Tag Archives: play scripts

The LazyBee Scripts newsletter for January 2015

I don’t have any scripts mentioned in this newsletter, because the new writing is still underway, but there are some great plays, sketches and musical pieces to be found here.

From LazyBee Scripts:

As ever, almost everything from this newsletter (and much more) can be found via the Lazy Bee Scripts web site.

This time, because I’ve been promising them for a while, I’ll start with the new murder mysteries…

Murder Mysteries

Murder Mysteries – the interactive ones, where the audience has to work out whodunnit – are responsible for one of the complexities of the web site.  Because some groups run these competitively, with prizes for the best solution from the audience, we don’t display the scripts on-line (we have tasters instead), and they have their own section of the site.  We’ve recently added:-

  • Murder in Hollywood by Giles Black, a scripted scene (on a film set), leading to a murder, followed by audience interrogation of the suspects, plus a smattering of written clues.
  • Let Sleeping Frogs Die, a fully-scripted murder mystery by Patricia G., which still challenges the audience to work out who killed the wealthy victim, Monsieur le Comte d’Avignon.
  • Following the same pattern, Roger Lee’s Death at the Shangri-La is fully scripted.  (It has a core cast of 9 plus three optional roles, with multiple versions of the script to accommodate the different cast sizes.)
  • After the scripted section of Joanne Mercer’s Murder at Rancho Mucho Denaros the audience have the opportunity to interrogate the suspects, and the murder mystery pack even includes a special currency to allow the audience to bribe the cast into revealing additional information!

 

Musicals, Musical Plays and Plays with Music

  • The Wicked Witch & The Magic Shop by William Arnold Ashbrook is a large-cast family show with original songs and opportunities for audience participation (therefore occupying a theatrical space close to British Pantomime).
  • We already have several treatments of Aesop stories on our books, but we felt that Peter Nuttall’s Aesop’s Famous Fables and Twisted Tales was sufficiently different.  It’s intended for performance by children or by adults to an audience of children, and ends with an audience participation song, which should be tremendous fun for small children.
  • Nicholas Richards is a teacher (of languages, I think, but specialising in classics).  He was looking for a treatment of The Labours Of Heracles and couldn’t find one, so wrote his own as a comedy play with four (optional) songs.  Intended for school productions from Year 6 (US Grade 5) upwards.
  • Martin R.  Collin manages to tell a sentimental story about an inspirational and much-loved teacher without straying into mawkishness.  I Love You When It’s Raining, Roy G Biv is a one-act play with suggestions for a couple of public domain songs.
  • It may be a little late to say It’s Christmas Time!, but Sharon Stace-Smith’s musical nativity play (with scores for 9 songs and 8 pieces of incidental music) will still be available at the end of the year.

 

Plays for Schools and Youth Theatre

  • We start with a light comedy for kids in the form of Anything You Say, Your Majesty by Geoff Bamber, in which a queen wishes to be featured in a celebrity gossip magazine, and the queen’s word is law…
  • Sarah Brown gives a knowing treatment of a school class trying to get to grips with the English and Drama syllabus in Shakespeare – It’s All Greek To Me!
  • Opening Doors by Keith Badham is an ensemble piece for a youth theatre company (28 roles played by a minimum of 10 actors).  It’s intended for a aimple set with just one prop: a free-standing doorway.
  • The award-winning Call To Duty by Nettie Baskcomb Brown is an even more multi-layered piece, taking the characters through drama rehearsals and console games into a recreation of the trenches of the First World War.

 

Pantomimes

  • We’ve published two new pantomimes by Luke Reilly, both on themes that are not so common in the pantomime canon.  There’s The Princess and the Pea, built around the Hans Christian Andersen story and Hickory Dickory Dock, a completely original story, created around some familiar nursery rhyme characters and a wicked spider.  A good choice for companies who have already worked through the usual pantomime stories.
  • Peter Pan occupies a unique position in British copyright law, so that we pay half the author’s royalties to Great Ormond Street Hospital on all our derivatives of J M Barrie’s story.  The latest one is Peter Pan – A Pantomime by Stephen and Rachel Humphreys – the usual lost boys, pirates and mermaids, but given a pantomime twist with Smee becoming Mrs Smee, Captain Hook’s Nanny.
  • Bob Tucker’s outlaw story is not the usual family show.  Robin Hood – An Investigation Into His Life And Times is a short, risqué sort of British panto, something of a parody of the genre, rather than a straight retelling of the story.

