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:
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).
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.
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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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)
- 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.)
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.)