Pam Gems Plays

 

This non-profit site provides a freely accessible database of the plays of one of our great women playwrights, Pam Gems. Its purpose is to promote her work and, in particular, future performance of her plays. The site includes full texts of most of her major plays, including a number of mature works not yet performed.

Works by Pam Gems                                                            More on Pam Gems

In many cases, full texts of plays and screenplays are available here, or are available via Oberon Books. For most of the remaining plays, you may be able to obtain copies of scripts via this website (admin@pamgemsplays.com). All rights for the plays are strictly reserved and application for performance etc. should be made before rehearsal to Rose Cobbe, United Agents. For some plays, further information (e.g. author’s preface, reviews, photos) are also available via a link.


Original works


The Leg-Up 1958 BBC Home Service, 2nd Jan, 8-9pm (Radio play), with Patricia Hayes. In the West Country by the sea a girl from a poor working class family wins a scholarship to a good school. [****] Download


A Question of Temper 1960 (TV play). A worker in an agricultural nursery in the West Country is rendered useless at a critical juncture by his uncontrollable anger. [**]


A Builder by Trade 1960 (TV play). A widow and a spinster take in a lodger. About work and identity, and loneliness. [**]


The Miss Harts Go South Early 60s (Radio play). Gentle farce about three ageing spinsters visiting their niece on the Cote d’Azur. [**]


Mr. Watts is Very Fond of that Lorry 1963 (TV play). Chirpy comedy about an Indian immigrant who takes a job as a debt collector. [*]


The Nourishing Lie Mid-1960s (TV play). A highly committed, hard-working social worker longs for love and for children. [**]


The Russian Princess Mid-1960s (TV play). In a country house, two men compete for the affections of a beautiful but fragile woman. [*]


What Luck Mid-1960s (30 min TV play). A village schoolteacher takes an interest in her retarded gardener. [**]


The Synonym Mid-1960s (TV play). A beautiful aristocrat is pursued by a wealthy Greek on a large yacht in the Mediterranean. [**]


In the Hothouse Mid-1960s (TV play). A variety of fashionable and artistic 1960s bourgeoisie assemble at a party in the garden of a beautiful house. [*]


The Whippet Late 1960s (TV play). In a university humanities department a woman is pursued by two suitors; with a vivid fantasy sequence in West Country dialect. [**] Download


Cluster Late-1960s (TV play). Sexual tensions, drinking and crisis among three middle class couples with children. [**]


The Burning Man Late 1960s (TV play). In the era of the hydrogen bomb, an ex-Wren suffers flashbacks from her time working in pilot training. [***] Download


Down West Late 1960s (TV play). Discovering her husband’s infidelity, a mother of four vacations in Bournemouth, where she fucks a series of anonymous men - and a Martian.

[**] Download


In Donegal.... In Donegal Late 1960s (TV play). English honeymooners lost in Ireland turn to local hospitality. Gothic sexual thriller. [***] Download


The Country House Sale Late 1960s, early 1970s (TV play). Wry, acutely observed study of the dodgy world of antique dealers. [***] Download


Betty's Wonderful Christmas 1972 Cockpit Theatre, London. A play for children and adults. An impoverished girl is attacked on a freezing night, and is transported to a fantastic kingdom beleaguered by fierce Goths. [***] Download. More on this play...


After Birthday (Sandra) 1973 Almost Free Theatre, London. 12 minute monologue. A young mother in the waiting room of a prison hospital wing vents a caustic monologue of rage and despair. [****] Download. More on this play...


My Warren (Oh, Eileen!) 1973 Almost Free Theatre, London. 30 minute monologue. A lonely spinster and office drudge is sent a vibrator by vicious younger colleagues. [**] Download My Warren. Download Oh, Eileen! More on this play...


Next Please 1973. Short play, written as one of Two Rude Plays (with After Birthday, originally entitled Cunt Talk). A young couple go to the doctor after becoming stuck together while fucking. [**] Download


The Amiable Courtship Of Miz Venus And Wild Bill 1974 Almost Free Theatre, London. Stepping from the scallop shell, the goddess of love takes a fancy to the salty gunslinger. Pop art forerunner of Guinevere.  [**] Download. More on this play...


