J.B. Priestley: Plays Three (Oberon Modern Playwrights)

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Clinging to the Iceberg: Writing for a Living on the Stage and in Hollywood is wickedly funny, insightful, often absurd but always true. We hope you find it as helpful as he does! A stern warning. This is not to be read as a check-list, a series of mechanical actions to be ticked off. The process of creation is messy, with mis-steps and false starts. There are intestinal flora in the gut which react to stimuli faster than the organs of consciousness. When the writing goes wrong I literally feel my skin prickle and my temperature rise.

In time you will be as attuned to the material as that.

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The following are the things I watch for as I endlessly re-read my drafts. Sometimes quietly to myself, sometimes playing the characters. I do this not as an academic exercise but because they will help in going forward to the next draft. Anyone treating them as a tool for analysis will be escorted from the premises. As in happen. As in event. Because if drama is indeed the impact of event on character you need to have an external event pressing on their inner life and you are going to need your character express what has happened to them in some externalized, physical way.

Clinging to the Iceberg is available from our website, here. It is a memoir of growing up surrounded by alcohol, violence, and a culture in which there is only one way to be a man. My painful truth is that I fear working class men.

I fear their capabilities, their loose tongues, banter, unpredictability, fast tempers and their appetite for violence. I hate talking to working class men, being in changing rooms or public toilets with them, going into boozers, greasy spoons or DIY shops. Any space working class blokes dominate creates a recognisable response of sweaty palms, my eyes darting around the room pre-empting danger and an umbrella of worry.

They fear me and my effeminacy and they find it hard to hide it. They stare, they point, they laugh and nudge each other. Sometimes they take photos of me, sometime they chant insults or point me out of a crowd. This exposure is a veiled misogyny — why would you devalue yourself from maleness?

To complicate matters, I also love working class men, I am working class and some people might call me a man an identifier I refuse. These thoughts are often only truly understood by working class femmes who sleep with men — an unspoken contract of love and hatred we share but cannot shake, leaving us in a complex head space of feeling loved and used simultaneously. In , sat in a pub in Yorkshire, I opened my laptop and decided I would attempt to cleanse myself of this unearthed fear, dread and worry.

I purged all of my early, formative experiences with working class masculinity into a document, the result is my first text for stage. BRAVADO includes four very graphic accounts of what happens when a child is subjected to working class maleness in a cultural climate of aggressive and sensitive masculinity. Its explores sexual and domestic violence, post traumatic stress disorder, abuse and revenge. What you should know is that this work comes with a massive dead weight of familial guilt — the stories recounted are of family who have since changed their stripes, who have fought their addictions and demonstrated to me their capabilities of love, softness and affection.

They have turned their lives around. I fear drawing attention to myself so men can see me plainly. I fear what the men in question might do should they find this text. You have been warned. Use the code WRITERS at the checkout to pay half price on all these brilliant books, and see how much your writing can improve with a few hints and tips from the best in the business. But hurry, as this offer will end on Sunday 9th. Writers seldom discuss their working practices.

This is not to say that authors lament their lot — far from it — but the pleasure they derive from this most dreary of pastimes will always be a minor mystery for the happy, well-rounded multitude. The first illusion to demolish is that we spend most of our time writing. Over the past decade I have completed three biographies, but only a small fraction of this time has been devoted to the actual process of writing.

What takes infinitely longer is the task of hunting down information: in libraries, archives and — most exciting of all — among the living. Only once a great deal of undigested material has been assembled does the outline of the book begin to take shape — and then one can actually begin. When I reach this stage my daily routine is unerring.

Plays J B Priestley - AbeBooks

I quickly review what I did the previous day, making any changes which seem necessary, before sketching an outline of whatever I hope to achieve that day — sometimes as much as a whole chapter. This planning stage is crucial. Out of the mass of materials, I try to link together a story, usually sticking quite rigidly to the chronology, but departing from this when a particular event or anecdote seems part of a more general theme.

