Laughter in the Shadow of the Trees and Other Plays - The Librarian & Abraham Lincoln Dies At Versailles & Elephants & Requiem For Us


James Prideaux

Published by Dramatists Play Service

3 Male 3 Female

Laughter in the Shadow of the Trees ~ Martin, a brilliant, distinguished critic, is rapidly falling into a state of dementia

His wife, Felicia, remains the epitome of the supportive wife and loyal fan, even in the face of his insults and peevish behavior. Their daughter Jan tries to persuade her mother to put Martin into a home, but a silver thread of hope and affection makes it impossible for Felicia to let him go (1 man and 2 women)

The Librarian ~ In a mental institution, a librarian, driven to the edge of madness is questioned by a doctor. She tells him of her bewilderment that libraries could close, in such a great country, due to a lack of funding, revealing that the closing her beloved library has caused her to resort to violence

She finds comfort only in the voices of the great artists of the past, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare and, above all, Vincent Van Gogh, and from them, she clings to hope (1 man, 2 women)

Abraham Lincoln Dies At Versailles ~ The sixteen-year-old grandson of the late President Lincoln, named after his grandfather, meets a girl in the gardens of Versailles

But it is her mother, who, upon discovering the young man's identity, relates the story of her being at Gettysburg as a young girl on the day the president delivered his famous speech

She has never forgotten that moment when he kissed her lightly on the forehead, as she now does to the young man, passing his grandfather's kiss on to him

What she doesn't know is that the boy with the famous name and such promise will die in France within a few days (1 woman, 1 boy, 1 girl)

Elephants ~ In 108 A.D., in the city of Rome, a rich young man, Domitian, finds his friend Arcadius drunk in an alley and insists upon an hearing what caused such a sensitive and meticulous young man to come to this

Arcadius sadly relates how he was forced by the Emperor to attend "the games" in the coliseum. There he witnessed elephants prodded by fire to trample Rome's enemies, among them a golden-haired child strapped to the ground

It was horrible, but when Domitian comforts him and reminds him it's over, Arcadius replies that he has been back to the games every day, because he has lost his soul (2 men)

Requiem For Us ~ In this abstract play, an adult couple, very sophisticated and dressed in formal attire, sit idly, fully aware that the minutes are narrowing down to the end of time

They attempt to recall what has been meaningful to them and what should be saved as their lives - and that of the planet - approach their final moments

In the end, there is nothing more to be said except a casual "goodbye" (1 man and 1 woman)

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