PLAYING BY THE RULES by Rod Dungate

£6.00

Playing By The Rules, written in 1992, was in the vanguard of gay ‘political’ plays.  It is built around the lives of a group of rent boys; the boy prostitutes who worked the centre of Birmingham.  Funny, serious, hard edged, fast moving, but above all humane, it completed its run at the Birmingham Rep studio, was revived six months later, and followed that with an extended run at the Drill Hall in London.  It won that year’s Mentorn TV Best Play award.

The plot and characters were created by Rod Dungate after extensive research with workers in the field of sexual health and, of course, among the boys themselves.

Danny, a 15 year old, runs away from the local authority home he is living in; he is found on the streets and taken up by a group of the rent boys.  Danny is gay – to enable a 15 year old to define himself as such in 1992 was controversial in itself.  The boys are a varied group, an muddle along with Julie, one of the boy’s girlfriend.  These young people have all been let down by society in one way or another; the boys think they are in control of their lives with the punters, manipulating the punters to play by the boy’s rules.  However, the audience is confronted by the question Whose rules are they actually playing by?

Rules is a tender, vigorous play which works still in its own terms.  It is also a valuable insight into a particular area of UK cultural, social and sexual history.

Description

CHARACTERS

DANNY 15 years old, small, can look very young

SEAN 17 years old, camp

STEVE 18 years old, pleasant looking, inspires confidence

TONY 17 years old, mixed race, pleasant but not as outgoing as the others, hidden violence

APE 19 or 20, Tony’s half-brother, very friendly, very strong, butch looking, not nearly as quick on the up-take as the others

JULIE 17 years old, Steve’s girlfriend, and Sean’s best friend

 

PRODUCTION HISTORY

The first performance of PLAYING BY THE RULES was at Birmingham Repertory Theatre Studio on Wednesday 9 September 1992.

The following company presented it:

DANNY –  Ian Pepperell

SEAN – James Dreyfus

STEVE – David Phelan

TONY – Jason Yates

APE – Robin Pirongs

JULIE – Michelle Joseph

 

DIRECTOR – Anthony Clark

DESIGNER – Ruari Murchison

LIGHTING DESIGNER – Symon Harner

COMPANY MANAGER – Sally Isern

STAGE MANAGER – Karen Gow

DEPUTY STAGE MANAGER – Richard Watson

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER – Diana Rowe

 

The production was revived at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, with the same company, in this slightly rewritten version on Wednesday 31 March 1993 and transferred to the Drill Hall, Chenies Street, London, on Tuesday 27 April 1993.

 

PLAYING BY THE RULES was first published by Methuen in the collection GAY PLAYS 5 – Selected and Introduced by Michael Wilcox

 

 

RUNNING TIME

Approximately 2 hours

 

PREVIEW

Preview available here

Additional information

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