Wherever possible I will allow the subject of the biography to tell the story for himself, as there is nothing more tedious to the general reader than the biographer commenting upon events or documents in the manner of a narrator. That may be an old-fashioned view, but it happens to be my own. This moment contemplating the dawn of a new day is vital for me.

To see the sun beaming down on empty fields, or men and women hurrying to their places of work, helps keep my self-appointed task in perspective.

Plays and Playscripts

Having cobbled together the bare bones of the paragraphs I take myself to one of my preferred cafes to commence work. In my early days of writing I had a romantic notion that small, independent coffee houses would be the most congenial places for this. I soon learnt, however, that there is little a purveyor of delicious homemade carrot cake detests more than a writer. This is when the early start begins to pay dividends. I know that some authors swear that they never read a line not written by themselves until their task is complete, but I can envisage no way of writing that was not at least in part derivative of what has come before.

For my reading I tend to stick to what I know best: the classics, as well as the innumerable books by authors I happen to have written about. Wound Man is an unconventional superhero, sprung from the pages of a medieval medical textbook, with an alarming assortment of weapons sticking out from every part of his body. A funny and touching story about two unlikely friends and the adventures they share. Fergus has lived in England for almost seven years. A one-man show written and performed by Fergus Evans, fusing animation, storytelling, and spoken word that crosses the boundaries between performance art and theatre.

A collection of nearly 50 scenes for two actors. The scenes are arranged according to gender suitability with background information about the plays from which they are taken. These volumes both collect over forty speeches from some of the finest plays of the last twenty years. Bringing together specially selected speeches by essential modern dramatists. Useful for amateurs, students, and professional actors alike, participating in acting classes, contests, auditions and rehearsals.

Arranged according to age suitability — Teens, Twenties, Thirties, Forty plus — with the plays and individual speeches set in their dramatic and performance context. These verbatim monologues are drawn from conversations Robin Soans has had or overheard, or are edited versions of interviews he has conducted in the course of research for his plays Mixed Up North, Talking to Terrorists, Life After Scandal.

Subjects range from people who have held high office to those who have blown them up; from those who live in large country houses to others whose home is two blankets and a pile of leaves in the corner of a disused garage. Howard Barker is an internationally renowned dramatist, whose first plays were performed at the Royal Court and by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Since his work has been presented by his own company The Wrestling School. Writing of himself in the third person and in the historic tense, Barker's alter-ego Eduardo Houth achieves a fluency and an uncommon measure of objectivity, though objectivity is scarcely the sole intention.

The result is a unique exercise in self-description, partisan but without the shrill selfjustification so common in a mere autobiography. Focusing on different aspects of what Barker has called the Theatre of Catastrophe, an international range of academics offer illuminating interpretations of his work. She began writing drama in the early s. Tanika has written extensively for theatre, radio, film and television. Tanika was awarded an MBE in Dennis Kelly is an internationally acclaimed writer with his plays performed in over thirty countries. Highly recommended. As this collection clearly shows, Wade certainly has.

The Oberon Modern Playwrights series showcases the most prominent authors of our time, and includes collections of plays grouped thematically. OCt Jun Gupta offers a fresh perspective on race relations, generational divide and sexual politics. They have all lost their jobs. In retaliation, they defiantly produce, devise and perform award-winning plays with the support of artists around the world.

As anyone who saw Being Harold Pinter will know, they make their points through an exuberant inventiveness…remarkable. Like many of the richest moments in theater, this one involves very simple elements: black ink, a long roll of brown paper and a naked woman. Ukaegbu PB E Since his debut in Agboluaje has become one of the most prolific of the third generation of Black British playwrights. He writes comfortably in iambic pentameter, sweeping Wagnerian phrases or heightened nineteenth-century prose. Roll it from your eyes to your tongue, like tears, and relish, as I do, the ever-so fruity yet slightly salty content.

The plays chart the political history of the Nuclear Bomb and its proliferation from to the present day. These playwrights ride, however, in no slipstream of the identifiably Irish play. Here, the enterprise of playwriting itself is being re-imagined. Here, above all else, is a commitment to becoming in the theatre.

