Dead in the Morning
4M and 4F, 45 minutes, ideal drama festival play
Do you want to know the date of your demise?
It’s a wet and cold winter’s night in the small village pub. The locals gather for the company, a stiff drink and the open fire. The landlord is a surly, middle-aged grump with an attractive younger wife. She’s foreign and has trouble with the language. There’s a middle-aged married couple from the local university. Their sarcastic comments towards each other are razor sharp. Then there’s the two elderly spinster sisters. One’s a wag and enjoys a tipple. Her sister is much quieter, and drink-wise, has “just the one”. Buck is a young buck. He’ll play darts with anyone and chat up the publican’s wife. He’s sailing close to the wind.
Despite the weather and sarcastic undercurrent, things are okay until a stranger arrives. That in itself is a talking point but when the stranger lets slip he can tell you the exact date of your death, things certainly hot up. Surely it’s a joke, a con. Nobody can see into the future. If they could, what are the lottery numbers for next week and who’s going to win the premiership this year? Now Edward is not pushy and regrets having made his big statement. But two of the regulars take him very seriously. They want to know. One of the elderly sisters wants to know and is told. She’s not going to die for another ten years or more. But young Buck also wants his date of death. Edward shudders. It’s today! And midnight is fast approaching.
Of course the sceptics laugh but there’s not much of today left. The storm increases. Suddenly the lights go out. With flickering candles, the group sit and argue about Edward’s prophecy. Buck reckons it’s all one big joke. He ain’t gunna die. Midnight approaches. Now it’s down to the last minutes, the final seconds. There’s a countdown. Will Buck die and prove Edward’s a prophet? The play is not resolved until the very last line.
Dead In The Morning has one simple set. It’s enjoyed some exciting performances and is ideal for drama competitions and festivals and as a double-hander with Box-Office Break-In.
Dead in the Morning presented us with an atmospheric pub, fire blazing in the grate on a winter’s night. The regulars assemble then a stranger comes in … and things get pretty spooky because he has the ability to predict the date of someone’s death if they wish to know it. 4 stars. Addington Theatre Group
The play went very well … everyone who saw it thought it was wonderful. Judi Munro, Texas USA
5 roles (M or F), 40 minutes, ideal drama festival entry
Inside the box-office of a huge 2000 seat theatre, the three staff count the massive takings. It’s a one-off rock concert with cash-only entry. The joint is jumpin’. Music (?) from the venue permeates the walls of the box-office. There’s cash to splash. Suddenly the door is opened and two masked intruders crash in. The three money-counters are terrified. The entrepreneur is actually more worried about the money but that’s another story. The bandits place explosives in a strange place. Not the safe but the switchboard. You see these are not your usual bandits. They ignore the cash, they want the power. Electric power. They want it off. Are you insane? If you kill the power, 2000 screaming rock fans won’t be able to go deaf in peace. The rock musicians will have to play acoustic music. But you see that’s exactly what the bandits want. They represent the Peaceful Sounds Party. Now the entrepreneur thinks about this. What an angle. Acoustic Headbangers. Brilliant.
The bandits are attacked and some of the goodies escape. But why aren’t the police called? And just who are the baddies? The accountant is tied up and the bandits flee. But the accountant is singing. More like stinging. There’s yet another twist in this funny and entertaining play.
Box-Office Break-In runs for 35-40 minutes, has one simple set and five male or female roles. It’s ideal for festivals and competitions and is a great double-hander with Dead In The Morning.
Thanks for your great script. The students really enjoyed the show. Nhill HS
The audiences were very positive and responsive to the play. They appreciated the humour. Thank you for all your help. Mulwaree HS
1M or F, 1 set, 80 minutes
Actors are cattle. Alfred Hitchcock
This is a most delightful one-person play and Louise Whiteman does a superb job. Anybody who saw her in The Real Sherlock Holmes will see a different character altogether. Louise is just gorgeous. She’ll have you laughing and you’ll feel sorry for her. The writing is brilliant. I recommend Resting as a wonderful evening of entertainment beautifully directed by Doug Bennett. The performance by Louise is absolutely startling. Go along and enjoy a great night of entertainment. Brian Amos
Frankie has been a professional thespian for decades, and doesn’t want to retire but the phone is just not ringing. Frankie is ‘resting’. Without work for many months, with savings dwindling and job-offers non-existent, Frankie’s in strife. Apart from no work, Frankie has an ageing body, a lost family and a sick best friend, a pooch. But Frankie lives on hope, it springs eternal. Old age will not triumph. Something will turn up. Frankie tackles reality TV, diaries, crosswords, chess and Shakespeare with a vengeance. Dame Thora Hird and Tommy Cooper pop in for a chat. Frankie’s small flat is cluttered and the cleaner last called in 1965. Will Frankie ever act again? Will that bloody phone ever ring? A real challenge for either a male or female performer.
