Remains To Be Seen

Farce in one act.

The action takes place in a North Country funeral parlour.  AURORA FAZACKERLY is dealing with the occupant of a coffin, doing her best to improve with make-up the appearance of the dear departed. She is joined by the proprietor, ALBERT GRIMSDYKE.  It becomes clear that their relationship is rather more than a business partnership, and that they have triumphed over their local opposition by getting the occupant of the coffin - Alderman Watkins - as a 'client'. The staging allows both sides of the entrance door to he seen by the audience. The opposition arrive, in the person of NOBLETT CUDDY resplendent in full funeral attire, and his adenoidal daughter CLARISSA. They decide to steal the body that night, by exchanging it for a tailor's dummy. Unfortunately the only dummy available is a female, and their efforts to dress the body in a frock to transport it decently on a sack barrow are interrupted by the return of ALBERT & AURORA. The play ends with the Alderman's widow calling to view the body. Panic ensues.

Cast:   3M (inc 1 non-speaking corpse), 3F   

Duration:   45 min

Prizes:   Best New Play Award - Cambridge, Southgate, Letchworth Drama Festivals


John Bowen Productions - The Plays

One Act Plays by William Emrys

The Way The Gas Jets Sing On The Stairs

A play with music hall songs in one act.

The action takes place in the Green Room of the Empire Theatre, London, the stage of the theatre and the Western Front in 1914.  MAUD, JACK, WILLIE, BECKY and MARY are performers in the Music Hall, whilst BILLY is in the trenches in France. There is interaction between the characters in the Green Room, on stage, and in France.  BILLY's fear of an imminent gas attack is mirrored by his mother MAUD's fears of the gas jets on the stairs, and the sight of an unknown man in the shadows.  The play's climax is a combination of a war medley on stage and BILLY’s death by gassing in the trenches. All the cast should be able to put across music hall songs in the appropriate manner.

Cast:   3M, 3F   

Duration:   50 min   

Music:   Six Music Hall Songs

Prizes:   Best New Play Award - Cambridge, Southgate, Letchworth Drama Festivals

Traditional Pantomimes by John Bowen

Halleluiah Peculiar

Cast: 2M, 3F    Duration: 45 min   
Prizes: Best New Play Award - Letchworth & Chalfont Drama Festivals

Comedy in one act.

The scene is the Cosy Corner Cafe in a small town in Wales. ELVIRA PUGH and FANNY PROBERT run the cafe and are joined by MORDECAI PRITCHARD, the local hell-fire preacher. He tells them that he has had a vision of the 'second coming'. A nondescript man appears and orders breakfast. ELVIRA tells him of her troubles with a newly opened fast food outlet, and MORDECAI tells him of the financial problems of the chapel. The little man says nothing but a sequence of events leads them to believe that he may indeed have powers to solve their problems!

Cast:   2M, 3F

Duration:   45 min   

Prizes:   Best New Play Award - Letchworth & Chalfont Drama Festivals

The Terrible Tale Of Punch And Judy

A musical melodrama in one act with original music.

The NARRATOR emerges from a Punch & Judy booth. He introduces and, from time to time, comments upon the events taking place. All the characters are played as real people in Victorian London. The villain PUNCH. his long-suffering wife JUDY, JACK BLACK the rat catcher, the UNDERTAKERS, the LADIES OF EASY VIRTUE in the whore-house, the MEMBERS OF THE SALVATION ARMY, the JUDGE who presides over Punch's downfall and the HANGMAN.  Songs: Punch - 2, Judy 3, Jack - 1, Undertakers - 1, Whores -1 Sal. Army -1 + reprise, Judge - one verse in reprise of Punch's song.

Cast:   8M, 5F   

Duration:   50+ min       

Music:   5 original songs

Prizes:   Best New Play Award - Southgate and Cambridge Drama Festivals

Through A Spa Glass Darkly

Drama in one act.

The action takes place in the Pump Room in the Rock Park at Llanbadern Wells, a Spa in Mid-Wales. A YOUNG MAN enters and engages the GIRL behind the tea counter in conversation. A MAN is sitting quietly at one of the tables. A LADY of indeterminate age enters and orders tea. She is drawn into a conversation with the MAN. They find that they have much in common despite the LADY's reserve, and a poignant relationship develops, only to be cut short by the YOUNG MAN's unexpected disclosures as the play ends.

Cast: 2M, 2F   

Duration: 40 min

Prizes: Best New Play Award - Letchworth Drama Festival


Drama in one act.

