The three short plays, all directed by Jeremy Bond, are Chekhov’s The Night Before the Trial, Pirandello’s The Man with a Flower in His Mouth and Orton’s The Ruffian on the Stair, which was originally written for radio.
The Night Before the Trial is a dark comedy about a man convinced he’s about to receive his doom after being in constant trouble with the law for being a conman and philanderer. Bond has adapted Chekhov’s original Russian text and added an ending.
Pirandello’s 1930 piece, The Man with a Flower in His Mouth, was the first play ever produced for BBC Television. It centres on a seemingly ordinary man who becomes obsessed with the goings-on of the sleepy Sicilian town he lives in. His mundane life is relieved by the arrival of a traveller who has missed the last train home.
The Ruffian on the Stair, Joe Orton’s first major play, was broadcast on BBC Radio in 1964 before being staged at the Royal Court in 1966. In it, a grief-stricken boy knows who murdered his brother in a hit and run incident and stakes out their house. One day, he rings the doorbell.
- by Caroline Ansdell