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Murder of Lidice, The - Short Play, Drama

Murder of Lidice, The

Lois O. Meyer, Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Short Play, Drama

2m, 4f

ISBN: 9780573623240

Adapted and arranged as a Reader’s Theatre Script by Lois O. Meyer.
The events which caused Edna St. Vincent Millay to write "The Murder of Lidice" are some of the most horrifying in the chronicles of Nazi terror in World War II. 

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author(s) | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $45 per performance


Short Play


Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic

60 minutes (1 hour)

Time Period - Contemporary, Present Day, 1940s / WWII

Settings Of Play - The action takes place today and in the Spring of 1942, in Lidice (Lid-i-che), Czechoslovakia. 


No intermission

Bare Stage/Simple Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


No Special Cautions




High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

This powerful and deeply moving dramatic poem is as contemporary today as it was in 1942 when Edna St. Vincent Millay was commissioned by the Writers’ War Board to write a poem immortalizing the village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia. This verse-narrative, arranged as a Reader’s Theatre Script, very eloquently voices the protest and horror of all peoples of the world at the wanton destruction of the small village during World War II by the Nazis who claimed that the citizens of Lidice were harboring the assassin of Reinhard Heydrich, a Nazi henchman. Opening on the peacefulness of the village and daily activities of a peasant family, the action soon draws us into its suspense and mounting tension as Nazi soldiers enter Lidice, destroy every structure, kill every man, drive the women into “concentration camps,” and herd the children into “educational institutions.” Written in a white heat of outrage and fury after news of the cold-blooded mass murder, Miss Millay’s poem
has become one of the great literary classics opposing all war atrocities.
This adaptation of The Murder of Lidice was first presented at Palm Beach Junior College, Lake Worth, Florida, on April 2, 1970 under the direction of Lois O. Meyer. 


2m, 4f


Ensemble cast, Reduced casting (Doubling Possible), Expandable casting, Flexible casting


Each of the characters has one principal role and possibly one or more minor roles. All of the characters serve as storytellers to help move the action along. 

*These parts may also be played by men. 

A guitarist is optional. 


N/A (Not a musical)

*WOMAN NO. 1 - Narrator, The Son, Jan (Yahn)
*WOMAN NO. 2 - Narrator
WOMAN NO. 3 - Narrator, The Mother
WOMAN NO. 4 - Narrator, The Daughter, Byeta (Bee-ya-ta)
MAN NO. 1 - Narrator, The Young Man, Karel (Kare-el)
MAN NO. 2 - Narrator, The Father, The Nazi Soldier
Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)


Other Edna St. Vincent Millay titles:

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Bill EuDaly 11/17/2013 4:02 PM
     In 1942 the Nazis destroyed the Czechoslovakian village of Lidice. The entire population was murdered or sent to concentration camps. This atrocity was Hitler's revenge for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. Known as "The Hangman, Heydrich was the top Nazi official in occupied Czechoslovakia and also one of the architects of the Holocaust.
     America had only been at war a few months when the Writers War Board commissioned Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay to write "The Murder of  Lidice." Written in verse, it is a poetic narrative of destruction as well as courage in the face of evil.During the war the poem was used to foster support for the war effort. It was also adapted as a radio play starring Basil Rathbone.
    This version is a Reader's Theatre Script by Lois O. Meyer and first performed at Palm Beach Community College. it is an effective adaptation of Millay's work. It manages to be poetic and dramatically compelling. There is pathos as well as lyrical beauty.
     The staging is simple. "The Murder of Lidice" can be performed as a reading or memorized piece. It could easily be staged in a variety of settings and audiences. As with all verse plays, much depends on the quality of the readers- the material demands good voices and interpretive skills for the written page to come to life.

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