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“Pen Pals”

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Hruby, Norbert J. (American playwright, retired second president of Aquinas College, 1918-____), “Pen Pals,” a 30-minute drama in English, set in a convent/prison, the present,


; © 2003 by Norbert J. Hruby; • in Norbert J. Hruby’s Pen Pals (Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.: The Author, 2003); • script/rights available from Norbert J. Hruby, 245 Briarwood SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506, U.S.A., telephone (home) 616-459-1149, e-mail nordolor@iserv.net. • Cited by Norbert J. Hruby, via ftp, November 28, 2003; Hruby says,

§ Dramatis Personae John (m), 35, convict; Mr. Baldwin (m), ageless, prison guard; Sister Thomas More (f), 45, nun; Prioress (f), 38, nun.

§ Synopsis “Sister Thomas More (née Stephanie), disenchanted English teacher in a Catholic high school, receives permission of her Prioress to correspond with John, an inmate of Death Row. Their correspondence occurs on a split stage. They never meet, never see each other. When it comes time for John’s execution, Sister receives permission to leave the convent and become a demonstrator against capital punishment. And so she has a new vocation in life.

§ Comment “Although ‘Pen Pals’ starts with the same premise as Dead Man Walking, it takes a different path to its denouement. The convict’s cell and Sister’s cubicle are mirror-images of each other. There are no scene changes. Each of the two central characters deals in person with only one other (Sister-Prioress; John-Mr. Baldwin). Off-stage voices—high school students, fellow convicts—may be recorded. In short, this is an epistolary play somewhat in the manner of A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters, Helen Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road, Jerome Kilty’s Dear Liar, Anto Howard’s Scattergood. ‘Pen Pals’ is a communication of two radically different persons meeting under extraordinary circumstances.

§ Themes capital punishment, Catholicism, Death Row, epistolary play, execution, prison, vocation change.

See also Norbert J. Hruby's

  • "Ashes to Ashes," a 10-minute peace play (tragedy) in English, set in a living room of suburban American home, the present (because it is!), 2m1f
  • "Fungo," a 13-minute comedy in English, set in the office of The Stylus literary magazine, on two Mondays, two months apart, 2m1f
  • "Hegemony," a 10-minute bare-stage satirical comedy in English, five years from now, 2m1f
  • "Home for the Holidays," a 10-minute comedy in English, set in a suburban home, U.S.A., May, 2004, 1m3f
  • "The Jealous Mistress," a 48-minute melodrama in English, set in a small college town, 2003, 2m2f
  • "Karl's Kristmas Karol," a 10-minute satire in English, set a residence in a suburb of Washington, D.C., Christmas Eve, 2004, 2m1f or 3m
  • "Matching Gift," a 25-minute comedy in English, set in the office of a college president, 2003, 2m2f
  • "Peggy: The Life and Times of Mrs. Benedict Arnold," a 60-minute bare-stage drama in English, set in the Arnold home, England, 1803, 1f
  • "A Sonnet from the Portuguese," an 11-minute satire in English, set in a residence in a university town, 2003, 3f

This Website continues under construction and welcomes new citations and comments.

Page mounted December 7, 2003, and updated December 9, 2003, March 22, May 17, 18, and updated November 30, 2004, October 13, November 10, 2005, by the Webmaster.

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