Some of the best new writing from contemporary American playwrights. Each play is introduced by critically acclaimed writers themselves. The Possibilities are disturbing short plays set in various times and cultures. Amajuba is a moving tapestry of different personal perspectives on growing up under Apartheid. He Left Quietly is the harrowing. Afghanistan continues to be an important focus of British, European and American foreign policy.

The Great Game: Afghanistan features an extraordinary sequence of short plays, which attempt to broaden our understanding of the explosive history of Western involvement in Afghanistan. Sixty-Six Books is a fresh interpretation of the King James Version of the Bible KJV for the new millennium, celebrating and challenging the traditions and achievements of this great work on the occasion of its th anniversary.

The curators of this project have gathered together a formidable and inspiring line-up of the best established and emerging writing talent to create a new book of the KJV, speaking back to the KJV with untrammelled inventiveness of the imagination. Hamlet, Part II answers a question about Hamlet that has plagued scholars, readers and playgoers for over four hundred years: What happened next?

Prince Lear tackles yet another conundrum: What happened just before the start of King Lear, setting in motion the improbable events of Act I, scene 1? It is the Jubilee! One has to battle a society who deems her a secondclass citizen, the other forges an astonishing entanglement with the ageing Queen Victoria who finds herself enchanted by stories of an India she rules but has never seen.

In her fierce determination to stay true to herself, she alienates the authorities and faces incarceration. Her younger lover Carpeta is approached to take over and seizes the assignment for himself.

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Centre of a whaling industry that transformed blubber into the oils and candles that lit the world. He enrols under Ahab, Captain of the Pequod — a man bent on destroying the white whale that lost him his leg. Glasgow, the s. Martha and Amie are old neighbours, trapped in their decaying tenement and cut off from family and friends.

Over the course of a single month, these unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder, and ultimately connect. Not available for sale outside the UK. Strepsiades lives in Greece. He has a son and he has debt. The latter being a direct result of the former. And horses. Socrates has an Academy. He teaches students to question, think for themselves. Will Socrates reform the prodigal son? Will the creditors come knocking on their door? Socrates and his Clouds is a funny, naughty, vital exploration of the ways in which education and morality define a society in crisis. The genre of Aristophanic comedy fused with the tradition of the comic strip and enriched with philosophical debate; a new, potentially explosive cocktail.

Socrates is alive and well and coming to a cloud near you Five Stars and Cloud Nine! First produced in at the famous Vienna Burgtheater, the remarkable and provocative Sports Play by Austrian playwright Elfriede Jelinek is a postdramatic theatrical exploration of the making, marketing and sale of the human body and of emotions in sport. Sport is seen as a form of war in peacetime.

Village schoolteacher Platonov is a man who is loved by women. Despite his best intentions he is drawn into a series of extra-marital affairs that all hold the promise of escape from the provincial Russian reality where he and his circle of friends are trapped. It shines a light on this band of disaffected thirty-somethings — too old to move with the times, and too young to let go of their dreams. Here Toni Morrison transports one of the most iconic, central, and disturbing treatments of race in Western culture into the new realities and potential outcomes facing a rising generation of the twentyfirst century.

Motown music is getting the party started, and Chelle and her brother Lank are making ends meet by turning their basement into an afterhours joint. But when a mysterious woman finds her way into their lives, the siblings clash over much more than the family business. Fire up some Motown, get those hips moving and everything will work out fine.

The well-known tale of is here dramatised by Matthew Dunster. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Agatha his mother lopped five years from her true age and his when she married the amiable Posket. High jinks and high-spirited carousing are at the heart of this hilarious farce. Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning writer of the film, has now gone back to Sheffield where it all started to rediscover the men, the women, the heartache and the hilarity of a city on the dole.

From Morning To Midnight , among the most frequently performed German Expressionist works, charts the life of a cashier who steals money from the bank and flees to Berlin. It is a popular piece in which Kaiser satirized the cheapness and futility of modern society.