Go West Young Woman 1974 The Roundhouse, London. “A fictionalized documentary of the pioneer west, in two acts.” [**] Download. More on this play...


You Should Be Pleased He Likes Me Early 1970s (TV Play). Bleak psychological study of the destructive power of romantic love, set in contemporary London. [***]


Where’s Joy? Early 1970s. Tensions turn into conflict within a Trotskyist group in early 70s London. [**] Download.


Up In Sweden 1975 Haymarket, Leicester. A discussion among Swedish teenagers about the meaning of their lives leads to nihilistic violence. [***] Download


Dead Fish 1976 Edinburgh Festival; Dusa, Fish, Stas And Vi 1976 West End, London. Four women share a flat and their struggle to survive: a left wing political activist, a woman abandoned by her husband, a prostitute, and a new age hippy. [****] Download. More on this play...


Guinevere 1976 Edinburgh Festival, Arthur and Guinevere 1990 Edinburgh. The royal couple of Camelot are are locked in a relentless and vicious verbal duel, as Guinevere stands trial for her infidelity. Quintessential 1970s feminist theatre. [***] More on this play...

Arthur and Guinevere Screenplay. Download.


The Project 1976 Soho Poly, London, Loving Women 1984, Arts Theatre, London. “Explores the conflict between fashionable political theories of the 70s with their emphasis on commitment and revolution, and the politics of experience – i.e. real life as lived by most people.” [****] Download. More on this play...


Franz Into April 1977 Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. Based on the life and work of psychotherapist Fritz Perls (1893-1970) who coined the term Gestalt therapy. [*****] Download. More on this play...


Queen Christina 1977 Royal Shakespeare Company, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon. Historical drama about Christina, Queen of Sweden (1626-1689), and meditation on sexual identity. [****] Available from Oberon Books. More on this play...


Piaf 1978 Royal Shakespeare Company, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon. Musical. Life story of French singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963). [***] More on this play...

Piaf 2008 Donmar Warehouse, London. 2008 version available from Oberon Books.


Ladybird, Ladybird 1979 King's Head, London. Short play. A social worker visits a woman whose children have been taken into care. [****] Download More on this play...


The Ring Late 1970s Unfinished opera about gay boxers. [**]


Aunt Mary (Scenes from a Provincial Life) 1982 Warehouse Theatre, Croydon, London. Two transvestites run a petrol station and theatre near Birmingham; homage, of a sort, to Chekhov. [**] Download. More on this play...


The Treat 1982 ICA, London. Bleakly comedic account of the violence inflicted in a single day upon three women working in a French brothel in the early 1920s. [***] Download. More on this play...


Camille 1984 Royal Shakespeare Company, Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon. Assesses another doomed French romantic legend and outsider – Marie Duplessis, the fabulous mid-nineteenth-century courtesan. Adapted from the novel The Lady of the Camellias (Alexandre Dumas, 1848). [***] Available from Oberon Books. More on this play...


Pasionaria 1985 Playhouse Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne. Musical biography of Dolores Ibárruri, “La Pasionaria” (1895-1989), Spanish Republican leader of the Spanish Civil War. Download. More on this play...


Mrs Frampton 1989 (Novel) May and Vic Frampton pursue the English dream of retirement on the Costa del Sol. Semi-autobiographical. [***] Available from Bloomsbury Publishing.

Maytime Screenplay adaptation of Mrs Frampton. Download.


Bon Voyage, Mrs Frampton 1990 (Novel) Mrs Frampton moves to France. Sequel to Mrs Frampton. Available from Bloomsbury Publishing. More on this novel...


The Blue Angel 1991 Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon. A university professor falls for a night club dancer. Based on Heinrich Mann’s novel Professor Unraat. [**] Download. More on this play...


Deborah's Daughter 1994 Manchester. Romance in the desert during a military coup. [**] Download. More on this play...


Marlene 1996 Oldham Theatre; Lyric Theatre, West End; Broadway. Musical. Paris 1969, Marlene Dietrich prepares for a concert that is the finale of a world tour. [***] Available from Oberon Books. More on this play...


Stanley 1996 National Theatre (Cottesloe), London. About the painter Stanley Spencer (1891-1959), and in particular the relationship between him and his two wives, Hilda Carline and Patricia Preece (who was gay). [****] More on this play...

