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“The Gift of Speech”

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West, Ellen (American playwright, 1931-____), “The Gift of Speech,”

a 60-minute comedy in English, set in a baronial mansion, Christmas Eve, 1997,


© 1997, script/rights available from Ellen West, 1227 SW Gaines Street, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., 97201, telephone (home) 503-221-3144, fax 503-221-3144, e-mail ellenchamb@AOL.com. Cited by playwright via ftp, September 29, 1997; West says,

 Dramatis Personae Betty Farley (f), a wealthy alcoholic; Fran (f), Betty’s niece; Bart (m), Fran’s husband; Lorenzo, a dog (m).

Synopsis “Legend has it that at midnight on Christmas Eve all creatures receive the gift of speech in celebration of the joy of Christ's birth. All her life, wealthy and alcoholic Betty Farley has this very hallucination, but last Christmas she suddenly quit drinking. Her niece, Fran, and Fran’s husband, Bart, having helped themselves to huge sums of Betty’s money during Betty's alcoholic stupor, are determined to drive her back to insanity. Their plot includes spiking Betty's juice with a hallucinogen and playing a tape purported to be a puppy's conversation. Betty, being equally determined not to hallucinate, has given away all her beloved pets. At midnight the gift of speech unexpectedly transforms them all.

Comment“There are additional sounds of a group of animals who can be either live dancers, puppets, silhouettes, or simply voices off, as resources allow.”

Themes alcoholism, animal, Christmas Eve, hallucinogen, insanity, legend, robbery.


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Page updated May 19, 1998, by the site Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


the more-extensive print volume

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

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