His hero, a kind of machineage Everyman, searches everywhere for some kind of fulfillment — in commercial sex, in salvationist religion — but discovers through a series of nightmarish episodes that the world is deceitful and illusory. In the end, disillusioned and pursued by the police, he takes his own life. A man mourns the loss of his lover, a mathematician mourns her own fate. Ramanujan looks to create some of the most complex mathematical patterns of all time.

Under the watchful gaze of his young assistant and the threatening presence of a new generation of artists, Mark Rothko takes on his greatest challenge yet: to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting. A moving and compelling account of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century whose struggle to accept his riches and praise became his ultimate undoing, Red premiered at the Donmar Warehouse, London in December Lovesong is the story of one couple, told from two different points in their lives — as young lovers in their 20s and as worldly companions looking back on their relationship.

Their past and present selves collide in this haunting and beautiful tale of togetherness. A terrifying tour de force. The permanently ravenous Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with Stanley Stubbers, who is hiding from the police and waiting to be re-united with Rachel.

To prevent discovery, Francis must keep his two guvnors apart. Acclaimed playwright Laura Wade explores the lives of the young, wealthy and privileged. Are the high-jinks of the tail-coated Riot Club boys the last gasp of a dying breed? In an oak-panelled room in Oxford, ten young bloods with cut-glass vowels and deep pockets are meeting, intent on restoring their right to rule. Members of an elite student dining society, the boys are bunkering down for a wild night of debauchery, decadence and bloody good wine.

Welcome to the Riot Club. A dramatic reconstruction of the hearings into the death of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, which erupted into national outcry. William J. The Oberon Classics list includes collections of plays by some of the giants of the international classical canon in English-language translations and adaptations. Of interest to scholars and students on the page, as well as having a proven track record on the stage. The power and magic of the Faust story, the man who, in a pact with the Devil, trades his soul in return for a period of total knowledge and absolute power, is one of the most potent of all European myths.

Jean Racine is the greatest tragedian of the French seventeenth century. Britannicus is set in the court of the young Emperor Nero, and in an atmosphere seething with erotic tension, documents the power-struggles surrounding the birth of a legendary despot. Berenice probes the hearts of two lovers as they are torn apart amidst the splendours of Imperial Rome, and in Phedra, a woman betrayed by her own desires descends into a personal hell of shame, guilt and remorse.

His heroines are propelled, by birth or a sense of divine mission, into exalted political positions, where their qualities as human beings, and particularly as women, are put to the severest tests, from which they emerge triumphant, but doomed. Thebes is under attack. King Creon issues an edict: Eteocles, who nobly defended Thebes against his brother and the invading army, is to be buried a hero; the body of his treacherous brother must be left to rot. Antigone and her uncle are locked in conflict. As the new king, Creon cannot ignore her actions — her defiance is a matter of national security.

The religious fraud Tartuffe has wormed his way into the affections and household of rich merchant, Orgon, with pantomime piety and counterfeit zeal. So comprehensively has he hoodwinked Orgon that he looks set to succeed in driving away the son, marrying the daughter, seducing the wife and imprisoning Orgon.

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Dionysus, the god of wine and theatre has returned to his native land to take revenge on the puritanical Pentheus who refuses to recognise him of his rites. Remorselessly, savagely and with black humour, the god drives Pentheus and all the city to their shocking fate. But all his artful plans serve only to speed him towards the fate he is so desperate to avoid. Comic poet and dazzling swordsman, Cyrano is hopelessly in love with Roxane. But Roxane loves the dashing Christian. A universal, action-packed love story which has been a popular hit on the stage for over a century and the inspiration for countless films.

The Propeller Shakespeare series is made up of some of Shakespeare's greatest plays, produced by the highly acclaimed Propeller Shakespeare company, led by Edward Hall. The Taming of the Shrew is a play about the power struggle between the sexes. King Leontes falls prey to an inexplicable jealousy of his wife Hermione; it causes her apparent death and the actual death of his young son Mamillius.