One idea is to mount two productions with a male in one and a female in another. Different directors, similar set but on the same bill. You come in Week 1 to see the female version. and then the following week to see how a man performs the role. Interesting marketing ploy.
Resting, in ‘Talking Heads’ mode and so well crafted by Cenarth Fox, is a roller coaster ride that takes the audience through all the heartache, fun times and day to day living of Frankie Raines. This is a stunning tour de force role and Louise Whiteman grabs it by the throat and takes it all the way, never missing a beat in the shifting moods and changes in body language, embracing both the character and audience and leaving us drained but uplifted. Cenarth Fox is a playwright who has an incredible insight into the characters he writes about and his research is obviously so thorough. This is the third work I have seen by Cen Fox; the others being the one woman musical Moving On and of course, The Real Sherlock Holmes which has played in over 30 venues and will have return seasons again next year. Cenarth Fox is a playwright I can only describe as a bonfire just waiting to be lit. I raise my hat to the Director, Star, Playwright and Encore Theatre for giving us the opportunity to see this play. I just hope someone has the brains to see it and run with it. John Gunn Curtain Up
How to Enjoy Your Own Funeral
1M or F, 1 set, 80 minutes
Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did. Malcolm S. Forbes
George (or Georgie) Muffet retired many years ago. S/He spends a lot of time in his shed where carpentry brings great pleasure. Making something practical for someone in need doubles George’s pleasure. The fact that he is making a coffin – his own – is not the slightest bit unusual for George. You see George has thoughts about the end of life, about when he can no longer make things. In recent times George has been to the funeral of his parents, brother, brother-in-law, several bowling-club mates and last month, his favourite, elderly aunt.
Now George is fussy, and he doesn’t want any uncertainty once he dies. Everything must be well-organised – his estate, funeral, burial, even his wake. So, in-between tales about his fastidious spouse and wonderfully whacky neighbour, George shares his thoughts on headstones, obituaries and all things funereal. He even gets to rehearse his funeral where the priest is a ventriloquist and his dotty aunt from the sticks tells a few home truths. This play can just as easily be performed by a female when George becomes Georgina. It’s perfect as a touring play. How to Enjoy Your Own Funeral is also available as a radio play on CD from Fox Plays.
Excellent, superb! Very clever play! Congratulations. David played every part with good-humoured realism. There are some wonderful snippets on present-day life and attitudes. Pilgrim Uniting Church
A wonderful evening. We got some terrific feedback from our large audience most of whom were over 70. Some of our residents in the serviced apartments, including one who is 100 years old, could all see and hear David Small’s amazing performance and chuckled along with the rest of us. Cen Fox deserves great praise for his witty and in-depth feelings re death especially from one so young. We hope to continue with your shows for many times to come. Cameron Close Retirement Village
How To Enjoy Your Own Funeral is still being talked about in our village. Residents loved the well-scripted lines delivered so beautifully by David Small. Many thanks for a grand evening of entertainment. Donvale Retirement Village
We received great feedback. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the play and even the vicar was laughing a lot. All Saints Anglican Church, Nunawading
We had people attend How To Enjoy Your Own Funeral who never come to our plays. It was wonderful. Bundoora Village
A very important subject handled with sensitivity and humour. Word of mouth will guarantee a full house when you present The Real Sherlock Holmes next month. Village Glen, Rosebud
How To Enjoy Your Own Funeral Preview
If You Knew Susie
1F, 1 set (a kitchen), 75 minutes
Play about a real person, an amazing real person
Sue Du Val was a Sydney identity. The term ‘hostess with the mostest’ applies perfectly to Missus Du Val. Running her midday cooking school, she was, literally, a legend in her own lunchtime. In her Woollahra home, where it was said her front door was always open, she gave cocktail and dinner parties, ran hilarious cooking classes and entertained anyone and everyone. She was a fantastic people person and no-one was excluded. She had the skill of successfully bringing people together enabling them to enjoy themselves and then some.
Sue was a superb cook, passionate animal-lover and keen gardener. She was also a paradox. She loved her grandchildren but couldn’t remember their birthdays. She could swear like a trooper but never missed Mass. She befriended Labour prime ministers but steadfastly voted conservative. Once Sue was born, the mould was not so much broken as shattered.
During her lifetime, Sue was encouraged to write a book about her life. If she did, it’s never been found. This play brings back happy memories for those who knew her and introduces others to a truly remarkable woman. In short she changed the Australian diet of meat and two veg with tinned apricots and ice-cream to fine French food. Sue was a fashionable foodie before celebrities took over. And boy was she funny.
She made the whole world laugh. Franciscan priest and friend of Sue Du Val
Australia’s answer to Jennifer Paterson (from the television series, Two Fat Ladies) Daphne Guinness
I wish I hadn’t misspelt Sue Du Val’s name in Vogue. She was seen correcting all the copies at a Double Bay newsagency. Marion von Alderstein