Stanley 1999 (Screenplay) Download.

Stanley (Radio version) Download.


At the Window (Snowscapes) 1997 A representative of the Euthanasia Society investigates a would-be client, a woman in the prime of life and good health who is determined to die. [**] Download.


The Snow Palace 1998 Tricycle Theatre, London. Play within a play about the Polish playwright Stanisława Przybyszewska (1901-1935), author of The Danton Affair, and the power struggle between Maximilien Robespierre and George Danton during the French Revolution. [*****] Available from Oberon Books. More on this play...


Natalya (Despatches) 1999 The appearance of a wild, young Russian woman disturbs the lives of a set of bourgoise Londoners. [**] Download. More on this play...


Garibaldi, Si! 2000 Affectionate portrait of the great Italian nationalist and revolutionary Guiseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882). [***] Download. More on this play...


Ludwig (Winterlove) 2009 Drill Hall, London. King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886) and his close friend Empress Elisabeth of Austria become snowed in at a hunting lodge in the dead of winter. [****] Download. More on this play...


Finchie’s War 2001 (Screenplay for television). Portrays the experiences of a Wren (member of the WRNS, or Women's Royal Naval Service) working in Pilot Training during the Second World War. Semi-autobiographical. [***] Download.


Mrs Pat 2002 Theatre Royal, York. Depicts the life and times of the actress Mrs Patrick Campbell (1865-1940), and celebrates the work of acting. [****] Available from Oberon Books.    More on this play...

Mrs Pat  Original monologue version Download.


Not Joan the Musical 2003 (alternative version, Café Society) Black comedy about two women, a beautiful and ambitious would-be writer, and a lonely accountant who worships her. [**] Download Not Joan the Musical. Download Café Society.


Nelson 2005 Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. Life and times of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson (1758-1805), with emphasis on his love affair with Emma, Lady Hamilton. [***] Download. More on this play...


Ethel (Broadway Lady) 2007 Musical celebration of the actress and foghorn Ethel Merman (1908-1984). [****] Download.


Despatches (Feelings) 2009 Drill Hall, London. Dialogue between an elderly scientist and a young actress. [**] Download.


Talking Heads - Late monologues


Guin, for Guinivere A widow travels alone to a health spa high in the Alps, and looks back over her life. Semi-autobiographical. [***] Download.


Marine A successful Australian film actress (c.f. Cate Blanchett) cultivates her fragile personal assistant until she takes wing. [**] Download.


An Ordinary Woman A farmer’s wife in Provence is denounced by her neighbours to the Gestapo. [*] Download.


Who Is Sylvia? A Soho madame recounts day to day events at her brothel, problems with protection provided by the Cypriot mafia and corrupt policemen. [*] Download.


Adaptations


Sarah B Divine! 1973 Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre, London.


My Name Is Rosa Luxemburg 1975 Soho Poly. Download. More on this play...


Rivers and Forests 1976 Soho Poly, London.


Uncle Vanya 1978 Hampstead Theatre, London. More on this play...


A Doll’s House 1980 Tyne-Wear Theatre, Newcastle. Download. More on this play...


The Danton Affair 1986 Barbican Theatre, London. More on this play...


The Seagull 1994 National Theatre, London. More on this play...


Ghosts 1996 Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. Download. More on this play...


Yerma 2003 Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Available from Oberon Books. More on this play...


The Lady From The Sea 2003 Almeida Theatre, London. Available from Oberon Books. More on this play...


Cheri (Darling Boy) 2003. Download.

Cheri (Radio play) Download.


The Little Mermaid 2004 Greenwich Theatre, Riverside Theatre, London. Available from Oberon Books. More on this play...


The Cherry Orchard 2007 Sheffield Crucible. Available from Oberon Books. More on this play...


Undated Adaptations


Dance of Death Download.


The Father Download.


Hedda Gabler Download.


Three Sisters Download.



More on Pam Gems


Notes

Contact admin@pamgemsplays.com. Where plays have been performed, the venue of the first production is given. The remaining plays (which include some of Gems’s best) have never been performed. The ratings (1-5 stars) are those of the website author (David Gems).


Many thanks to Marina Georgieva for help with website construction.


Site last modified 21st November 2013