alphabetical author index


  • Michael Green
  • Short Play, Comedy, Present Day, Contemporary
  • 9M, 3F
  • ISBN: 9780573000089

Contained in the volume Four Plays for Coarse Actors in which the plays are presented as parodies of four dramatic styles.

  • Short Play
  • Comedy
  • 30 minutes

  • Time Period: Present Day, Contemporary
  • Target Audience: Appropriate for all audiences
  • Set Requirements: Bare Stage/Simple Set
  • Cautions: No Special Cautions

  • Performance Group:
  • Dinner Theatre, Community Theatre, High School/Secondary, Professional Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups, College Theatre / Student
Contained in the volume Four Plays for Coarse Actors in which the plays are presented as parodies of four dramatic styles, in the performance of which everything which can go wrong in a production, does so.

This is a crime story that not even Agatha Christie would have dared to write and it gets itself into such confusion that it is doomed, apparently, to perpetual motion: but the Coarse Actors struggle gamefully on throughout. 

Apart from the essentials, the settings can be as simple or elaborate, as facilities permit.

Premiere Production: First produced at the Questors Theatre, Ealing, London, in November 1972.
  • Casting: 9M, 3F
  • Casting Attributes: Ensemble cast, Flexible casting

  • INSPECTOR - It should be remembered that all police inspectors come from solid Yorkshire mining stock. The Inspector thinks of himself as the society's figurehead, the one who pulls everything together at the eleventh hour. He is Damocles on a bad day.
  • MR. D'ARCY - This middle-aged part could be played by someone in their early twenties, as an obvious exercise in miscasting.
  • MRS. D'ARCY - She merely got the part because she was the only one with a front room large enough to rehearse in. Since she can't disguise her "common" accent, she out to be playing the part of the Cook, but demanding something better.
  • HUBERT - (their son) He remains motionless throughout the play and stares with fixed gaze at the audience, rocking on his heels. He speaks as if hypnotized and reads most of his lines from a crib inside a cigarette case.
  • THE MAJOR - His concept of a Major is based on something he saw in a Hollywood film. Thus he wears a monocle -- which nearly blinds him -- and sprinkles his lines with extra exclamations such as "By jove!" and "What?".
  • THE CORPSE (HENRY) - Normally, this will be played by a dummy, unless you have someone in the company whose head will come off.
  • JAMES - Modeled on Quasimodo, both in make-up and stance. Speaks something like Bernard Miles as Long John Silver. A one-character man and this is it.
  • THE COOK - Very little is known about the Cook, since she spends most of the play with her cap rammed down over her eyes. A refined, middle-class lady, she speaks with a ghastly attempt at being working-class. Could be played as a Maid.
  • THE VICAR (RUPERT) - The archetypal villain, with rolling eyes and black beard.
  • SERGEANT - Although the actor playing this part has been cast in twenty plays, he has yet to appear on stage. At the point of his entrance, he will be in the pub next door. In this revised edition he is actually allowed to appear (five minutes too late). This is optional.
  • PROMPT - The personage is listed under the Cast as she will form an important part of the performance of the play. At moments of stress it may even be necessary for her to appear in order to make her point to the actors. At the very least, her hand, waving a script, should appear around the edge of the scenery.