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Precious Little - Full Length Play, Dark Comedy

Precious Little

Madeleine George

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Full Length Play, Dark Comedy


ISBN: 9780573700842

Brodie, a gifted linguist, learns unsettling news about the baby she carries. Unable to get comfort from her girlfriend, she finds it in the two least likely sources imaginable: the elderly speaker of a vanishing language… and a gorilla at the zoo.

More Information Below:

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

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play

Dark Comedy

90 minutes

Time Period - New Millennium/21st Century

Settings Of Play - Institutional enclosures: counseling room, office, ultrasound room, audio booth, zoo.


No intermission

Cutting Approved for Competition, Scene work

Unit Set/Multiple Settings, Bare Stage/Simple Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


Strong Language, Mild Adult Themes




College Theatre / Student, Professional Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

WINNER - 10 Best Plays of 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Brodie, a gifted linguist, learns unsettling news about the baby she carries. Unable to get comfort from her girlfriend, she finds it in the two least likely sources imaginable: the elderly speaker of a vanishing language…and a gorilla at the zoo. Madeleine George’s irreverent and charming new play reveals the beauty and the limits of human language.


"A crisp, fast-moving, tough-minded but often comic play about love, language, memory, culture and commitment." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Just sit in your chair and let George's ideas and words flood over you and raise you up. Her use of language is at the same time incredibly economic and hugely expansive." - Pittsburgh City Paper

"An 80-minute little gem that makes a big impression." - San Francisco Chronicle


8 Plays To Celebrate International Women’s Day!
by Amy Rose Marsh
March 8, 2013

Precious Little was first produced in June 2009, as part of the Summerworks series, by Clubbed Thumb, under artistic director Maria Striar, where it was directed by Hal Brooks. The play received its Chicago premiere in March 2011 by Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, where it was produced by Tara Mallen and Mary Cross and directed by Julieanne Ehre. The play was subsequently produced in April 2011 by City Theatre in Pittsburgh, under artistic director Tracy Brigden, directed by Tracy Brigden, and in August 2012 by Shotgun Players in Berkeley, under artistic director Patrick Dooley, where it was directed by Marissa Wolf.





All Female


The Ape does not wear an ape suit. The Zoogoers are a single character - the multivoiced character of a crowd - rather than one actor playing many roles.

A - female, 60s, plays THE APE, DOROTHY, CLEVA, and THE BABY
B - female, 40s, plays BRODIE
C - female, 20s, plays THE ZOO GOERS, RHIANNON, EVELYN, DRE, and GLORIA
Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)

Madeleine George

Madeleine George

Madeleine George's plays The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Susan Smith Blackburn finalist), Precious Little, and The Zero Hour (Jane Chambers Award, Lambda Literary Award finalist), have been produced by Playwrights Horizons, 13P, Clubbed Thumb, Shotgun Players in Berkeley, City Theatre in Pittsburgh, Theater Wit in ... view full profile

Now Playing
Elizabeth Birkenmeier 4/20/2013 9:44 PM
PRECIOUS LITTLE is an exploration of the nature of language.  In Madeleine George’s quick-paced dialogue is one universe of language—humor, small hurt, desperation, and confusion.  But through her scenes is a bigger sense of the power of words.  Brodie, the linguist at the center of the play, becomes obsessed with the silence of an ape and a new project with a dying language at work.  Through the Ape’s perspective, we can understand the banality of human chatter.  Though Brodie is in love with words and language, a new acceptance of the power of quiet takes hold.  Even more extreme is the diagnosis of her unborn child.  Most likely, the baby she has worked so hard to bring to life will be unable to speak.  Much like the Ape, or like her subject at work (one of the last native speakers of a dying tongue), her child will be trapped in an experience of the world where words cannot be used to communicate.  Madeleine George is able to transform this small idea of out-loud speech to mountains of tension, ethical grayness, and heartbreak.  PRECIOUS little is an incredibly intelligent play that leaves us with plenty of questions about how we hold on to our identity and culture.  What makes us heard?  What makes us empathize?  What makes a memory?  

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