 

Full-Length Plays

  • Geoff Bamber has a long (and, he assures me, distinguished) history as a member of a pub quiz team.  Some of this experience has been brought into Quizzers, a farce set in the study where Keith Smedley is trying to prepare for just such a quiz.  (4M, 4F)
  • As you might expect from the title, The Prisoners’ Dilemma by Matthew Lynch is set in a cell where a group of strangers are incarcerated for reasons they cannot comprehend…  (3M, 3F, 4 either)
  • Maverick Cop by Paul John Matthews is a comedy caper in which the police force, baffled by a series of murders, decide to recall a rule-breaking detective.  His individual approach is somewhat reminiscent of Inspector Clouseau.  (6M, 5F)
  • Ethan Bortman’s thriller Obvious Guilt opens in a living room where there is plenty of evidence of a crime, but no body…  (A minimum of 4M, 2F)
  • Michael Baulch has created a full-length play from Jane Austen’s Emma.  A well-thought-out staging has three locations created by redressing a single interior set.  (5M, 6F)
  • The Horrific Case Of Mr Valdemar is a story by Edgar Allen Poe, brought to the stage in suitably melodramatic fashion by Richard Layton.  (2M, 1F)

 

One-Act Plays

  • Richard Coleman has embarked on a series of comic verse plays that rearrange familiar stories.  The first of these is Scrooge’s Scruples which gives a major twist to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to show Scrooge as a determined do-gooder.  (A minimum cast of 16.)
  • It’s difficult to classify The Dial Conspiracy by Bob Tucker.  It’s a sort of comedy-farce-crime-caper, set in a remote hotel where weird and wonderful stratagems are used by a succession of unlikely characters vying with National Security officers.  (A cast of 12, of whom at least 4M, 2F)
  • Set on David’s birthday, Fifty! by Archie Wilson is more definitely a farce.  A surprise birthday party thrown by the wife and daughter and interrupted by the mistress.  (5M, 6F)
  • The Pagan Priests by Jim Pinnock is a farce for a cast of 7 (5M, 2F), set, unusually, in a church sacristy where the Bishop’s attempts to overhaul the management of a parish go drastically off the rails.
  • We’ve published two new one-act comedy plays by Cheryl Barrett, both developed from her own shorter plays.  A Matter Of Health and Safety (3M, 4F) is set at a village fete whilst You’ll Suit Just Fine (3M, 1F) is set in a small menswear shop, where Kevin, the new trainee, is trying to come to grips with customer service.
  • A couple with a history of neighbour disputes throw a dinner party in their new home.  What could possibly go wrong?  Find out as John Peel offers the chance to Meet The Neighbours (1M, 4F)
  • Robin Wilson’s Minutes By Air is a short light comedy for a cast of 2M, 3F, set in a meeting awaiting a crucial participant.
  • A different sort of meeting is the focus of Stephen Mercer’s comedy The Coven’s Convention, where the planning of a village fete is thrown off course by the enthusiasm of a new member.  (3M, 5F)
  • In Impatience and Improbability, Nic Dawson performs a neat comedic trick of intertwining 19th century manners with the present day.  It’s set in the gardens of a modern hotel which is running a Jane Austen-themed weekend.  (4M, 4F)
  • Moving from the comedy and on to the drama, Father’s Day by Allan Williams sees an old soldier visited by a young man investigating a gas leak.  Neither is entirely what the other expects.  (2M, 1F)
  • Guernica Goodbye, an award-winning play by William Campbell is a powerful drama in which Spanish refugees living in Chartres find themselves once again embroiled in conflict in the aftermath of the Second World War.  (2M, 1F)
  • Peter Appleton’s Sweet Dreams is a twisted psychological drama, verging on the melodramatic.  Anne has trouble telling reality from her dreams.  Is her fiancé alive or dead?  Is her father helping her, or holding her prisoner?  Can she even trust her oldest friend?  (3M, 2F)
  • All in the Past by Wendy Ash is a revenge drama in which Trevor renews his acquaintance with the men who bullied him years ago when they were all at school.  (3M, 1F)
  • Whilst there are two speaking roles, and a couple of silent dancers in Remember Scarborough by James Baynes, almost all the weight falls on the old man, waiting for his daughter on a park bench, poignantly reminiscing about the Second World War, his best friend and his wife.  (2M, 2F)
  • I saw the Sky Blue Theatre production of Frank Canino’s Nightwalking as part of the Cambridge Theatre Challenge winners’ showcase, and I was knocked-out by it.  A chamber theatre piece – black-box set, with a stepladder as the sole piece of furniture.  The actors communicate through interior monologues and movement.  (1M, 2F)
  • Jennifer Marie Sancho’s Politically Correct was the runner-up in the same competition.  Her drama is set in the ‘common room’ of an asylum where four inmates plan an escape.  And what a collection of rebels – Jane Austen, Margaret Thatcher, Emmeline Pankhurst and Florence Nightingale!  (1M, 4F)
  • The third of the Cambridge Theatre Challenge finalists (in our one act category – there are a couple more amongst the shorter plays) is A Darker Shade Of Closure by Richard Charles.  It’s a thriller set in an apartment where Tina is in a tight spot, blackmailed over her behaviour.  (1M, 2F)
  • Cold Blooded Killer by Geoff Rose-Michael is another award winner, this time of the new writing award from the 2013 Leatherhead Drama Festival.  A thriller that starts with a break-in at the home of the recently widowed Jack and leads to a shocking conclusion.  (Cast of three, of whom 1M, 1F)

 

