Classics

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  A Doll's House

Classic Drama by Robert Cole

80 pages

3 m, 4 w, 1 flexible, 2 boys, 1 girl


This version breathes new life into the supreme classic by Henrik Ibsen. Of course no one can improve Ibsen's original story of Nora Helmer, living an unexamined life of domestic comfort but being ruled by her husband, Torvald. The foundation of everything she has believed in is put to the test when she is unable to pay back a loan she made in secret to save her husband’s life. She has to contrive ways to pay back the money, for if a solicitor reveals her secrets, the household will be torn apart. Rather than stiff and stodgy dialogue from other translations ...

  Kipling's Just So Stories

Classic by Stephenson and Tucker

51 pages

Widely flexible cast (14 or more)


Kipling's dramatic and entertaining stories about how the Camel got his hump, how the Elephant got his nose, how the Whale got his spout, and other richly woven tales come to life in this engaging full-length play. Mr. and Mrs. Kipling and their two bubbly yet unpretentious daughters serve as narrators. The story weaves from several animal tales to the final human one, how Man-or in this case an enterprising young girl!--wrote the first letter. Especially engaging is the two-person whale which is a great theatrical device. Easy to produce, this whimsical play...

  Taming of the Shrew

Shakespeare by Eric L. Magnus

64 pages

10 m, 3 w, 11 flexible, extras


This adaptation of William Shakespeare's zesty classic comedy remains true to the original, but with its tighter construction is more easily accessible to junior and senior high school actors. Set in Padua, Italy, in the late 1500s, the story concerns the shy Bianca and the mean-spirited Katharina, the two daughters of a rich merchant named Baptista. Though Bianca is being courted by a number of young men, Baptista announces that she may not marry until Katharina is wed. None of the men in town are willing to marry Katharina, so Bianca remains unwed, even as ...

  The Tell-Tale Heart (Swartz)

Classic by L. Don Swartz

21 pages

4 m, 3 w


Poe's familiar story is updated here, set in the modern American judicial system. As part of a competency hearing to determine the suspect's mental ability to stand trial, the caged murderer faces a panel of legal and psychological experts as his confession is videotaped for all to see. As the experts probe deeper into the killer's psyche, the apparently motiveless murder starts to come into focus and we discover the victim's "evil eye" was just the tip of the iceberg. One interior set. (Excerpted from the full-length play, "Fright Night." Please state adapto...

  Fish and the Ring

Fairy Tale by Gerald Murphy

27 pages

3 m, 8 w, 5 flexible, doubling possible


Adapted from the English fairy tale. Baroness Agatha, a rich and powerful noblewoman, learns from a hermit that her newborn son, Alex, will marry Marie, a mere peasant's daughter. The Baroness will have none of this! She intends to kill her, but the baby somehow survives being thrown into a river and ends up being raised by a fisherman and his wife. Fifteen years later, Alex accidentally sees Marie and instantly falls in love with her. The Baroness again arranges to have Marie murdered, but a helpful innkeeper intercepts the fateful letter and changes it to r...

  The Lady or the Tiger?

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

32 pages

2 m, 2 w, 9 or more flexible


Adapted from the short story by Frank Stockton. A king, known for his cruel nature, finds out that his daughter, the princess, is in love with a common courtier. After much thought he devises a sinister punishment for the young man, as well as for his own daughter. The young man is to be brought to a public arena and forced to choose between two doors. Behind one door is life and marriage to a lady who is a sworn enemy of the princess. Behind the other door is certain death from a ferocious tiger. The princess finds out what is behind each door and plans on s...

  The Velveteen Rabbit

Classic by John Stephens

32 pages

Flexible cast of 7 to 18


A lonely boy receives a wonderful Christmas gift and a toy rabbit learns some valuable lessons about life and love. In this humorous and touching adaptation of the children's classic, the Velveteen Rabbit encounters the antics of toys and wild rabbits in his faithful quest to be "real." About 40 minutes.

  The Commedia Aladdin

Commedia by Lane Riosley

45 pages

2 m, 2 w


The zany antics of the commedia style, with lots of bumbling, scheming, incorrigible improvisations and very physical comedy, allows just four traveling actors to create this fast-paced story of Aladdin. Arelquin, Punchin, Columbine and Rosetta portray all the many roles in the story of a lazy young boy who needs to work to help support his mother, especially since his father froze up and is standing in a forest where birds nest in his hair! Aladdin almost falls for the machinations of an evil magician, but instead he saves himself and gains access to the Gen...

