A Menu of One Act Plays

Performed in May 1988

Between Mouthfuls

by Alan Ayckbourn
Producer: Mary Woodyer

Two couples at adjoining restaurant tables realise an unwelcome common bond, assisted by an interactive waiter. Mrs Pearce wonders who Mr Pearce is sleeping with. Polly's not been frank to Martin (who really doesn't care at all about Polly's affair). The waiter is extremely well spoken. There's clever direction of the alternation between the two sets of conversations. A twist to the plot-line spices the ending.

Nasty Things, Murders

by Arthur Lovegrove
Producer: Carole Tappenden

The four ladies in the Home for Retired Gentlewomen are upset when their TV breaks down at the climax of a real life murder drama. They talk about the murder. To the horror of three of them, it appears that the fourth, gentle Mary, may have been the murderess. When Mary leaves the room, the others consult the Matron as to what steps should be taken; however, on Mary's return a most unexpected telephone conversation sets their fears at rest and leaves them feeling rather foolish. But after they have gone and Mary is left alone, her behavior is strange, to say the least.

After Magritte

by Tom Stoppard
Producer: Carolyn Taylor

The play begins with an astonished policeman looking through the window of a house where a group of people are posed in a bizarre, surreal tableau reminiscent of the paintings of René Magritte. Finding this suspicious, he calls in his inspector.

Inside the room, a rational explanation for the tableau gradually becomes apparent. Two ballroom dancers, a man and a woman named Reginald and Thelma Harris, are hurriedly getting ready for an event. A lampshade which had used bullets as a counterweight has broken and a woman crawls on the floor to look for them. The mother plays the tuba.

The inspector arrives and asks about the family's memories of a man they had seen outside of the Tate Gallery where a René Magritte exhibit is being held. He invents an entirely false story, accusing the family of complicity in a crime known as the Crippled Minstrel Caper. As he continues, the stage picture becomes increasingly ridiculous. For instance, the couple offers the inspector a banana as the male dancer stands on one foot. One scene is even performed in total darkness. By the end of the play, the characters are posed in another Magritte-like tableau.


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