Sketches, Skits and Short Plays

  • Continuing with the Cambridge Theatre Challenge finalists, we’ve published Brian Coyle’s The Proposition in which Alan has been picked up, but not for the purposes he first assumed.  Leo and Laila have something different in mind – it’s disturbing, but it’s all about art…  (2M, 1F)
  • The last of our CTC finalists (in this set) was Ashley Harris with Baking Bread, set on a park bench by a lake, where Bella is waiting to meet John.  (3M, 1F)
  • Croft & Barnett introduce us to Dr Death, a comedy sketch for 2M, set in the surgery of a doctor with a rather unusual approach to pain.
  • We’ve published a new pair of shorts from Jonathan Edgington.  The Slim Blonde Beauty is a romantic comedy inspired by a short personal ad in a free newspaper (2M, 4F).  She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (1M, 1F) is a surreal comedy in which a chap finds a strange woman in his bath.  (The sort of thing that might happen to anyone.)
  • Next in the multi-publications category, we have three comedy sketches from Robert Black.  The Also-Ran Club (3M, 1F) finds a group of unsuccessful inventors trying to form an organisation.  Message For Sophie will resonate – or possibly ring a bell – with those close to mobile phone addicts (1M, 1F).  Billy Loves Brenda (1M, 1F) finds the hero trying to explain-away a new tattoo.
  • Finally, we have two new comedies from Cheryl Barrett.  Bring Me Sunshine (4M, 2F) was inspired by a real incident – the damage to a statue on Morecambe sea front.  Around The Fridge In Eighty Calories is a monologue for a woman who is larger than she thinks she should be.

 

 

That’s all for now, but, as noted at the start, there’s a cascade of new material coming through.

A Happy New Year to one and all,

Stuart Ardern
Lazy Bee Scripts

To read these scripts online, go to http://www.lazybeescripts.co.uk and use the “search title” function to bring up the script you’re looking for. Remember, these scripts are free to READ, not free to USE.

Two newly published plays

In the final burst of the latest publishing round from Lazy Bee Scripts, two of my latest one act plays have reached the light of day.

Digging Up Edwin Plant” works either as a standalone piece, or as a sequel to “The Kitchen Skirmishes“. It features Bernard and Lucy, now well adapted to their roles as parents, but Bernard has developed an unhealthy curiosity about what happened to the boy who used to bully him at school. Based in part on personal experiences and featuring more poetry than you might expect for a one act play, this piece looks at how we remember people who have passed out of our lives, and who, exactly, forgiveness is for.

The MACT production of "The Kitchen Skirmishes" (See "Gallery" page for more details and images)

The MACT production of “The Kitchen Skirmishes”
(See “Gallery” page for more details and images)

I wrote this after seeing a group had produced their own play based on the works of a local poet. This seemed like a fine idea, so I dug out the mysterious poems of Edwin Plant, after checking there’d be no copyright issues, and used them to help tell the story I was thinking of : Bernard, unable to track down the bully, finds only some poems written by someone with the same name. Is it the bully? What do the poems say about the person who wrote them? Bernard sees regret, and a possible explanation for the behaviour of the boy he knew, but Lucy isn’t convinced.

“The Poems of Edwin Plant” e-book is available on Amazon Kindle.

The other play to be published this month is “The CosPlay“. A recent addition to my many hobbies, my family and I have thrown ourselves into the world of Cosplay after attending the Vancouver Fan Expo ( See here, and here for more details….)

This play has a small group working hard to prepare a vital presentation that might save their department from being downsized, but it’s also the weekend of HeroCon, and at least two members of the department are determined to be there, in costume, for the big photo. The whole department turns out, with varying degrees of costumed success, but the revelation of dressing for your inner hero brings about a few character changes in the office…

All the things I plan to do.

I talk to people, when they check out their books. Part of it is Customer Service, that good old “engage with the patrons” philosophy that makes their trip to the library more than just one more chore on the list. But a lot of it is human interaction that I need, and the genuine desire to share my pleasure and excitement about some of the books I see crossing the desk every day.

If you don't get this, I'm sorry. Go watch "Labyrinth" and then "Game of Thrones". But don't get attached to any of the characters. You have been warned.

If you don’t get this, I’m sorry. Go watch “Labyrinth” and then “Game of Thrones”. But don’t get attached to any of the characters. You have been warned.

Right now, of course, there’s a lot of people checking out the various books from “A song of Fire and Ice”, more commonly known as “Game of Thrones“. If someone is picking up the first, I warn them they’re in for a long haul, and that they shouldn’t get too attached to any of the characters. If they’re picking up something later in the series, like book five or six, we exchange some words about the long wait for the next book, and the chances that the tv series will outpace the novels.

I had a plan on the wall, but it also covered the sofa....

I had a plan on the wall, but it also covered the sofa….

Something I say a lot, when talking about GoT, is that I hope George R.R. Martin has a big plan on his wall. I want it to start with the history he hints at – the Targaryan conquest of the Seven Kingdoms by dragon, all the way through the death of the Mad King and Robert’s seizing of the Iron Throne to a decent conclusion. (Don’t worry if this is all meaningless gibberish to you, I have a point coming up…)

The point is the plan, the shape of the whole story. The books are wonderfully compelling, and Westeros is a great place to visit from the safety of your couch or your favourite reading nook, but I really, really want to know that George has an end in mind, that he’s not just moving his pieces round a Risk board and wondering who’s going to come out on top.

For years, I’ve been what’s known in the trade as  a “pantser”. I wrote by the seat of my pants, starting with a vague premise, or some lines of dialogue and simply following the trail, only able to see a little way ahead as I wrote. It was fun, and sometimes the result was particularly good. Even as recently as “Love in a Time of Zombies”, a chance line in the early pages turned into a crucial plot point at the climax of the play, something a review called a “classic example of Chekhov’s Gun“.

