’s like, writing for a living. I can tell you what it’s like for me.

I have the computer I work at set up in the Living Room. It’s not the ideal place during the evening, but with the Weasels out getting educated it makes as much sense as anywhere else. I have a coffee-making machine ten steps away, so I have to get up at least every five minutes. I have nowhere near enough food, which is a good thing. I don’t have reference books to hand, or manuals on writing. I read those at night (seriously – at the moment it’s  “How to Build a Great Screenplay”). There is clutter on the computer desk – story cds, game boxes (The kids leave them out and I never bother to put them away unless it’s time for the big clearout.) There’s a Dictaphone there today too, thanks to a rummage in the deep storage the other day. I found it and thought I might need it for something. I didn’t, but I’ve been using it as I walked the dog the last couple of days. I keep thinking it’ll be brilliant for capturing the bright thoughts I have when I’m out and about, but it’s rubbish. I should have remembered, because I once spent several months dictating a novel into that same machine, then typing up the copy. On a tiny machine like that, my voice is whiny and nasal, plus I huff and puff like an old man riding a Space Hopper down a cobble street. I finished the novel, a children’s book, and it was rubbish. (I liked some of it – the page numbers mostly. I may use them later in another book.) There’s usually a pad or blank paper for scribbling things on, but they tend to be lists of stuff I should be doing, or things that people have phoned up to tell me. I also have a hard copy of the e-book so far, because I was doing revisions on it the other day. I’m still clinging to the idea it’ll be finished by the middle of this month, but that may be just the copy written. I suspect the actual production ( there are diagrams to include, which I haven’t drawn, and the cover needs to be re-done by David) will take a bit longer. It’s still easier than trying to produce a real-world book, since the typesetting and design are completely under my control (in that I say “David, how do think the design and typesetting should go?” David’s a print and design professional you know. I can trust him on this stuff. Plus he makes my sketches funnier. AND he won the Dame Academy Panto Dame competition in Milton Keynes. Not someone to be messed with.)

I listen to music while I write. I’d rather listen to stories, but the words get in the way. Strange, because the lyrics are my favourite part of most songs, but the singing slides straight past my ears and into my brain, so I don’t have to worry about it turning up on the page. I don’t pick specific music for different types of writing – I have a big file of my favourite tracks – seven hour’s worth, give or take a minute, and they wander out of the speakers on random play. Doesn’t make much difference to me, as I only HEAR it when I stop writing. I hate writing in silence, but I’ll do it if I have to. The best days, the days I dream of, are when whatever I’m writing is so interesting, so much fun that nothing else matters. The coffee goes cold and the music fades away, there’s nothing but the pictures in my head flowing down through the keyboard and onto the screen. When everything is going well, my hands can’t keep up and I can’t stop smiling. I think that’s something else people don’t get: Writing can be miserably hard work, it can make your head ache and slice your confidence to ribbons, but at the best moments it’s like flying. I am at my happiest when I’ve written something I’m pleased with. Doesn’t matter what. If I’ve got the idea down complete, I’m irrepressibly cheerful

So this week I’ve applied for a few more jobs and had some in depth discussions with some potential employers. I swapped quite a few e-mails with a Vancouver blog who wanted freelancers to interview Vancouver-based directors. They were willing to pay, so I volunteered my services. We talked about it, and then all of a sudden they said they were “going with other applicants.” I tried not to feel crushed, and concentrated on the online audio-book company that wanted a story re-written as a script. They also wanted some kind of adaptation done, which sounded like they wanted an additional narrative frame around the story to “put it in context”. I asked a couple of reasonable questions* and then sent them in my idea. Since they were also asking for voice actors, I pointed out that I had a fine English accent and would make a brilliant villain in one of their productions. They seemed to reply to both the e-mails out of sequence, but to be honest, neither reply made a lot of sense. The second e-mail said simply :” I concerned that people would get bored with the sequential nature of it.” I concerned. I concerned? I can forgive a typo (except when I’m proofreading) but the rest of the sentence was just as baffling. He’s worried about people getting bored with the sequential nature of the story, and he’s running a business selling audio books to people CHAPTER BY CHAPTER? Heavens, let’s avoid giving people anything of a sequential nature! We’ll keep ’em interested by starting with chapter five and then skipping ahead to seven, then three…. I may be just a little bitter.

My friend and neighbour across the way, Sue, is waiting for employment news too, but she’s been waiting six months. Actually, that’s not a fair thing to say. She’s been working very, very hard to find work for six months, and has been through more interviews than I’ve had coffees. I really wouldn’t mind if today’s her day instead of mine, because I haven’t tried nearly as hard as she has.

Following up on yesterday’s creative storm, I’ve finished my latest bunch of play reviews and now I’m going to pile into the domestic tasks. If there’s time later, I may go back to some other projects that have been a little neglected, but I also have to do the rounds of the job sites. If you’re curious about the writing process, e-mail me. If you have a script you think needs assessing, you could try the Lazy Bee appraisal service (Lazy Bee are my publishers, and they employ an experienced Script Reader to assess submissions for them. Ok, it’s me, but I’ve been a published playwright for over a decade, reading scripts and reporting for over three years, and I took a course on Script Reading with the Script Factory in London.)

*Including “What the hell are you talking about?”