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Rachel Carson Between the Devil

and the Deep Blue Sea

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Montley, Patricia (American playwright, writer, professor, administrator, 1942-____), “Rachel Carson Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,”

a 15-minute bare-stage drama in English, set on a rocky coast at low tide, day, summer, 1958,

2m2f (1m is child),

© 1995, in Does Anybody Want a Miss Cow Bayou? and Other Plays from the New Play Development Workshop, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, 1997; script/rights available from Patricia Montley, telephone (home) (410) 252-6074, (work) 412-365-1169. Cited by Patricia Montley via ftp, November 7, 1997; Montley says,

Dramatis Personae Customer (m or f), Proprietor (m or f).

Synopsis “Rachel Carson, a respected writer of books about the sea, is dying of cancer and has not quite finished Silent Spring, the work that will become the harbinger of the ecological movement. She is living in her cottage on the Maine coast with her aged mother and fractious young nephew whom she has adopted. One day, as she revels in her discoveries of microscopic life at the edge of the sea, a visitor emerges from it to tempt her with fame, power, pleasure. She demands more . . . and almost strikes a bargain, but the price proves too high.”

Comment “Carson, Rachel (Louise) (1907-1964) marine biologist, environmentalist, writer; born in Springdale, Pa. She grew up close to nature on a Pennsylvania farm, graduated from the Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929, and went on to do advanced study at Johns Hopkins University. She taught at the University of Maryland for five years before joining the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1936. Her first book, Under the Sea-Wind (1941) described marine life in clear, elegant, and non-technical prose. She retained her government job through the 1940s, in part because she had taken on the responsibility of supporting her mother and her sister's two orphaned daughters. In 1951 she published The Sea Around Us; it became an immediate best-seller and freed her from financial worry. During the 1950s she conducted research into the effects of pesticides on the food chain. It led to the publication of her most influential work, Silent Spring (1962), which condemned the indiscriminate use of pesticides, especially DDT (later banned). The book led to a presidential commission that largely endorsed her findings, and helped shape a growing environmental consciousness.”—Biography.com, http://www.biography.com, accessed May 19, 1998.  •  Can pair with Montley’s “The Competent Heart,” a 15-minute comedy in English, set in an intimate bookstore, day, October, 1995, 2m or 2f or 1m1f; “Finding the Flame,” a 15-minute comedy-drama in English, set in a boarding school dormitory room, day and night, 1990, 2f; “Juice,” a 15-minute bare-stage interweaving of monologs in English, 1995, 2f.  •  Research could include Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, drawings by Lois and Louis Darling (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Houghton Mifflin; Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Riverside Press, 1962), LCCN 60-5148 r925.  •  Also, research could include The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson [Motion picture] ([n.p.] CBS News, 1963), LCCN fi 67-755).  •  Also, research could include Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, 1st Fawcett Crest edition (New York: Fawcett Crest, 1964), ISBN 0449200795.  •  Also, research could include Shirley A. (Shirley Ann) Briggs’ (1918-____) Silent Spring: The View from 1987 (Chevy Chase, Maryland, U.S.A.: Rachel Carson Council, c1987), LCCN 89-147440 r94.  •  Also, research could include Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, drawings by Lois and Louis Darling, foreword by Paul Brooks, 25th anniversary edition (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Houghton Mifflin Co., [1987], c1962), ISBN 0395453895, ISBN 0395453909.  •  Also, research could include Silent Spring Revisited, edited by Gino J. Marco, Robert M. Hollingworth, and William Durham (Washington, District of Columbia, U.S.A.: American Chemical Society, 1987), ISBN 0841209804, ISBN 0841209812.  •  Also, research could include Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, with an introduction by Al Gore, drawings by Lois and Louis Darling (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Houghton Mifflin, [1994], ISBN 0395683300, ISBN 0395683297.  •  Also, research could include Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (Thorndike, Maine: G.K. Hall, 1997), ISBN 0783880537.

Themes adoption, aunt-nephew relationship, bargain, cancer, Carson (Rachel Carson, U. S. marine biologist, 1907-1964), death, discovery, ecology, fame, microscopic life, mother-daughter relationship, old age, pleasure, power, sea, visit, Silent Spring, temptation.


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