The flyer for the show - you can still get tickets!

The flyer for the show

But the satisfaction of pantsing has been tempered by the number of projects that stalled because I didn’t know where to go next. They reached a quiet point, where the characters stop and turn to you and say “Yeah? What now?” Raymond Chandler once said that when things got boring in his books, he would have a guy walk through the door with a gun. It’s nice philosophy, very much in the Panster tradition, but when they were filming “The Big Sleep”, the director suddenly realised he didn’t know who had killed one of the characters, the Chauffeur. Chandler was called and quizzed, but admitted he had no idea either. It just wasn’t that important to the plot he was building. Pantsing can leave plot holes.

The Big Sleep (1946) Poster

So my last two plays and the two e-books that came before them have been planned. I’ve written a short precis, which expanded into a pitch document, which became an outline, which got broken into scenes on a huge sheet of paper on the wall. Now, instead of aiming for word count targets, I’m writing a scene a day, knocking off sections of the project and knowing exactly how many I have to go before the end. I haven’t noticed any dip in creativity, but there has been a drop in the number of abandoned drafts.

Holidays... Don't you just hate 'em? The sunshine, the calm, the beauty... Ick.

Holidays… Don’t you just hate ’em? The sunshine, the calm, the beauty… Ick.

This last week, staying out in Osoyoos with my parents on their third trip to Canada, I discussed a new play with Mrs Dim. From no real idea, to a neat concept in the course of ten minutes by the pool. When August begins, I’ll start my new planning document, and what is only a sentence now will begin to grow.

So what’s YOUR preferred method? Is planning the writing putting a straightjacket on the creative muscles, or is pantsing an amateur mistake?

The January Lazy Bee Newsletter

I’m working on a new post, but in the meantime, Happy New Year! And here’s the latest news from my publisher, Lazy Bee Scripts:

Miscellaneous Musings

Receipts

When we were able to access the web site again after the January 4th interruption, we finally implemented the “receipts” function (under the Customer menu).  That means that you can get copies of receipts for past orders.  It also does an approximate currency conversion for customers in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Euro zone (particularly useful for teachers who have bought scripts by card and need to claim back from schools who are not familiar with the British Pound).
 

Stitched-up!

We’ve been selling custom-embroidered clothing for a couple of years, and now we’ve finally ordered our own with a stitched version of the Lazy Bee Scripts logo.  (We like it so much we’ve put a picture on the front page of the web site and more on the beewaxing blog.)
 

What’s in a name?

Occasionally authors make changes to scripts after we’ve published them.  We grizzle about this, but we do make changes.  In the case of Giles Black’s murder mystery A Legendary Death we thought it was rather important.  One of his characters is the host of a television archaeology show.  Giles found that he had accidentally used the name of the host of a television history show.  Given that this is a murder mystery, the character is less than wholesome, and we felt that his namesake might consider this libellous.
 

Break a leg?  Be careful what you wish for!

A few months ago, I went to see the opening of Terry Hammond’s black comedy Ten Rods, a show set on an allotment, littered with spades, forks and a wheelbarrow.  Terry popped in to the Lazy Bee Scripts office a couple of days ago to discuss his next projects, and, in passing, told me that during the fight scene, the actor playing Shadbolt, the villain, fell onto the wheelbarrow and cracked a rib.  (Terry had to take over the role for the remaining performances.)
 

What’s a performance?

From time to time, I get into discussions with customers who say “we’re not performing the show, we’re just doing a presentation to parents and friends”.  That’s a performance.  Any show performed in the presence of an audience (people who were not a directly involved in producing the show) other than members of the same class or workshop, counts as a performance for copyright purposes.  So, for example, if you invite an audience to watch your dress rehearsal, then that’s a performance.  For every performance, you need to obtain performance rights from the rights holder.  This is a general point, it applies to all (copyrighted) shows, not just to those licensed by Lazy Bee Scripts.
 

Making Changes

Another cautionary note with respect to copyright is the matter of making changes.  In theory, you cannot make any changes to a script without the permission of the copyright holder (usually the rights agent on behalf of the author).  Making changes without permission is a violation of the author’s copyright.
We take a practical view, and give blanket permission for some minor changes as part of our copyright notice.  (There’s a detailed explanation in the Help section of the web site.)  However, changes that affect plot, character or dialogue need the permission of the author.  If in doubt, ask!
Whilst we were in the process of granting permission for changes to Switched by Frances A Lewis for use in the Scottish Community Drama Association one-act play festivals, David from Carbost Village Drama Group (who used to be David from Selbourne Players) pointed out that last year one group was disqualified from the SCDA finals because they had altered a script and did not have written permission from the rights holder.
 

First Spanish Script

Most of our scripts are written in a recognisable form of English.  However, we have made forays into Latin, French, German and Afrikaans.  We’ve now ventured into Spanish – see below for more about Entre las Lineas.

And now on to the new material which, of course, can be found via the Lazy Bee Scripts web site (from the home page, “What’s New” is a good place to start.)

