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“Too Much Punch for Judy”


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Wheeller, Mark (British playwright, 1958-____), “Too Much Punch for Judy,”

a 40-minute drama in English, set in May, 1983,

2m2f (can be larger);

  •  © 1987 by Mark Wheeller;  •  script available from dbda Pin Point, 1-2 Rosslyn Crescent, Harrow HA1 2SB, England, e-mail wheeller@cwcom.net, dbda@dbda.co.uk;  •  rights available from Meg Davis, MBA Literary Agents, 62 Grafton Way London W1P5LD, England, e-mail meg@mabalit.co.uk;  •  contact playwright Mark Wheeller, 106 MacNaghten Road Bitterne Park Southampton SO18 1GH, England, e-mail wheeller@cwcom.net, www.amdram.co.uk/wheellerplays, telephone (home) _____, (work) 0870 333 7771, fax _____.  •  Cited by Mark Wheeller, via e-mail, April 22, 2001; Wheeller says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Judy (f), 22, driver; P.C. Caten (m), 23, policeman called to accident, friend of Jo and Judy; Duncan (m), 24, witness to accident; Jo (f), 24, Judy’s sister.

  §  Synopsis “May 20, 1983, . . . a lonely road in Essex, . . . a car comes off the road and hits a bridge. The scaffolding construction slices through the car. The driver, Judy, escapes unhurt, but her sister Jo is killed outright. The sisters were on their way home from an aerobics session followed by a trip to the local wine bar. They had both been drinking.

  §  Comment “A young girl kills her sister in a drink/drive-related incident. Ten years later she went on to be responsible for another death in a road accident when she was not only drunk but had cannabis in her bloodstream.  •

This play can be performed successfully by groups with limited resources. The power is in the words taken from the people who were actually involved in this real life incident. The play is best performed with high energy actors who animate the words by using an imaginative physical style of acting.  •  The play should be presented simply. Few props are required and little, if anything, in the way of setting: a wheelchair, two sets of car keys and two half filled beer glasses. Be imaginative with other props. . . . They can be much more symbolic: empty beer crates (to sit on), a sheet (for the decorating scene/baby Leanne), and scaffolding poles for the accident scene. . . . The play is written in sections. . . . There are no scene changes; the characters narrate the context changes/time shifts. Between 1987 and 2001 the play has been performed over 3600 times.  •  Cast: 4 (2m2f) with doubling or 12 (3f3m +6). The main characters in this play are ideally in their early twenties. There are some parts for older performers. Price: £4:95 (or £60 for a set of 15). Professional rights unavailable in England and Norway for the foreseeable future. Amateur rights are available. Ideal for One Act Play Festivals. Past Festival winner. ‘Too Much Punch for Judy’ is one of the most performed plays ever, having toured schools, colleges, prisons, army camps and the workplace, both here and abroad. A hard-hitting documentary play telling the true life story. . . . This is an updated script.”  •  Described by Pru Kitchen in The Scotsman as ‘A formidable attack on drunken driving,’ this tragic incident was dramatised using only the words of those most closely involved and affected. It has become one of the most performed plays ever! "After grabbing the audiences attention with a raucously powerful opening, it uses carefully plotted changes of mood to make them think and, one hopes . . . think again."—Mick Martin, The Times.  •  “Packs its anti-drink drive message with the kick of a mule . . . but that doesn’t stop it from being excellent drama!”—Sue Wilkinson, Southern Evening Echo.  •  “The audience I sat in was patently out for some whooping Friday night fun watching their mates on stage. At the end there was a horrid silence.”—Nick Baker, Times Educational Supplement.  •  “My name is Olav. I watched your play in Hamar a while ago. When I was 18-21 years old I used drugs when I was driving. I drove off the road sometimes, but my friends and I never got hurt. I think your play makes people think a bit. I did. It was very emotional for me. Your play made me think back to my accidents and what I would have done if I killed some of my friends, and that made me sad. I hope many people see your play and learn from it.”—Olav, 24 years old from Tyrili Senteret, Norway.  •  Ape Theatre Company, who are touring this play professionally throughout England and Wales, can be contacted at ape.tc@tesco.net. The English Speaking Theatre—Oslo (TESTO) are also touring this play in Norway; see them online.”

  §  Themes accident, alcohol, cannabis, death, drinking, driving, drunkenness, responsibility.

See also Mark Wheeler’s

 
 

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

complements


the more-extensive print volumes

1/2/3/4 for the Show: A Guide to Small-Cast One-Act Plays, Vols. 1 and 2

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vol. 1 [1995] ISBN 0-8108-2985-1, vol. 2 [1999] ISBN 0-8108-3600-9


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