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“A Sign of the Times”

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Bird, John C. (British playwright, author, 1933-____), “A Sign of the Times,”

a 45-minute serious drama in English, set in the living quarters above a bakery, the East End of London, England, early days of World War I,


; • © 2002 by John C. Bird; • in John C. Bird’s A Sign of the Times (Warrington, Cheshire, England: New Theatre Productions, 2002) ; • script/rights available from New Theatre Productions, 2 Hereford Close, Warrington, Cheshire WA1 4HR, England, e-mail plays4theatre@btinternet.com; contact John C. Bird, 4 Holland Avenue, Knowle, Solihull B93 9DW England, e-mail www.writer@johncbird.co.uk, telephone (home) (UK) 01564 772202. • Cited by John C. Bird via ftp September 2, 2003; Bird says,

§ Dramatis Personae Leo Hoffmann (m), 48, proprietor of a family bakery business; Philip Hoffmann (m), 22, Leo and Martha's son; Walter Stern (m), 48, Leo's friend; Martha Hoffmann (f), 48, Leo's wife.

§ Synopsis “Leo Hoffmann, the proprietor of a family bakery business and a naturalised subject of German descent is mistakenly perceived as sympathetic to the enemy and is injured when the bakery is attacked and vandalised by a street mob. Members of the Hoffmann family react differently to the traumatic episode. They come to terms with an uncertain future.

§ Comment “The play tackles the theme of wartime xenophobia and its effect on a family. • The play has had a number of successful readings by University of the Third Age groups in the UK.” • “John C Bird was born in Birmingham and is based in Solihull. An enthusiasm for drama developed from writing fiction and poetry, much of which has appeared in magazines and anthologies. His plays have earned high commendations in national competitions. John brings to his writing the experience of a career which has spanned journalism, public relations and education. He has lived and worked in the United States, Canada and Cyprus and his employers have included the UK Government Information Service, in which he spent 13 years, working mainly for the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office. Along the way he took time out to earn a BA in History and Politics from the University of Warwick and a PhD in History from the London School of Economics. He taught for a spell as a part-time senior lecturer in communication studies at the University of Central England. Apart from a wide range of journalism, including drama criticism, his published work ranges from books on control of enemy aliens in wartime (Garland Publishing, New York) and careers for the over 40s (Northcote House) to short stories, poetry and television comedy material. He has also devised and edited a variety of scientific educational materials. He is a member of a number of professional bodies, including the Society of Authors.”—http://plays4theatre.site-street.net/wbird.htm, accessed September 9, 2003.

  §  Themes family, London, racism, World War I, xenophobia.

See also John C. Bird's

  • "Bo and Joe," a 30-minute serious drama in English, in six scenes, set in England, 1883, and September 3, 1939, 3m1f
  • "City of Dreams," a 30-minute serious drama in English, set in a hotel room Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., 2004, 1m1f

This Website continues under construction and welcomes new citations and comments.

Page mounted September 10, 2003, and updated September 14, 18, 19, 2003, March 6, 2004, by the Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


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

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