Sixteen years of repentance, supervised by Paulina, lead to scenes of reunion and reconciliation — but without concealing the cost in human terms. Twelfth Night is an ambiguously erotic comedy. It also contains his first great theatrical creation: Richard is charming, witty, ironic, terrifying — but he is also the embodiment, in his own personality, of the violence and chaos of the Wars of the Roses. The Comedy of Errors is a brilliant piece of theatrical mechanism, a story of mounting confusion involving two pairs of twins. But it also explores the relations between lovers and between husband and wife, and ends with the warmth and reconciliation of a multiple family reunion.

Emil is excited to be taking the train on his own for the first time. Emil will just have to keep his wits about him and his money in his pocket. But Emil falls asleep and when he wakes up the man in the bowler hat is gone - and so is the money! Emil is determined to get it back. He teams up with a gang of young detectives and so begins a hair-raising chase across Berlin to catch the dirty rotten thief This play opens at the National Theatre in November With famine gripping Ireland, Sean and Annie have just one chance of survival — they must find their father. Leaving their dying mother behind, they travel across rough seas to America.

With only the gold torch that Annie wears as a necklace to protect them, they embark on a long and dangerous journey. But will they ever be reunited with their family? Twist of Gold is an epic adventure, a classic novel by the masterful storyteller and author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo. What could a play written 2, years ago possibly mean today?

Set in the aftermath of a bloody civil war, Antigone fights for what she believes is right. Now, in a new play by Tim Crouch, this unlucky man is given a chance to tell his story. Visit: www.


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This collection of energetic, fun and emotionally honest, tragi-comic plays explore the turbulent journey from childhood through adolescence towards eventual adulthood. Private Peaceful relives the short life of Tommo growing up in rural Devon before fighting the battles and facing the injustices of the First World War. In Toro! Each play is accompanied by an introduction from Michael Morpurgo.

This is the first adaptation of Treasure Island with great parts for both male and female performers. This swashbuckling stage adaptation brings out all the comedy and adventure of this ever-popular story. The play can be simply staged, is suitable for performance by children and adults and can be adapted to suit a large company or a small team playing several roles. After an astonishing few years of creative frenzy, Kneehigh joins those ranks.

Four children are evacuated from London during the Blitz. The land of Narnia is under the spell of the wicked White Witch, and the four very quickly find themselves caught up in a deadly struggle between good and evil. When this adaptation of C. A group of teenagers do something bad, really bad, then panic and cover the whole thing up. DNA is a poignant and, sometimes, hilarious tale with a very dark heart. This edition also features notes for teachers and group activity suggestions for the classroom.

Rarely do you find a play that upon reading just the first two pages, you know that your students will love…not much will top this one for Key Stage Three, even for GCSE. Broncoing kicking the swing over the bar is the social bench mark and a dangerous mixture of vandalism and sport. Decky is the smallest of the group and the only one who cannot Bronco. His friend David remembers the event of that summer, which at first seem hilarious but ultimately remain painful, as the boys are faced with an unthinkable tragedy and are thrown into a restless adulthood.

A romp through the bubblegum years of teenage life. Angela and Mazine, besotted with Madonna, play truant from school, form a band, attempt to write songs and, with hairbrushes in hand, live out their adolescent dreams of becoming famous. No neat moral yarn, but a humorous and haunting fable. The White Rabbit is late for the Duchess. And the Hatter is, well, mad. In this new adaptation by renowned playwright and Sheffield native, Laura Wade, you can follow Alice as she escapes her bedroom to find adventure in a topsyturvy world.

Furiously inventive and wonderfully designed. Kelly, right, Kelly the bitch decides to have a party on the very same night as my sleep over — the very same night! And she invites everybody — absolutely everybody I want to die! Welcome to the world of year-old Katie as she battles her way through the bitches, the chavs, the misery of school discos and the desperate search for a worthy boyfriend.

