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The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women - Full Length Play, Drama

The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women

Carolyn Gage

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Full Length Play, Drama


ISBN: 9780573628436

"Elegantly conceived...A feminist Noises Off." - Washington City Press

"Powerful." -San Diego Lesbian Press
"Farce, social history, debate play, agitprop, audience participation melodrama, satire [that] makes …

More Information Below:

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

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play


Experimental, Docudrama/Historic

120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - Contemporary, 1910s / WWI

Settings Of Play -

The stage set for a courtroom trial. The present. Basically, bare stage with folding chairs.


Audience Participation/Interactive

Bare Stage/Simple Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes


Mild Adult Themes


Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


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


National Finalist, Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, Association for Theatre in Higher Education

A play with intense audience participation! Engrossing, controversial courtroom drama, where the audience must serve as judge and jury, deciding motions and verdict, in a case against the five women who betrayed the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, the last surviving daughter of the Tsar of Russia. Complex ethical questions on a set of folding chairs.

The Anastasia Trials is a farcical, but profoundly engaging excursion into the hidden world of ethics for women who are both survivors and perpetrators of abuse toward women. The format is a play-within-a-play, where a radical feminist theatre company comes together in order to perform a courtroom drama. The play is shaped by the audience decisions to overrule or sustain the attorneys’ motions, and every night’s audience sees a different play.

In presenting the play, the Emma Goldman Theatre Brigade has instituted a new system to insure equal opportunity for the actors: a lottery. As the women assemble to draw their roles from the hat for the evening’s performance, sisterhood is put to the test. The performance itself is a conspiracy trial against five women accused of denying a woman her identity. The plaintiff is none other than Anastasia Romanov, sole survivor of the massacre of the Russian imperial family in 1918.


"Elegantly conceived...A feminist Noises Off." - Washington City Press

"Powerful." -San Diego Lesbian Press

"Farce, social history, debate play, agitprop, audience participation melodrama, satire [that] makes the head reel!" -San Diego Union Tribune

"Wild... It's lively and moves quickly... Very funny yet poignant." -Washington Blade

“Carolyn Gage’s raucous, multilayered script explores issues of empathy, loyalty, and betrayal among women...” --The Washington Post.

“Verdict: An unexpected delight… ” --Miami Herald, FL.

“… farcical humor, imaginative plot twists, and just pure theatrical fun...” --South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Ft. Lauderdale.

“… fascinating and complex play…”--Fresno Beehive.com

“I am constantly amazed at Carolyn’s ability to make complex social issues not only accessible but also irresistibly fascinating… the play… [The Anastasia Trials ] touched us, made us laugh and gripped us in a white-knuckle intensity usually found only in Hitchcock films.” --R.J. McComish, Literary Manager of the Portland Stage Company, Portland, Maine.

“… fabulously interesting, brilliantly thought-provoking and exquisitely funny… masterpiece of feminist theater...” --off our backs, Washington, DC.

"Each performance could potentially have a different result and many students saw every performance just so they could see how the show ended."--At Oldfields, Glencoe, MD.

The play was premiered at Cauldron & Labrys Productions, Portland, Maine in 2002.





Role(s) for Asian Actor(s), Role(s) for Black Actor(s), Role(s) for Latino Actor(s), All Female, Ensemble cast, Non-Traditional casting, Multicultural casting, Parts for Senior Actors

BETTY - a butch stagehand, plays the Bailiff.
DIANE - the founder and director of the Emma Goldman Theater Brigade, plays the Prosecuting Attorney.
ATHENA - the daughter of a rich man, plays the Defense Attorney and also Annie Jennings, a wealthy socialite.
JENNY - an actor with stomach flu, plays Anastasia Romanov, and also the Prosecuting Attorney.
MELISSA - an actor bent on impressing the critics, plays Thea Malinowsky, a nurse from a public mental asylum.
MARIE - a grassroots, radical activist, plays Clara Peuthart, an alcoholic bag lady.
AMY - an actor with professional aspirations, plays Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden, former lady-in-waiting to Anastasia's mother.
DONNA - an actor who resents Diane's authority, plays Shura Tegleva, Anastasia's former nursemaid.
LISA - the playwright, plays Baroness Zinaida Tolstoy, a former friend of Anastasia's mother and Anastasia.

Carolyn Gage

Carolyn Gage

Carolyn Gage is a playwright, performer, director, and activist. The author of nine books on lesbian theatre and seventy-five plays, musicals, and one-woman shows, she specializes in non-traditional roles for women, especially those reclaiming famous lesbians whose stories have been distorted or erased from history. She has won the national Lambda Literary Award in Drama and her play Ugly ... view full profile

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