by  Rachel Axler

Full Length Play, Dark Comedy  /  2m, 1f

"For signs of intelligent life in the theatrical universe, I hereby refer you to Smudge, Rachel Axler's pitch-black comedy." - Marilyn Stasio, Variety

Read more +
License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 1f
  • Duration


    90 minutes
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

A dark comedy about the changing face of the American family and the limits of love and cheesecake, as a hopeful young couple gives birth to a smudge, written by two-time Emmy Award winner Rachel Axler.
Read more +



"Ms. Axler has a comic’s gift for language that is precise and imaginative, but never showy... What gives the play its charge is how Ms. Axler taps into a primal fear — giving birth to a monster — and then calmly considers it from all angles." - The New York Times, Read More

"For signs of intelligent life in the theatrical universe, I hereby refer you to 'Smudge,' Rachel Axler’s pitch-black comedy about a young couple reacting to the birth of a severely deformed child." - Variety, Read More

"Rachel Axler, an acclaimed television comedy writer, is...spread[ing] her creative wings with 'Smudge.' She takes a dark subject, immediately places her three characters in extremis, and asks us to watch what happens. There is a distinctly ambitious imagination at work here" - Backstage


  • Smudge
More videos +


Performing Groups

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


  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day, New Millennium/21st Century
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: A hospital room and Colby and Nicholas's apartment. 
  • Additional Features: No intermission, Special Effects
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)


2m, 1f
COLBY - Late twenties. Female. Married to Nick.
NICHOLAS - Late twenties. Male. Married to Colby.
PETE - Mid-thirties. Male. Nick’s older brother.
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)



Rachel Axler

Rachel's critically acclaimed play, SMUDGE, directed by Pam MacKinnon, premiered at Women's Project. Her play ARCHAEOLOGY premiered at Kitchen Theatre in April 2009. Other plays include THE WEIGHT OF PAPER and DISAPPEARANCE CONUNDRUM. Her plays have been produced by Vital Theatre Company, Lookingglass Theatre, Spring ...

View full profile

Smudge premiered at The Women's Project in 2010 under the direction of Pam McKinnon. 

Now Playing

Community Experiences