A turbulent and triumphant tale of a totally troubled teen. These shortened versions of plays by William Shakespeare, adapted for the National Theatre by renowned director and producer Carl Heap, preserve the core plots and retain the original language, and yet are presented very much with the target age group in mind. Introductory notes will help readers, teachers and practitioners alike to imagine or produce their own versions. It welcomes the best dance companies from Britain and around the world. But its significance is that it commissions the best choreographers, designers, musicians and artists to create new and exciting dance.

In words and pictures this book celebrates that inspirational process. It is the dance house. This beautifully produced new book by Royal Ballet dancer Andrej Uspenski is a collection of exclusive photographs which shines the spotlight on ballet, the most beautiful of art forms. These exquisite photographs feature some of the finest dancers onstage today, bringing the reader into the magical world of ballet. Oberon Books continues to publish the Royal Ballet Yearbooks, each edition of which is guaranteed to bring all ballet lovers up to date with the latest activities, performances and company news from the prestigious Royal Ballet.

This lavish coffee table book is a celebration of twenty years of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in Birmingham, illustrated with over photographs by Bill Cooper and featuring an introduction about the Company from dance critic, Judith Flanders.

New for the paperback edition is an additional chapter on the critically acclaimed, 20th-anniversary Birmingham Royal Ballet production of Cinderella, as broadcast by the BBC at Christmas in Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, aka the Ballet Boyz, are pioneers in making modern dance accessible and entertaining through their celebrated stage and television work. In they set up their own company, Ballet Boyz, and established themselves as one of the most original and dynamic partnerships in modern dance: revolutionising programming formats; commissioning new choreography; collaborating with a wide range of cuttingedge talents and building a following through their regular television appearances on the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky Arts.

A must for anyone interested in the art of movement. Then again, dance is a wordless art form about movement rather than dialogue — and perhaps this is what Trevitt and Nunn are recreating through this book. The Story of the Ring is a wonderful retelling in English by acclaimed film producer Michael Birkett with illustrations by Elizabeth Bury. From Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty to contemporary pieces by the leading choreographers of the day, this is a unique photographic record of one of the foremost ballet companies in the world in performance and rehearsal at the Royal Opera House.

The Oberon Masters series is a collection of elegant, pocket-size hardbacks dedicated to philosophy and the arts. Written by leading thinkers in their respective field these unique essays span a range of topics. Janet Suzman has played them all and directed some. Here she examines their complexity and explores why only Cleopatra has an independence that allows her to speak to modern women.

Four Plays by J B Priestley

A collection of short essays and reflections on poetry from the acclaimed British poet Glyn Maxwell. An English Ballet provides thought-provoking and fascinating reading for all lovers of ballet, dance and art. Actor and master raconteur Peter Bowles invites us backstage to witness the job of acting as it really is. This is a warm-hearted look at the lived experience of a jobbing actor — and a survival guide to anyone thinking of entering this most emotionally gruelling of industries.

Do religions have an inherent right to be respected?


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  4. In a series of bold, unsparing polemics, A C Grayling tackles these questions head on, exposing the dangerous unreason he sees at the heart of religious faith and highlighting the urgent need we have to reject it in all its forms, without compromise. In its place he argues for a set of values based on reason, reflection and sympathy, taking his cue from the great ethical tradition of Western philosophy. Following Against All Gods, the renowned philosopher A C Grayling returns to the topic to further develop his argument for more secularism in society and sets out a fuller statement for the case against religion.

    Dawkins publicly fights fire with fire, while Grayling has opted for a gentler advocacy of humanist values. Assailed on all sides by flexible working, short-termism, portfolio careers, quick-fix training and the cult of celebrity, craftsmanship has recently re-entered public debate with a new sense of urgency.

    This series of linked essays by the man who ran the Royal College of Art for many years, explores the crafts in education, in history and literature, in the contemporary arts landscape, in the language, in the digital age, and takes an unsentimental, hard-headed look at craftsmanship today.


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