The Return of Herbert Bracewell


Andrew Johns

Published by Dramatists Play Service

1 Male 1 Female

It's 1909 and Herbert Bracewell has retired to the attic of his New York home with plans to stage a comeback in a one-man review of his long, if undistinguished career. He assembles five antique match-lit footlights to mark a playing area and proceeds to ad-lib ideas for his show, straining to pull down dusty manuscripts from atop overflowing shelves of vintage souvenirs, using a stunt dummy to play off of, and conferring often with his pet, a stuffed crow

Herbert's wife, Florence, thirty years his junior and once a great success as an actress, comes to call her husband to bed and is caught up in his production plans, first with good-humored derision, then with the suggestion that she join him in the comeback attempt

Through a series of barbs, playful reminiscences, and impromptu "performances," we learn of the strains this relationship has endured-Florence's infidelity and success-and that Herbert is endearingly closer to losing his mind than we thought

But we also sense that, through it all, husband and wife have been sustained by the magic of theatre, their first love

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