 

Musicals

  • The Frinton Fryer by Jim Pinnock is really a one-act play, but there are several solo songs that are integral to the piece, hence the musical classification.  Brenda is going for the ‘Silver Star Show’ audition, but Doris thinks she should try a more modern look, name, and song.  Her singing has surprising consequences for her workplace – a Fish ‘n’ Chip shop!
  • We have billed Luke Reilly’s version of Rapunzel as our Version 2.  It’s a full-length family show (rather than a full-blown pantomime treatment).  The original story is embellished, notably with a villain in the form of the evil Dr Grimm.
  • The Spanish script, mentioned above, is Entre las Líneas by Sofía Kin & Pilar Muerza with music by Erica Glenn.  Comedia musical para los niños en un Acto. It’s a translation of Erica Glenn’s ‘Between the Lines’, originally created for a production in Argentina.
  • Richard Cowling’s Zechariah And Elizabeth is a one-act musical based on the story from the first chapter of Luke’s gospel.
  • Working Man by Peter Nuttall was inspired by the paintings of Alexander Millar, set on Tyneside in the heyday of the shipyards.  In addition to backing and vocal CDs, we offer a CD of images of Millar’s paintings, licensed by his publisher, for projection during each scene.  (There’s an example on the script page – well worth a look.)

 

Plays With Music – in this case, all for Children

  • The Alphabet Trip by Sherrill S Cannon does what you’d expect – it takes a trip through every letter of the alphabet in a rhyming script punctuated by (suggested) songs.  Aimed at very young children and very flexible presentation (in principle, 26 characters – for the obvious reason – but they can be shared out in many ways).
  • Debbie Chalmers takes slightly older actors into science fiction territory with A Cloud In Space, a full-length fantasy space adventure for a cast of 20.  (Again, the songs are suggested rather than supplied.)
  • Looking for the Rainbow by Philip Bird (music Isabelle Michalakis) is a fantastical adventure about the meeting of two groups of children living on opposite sides of a mountain.

 

Kids Plays

  • Aliens is a collection of seven short plays for youth theatre by 10 x 10 Writers.  We announced publication of three of the individual plays in our previous newsletter.  Since then, we’ve completed the collection (so you can buy the whole set at a discount) and published the remaining individual scripts.  These are The Landing Party, by Karen Fitzsimmons, Activity Day – Inclusive of Aliens by Dian Donovan, Aliens v Aliens by Sarah Reilly and Tales from the Seventh Galaxy by Mike Plumbley.
  • Nicholas Richards has adapted the Pardoner’s Tale from the Canterbury Tales into a short rhyming play, Hunting Death
  • We’re into a strange dystopia for The Nobodies by Jon Boustead, a twenty-minute play for junior school children.  A place where there are no stories, no reading and no dreaming.
  • Paul Roostercroft – that’s not his name, but his actual name gets his e-mails consigned to my spam folder, so I’m trying to avoid that possibility here – has written Not Another Nativity, a play set in the rehearsals for a more conventional nativity play, and giving the subject a refreshing new slant.  (Written for a cast of 26.)
  • Missing by Sue Bevan is a gritty small-cast one act play for youth theatre, in which Tom has run away from home.
  • Deanna Alisa Ableser also takes us into the world of the homeless (this time with a US setting) for StreetBox, a one act drama.
  • Josh’s Wall is a thought-provoking short play by Ian Elmslie (aimed at GCSE-level students, a comment which will tell you that it’s set in England).  Three boys meet up on Christmas Day to discuss the recent death of their friend.
  • Jeremy Tyburn’s Rhyming Macbeth was originally written as a Reader’s Theatre piece (as an educational introduction to Shakespeare’s play) – on the grounds that the writer wondered whether such a short telling of Shakespeare’s story could be staged.  (It could, but it runs at quite a pace.)
  • For younger children, there’s A Too Naughty Cinderella, by Olivia Arieti.  A short telling of the tale, and not quite the Cinderella we are used to, as this one is so petulant and shallow that her Fairy Godmother has disowned her.

 

Pantomimes

  • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (our Version 2 of the story) by Julie Petrucci and Chris Shinn comes complete with a camel called Carmel.  A full action show with a ‘modern take’.
  • Dawn Cairns offers two tales for the price of one in Aladdin and Alisha Baba.  We have all the expected pantomime ingredients, plus differences – including two Dames as the mothers of Aladdin and Alisha Baba, as well as Gordon the camp genie, who helps thwart the evil Abanaza, and Mustafa with his four thieves.
  • There are two new pantos from Luke Reilly.  The first is a very modern Puss in Boots (Version 5 in our canon), the second is A Postmodern Pantomime (going beyond the normal panto convention of breaking the fourth wall and into explorations of the boundaries between story, play, characters, cast and audience.)
  • Our next new version of Puss in Boots (our Version 6) comes from Bob Heather, and takes a much more traditional, family audience, approach to the tale of the magical cat who comes to the aid of the poor Miller’s son.
  • Jillian Riches and Lesley Penketh also take a traditional pantomime subject, but give it a twist to create Snow White and the Eccleston Seven where the dwarves are replaced by an Irish gang of rogues.
  • Venturing onto new ground, Matthew Harper brings us Figaro – The Pantomime.  Like the rest of the new pantos listed here, it’s a full-length show for a large cast, but with a very definite renaissance Spanish setting (give or take a guest appearance from Tesco.)

