PATRON: Stephen Billington, actor
PATRON: Stephen Billington, actor
To purchase or perform one of Peter's plays, please see his website here.
Full Length, comedy
Hooley runs a psychotherapy practice, though not with great success, as she remains only one step ahead of her business creditors. In her personal life she fares little better, Hooley having mortgaged herself heavily in order to buy a rundown vicarage.
At the play’s opening, this is a property occupied by squatters, whom Hooley finds it almost impossible to evict (this is the sub-plot). The main plot centres on Pollock, one of Hooley’s clients, and Hopkins, a religious fanatic. Pollock and Hopkins are identical in appearance, and are played by the same actor. Pollock is convinced that if he hasn’t done so already, he’s about to commit murder (a random murder at that), while Hopkins believes that the universe is a cosmic struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. According to Hopkins, he himself is representative of good, while Pollock, his double, is representative of evil. Hopkins has given himself the task of eliminating this evil, and it is around this that the comedy revolves, as a life-and-death struggle that Hooley and her PA, through no fault of their own, are drawn into. Both plot and sub-plot build to a comi-tragic climax.
Full Length, tragedy, drama
The setting is a contemporary England indirectly bound up with the imaginary African country of Kbandra. Like many African states, it has suffered in the aftermath of European colonialism, and is war-torn, with a refugee population.
Two people who can help Kbandra, but in the end choose not to, are Hillier and Keller, who are brought together by Alan and Moira, hosts of a late-night TV psychotherapy show. Hillier is a professional, whose career has suddenly taken off through lucrative consultancy work in the oil business. Keller on the other hand is part of the English aristocracy, is wealthy, has offshore holdings, and boasts an ancestry going back to the court of Queen Elizabeth I.
Hillier is approached by an official working for an international aid agency – herself a Kbandran – to help locate valuable natural resources in Kbandra, of benefit to the Kbandran economy. For Hillier this is a dilemma, as agreeing to help will interrupt his career and put a temporary halt on his moneymaking exploits. What he therefore attempts to do is pass responsibility to Keller.
However, Keller sees things very differently and won’t be coerced. He refuses, offering a sophisticated argument for doing so that involves the scandal of offshore tax havens and the late Professor Stephen Hawking’s challenge to the science and technological community to develop means of colonising a new planet within the next hundred years. The climax of the play sees two different kinds of Westerners refusing to use what skills and resources they have in the alleviation of suffering, and worse, leaves the naïve Hillier more concerned to justify his position.
Full Length, satire
Who’s Afraid of the Booker Prize? is a stage satire. Its two main characters are Marshall Zob, a well-known contemporary English novelist, and his agent Cornelius Snell.
Zob’s main professional frustration is that, although frequently shortlisted for the Booker Prize, he has never actually won it. In the course of the play his latest novel, Gimme the Cash, has recently been longlisted for the next Booker Prize. He and Snell fear that Zob won’t win it, and may not even get it shortlisted, unless some clever publicity scheme is launched. The best that Snell seems to be able to come up with is a reading from the novel conducted at the South Bank complex, where Snell and his assistant Merle, and Zob and his assistant Wye, all take parts in a part-dramatised reading from the book. The plot moves steadily towards this climax.
However, unbeknown to the other three, Snell has planned for and hatched a climax of quite a different kind, calculated to bring maximum TV and press coverage to Marshall Zob with his latest book. He in fact organises a public riot at the South Bank reading.
All characters and the names of works attributed to them are wholly fictitious.
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PATRON: Stephen Billington