The Murder of Lidice

by  Lois O. Meyer, Edna St. Vincent Millay

Short Play, Drama  /  2m, 4f

The events which caused Edna St. Vincent Millay to write "The Murder of Lidice" are some of the most horrifying in the chronicles of Nazi terror in World War II. 

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    60 minutes (1 hour)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

This powerful and deeply moving dramatic poem is as contemporary today as it was in 1942 when Edna St. Vincent Millay was commissioned by the Writers’ War Board to write a poem immortalizing the village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia. This verse-narrative, arranged as a Reader’s Theatre Script, very eloquently voices the protest and horror of all peoples of the world at the wanton destruction of the small village during World War II by the Nazis who claimed that the citizens of Lidice were harboring the assassin of Reinhard Heydrich, a Nazi henchman. Opening on the peacefulness of the village and daily activities of a peasant family, the action soon draws us into its suspense and mounting tension as Nazi soldiers enter Lidice, destroy every structure, kill every man, drive the women into “concentration camps,” and herd the children into “educational institutions.” Written in a white heat of outrage and fury after news of the cold-blooded mass murder, Miss Millay’s poem
has become one of the great literary classics opposing all war atrocities.
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day, 1940s / WWII
  • Duration: 60 minutes (1 hour)
  • Setting: The action takes place today and in the Spring of 1942, in Lidice (Lid-i-che), Czechoslovakia. 
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

2m, 4f
*WOMAN NO. 1 - Narrator, The Son, Jan (Yahn)
*WOMAN NO. 2 - Narrator
WOMAN NO. 3 - Narrator, The Mother
WOMAN NO. 4 - Narrator, The Daughter, Byeta (Bee-ya-ta)
MAN NO. 1 - Narrator, The Young Man, Karel (Kare-el)
MAN NO. 2 - Narrator, The Father, The Nazi Soldier
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting

Casting Notes

Each of the characters has one principal role and possibly one or more minor roles. All of the characters serve as storytellers to help move the action along. 

*These parts may also be played by men. 

A guitarist is optional. 

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Authors

Lois O.  Meyer

Lois O. Meyer

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

This adaptation of The Murder of Lidice was first presented at Palm Beach Junior College, Lake Worth, Florida, on April 2, 1970 under the direction of Lois O. Meyer. 

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