  Adventure of the Dancing Men

Classic by Al Rodin

35 pages

7 m, 2 w


Hilton Cubitt, a squire, has come to Sherlock Holmes for help. Cubitt has found several messages of coded letters drawn in the form of dancing men, undecipherable to him but extremely disturbing to his American wife, Elsie. With his typical brilliance Sherlock Holmes quickly realizes the danger the messages convey, and he and Watson travel to the Cubitt estate. But it is too late. Cubitt is dead and it is believed that Elsie shot him, although it cannot be proved because she herself is unconscious, near death’s door. Holmes sets a trap for an American man ren...

  Treasure Island

Classic by Charles Dewald

34 pages

8 m, 6 w, extras, doubling possible


This re-creation of Robert Louis Stevenson's well-loved action classic will delight audiences of all ages and can easily be taken on tour. Young Jim Hawkins finds a treasure map and the adventure is on. If crossing the ocean is not adventuresome enough, Long John Silver and his band of pirates plan to take over the ship and steal the treasure for themselves. With the help of a castaway named Ben Gunn and a group of islanders, the pirates are defeated in battle and the treasure is recovered by Jim and his friends. About 40 minutes.

  A Trio of Poe...Readers Theatre

Reader Theatre by Paul Caywood

25 pages

6 m, 4 w


Edgar Allan Poe is called an American literary genius and here are three of his short stories dramatized for Reader's Theatre. “The Masque of the Red Death" is a fantastic tale of how, after half the people of his country have died, Prince Prospero gathers knights and ladies to his castle and locks the doors to avoid the devastating “red death” disease. In "The Cask of Amontillado" we find that if a man seeks revenge, there are many ways to do it. In "Lionizing" Poe mocks authors who get recognition when they write nothing but trivia and nonsense in flowery a...

  Twelfth Night or What You Will

Adaptation Shakespeare by Nathan Criman

68 pages

14 m, 3 w, and courtiers, attendants and servants.


One of Shakespeare's greatest "Breeches Parts" plays. Viola finds herself shipwrecked on a strange coast where she must disguise herself as a young man to get along in society. An intricate plot that retains its intricacy but not its confusion. This tale of love and courtship, mistaken identity, pride, and practical jokes is edited to 90 minutes. The actions flows quickly and the archaic terms are eliminated. This is a fine version for actors from junior high school through college to perform.

  Dickens of a Mystery

Comedy Mystery by Craig Sodaro

63 pages

5 m, 7 w


World-famous author Charles Dickens falls asleep during an interview with London Times reporter Edwina Drood. He dreams a variety of his characters as passengers aboard a ship heading to England, but they are now in a future he doesn't quiet understand. Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter Estella are luring Uriah Heep into a trap. Mr. McCawber is running from Madame Defarge, to whom he owes money. Captain Fagin tries to avoid the crewman Oliver Twist, who has become very adept at pickpocketing. Nancy, the barkeep, and Belle, the barmaid, are hiding secrets...

  Three Strangers

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

27 pages

8 m, 4 w


The clever short story, "The Three Strangers," by English Victorian writer Thomas Hardy, has been skillfully adapted to a rural Appalachian setting. On a snowy winter's afternoon, a farmer and his wife are celebrating the christening of their infant daughter with friends and family. The party is interrupted by the arrival of a stranger, a poorly-dressed man seeking shelter from the cold. Soon a second stranger appears. This man is finely dressed but pompous and offensive. The guests are impressed by the humility of the first man, and angered by the arrogance ...

  The Commedia Pied Piper of Hamlin

Commedia by Lane Riosley

36 pages

2 m, 2 w


Four commedia dell’arte actors perform all roles in this fast-paced, hilarious play. The rats of Hamlin (dressed with black ball caps) are hungry and demand the Mayor “set things rat, rat now!” And so you can see how poor pronunciation of a simple word created a terrible disagreement between the rats and the citizens of the clean little hamlet. The Mayor, portrayed by Punchin, the dell’ arte character with the big, proud nose, asks the Queen of the Cats, the Duke of the Dogs, the Earl of the Eagles, the High Prince of the Possums, and even the Countess of Cat...