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Murder in the Red Barn - Short Play, Drama

Murder in the Red Barn

Don Nigro

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Short Play, Drama

2m, 2f

ISBN: MS00000000032

NOTICE: Please be advised, this title is being made available now in manuscript form prior to its publication.

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author | Reviews
: Murder In The Red Barn & Other Plays

Minimum Fee: $45 per performance


Short Play



60 minutes (1 hour)

Time Period - 19th Century


No intermission

Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Period Costumes


Mild Adult Themes




College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Based on one of the most notorious murders in English history, the killing of Maria Marten in the famous Red Barn, for which her lover, William Corder, was eventually executed, this play takes place in the haunted barn itself, which enfolds all the other locations in the story, as Maria, Will, her Molecatcher father, and her Young Stepmother reveal the story in fragments, moving back and forth in time, that gradually form a clearer picture of the puzzle of what happened, why it happened, and what the consequences were.

Maria, still young, has had three illegitimate children by three different men, all of the children now dead, and longs to escape from her life in the village. Will Corder, the son of a local farmer, is only good at stealing pigs and seducing women, and is obsessed with how to cook an egg. They plan to run off together, and Will says she's gone to Ipswich to make tarts, but when her Young Stepmother continues to have terrible dreams about Maria being murdered in the Red Barn, her Molecatcher father goes out one night with a lantern and finds the girl's hand sticking up from the straw.

The ensuing trial engenders much publicity, including lurid fictional retellings of the murder, and plays like this one. Dolls are sold who represent Maria and Will, and model Red Barns for children. It's a publicity bonanza, and part of Will's tanned scalp with an ear attached becomes a precious souvenir. By turns funny, eerie, mysterious and horrifying, Maria's story is a dark and grotesque foreshadowing of the modern marketing and exploitation of tragedy.

Published in Murder In The Red Barn & Other Plays.



2m, 2f


Ensemble cast

Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)

Don Nigro

Don Nigro

Don Nigro is among the most frequently published and widely produced playwrights in the world and has continued to build a deeply interrelated and diverse body of dramatic literature, employing a wide variety of dramatic conventions and styles of presentation. He has written monologues and epics, spare realistic dramas and surreal homicidal puppet farces, plays with music and verse plays. He ... view full profile

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Courtney Conway 4/11/2017 10:40 AM
I don't even know where to begin with the play, the story was wonderful, the dialogue was very well planned, the characters are very well thought out. And I very much liked hat don nigro incorporated suspected theories into the play, without making it incredibly obvious.

I would have loved to given 5 stars but as we are a catholic high school, there are some parts that are less than appropriate. Mostly sexual.

Other than that, it's suspensful, dramatic and even incorporates some comedic ideas.

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