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Bitter Friends - Full Length Play, Drama

Bitter Friends

Gordon Rayfield

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Full Length Play, Drama

8m, 2f

ISBN: 9780573692017

"A play which seizes the political moment and engages it with thrashing intensity." - New York Times

"Bitter Friends held me in its grip from first to last." - New York Post

More Information Below:

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

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play


Settings Of Play - The set should suggest an institutional building, exterior on one side, interior on the other, with high walls, marble floors, pillars, sconces. The stage is largely empty except for some interchangable furniture.


Unit Set/Multiple Settings

David Klein is on trial for treason. He gave top secret information to the Israeli government on a missile defense system designed to counter Soviet made missiles based in Libya and Syria. The U.S. government had promised to give Israel this technology but reneged. Israel recruited David to steal it, a task he sees as following in the heroic footsteps of his father who fought for Israel in the 1948 war of independence. Rabbi Arthur Schaeffer, long time friend and comrade in arms of David's father, is politically well connected with the U.S. and Israeli governments and tries desperately to resolve the unresolvable: Israel will not acknowledge that it conspired to spy on the U.S. and David will not do anything damaging to Israel even if it means spending the rest of his life in jail.
"A play which seizes the political moment and engages it with thrashing intensity." - New York Times

"Bitter Friends held me in its grip from first to last." - New York Post

Bitter Friends premiered in January 1989 at the Jewish Repertory Theatre, directed by Allen Coulter.


8m, 2f

DAVID KLEIN, about thirty, wears glasses, a careless dresser, with a look of distraction, of a mind occupied elsewhere. Strong-willed, unyielding and self-righteous, but can be emotionally vulnerable at times.

RACHEL KLEIN, his wife, late twenties, very attractive but isn't concerned about it. Friendly and practical, optimistic but easily wounded, has an intense and passionate loyalty to her husband.

RABBI ARTHUR SCHAEFER, early sixties, a stylish and expensive dresser. Distinguished, sophisticated, intellectual, a bit pompous and generally pleased with himself, but has a self-deprecating wit.

EZRA BEN-AMI, the Israeli ambassador, forties, wears poorly-fitted, inexpensive suits. Blunt, powerful-lloking, a soldier, dour by nature, but can be warm, if guarded. Always working to control more explosive feelings.

HELEN KLEIN, David's mother, late fifties, aging but attractive in a stiff, reserved way. Wears dark, conservative clothes and never a hair out of place. Distrustful, tightly wrapped, feels cheated by kufe and profoundly resents it.

FRANK FITZGERALD, a congressman, fifties, casual, with an appealing, shaggy style. Cheerful and outgoing, with an Irish politician's heartiness and finely-honed instinct for self-preservation. 

WINGATE WHITNEY, deputy attorney general, late thirties, wears expensive but unstylish clothes. Arrogant but edgy, undamaged by life and afraid to be found out. 


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