 

Full-Length Plays

  • For Life Imitating Art, Joan Greening takes us to an art gallery, where Dorothy surprises Pete by mistaking him for her tour guide, an experience that ends up enriching them both.  (A cast of 1M, 1F)
  • Frances A.  Lewis has written two one-act plays, Switched and AKA Charlie (of which more below) with (largely) the same characters.  Whilst they function independently, they are also available (at a discount) as a full-length play, Between Appointments (4M, 4F and optionally two others).
  • How do we describe Chicks and Dogs by Clive Renton?  We’ve got it listed as a full-length comedy drama, with bawdy overtones.  Clashes of views, personality and experience – and, indeed, costume. (3M, 3F)
  • Hilary Mackelden presents The Snow Queen (listed as our Version 4) as a family show, rather than the pantomime treatments we have elsewhere.  A new look at the Hans Christian Andersen tale, with 40 roles, but playable by a cast of 28.
  • The Killing Of Richard by Roger Mathewson is set during the casting of Richard III, a process that begins to mirror Shakespeare’s play.  (6M, 3F)

 

One-Act Plays

  • The Melting Sands by Jim Pinnock is a thriller set in a beach house.  Tables are turned as two seemingly innocent and unconnected women seek revenge.  (4M, 3F)
  • Karen Ankers offers us the rather odd mixture of Red Wine And Ice Cream in a powerful, serious play with a simple single set.  Louise is having a lousy night out, she’s abandoned by her date, and now who’s this in the alley behind the theatre?  (2M, 1F)
  • Fancy making an exhibition of yourself?  Try Joan Greening’s Museum Pieces a comedy in which the museum volunteers are dismayed by the prospect of closure and salvation arrives in a most surprising way.  (6F)
  • We’ve got a (non-matching) pair of new plays from Allan Williams in the form of The Last Visitor (for 2M, 1F, in which a retirement-home resident is surprised by a caller who seems to know a lot about him) and Gerald’s Bench (also for 2M, 1F, in which three visitors to a park are tangled in the same story).
  • As mentioned under full-length plays, Frances A Lewis’s new play AKA Charlie uses several characters from her previous Switched.  It also has the same set, split between a living room and a dentist’s surgery where Veronica has to cope with in her job as Dental Assistant and the arrival of her jailbird brother.  (4M, 3F)
  • We’ve published four new plays by Robin Wilson.  There’s Mrs Noah (1M, 3F) in which the building of the Ark is not helped by Noah’s less-than-understanding wife.  All Washed Up (2M, 2F) has the survivors of a plane crash stranded on a tiny island.  A Dummy Run (1M, 3F) is set in a doctor’s waiting room.  Finally, Alright On The Night? (3M, 4F) has a village hall drama group face a fraught dress rehearsal.
  • In Gentlemen Callers, Pam Mackenzie shows how the elderly Lavinia and her friends spend their afternoons.  (A comedy for 3M, 3F)
  • James P Brosnahan & Joseph S Kubu say It’s About Time, and indeed it is – two different times for the same person, and an exploration of choice.  (2M, 1F)
  • A Stitch In Time by Mark Green is also about time – and much more directly, since Alastair, inspired by his late father, is convinced that he has invented a time machine.  (2M, 2F)
  • The title of Dave Walklett’s Custom Shrunk comes from Measure for Measure, the play that his characters have just been performing in this back-stage drama of manipulation.  (3M, 2F)
  • I probably think too much about theatrical genres.  I see No Occasion To by David Weir as somewhere between a drama and a thriller.  Anyway, a play for a cast of 4M set in a bar where a planned celebration is confronted by a gatecrasher.
  • Bob Tucker presents two new plays.  The first, B & B, is a frantic farce, set in a small guest house whose acceptance of pets is challenged by some of the guests.  (5M, 5F)  The second is The Interview (for 2M, 3F and one either), taking an unusual modern view of a scene from David Copperfield.
  • British people of a certain age will be sent in the wrong direction by the title of Bill & Ben by Richard James.  In this case, the Ben in question is Ben Jonson, and he’s in prison on a murder charge, where he receives a visit from a fellow playwright.  As Richard put it, they do what playwrights do best – they bicker.  (2M)
  • Despite the title, the cast of David Pemberton’s An Indecent Exposure remain clothed throughout.  It’s a comedy drama or, just possibly, a surreal thriller!  (3M, 3F, plus 2 to four more)
  • Cell Mates by Mark Seaman takes place, as one would expect in a prison cell.  The question is what will young Terry learn from the resident old lag, the murderer George?  (3M)

 

Sketches, Skits and Short Plays

  • Lorraine Forrest-Turner seems to be making a bid for the longest title award with her sketch Bank Holiday Mondays and Other Ways to Kill a Marriage (a title that needs more explanation for people outside the British Isles than it is going to get!)  It’s one man and one woman and they’re stuck in a car.
  • Grandmother Rita is reminiscing about her life as she looks through her old photographs in Lynda Bray’s monologue A Thousand Words Speak A Picture
  • There are two new short pieces with religious overtones from Howard Lipson in the form of A Cautionary Tale (for a cast of 3M), retelling the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, and Utopian Rhapsody, with a meeting between Charles Dickens and Washington Irving (2M).

