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A Collection of One Act Plays

By Darren R Brealey


ISBN: 9781844015030

ISBN-10: 1844015033

Publisher: Athena Press Ltd

Date Published: 30/06/2006

Format: Paperback Book

Pages: 112

Language: English



Book Review Written By: Christina Kyriakou

Position: Arts Journalist

Publisher: MASK by Arts Victoria

Dated: 30th June 2008


Darren R Brealey is a perceptive playwright. His ability to expose the flaws in the human condition hit home in this collection of one act plays, aptly titled Performing the Goat. The ‘goat’ in the title refers to the Greek tragos, meaning tragedy. While the plays are all relatively humorous, the real tragedy is that many of us will know someone like (or in fact relate to) the characters in this collection. Brealey’s plays expose an array of character ‘types’; there’s the naïve, meat-pie-eating grease monkey apprentice, Colin and his all-knowing boss, Norbert inThe Mechanics; the social-elite Narelle and her bestie Darlene (images of Prue and Trude from Kath and Kim come to mind) in Champagne Ladies; and the erratic, suit-wearing Corporate, Mr Green and his lackey, Carson, in The Stair.


Each play takes place in a common setting whether it is a multiplex cinema, a drawing room or a café. With minimal set and props required, and few characters to cast, these short one act plays are simple to stage. Perhaps not all entirely suitable for the classroom (the language and content is quite extreme in parts),Performing the Goat would make an excellent resource for many actor and theatre groups.



Book Review Written By: Christine Moffat

Position: Arts Journalist

Publisher: Arts In The City

Dated: November 2006


This is a diverse, yet cohesive group of seven plays. Varied themes are visited, and sometimes violently exposed by the author. Their single voice is created by the chipped rhythmic dialogue and the author's fascination with the Aussie vernacular. Dialogue in The Mechanics is strangely echoed and twisted in Champagne Ladies, and again in A Couple Of S.N.A.G.s.


The author has worked hard to explore the one-act genre. His style swings from the Oscar Wilde inspired romance of Fergus' Envy to The Chicks, a more verbally pornographic Sex in the City set in a shopping centre near you.


The sensitive and contemplative mood in Disturbing Mavis causes it to stand out as the work of most depth in this collection. Its quiet style reads far more naturalistically than the other plays. The Stair is a broad comedy of errors and bureaucracy that asks a lot more of the reader (and any potential audience) with its sea of numbers and cyclical dialogue. This is a stark contract to the simplicity and stillness of Disturbing Mavis, which would present a magnetic scene once staged. Brealey has much to say on an extensive range of topics, through the voices of many characters. He has a lot of words to put into people's mouths. Some of these plays are clearly one acts. It is hard to imagine The Stair or The Chicks extending their scenarios. The same can be said for The Mechanics, as it is an excellent example of a well-constructed ten-minute joke made up of amusing banter and played out between two appealingly mismatched co-workers.


Other works in this collection beg further development. Fergus' Envy and Disturbing Mavis each have a strong premise that would benefit from a three-act makeover. The author is obviously comfortable and skilful at 'telling tales in ten'. I would also like to see him branch out and give his characters and ideas extra stage time to grow.



Book Review Written By: Marks Sykes

Position: Consultant Editor –In-Chief

Publisher: Athena Press

Dated: 13th December 2005


There is a rather curious market for new and original plays. This book holds a very interesting group of plays. They seem to hit their targets very precisely, as the settings do not have a locale-specific context.


I get the feeling that Darren Brealey writes with some facility; I think he gets an idea, sits down bubbling with gusto and knocks off a one-actor. Maybe then in the morning he reads it and bins it if it hasn’t worked.


So if this book works, I think there could be others.


The settings do not have a locale specific context, and I would envisage publication, both in the UK and the USA; this original creation could find a market in the USA.


Richly humorous, sometimes extreme in its language, and devastating in its portrayal of social pitfalls, this collection of one-acters will make you laugh out loud, and then wonder about it all. 'The Goat' in the title is surely a reference to the Greek tragos, which gave us tragedy ... something you may feel tinges many of our lifetime antics.

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