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“The Last Leaf”

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Fiegen, Jane E., (American playwright, student, 1985-____), “The Last Leaf,”

a 15-minute drama in English, set in a New York apartment, early winter, late 1800s,

2m2f

; • © 1999 by Jane E. Fiegen; • in Jane E. Fiegen’s The Last Leaf (Roseville, Minnesota, U.S.A.: The Author, 1999) ; • script/rights available from Jane E. Fiegen, 390 Sandhurst Circle,Roseville, Minnesota 55113, U.S.A., e-mail jedifieg@aol.com, telephone (home) 651-487-0688. • Cited by Jane E. Fiegen via ftp August 7, 2003; Fiegen says,

§ Dramatis Personae Berhman (m), elderly German artist, friend and downstairs neighbor of Johnsy and Susie; The Doctor (m), visiting physicial, disrespectful; Johnsy (f), young, artist, terminally ill, apartment mate to Susie; Susie (f), young, artist, apartment mate and caregiver to Johnsy, desperate job seeker.

§ Synopsis [of the source short story] “In May of 1899, in a small Greenwich Village restaurant, Sue and Johnsy meet. They become friends and rent an apartment together to share expenses. In November, Johnsy becomes ill with pneumonia. Her illness lingers. She becomes frail and loses hope of recovering. Outside her window is an old ivy vine on which only a few leaves remain. Johnsy has become so disheartened that she refuses to fight her way back to health and convinces herself that when the last leaf falls off the vine, she will die. It is the day of “house calls” for doctors, and the doctor tells Sue that if Johnsy is to get well, she must get her mind on something other than her sickness. Sue is worried; she goes downstairs and reveals her fears to Mr. Behrman, a grizzled, unsuccessful artist who dreams of one day painting a masterpiece. Only one leaf remains on the vine now, and even Mr. Behrman is worried that tonight it will fall victim to the wind and rain. The next morning, when Sue and Johnsy look out the window, the last leaf is still there. Johnsy thinks about her situation and convinces herself that fate caused the leaf to stay on the vine so that she would not die. With this change in attitude, Johnsy gradually gets well. The doctor comes and verifies Johnsy's recovery. The doctor also tells Sue that Mr. Behrman has pneumonia and is beyond help. He dies that same day. Later that day, Sue discovers how Mr. Behrman became ill. She tells Johnsy that on the stormy night when the last leaf was about to fall, Mr. Behrman took a ladder, climbed the wall, and painted a true masterpiece—a picture of the last leaf on the brick wall.”—”The Last Leaf,” http://216.239.57.104/search?q=cache:OpyNZlCOQfEJ:www.balancepublishing.com/Leaf%2520Teacher.pdf++%22The+Last+Leaf%22+Henry&hl=en&ie=UTF-8, accessed August 7, 2003.

§ Comment “A beautiful, poignant story derived from a wonderful short story by O. Henry, the master of twist endings. Premiered at my high school as part of A Night of One-Acts. Easy to produce. There are no scene changes. The only unusual prop is a window. The premiere used light to represent the window, but a physical window hung in front of the stage would work well.”

§ Themes altruism, art, caregiving, death, female bonding, friendship, hope, love of life, neighborliness, O. Henry (aka William Sydney Porter, U.S. short-story writer, 1862-1910), sacrifice.

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

Page mounted August 7, 2003, and updated October 21, 2003, by the Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

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

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