 

Interactive Murder Mysteries

  • In A Shotgun Wedding by Andrew Hull, the bride and groom have got as far as the reception before their first major argument.  The assmbled company don’t help, and, later, a shot rings out.  It’s up to the audience to find out whodunnit!  (Ten characters, of which at least 5M and 4F.)
  • Jos Biggs hints at motives from the start of her mystery The Hadleigh Hall Inheritance, but again, it’s up to the audience to sort the clues from the red herrings.  (Nine characters, of which at least 2M and 4F.)

 

Other Things

We are gradually adding to our range of recordings to go with the musical scripts.  In particular, we’re adding a number of vocal recordings (because some people learn songs more easily by singing along!)
As we do this, we’re also putting more recording samples on-line so that you can listen to a snippet before buying.

 

When they are not writing…

…  Some of our writers are writers.  That is to say, people who write plays also write other things – including criticism, blogs, poetry, magazine articles and shopping lists.  Some of them write books.  Recent publications include Bill Siviter’s The Dark Men of Biddulph Moor (summarising Bill’s summary, Dan Brown meets Staffordshire history), Eddie and the Kingdom by Damian Trasler (who seems to be concerned with zombies.  Aren’t we all?)  Julia Lee Dean has recently completed And I Shall Be Healed (about the First World War).  I have no idea what Jim Pinnock’s Sparrows With Vertigo is about.
Other novelists in our ranks include Nigel Holloway (whose sixth should be available soon), John Peel, whose output includes One Man And His Shed and Giles Scott, whose Hook and Peter Pan is a novel for children based on his script for the musical Hook and Peter Pan – How it All Began (which you can find on the Lazy Bee Scripts web site).
(There are many more, but the output is so large that I have lost track!)

 

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.)

The New Releases from Lazy Bee Scripts

Since one of my most popular posts (or the best “search engine snare”, I guess) has been the one that contained an update on Lazy Bee releases, here’s another. The fact that it contains details of my latest published sketch is NOT coincidence – I’m blowing my own trumpet these days, remember?

Most of the details behind the information in this post can be found via the “What’s New by Category” page of the Lazy Bee Scripts web site

Scripts for Kids (Schools or Youth Theatre)

  • We’ve published two new kids’ plays by Geoff Bamber. What’s Up, Icarus? is a comic rendition of an Ancient Greek myth, telling the tale of how King Minos tried to turn Crete into a successful holiday destination with a maze and resident monster as tourist attractions. Puss in Boots [Short Version] is more familiar as a pantomime, but this treatment is straightforward comedy without the panto baggage (or Dame, as she is usually called). Anyway, it has the usual ingredients of the tale – a miller’s son, a talking cat, a princess and an ogre. At least two live happily ever after.
  • Rabbie Burns’ Night by Olivia Arieti is a children’s introduction to the celebration of the Scottish bard. No set or props required, but the odd display of tartan wouldn’t go amiss. (Seven characters.)
  • Don Lowry’s Alvin And The Queen is a (US) High School play, set in the school cafe. Alvin is your typical high school nerd, and he’s desperately in love with Barbie, the homecoming queen and beauty, who is just not the academic type…
  • We’re a bit late in the year publishing Reindeer Games by Martin R. Collin – or perhaps we’re very early. Anyway, as you might expect, it’s a Christmas pageant (a compilation of many old (largely secular) Christmas traditions, including carolling and mummers’ plays, with a modern quiz show thrown in for good measure). A cast from large (we think the minimum is 22 players) to huge with a choir thrown-in for good measure.
  • Despite what you might expect from the title, Dance Story by Frank Gibbons is not a musical, but the backdrop is a dance competition, so dance could be a major element. A cast of at least 11, of whom at least 8 girls.
  • On the other hand, Hamelin is a definitely a musical play – Philip Bird’s variation on the Pied Piper story with songs by Isabelle Michalakis. Written for a cast of 21.
  • The Frog Princess [Version 2] by Tim O’Brien is our second musical version of the time-honoured tale of the culture clash between royalty and amphibians. A minimum cast of 23, but plenty of room for more courtiers and pond-life.
  • Timothy Hallett and Nicholas Richards take us completely into musical territory with The Lambton Worm. It is accompanied by music throughout, with the tale told in a mixture of song and spoken verse. The Lambton Worm is an old folk tale from North-East England. ‘Worm’ is used in the old sense of ‘serpent‘ – so this is a story of knights fighting dragons.
  • Hannah Thomas’s Romeo and Juliet – Sped Up! is a ten-minute reduction of Shakespeare’s play (in modern English and occasional noises) for a cast of 8 or more. No set requirements, just a few props, love and death. Written for school children, whereas…

Shorter Shakespeare
I’m never quite sure whether to group Bill Tordoff’s abridgements of Shakespeare plays in with the school plays (because they’re designed so that they can be read/performed within the bounds of one lesson) or to group them with the one-act plays because performance isn’t restricted to children.
This is the compromise – a separate category!

