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Plays by Alan Richardson


Bright Lights
One Act Comedy

  • First performed by the Mercators at the SCDA One Act Festival, February 2016
  • Performing rights are Published by Stagescripts Ltd

Characters (1m 2f)

Sally Miller – An aspiring actress (late teens / early twenties)
Gerald Thornwood – A theatre critic (50+)
Rachel Howard – An ex-actress (early forties)

The Setting: The untidy sitting room of a rented flat   

Running Time: 35 minutes


Renowned critic Gerald Thornwood is feared in theatreland. His vitriolic reviews can close a show and he exploits this power by routinely seducing young actresses on his promise of a favourable mention. Those who spurn his advances are guaranteed a career ending hostile crit.

At the first night party after a new production, Gerald targets Sally, a young actress who has just made her stage debut, and they find themselves alone in her flat.  

He lavishes praise, even though she only had a walk-on part with two lines. All he wants in return is a little “give and take”.

But on the verge of seduction, he is shocked to discover that they are not alone when Rachel Howard makes a dramatic entrance from the bedroom. It is immediately obvious that ex-actress Rachel and Gerald are not strangers. Gerald’s confidence is further shaken when Sally upbraids her mother for a slow entrance. He rightly suspects that Rachel has planned everything, including persuading her daughter to play the role of the “honey trap”.

Rachel is out for revenge for having paid the price of spurning his advances twenty years ago. But all is not as it appears. Although he subsequently ruined her career, she confesses that his first review of her praised her highly, which can mean only one thing… and the result of that liaison was Sally.  

Rachel demands that Gerald uses his considerable influence to present her daughter, and herself, with leading roles that are soon to be cast. Otherwise, she’ll dish the dirt on how he funds his extravagant lifestyle.  

Although Gerald has been lured into a sting, he is not so easily stung. Caustic exchanges ensue as truths, lies and revelations rebound in a bitchfest with three substantial and rewarding roles.

The Mercators The Mercators The Mercators

A trio of strong well written characters across the age range in this developing tale of revenge and revelations in Theatreland. Neat structure, very economical and technically well managed with the sharp humour fitting the context” - SCDA Scene

The dialogue is crisp and natural… and the plot is a good one. A captivating story by an obviously accomplished writer” - Geoffrey Whitworth Competition judge