The scene is a bleak cross-roads in Mid-Wales. A MAN (no name) and a Woman, EV, are sitting on a bench by the roadside. It transpires that she is a dinner-lady at a nearby school, and that she is waiting for a bus. They are joined by a school teacher, BARBARA.  She and EV are increasingly anxious to depart, and the MAN tells them that a coach operated by his company, for which he is a courier, will be along shortly.  A man, ALUN, is seen approaching from a distance.  When he arrives, it is clear that he is a simple soul and has no idea where he is, or why the ladies, known to him from school where he is the caretaker, are in such a place. Tension increases until the sound of a coach is heard. The light fades, and a thick mist descends through which the headlights of a coach shine, accompanied by the throbbing of its diesel engine. Through the noise are heard the laughter and cries of many children. EV screams and BARBARA shouts to the MAN asking him where was his last stop.  In the sudden silence he tells them 'Aberfan' and darkness falls.

Cast: 2M, 2F   

Duration: 40 min

Prizes: Best New Play Award - Southgate Drama Festival


Drama in one act.

A bare stage with one park bench is the setting.

As the play opens EVAN is wrapping a Parcel in plastic sheeting. He is joined by ELUNED, and the play revolves around their intimate relationship as old age approaches and the threat of parting is ever-present. EVAN unwraps his parcel, saying that he has found what he believes to be the sword of Owen Glendower, which will keep them safe and secure. The audience is left to decide whether the magic of the sword is real or imagined and whether EVAN and ELUNED are in the present or in limbo.

Cast: 1M, 1F   

Duration: 35 min

Prizes: Best New Play Award - Welwyn Drama Festival


Drama in one act, with songs.

The play follows the action surrounding a Lee Enfield '303' rifle in the First World War, and moves from the jingoistic fervour of the enlistment campaign, through to the psychological damage of shell-shock. MAN, DAD, DOCTOR and COURT MARTIAL OFFICER are all played by one actor. MUSIC HALL STAR, MUM, and NURSING SISTER are all played by one actress as are JANE and NURSE.  JIM enlists, and his life in the trenches is shared by the SERGEANT from the recruiting office. The rifle is the link throughout and when JIM is courtmartialled for apparent cowardice, it is his rifle which ends the play.

Cast: 3M, 2F   

Duration: 35 min

Music: 1 song

Prizes: Best New Play Award - Welwyn Drama Festival

The Deckchair Man

Drama in one act.

The action takes place on a beach where an elderly man, ENRICO, whose accent shows him to be of Italian extraction, runs a deckchair hire business. Clearly without much success. A raised promenade stands at the back of the stage in front of the cyclorama with steps down onto the 'beach'.  A tarpaulin covered structure supposedly covering a pile of deckchairs stands to one side of the stage, with a number of well-used deckchairs leaning or lying upon it. ENRICO is joined by an elderly woman, GLADYS, dressed from Oxfam, who hires a chair with bad grace. As the play proceeds, it becomes clear that ENRICO was an Italian prisoner-of-war working on the Welsh hills planting trees at the same time as GLADYS was working in the same place as a member of the Women’s Land Army. It also becomes clear that their relationship went further than tree-planting together. They discuss their past and possible future, but GLADYS's claim to own a 'nice little bungalow' proves false. Throughout the play, a MAN, who does not speak, has various contacts with the other two and, at the end of the play after ENRICO has said he has to leave on an errand, listens whilst GLADYS explains that she is, in fact, on a day trip from a Retirement Home. She leaves the beach with sadness of what might have been, and the curtain closes on an empty stage.

Cast: 2M, 1F   

Duration: 35 min

Prizes: Best New Play Award - Letchworth and Luton Drama Festivals

Ark, Ark the Ark

A deluge in two acts, with original music.

The action takes place in biblical times, where NOAH, despite helpful advice from his loving family, is convinced that a great calamity will come to pass.  As a result of several conversations with an unseen deity, he decides to build a rather large boat.  Much debate takes place about whether it is absolutely necessary to save all of the animal species, particularly the dreaded Boojums.  Noah’s curmudgeonly neighbour, ABEL JOBBLOE, makes repeated protestations that Noah’s increasingly large boat is blocking his light. The play concludes with the departure of the good ship Miriam, with all safely on board except the Boojums, which are revealed in a Gobo and a flash of lightning to be of dinosaurial proportions, thus neatly explaining this particular evolutionary conundrum.

William and Dorothy

A two-handed drama, in one act.

The play takes place around the bedside of WILLIAM, an elderly man.  His conversation with his wife DOROTHY commences with mundane domestic discussions; WILLIAM’s memory is clearly fading.  When DOROTHY exits to make sandwiches, WILLIAM discovers a book from his youth, “Wild Wales”, a travel guide, and reminisces to the Lord about his early life, and walking in the Welsh hills with his Grandfather.  The scene then transitions to a scene from WILLIAM and DOROTHY’s younger days, up on the Welsh hills, following the trails of the Wild Wales guidebook, though whether the scene is a flashback or acted out in WILLIAM’s imagination, is left for the audience to decide.  The scene eventually moves back to WILLIAM’s bedside, where an emotional DOROTHY continues to read “Wild Wales” to him, until she realises he has left her, perhaps for the last time.

Cast: 1M, 1F   

Duration: 40 min