  • A Forty-Minute Timon of Athens is a reduction of one of the lesser-known plays. In addition to the Greek setting, it has the air of a Greek tragedy, with the central character brought down by his own behaviour. (As usual, the plot, language and characters are preserved, but the text is cut to a one-act length.)

Sketches & Very Short Plays

  • Diamond Jubilee 2012 is a sketch show by Ray Lawrence (with ‘an assist’ from Gary Diamond) written, as you may of guessed, in celebration of the sixtieth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s a revue covering the last sixty years in a series of monologues and short sketches. (Add songs to taste for the perfect jubilee celebration.) Many of the sketches are available separately. We’ve also published another of Ray’s rhyming monologues, this time it’s The Clock Mender a tale of the typical tinkerer with timepieces.
  • According to Damian Trasler, It’s Not the End of the World though it does involve a surprising number of zombies. A short comedy sketch for a cast of three.
  • Lorelei by Jonathan Edgington is a dramatic monologue for a young woman. Single set (three pieces of furniture) and a few props. Lorelei’s story is a sad one, of a life gone wrong and a struggle to cope with a new identity and the loss of the past.
  • The reception area for a TV studio is the setting for Bob Tucker’s Searching, a fifteen-minute comedy about the preparations for a dating show (2M, 1F)
  • The typical Writers’ Group is the subject of Tom Jensen’s comedy sketch for 2M, 2F. Will’s just had a play reading, but the news isn’t good. They think his play needs lightening-up…
  • Wally Smith has delivered a couple of serious short plays. The first, Imperfect Speakers, is a 20-minute political thriller for a cast of four, whilst Holding Up A Mirror (for 2M, 1F) explores the nature of drama and the relationship between actors and audience in fifteen minutes.
  • Nicholas Richards also presents a new pair of scripts, but these are light comedy sketches in the form of Doctor Sleep (2F, 1M), set in a doctor’s surgery and A New Job For The Wicked One (1M, 1 either) featuring a regular day in the Little Noddingsbury Jobcentre.

One-Act Plays

  • Colin Calvert’s Café Society is a romantic comedy of an unexpected kind for a cast of 3 (2M, 1F), set in a somewhat run-down Cafe where Pauline is looking for no more than quiet contemplation and lunch.
  • What would result from M C Escher writing plays? Our reviewer reckoned it would be something like Seven Ages of Love by Robert Burns. (No, not that Burns, another one.) The history of a failed romance is explained in reverse order which, at least, gives it a happy ending. (2M, 2F)
  • Establishing Relations by David Craig Smith is a one-act drama with a single domestic set in which a young man introduces his girlfriend to his parents and is dismayed by his father’s reaction. (2M, 2F)

Full-Length Plays

  • Reading Between The Lines by Geoff Bamber is a farce set on the fringes of a small literary festival. The characters (3M, 5F) include an academic, a gambler, a vicar, a housekeeper, a French lady… No stereotypes here, oh dear me, no.
  • We stay in village festival territory for A Fete Worse Than Death by Richard James. This time it’s a fully fledged whodunnit, but with a distinctly comic edge. (4M, 3F and a very large marrow.)
  • Archie Wilson’s The Séance, on the other hand, is a different animal entirely – a ghostly horror story (with lots of fun for the special effects crew) set in the attic of a house where a murder had been committed. (4M, 3F)

Pantomimes
Unusually, we haven’t published any new pantomimes in the last couple of months. (However, there are plenty more in the pipeline, and we already have over 200 to choose from).

Murder Mysteries
We treat these in a different way from conventional scripts (for a start, they’re in a different part of the web site). They come in a variety of formats from fully scripted to fully improvised.
We’ve got one new one this time, but there are more in the pipeline…

  • They Never See It Coming by Die Laughing Murder Mysteries is the sort of piece where we provide a scenario, character briefs and ancillary materials, and the cast improvise the dialogue.

Other Things for Your Show
What else can  we offer you to spice up your show?

  • We now have the third CD of spoof adverts and theatre announcements from TLC Creative – Four and Twenty Advertisements – The Third and Youngest! (I particularly like the parody that is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.)
  • How about kitting-out your cast in polo shirts, sweaters or hoodies emblazoned with your show logo?   On the clothing front, our supplier of fleeces has chosen to but an elegant stripe down the front of a popular ladies’ fleece.  It looks great, but it means we would have to stitch logos over a seam, which would tend to mess-up the stitching, so we’ve withdrawn that item.  (We’re looking for a replacement.)  We’ve also done some successful trial runs embroidering logos onto school book bags.  We’ll get those onto the web site eventually.  (Meanwhile if you’re desperate for an embroidered book bag, give us a call!)
  • Or how about “good luck” or “thanks” cards for your cast and helpers?

For those and many more gems of theatrical paraphernalia, see the links from our home page.

And that’s it for now – but, as usual, there’s plenty more in the pipeline.

Please remember, although I’ve provided the links so you can see all these plays for yourself, if you wish to perform or present them, even in a classroom setting, you need a performance licence from Lazy Bee Scripts. These are not extortionate, and the rates are proportional to the setting, so please enquire through www.lazybeescripts.co.uk . You’ll be pleasantly surprised! And you won’t be hunted down by rabid playwrights, eager to rend your living flesh and stake you out in the garden with blunt pencils…..