Collected Plays of the London New Play Festival: Best of The Fest
Edited by Phil Setren
Plays by Joe Penhall |Judy Upton | Mark Jenkins | Naomi Wallace | Biyi Bandele | Laura Bridgetman
Celebrating 10 years of the London New Play Festival, featuring six plays:
Wild Turkey by Joe Penhall: Two small businessmen struggle to keep their flagging burger bar afloat, in the face of increasingly savage and bizarre forces.
Everlasting Rose by Judy Upton: Terrified of ageing, a caravan Casanova changes wives every decade, until a woman of the 90’s challenges his routine.
Strindberg Knew My Father by Mark Jenkins: Life becomes farce as Strindberg loses control over his characters while writing ‘Miss Julie’.
In the Fields of Aceldama by Naomi Wallace: When their only child dies in an accident, Mattie and Henry draw on her spirited past to find the strength to go on.
Two Horsemen by Biyi Bandele: Baja and Langbaja trade stories about life, sex and god in a run-down shack. Will their stories sustain them, or trap them forever?
Maison Splendide by Laura Bridgetman: House-sitting for gangsters, Honey and Moon enact a ‘let’s pretend’ lesbian white wedding, parodying suburban customs.
About the editor
About the authors
Joe Penhall (b. Surrey, 1967) is an English playwright. His early work was championed by the Royal Court and he became resident dramatist at the Donmar Warehouse. From Some Voices (1994) and Pale Horse (1995) to In Love and Understanding (1997) and The Bullet (1998) there is an exploration of male relationships, usually involving one individual whose eccentricity clashes dangerously with the responsible and timid aspirations of the other; this tension, frequently brought into crisis by sudden upsurges of intrusion, violence and sexual threat, is played out in a world of moral confusion and bewilderment. Other plays include Blue/Orange (2000), a success at the National Theatre, which examines racism, health care and perceptions of madness and normality. It transferred to the West End, winning many awards including the Evening Standard Best Play Award, the Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play and the 2001 Olivier Award for Best New Play. More recently, Penhall wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s acclaimed novel, The Road starring Viggo Mortensen (2009). Since then, Penhall has had a number of successful plays at the Royal Court including Haunted Child (2011) and Birthday (2012).
Judy Upton was born in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex. Her first stage play, Everlasting Rose, was produced at London New Play Festival in 1992. In 1994 she won the George Devine Award for Ashes and Sand, which was produced in that year at the Royal Court Theater Upstairs, and the Verity Bargate award for Bruises, which was co-produced by the Royal Court and Soho Theatre Company at the Theatre Upstairs in 1995. Judy’s other stage plays are: Temple (The Room, Richmond Orange Tree, 1995); The Shorewatchers House (The Red Room, Kentish Town 1996); Stealing Souls (The Red Room, 1996); Sunspots (The Red Room, 1996, transferred to BAC); People on the River (The Red Room at the Finborough, 1997); To Blusher with Love (Winner of the Open Stages Competition, 1997); The Girlz (The Room, Richmond Orange Tree, 1998); Know Your Rights (The Red Room at BAC, 1998) and Sliding with Suzanne (Royal Court/Out-of-Joint, 2001). Upton is currently writer in residence with The Red Room.
Naomi Wallace was born in Kentucky, and presently lives in North Yorkshire, England. Her plays include Things of Dry Hours, One Flea Spare, The Trestle of Pope Lick Creek, In the Heart of America, Slaughter City, The War Boys, The Inland Sea and Birdy (an adaptation for the stage of William Wharton’s novel). Wallace’s work has been produced internationally and has been awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, the Kesserling Prize, the Mobil Prize, an NEA grant, a Kentucky Arts Council Grant, a Kentucky Foundation for Women grant, and an Obie Award for best play. Wallace is also a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, the grant popularly known as the genius award. Her award-winning film, Lawn Dogs, was produced by Duncan Kenworthy. A film of The War Boys (adapted from her play of the same name, with Bruce Mcleod) is currently in production. Other plays published by Aurora Metro: In the Fields of Aceldama (in the anthology Best of the Fest).
Biyi Bandele was born in Nigeria in 1967, and now lives in London. He has written several plays, and worked with the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as writing radio drama and screenplays for television. He was Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge from 2000-2002, and Royal Literary Fund Resident Playwright at the Bush Theatre from 2002-2003. His plays are: Rain; Marching for Fausa (1993); Resurrections in the Season of the Longest Drought (1994); Two Horsemen (1994), selected as Best New Play at the 1994 London New Plays Festival; Death Catches the Hunter and Me and the Boys (published in one volume, 1995). Brixton Stories, his stage adaptation of his own novel The Street (1999), premiered in 2001, and was published in one volume with his play, Happy Birthday Mister Deka, which premiered in 1999.Biyi Bandele has also written five novels: The Man Who Came In From the Back of Beyond (1991); The Sympathetic Undertaker and Other Dreams (1991); The Street (1999); Burma Boy (2007): and The King’s Rifle (2009).In 1997 he adapted Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart for the stage, and in 1999 wrote a new adaptation of Aphra Benn’s Oroonoko, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Laura Bridgeman is a writer, editor and lecturer. She runs hotpencil press with Serge Nicholson. Recent Credits include: The Butch Monologues (In collaboration with Vital Xposure and The Drakes), The (Trans) Mangina Monologues (Hotpencil Press). Caterpillars, Dogfood Diary co-written with Charles Lambert (BBC Radio 4). She teaches Creative Writing at Kingston and Imperial Universities and in 5 UK prisons.