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Marquis of Keith Gate Theatre

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Adaptations & Translations

Back Street Romeo
Big Wolf

Cock Artist
Fuente Ovejuna
It's all for the Best
The Lulu Plays

Man is Man
The Marquis of Keith
Mr Paul

The Mother
What They Want

Back Street Romeo (8m, 2f)

Follows closely the story of the Shakespeare original but transposes the characters into an East London setting. (The two feuding families, for example, are gangsters and trade unionists respectively, and Friar Lawrence runs a youth club.) The dialogue is in modern, colloquial form, and there are some songs.
Click here for script excerpt.

Big Wolf - Steve Gooch

Big Wolf - Harald Mueller

Originally produced by The Royal Court Theatre and subsequently in several regional productions. Published by Davis Poynter. A group of five boys, each injured in his different way by an unnamed war, scavenge a wartorn landscape, imitating the behaviour of grown-ups in a desperate effort to stay alive. Inspired by acounts of the Vietnam War.

Cock-Artist - Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Originally produced at The Almost Free Theatre in London and in several subsequent productions. Published in Gambit 39/40 by John Calder. Twenty-somethings in rural South Germany are outraged by a foreigner taking a local job (and threatening to take their most desired woman).

Fuenta Ovejuna artwork

Fuente Ovejuna (12m, 5f, minimum)

Adaptation of Lope de Vega's 15th Century classic in which a Spanish village rises up against a tyrannical overlord who believes he can have the pick of the village's women. Rendered into a modern, colloquial, 'Madness-style', Cockney verse form. Produced in 2011 by students at the London School of Film, Media & Performance.

It's all for the Best (10m, 3f, minimum)

Adaptation of Voltaire's 'Candide' with over 60 characters, originally commissioned nad produced by Peter Cheeseman for the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. Inspired by the would-be wisdom of his mentor Pangloss, the young Candide roams the world from top to bottom, finds only disaster, but is never deflected from his optimism. Click here for script excerpt.

The Lulu Plays Battersea Arts Centre

The Lulu Plays - Frank Wedekind

Originally commissioned and produced by Red Shift Theatre Co. Two plays 'Earth Spirit' and 'Pandora's Box' adapted into one and telling the story (immortalised in film with Louise Brooks) of a hypnotically beautiful young woman, who is picked off the streets by an adulterer and 'kept' by a succession of other men, each of whom comes to a sticky end until Lulu herself comes unstuck at the hands of Jack the Ripper. Click on Amazon link to purchase.

Man is Man - Bertolt Brecht

Originally produced by The Royal Court Theatre and subsequently The Victoria Theatre, Stoke, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. The simple packer Galy Gay goes out to buy a fish one morning, is conned into joining a squad of soldiers with one man missing, and ends up the bloodthirsty leader of a gun crew in a Kiplingesque world of Empire.

The Marquis of Keith - Frank Wedekind

Originally commissioned and prodcued by Stephen Daldry at The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill. This less well-known but beautifully crafted play tells the story of a powerfully persuasive impresario who turns his back on his long-suffering wife, teams up with a stunning singer and attempt to persuade the town worthies to finance his dream of an arts palace called the 'Hall of Wonders'. Published with The Lulu Plays above.

Mr Paul (3m, 3f) - Tankred Dorst

Originally commissioned by the Royal National Theatre, and subsequently performed at the Old Red Lion. A young man, Helm, inherits a property which turns out to be inhabited by the elderly (and large) 'Mr Paul' and his genteel sister Luise. While Luise goes off to the opera, Paul does everythng possible to resist his settled existence being disturbed Helm's plans to build a new business on the site, aided and abetted by streetwise developer Schwarzbeck. Even the distraction of Helm's wayward girlfriend Lilo and Anita, the disturbed little girl from next door, cannot deflect the young man however, and the end is bloody. Or is it?

Bertold Brecht - The Mother

The Mother - Bertolt Brecht

Originally produced at The Half Moon Theatre and subsequently The Roundhouse, and published by Methuen with songs translated by the author. Revived shortly afterwards by Belt & Braces and later revived by The Royal National Theatre. Brecht's adaptation of Gorki's tale of a mother drawn into the Russian Revolution by the fate of her son.

What They Want (5m, 3f)

Originally written for teenagers in an evening class group at Oval House, Kennington, and subsequently produced ina revised form on radio, this short play is adapted from the Roman playwright Terence's comedy, The Brothers, in which two sons run wild under the eye of an indulgent uncle while their strict father is away. Click here for script excerpt.

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