(recently published in Britain by Stagescripts (UK) Ltd.)
A play with recorded music inspired by the classic narrative poem of
Alfred Lord Tennyson, about a woman who keeps the world at one remove
until a former student - now a successful writer - declares his love for
is accompanied by a soundtrack consisting of ten pieces of piano and
symphonic music that are woven into the narrative.
Helen, a professor of literature long settled in a relationship with her
former tutor, is visited by a former student, Elliott, who has achieved
considerable success as an author.
There is immediate tension between Helen and Lloyd, the professor she
lives with but has never married.
Lloyd senses that there is a strong attraction between Helen and
Elliott and feels that the raw animal energy of Elliott could overwhelm
and destroy Helen.
Elliott, meanwhile, sees Helen as someone who has been stifled, robbed
of any passion and spontaneity, by the rigid regime imposed upon her by
Lloyd, who has been the primary influence on her since she was his
It soon becomes evident that something happened between Helen and
Elliott at a literary conference they had both attended without Lloyd some
time earlier - something that left Helen highly unsettled, but which she
is reluctant to discuss.
Then everything explodes into the open with unforeseen consequences.
The play features music taken mainly from two symphonic works,
"Passion's Progress" and "The Millennium Suite".
There is also one song, "That One Special Night", written
specially for the play. The
song does not require a trained singer, however.
What Others Have Said
"I finally read Shalott and I LOVE it, please lemme know whenever you want to get together and work! this sounds like an incredible project!" - Joseph Travis Urick, Adjunct Professor, Theatre & Speech Communication, Alamo Colleges, San Antonio, USA
Critique by Professor Hugh McCracken, former Professor of
Literature at Youngstown University, USA:
enjoyed it very much. I liked the tight structure of its
specificity and simultaneous universal application. What couple
has not, after all, had a third person (or more) with which to consider
in the relationship? And for what it’s worth, I like Helen’s
conclusion in how to handle it. The dialogue crackled along with great
In Scene 1 there is a longish discussion, but it pays off in the longer
run, showing the relationship between the incumbent couple well.
In the second scene I was startled by the suddenness of Elliott’s “Does
that reflect your view of my presence here?” I presumed that much
had gone on before among the three of them if he could be so direct so
soon. It also shows how direct he is in the first place.
Elliott is indeed reminiscent of Heathcliff (I thought so after the
first reference and knew by the second one that the playwright means it
so). Elliott: “academics are slaves to redundant theories.”
Interesting half-truth, but fits the purpose nicely (the purpose
in part to show that organic, natural responses produce growth, as
analytical, academic discipline does not. The latter denies love.
No growth can occur for Helen with Lloyd. So you have the lover and
the eunuch scenario (a bit stretched here but suits the binary claim).
‘Organic veracity” and ‘human condition’ carry a lot of weight here, but
acceptable for the play. I share a bit of Lloyd’s imagined
opposition to the half-truth above, as academics aren’t truly slaves and
redundancy of theory has its place. But creative writing is quite
different from critical writing and the two, as is suggested in this
work, are at war with each other. My point: no good/bad guys here,
but perfectly workable to choose one over the other in the play:
Extended nicely through the preference of the poetic Fitzgerald over the
Helen is at first determined to reject Elliot’s advances, but the fact
that she has him in her home lends the audience its first indication
that Helen loves Elliott. Elliott wonders whether the lover will
always lose out to the eunuch. The play shows that there is never
a “winner” in any absolute sense. (There may be arrangements and
allowances in living; the rest is fairy tale?) Helen says that
what keeps her and Lloyd together is a mutual love of literature (where
the lover often wins), nature, food, and décor (arrangements).
Just as Elliot seems momentarily defeated by Helen, though, she