In haunted Edinburgh, in the 1820s, Dr. Robert Knox, of Surgeons Square, needs fresh corpses to dissect in his anatomy demonstrations, and these are scarce, because the law forbids dissection of anyone but an executed criminal. So the profitable business of Resurrectionism is born: enterprising fellows referred to in local legend as Body Snatchers who sneak into cemeteries late at night and steal corpses to sell to the doctors. Enter the infamous Burke and Hare, who stumble upon a more lucrative business model: since the fresher the corpse, the more money they get, why not murder the residents of their lodging house and haul them off to Dr Knox in a tea chest? The pay is good, and Dr Knox wants the corpses enough to not ask any questions. But when a beautiful young prostitute, the lover of one of Knox's young assistants, is hauled in, the interns can no longer hide from themselves what's going on. But to reveal the truth could destroy their careers and ruin their hero, the celebrated and charismatic Dr Knox. Meanwhile, Burke and Hare, and their accomplices, Helen Macdonald and Mrs Hare, are murdering more and more people, drinking too much, and getting careless, and Mr Burke seems to be losing his mind. Laced with eerie and haunting ballads sung by the old street singer McGonigle, this very dark and very funny play raises some grave and troubling questions about the relationship of science to morality, and of free enterprise to murder.
- Intense Adult Themes
- Nudity/Partial Nudity
- Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
- Time Period: 19th Century
- Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
- Additional Features: Play w/ Music
- Features / Contains: Period Costumes
- Musical Style: Folk
- Vocal Demands: Moderate
- Chorus Size: No Chorus
- Ensemble cast
Music Material Rental Packages
All necessary music materials can be found at the back of the acting edition.