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Alterations - Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy


Leigh Curran

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Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

1m, 4f

ISBN: 9780573690563

"Funny and observant." - Newsday
"Truly comical." - The New Yorker
"Excellent." - Variety

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author | Reviews
: Acting Edition

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play

Dramatic Comedy

90 minutes

Time Period - Contemporary, Present Day, 1980s

Settings Of Play - One set - the interior of a brownstone in New York City. Downstage is the living room/dining room area and upstage is a small fitting room where Erica designs and makes costumes and tries them on her clients.


Local Celebrity Cameo, No intermission

Scene work

Interior Set, Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Fantasy Costumes


Strong Language, Mild Adult Themes, Nudity/Partial Nudity, Smoking


Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


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

Erica, a successful, artistic and outspoken New Yorker, is caught between the needs of Biesel, her frail, willful mother and Phoebe, her distant, spiritual daughter. In an attempt to improve her relationship to Phoebe, Erica decides to put her mother in a nursing home as she has come to believe Biesel is responsible for Phoebe's growing belief that her mind is unimportant as it prevents her from having a direct experience of God. A battle of wills ensues that brings all three women face to face with their own anger and the ways in which they do and don't love each other. The play takes place in New York City and has one set consisting of 2 rooms...a living room and a sewing room.

"One cannot dismiss the intelligence behind Alterations. Ms. Curran does know how to observe people.  Fascinating." - The New York Times

"Funny and observant." - Newsday

"Truly comical." - The New Yorker

"Excellent." - Variety

"Ms. Curran has created a theatre piece whose humor helps ratify its authentic observation." - Christian Science Monitor

Alterations was first presented at Portland Stage in Portland, Maine, on December 4, 1981. It was directed by Barbara Rosoff. The play subsequently premiered in New York City at the WPA Theatre on October 29. It was directed by Austin Pendleton.



1m, 4f


Ensemble cast, Non-Traditional casting, Features Teens, Local Celebrity Cameo, Multicultural casting, Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle), Parts for Senior Actors


Written with an upper middle class family of "Wasps" in mind but the casting can be colorblind as long as character intentions are clear.


No Chorus

BIESEL - 70-80, (pronounced Beezle) is a strong-willed, very hard of hearing, older woman whose frail body is causing her to become a lot more dependent than she'd like to be. She cultivates vagueness to protect herself from everything she isn't ready to hear.  She uses her hearing aid to manipulate her daughter.  She is loving when she feels safe and competetive when she doesn't.
ERICA - 40-50, is trapped between the needs of her mother and her daughter and when she is no longer able to cope she rearranges all the furniture.  She has a biting sense of humor and accesses anger easily - but, underneath it all, she is trying to do the right thing and feels her efforts are going unrecognized. Her inability to come from love when she most wants to is her personal dilemma and the struggle she begins to resolve in the last scene.
PHOEBE - 15-17, is naturally intelligent and thinks deeply.  She is not in the least bit bratty or precocious.  She has learned to maneuver her mother's overt strength with a quiter strength.  She is fair minded and a peace keeper.  She has found God and, through meditation, a much needed stillness.
PETER - 40-50, is Erica's husband - they are separated.  Peter is a good man with a warm heart who knows better than anyone where and why Erica hurts but he's running out of patience with her refusal to look at herself in the mirror.  When the play begins he still has hope that, if he just hangs in, reconciliation will be possible.
ADRIANNA - 20-30, is a model at the end of her relationship with her boyfriend.  She's ditzy on the surface and smart underneath - almost in spite of herself.  She has confidence in herself professionally but not personally.

Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)

Leigh Curran

Leigh Curran

Leigh Curran is the author of three full length plays - The Lunch Girls, Alterations (both published by Samuel French), and Walking the Blonde - and has also written countless one-acts, the latest of which was produced in Los Angeles at The Edye in 2012. The Lunch Girls had its world premiere at The Long Wharf Theatre under the direction of Arvin Brown and was a finalist for the Susan Smith ... view full profile

Other Leigh Curran titles:

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