Time Period - 1930s
Settings Of Play - The Kirby house; then the Kirby family car trip. The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden requires no scenery-just a curtain back-drop, a cyc, or an empty stage.
FEATURES / CONTAINS
Bare Stage/Simple Set
Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes
No Special Cautions
Adolescence, Childhood, Christianity, Death, Illness/Health, Love, Marriage, Memory, Parenting/Family, Religion
Appropriate for all audiences, Adult, Senior, Children (Age 6 - 10), Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Jr High/Primary, High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups, Church / Religious Groups
RECOGNITION / AWARDS
From Broadway, From Off-Broadway
A father, mother and two of their three surviving children drive from
Newark, New Jersey to Camden to visit their married daughter, who has
recently lost her baby in childbirth. Their journey is punctuated by
talk, laughter, memories (some mundane, some happy, some painful), and
appreciation of the Now - ham and eggs, flowers, family, sunsets and the
joy of being alive. In this family drama, nothing much happens-and yet
everything important happens. As Ma Kirby says, "There's nothin' like
bein' liked by your family."
"It should constantly be borne in mind that the purpose of this play is the portrayal of the character of Ma Kirby, the author at one time having even considered entitling the play The Portrait of a Lady. Accordingly, the director should constantly keep in mind that Ma Kirby's humor, strength and humanity constitute the unifying element throughout. This aspect should always rise above the merely humorous characteristic details of the play. " - Thornton Wilder, "Notes for the Producer," 1931
"My earlier one-act plays, before Our Town, were free of scenery too and things went back and forth in time...In my plays I attempted to raise ordinary daily conversation between ordinary people to the level of the universal human experience." - Thornton Wilder in an interview with Bob McCoy, 1974
Happy Journey was first produced November 25, 1931, at the Yale University theater in New Haven, Connecticut, by the Yale Dramatic Association and the Vassar College Philalethis, with The Long Christmas Dinner, Love and How to Cure It, and Such Things Only Happen in Books.