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“Reprieve—The Last Battalion of Children”

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Scranton, Ben B. (American playwright, actor, singer, director, 1952-____), “Reprieve—The Last Battalion of Children,” 

a 45-minute drama in English, set in a bedroom within a dream, after midnight, the last few years of the 20th century,

2m2f;  •  © 1997 by Ben B. Scranton; • in Ben Scranton’s Reprieve—The Last Battalion of Children (Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: The Author, 1997); • script/rights available from Ben Scranton, 47 Ashbrook Street, Springfield, Massachusetts 01118, U.S.A., e-mail benlorrie@aol.com, telephone (home) 413-782-3766, (work) 413-785-1328. • Cited by Ben Scranton, via ftp February 27, 2001;  Scranton says,

§ Dramatis Personae Old Man (m), former Nazi doctor in a World War II concentration camp, weighed down by the events of time, impatient, hanging on to a once formidable strength of spirit, his fear just beneath the surface; Girl (f), 13, child of the Holocaust, thin, dark eyes and hair, a bright spirit, quiet dignity; Boy (m), 9, grandson of the Old Man.  Open, fun-loving, loves his grandfather unconditionally; Daughter (f), 47, daughter of the Old Man, mother of the Boy, wants to forgive and love her father but recalls their past all to clearly.

§ Synopsis “The Old Man dreams. At first he cannot grasp where he is. He confronts the Girl thinking he is watching a movie being filmed. He does not want to remember his past and refuses to recall where he is or who she is. Through her constant yet gentle prodding he sees he is in his office in a World War II concentration camp. He must come to terms with what he has done—his role in the elimination of children. His playful, fun-loving grandson is  not fully aware of the enormity of his grandfather's actions. His daughter remembers all too well and recalls her brother, the Old Man’s son, and the role the Old Man played in his death. Fearful of his superiors and concerned he had let too many survive, the Old Man had caused his own son's death when he refused to amputate the son’s foot despite blood poisoning from an infected blister from playing tennis. The Old Man grows frantic. His finds no escape from the his haunting past. Alone, he addresses an invisible superior and knows he must eliminate the Girl. He wanders off, leaving the stage empty for a moment. A single gunshot sounds. The Girl, Boy, and Daughter) enter. The Old Man had awakened and shot himself. The spirits from the dream world remain.

§ Comment "One scene. No scene changes. The set consists of a pile of old clothes, two broken-down wooden chairs, an old wooden bookcase on its side, a broken mantle clock, and several scattered books. One short taped musical passage (orchestral or choral) accompanies the Girl’s dance.  •  Awarded first place in the Robert Lehan One-Act Playwriting Contest, at Westfield State College, Westfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.; the college, after a staged reading there, published the script. Also, produced at The Drama Studio, an acting conservatory for children and adults in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.”

§ Themes death, dream, family loyalty, gun, haunting, Holocaust, infection, inferior-superior relationship, life, loss, Nazi, responsibility, spirit world, suicide, World War II.

See also Ben B. Scranton's

  • "Charlotte's Revival," a 40-minute drama in English, set in front of the Jewel Theatre, an American small-town 1950s style movie house with a marquee ten to twelve feet above center stage, late evening, autumn, 1993, 2m1f

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

Page mounted February 27, 2001, and updated March 6, 2005, by the 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

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