Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

Frog Songs

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Battlo, Jean (American playwright, 1939-____), “Frog Songs,”

a bare-stage 65-minute drama in English,


© l990, script/rights available from Jean Battlo, Box 4l5, Kimball, West Virginia 24853, U.S.A. Cited by playwright via ftp August 24, 1996; Battlo says,
Dramatis Personae Emily Dickinson (f), Henry David Thoreau (m).

Comment “This lyric one-act play is an imagined meeting between Emily Dickinson and Thoreau; it contains twelve Dickinson poems (used by permission from Harvard Press) and some of the thoughts of Thoreau, implemented through their biographies and writing. The literary conceit for the structure comes from the poem which begins ‘I died for beauty.’ The show is best suited for schools, colleges and fine arts organizations and has had several tours.”  •  Emily Dickinson “1830-86, one of the greatest poets in American literature; b. Amherst, Mass. The daughter of a prominent lawyer, she spent almost all of her life in her birthplace, gradually withdrawing from local activities, and spending her later years as a virtual recluse in her father’s house. She composed over 1,000 unique lyrics dealing with religion, love, nature, death, and immortality, only seven of which were published during her lifetime. Her verse, noted for its aphoristic style, its wit, its delicate metrical variation, and its bold and startling imagery, has had great influence on 20th-cent. poetry. Her posthumous fame began with the first editions of her poems (1890, 1891) and her correspondence (2 vol., 1894). While her work has gone through many editions, a definitive edition of Dickinson did not appear until the 1950s, when T.H. Johnson published her poems (3 vol., 1955) and her letters (3 vol., 1958).”—The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994),, accessed January 27, 1998.  •  Henry David Thoreau “1817-62, one of the most influential figures in American thought and literature; b. Concord, Mass. An advocate of transcendentalism, he was a close friend of Emerson, with whom he edited the transcendentalist magazine The Dial. Thoreau built a cabin at Walden Pond, near Concord, in 1845 and remained there for more than two years. There he lived out his philosophy of individualism, observing nature, reading, and expanding on his ideas and activities in a journal that he later distilled into his most famous work, Walden (1854). The journal was also the source of his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), as well as of several posthumously published works, e.g., Excursions (1863), Cape Cod (1865). Thoreau was also a significant naturalist and a powerful social critic. His essay ‘Civil Disobedience’ (1849) has had far-reaching influence on various movements and on such leaders as Gandhi and Martin Luther King.”—The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994),, accessed January 27, 1998.

Themes beauty, biography, Emily Dickinson (American poet, 1830-1886), Henry David Thoreau (American philosopher and writer, 1817-1862), literary celebrity, poetry.

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Page updated August 27, 1997, and March 27, 1999, by the site Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


the more-extensive print volumes

1/2/3/4 for the Show: A Guide to Small-Cast One-Act Plays, Vols. 1 and 2

(Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1995), ISBN 0-8108-2985-1, ISBN 0-8108-3600-9

Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, Maryland 20706, U.S.A.

telephone 800-462-6420 or 301-459-3366, fax 800-338-4550
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