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“From the Backseat”

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Rhoads, Kay (American playwright, 1941-____), “From the Backseat,”

a 50-minute comedy-drama in English, set in the American Midwest, 19__,


  •  © 1997 by Kay Rhoads;  •  script/rights available from Kay Rhoads, 1118 NW Greenwood, Ankeny, Iowa 50021, U.S.A., e-mail KayR2@Prodigy.Net, telephone (home) 515-964-8477.  •  Cited by Kay Rhoads, via ftp October 1, 1999; Rhoads says,

  § Dramatis Personae Emma (f), 78, Harold’s wife, father of Jean Marie; Harold (m), 77, Emma’s husband; Jean Marie (f), 45, Emma and Harold’s daughter; Sam (m), 45, Jean Marie’s husband.

  § Synopsis “Emma and Harold travel in a car to a Mother’s Day brunch with their daughter, Jean Marie, and her husband Sam. Harold, having had a stroke nine months ago, no longer is able to drive and walks slowly with a cane. Emma, constantly reminding him of his infirmities, expresses fears that he will die and leave her alone. She complains repeatedly that he has not yet fulfilled her expectations of an exciting life. The car breaks down. First Sam goes and then Jean Marie goes for help, leaving Harold and Emma to their grievances. Their conversation reveals Harold’s unspoken but clear desire to be, one more time, literally and figuratively, in the driver’s seat.

  § Comment “‘From the Backseat’ is a simple story but one that illustrates how human beings have infinite
ways to express their fears and gain insight and understanding. Harold and Emma’s dilemma shows that life is a continuing process of change, that age to some extent relates to our attitudes, and that we all deal with the challenges and fears in our own way; and in doing so we do not always leave ourselves open to other possibilities.  •  There is one scene. The setting can range from four stools representing the car to a simple or elaborate depiction of  the car. Prior productions used a wood platform with four car seats and a steering wheel. Options include slides to project onto a scrim, slides that depict what the characters mean rather than what they say. No costume changes.  •  Toured Iowa—retirement centers, Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, in Des Moines, area churches, and Des Moines Community Playhouse. Particularly, older audiences received ‘From the Backseat’ well.”

  § Themes aging, bare stage, communication, family, father-daughter relationship, generation gap, infirmity, mother-daughter relationship, reality, senior.

See also Kay Rhoads’


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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


the more-extensive print volumes

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vol. 1 [1995] ISBN 0-8108-2985-1, vol. 2 [1999] ISBN 0-8108-3600-9

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