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Ruby's Story - Full Length Play, Drama

Ruby's Story

Ron Osborne

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Full Length Play, Drama

3m, 6f

ISBN: 9780573696923

June 1944. In England, Allied troops are massing for an invasion. On a small farm in Appalachia, a different kind of war is about to rage.

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

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play


Period, Docudrama/Historic

105 Minutes

Time Period - 1940s / WWII

Settings Of Play - June 1944 (shortly before and immediately following D-Day). The majority of the action takes place in the parlor and on the front steps of Walter and Grace's home located in one of the few fertile valleys just outside Bluefield, West Virginia. Short scenes take place at a dance hall, a farmers' market, Walter's apple orchard, a railroad platform, and a Polish national lodge; these brief sequences should be evocative, created entirely by lighting and sound.


Cutting Approved for Competition, Competition or audition material

Period Costumes


Mild Adult Themes


Appropriate for all audiences


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Senior Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Large Stage

June 1944. In England, Allied troops are massing for an invasion. On a small farm in Appalachia, a different kind of war is about to rage. Here, Walter and Grace share a home with four daughters: Rose, who struggles to understand why Stan – an immigrant coal miner and the love of her life – abruptly left to join the Polish Free Forces; Helga, who fears for her husband who's in the Army and – like Stan – assigned to a combat unit in England; Frieda, the family's adventure-seeking daughter, who works in a factory making uniforms and new friends, one of whom she can't bring home; and teenage Ruby who yearns to be the next Edward R. Murrow, but who must first come to grips with a family falling apart at the seams. D-Day speeds the dissolution process, but at its core is Walter's seeming allegiance to his German heritage, no matter that Helga's husband and Rose's fiancé are at war against all things German. There – through every battle – is Grace, hoping liberal doses of humor, love and understanding can restore harmony. It is adult Ruby – back for a funeral, seeking answers to questions that haunt her – who retells the family's struggle against prejudice, fear, delusion and self-loathing.

"Ruby's Story is a very good play ... featuring multi-dimensional characters and great dialogue to tell a simple story with rich period detail" - Wheeling News-Register

"Ruby's Story is not your usual World War drama ... it reveals a side of wartime America that's generally ignored. What was it like to be a German American during the war ... to wait, impatiently and uncourageously, for word of a husband or boyfriend? ... to grow up normally in a world turned upside down by events entirely beyond your control?" - nytheatre.com

Ruby's Story was produced by The 13th Street Repertory Company in New York City May 20 through July 10, 2004. The play returned to New York City and The 13th Street Repertory Company in June 2009, running multiple performances through August.


3m, 6f


Ensemble cast, Reduced casting (Doubling Possible), Features Teens, Multicultural casting, Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)


Can be produced with a cast of 8, assuming the characters Sid and Stan are portrayed by the same actor.

ADULT RUBY - early 60s (and back home for a funeral)
YOUNG RUBY - a young 16
HELGA - her sister; 21
ROSE - another sister; 24
FRIEDA - a third sister; almost 20
WALTER - their father; early 50s
GRACE - their mother; early 50s
SID - Frieda's friend; 24*
STAN - Rose's fiance; mid 20s.*
* If necessary, the same actor can portray both of these roles.
Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)


Ron Osborne

Ron Osborne's plays - including the six full-length plays published by Samuel French - have been produced by hundreds of theatres throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as recognized in more than 90 national playwriting competitions. A number of monoloques from his plays appear in books published by French (Exceptional Monoloques for Men and Women-2) and Smith & Kraus (The Best Monoloques For ... view full profile

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Chad Hoffman 9/27/2013 11:58 AM
A great text for one act play competition in Texas!

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