When a complaint is filed against one of the 70,000 teachers in New York’s public schools, they’re sent to a Reassignment Center, one of a series of empty offices in the Department of Education Building. There, they sit and wait for their case to be reviewed. Usually for months. Sometimes for over a year.
A claim of improper behavior by a failing student lands Evelyn Reid in “the rubber room,” where she encounters a group of teachers, some guilty, some not, who have long since lost any hope of returning to a classroom.
Over the course of the school year, these colleagues form an unlikely alliance, reminding each other of forgotten passions, emerging to face life outside in unexpected new directions. They also learn French and workshop a screenplay.
“The Breakfast Club for teachers... an uncommonly smart and restrained commentary on the public education system.” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A remarkably well-constructed and very funny dramatic comedy… we’re kept constantly curious about each character.” – ArtsATL
“I love how these characters are introduced, how they change before our eyes (through an unlayering of truth and falsehood rather than through arbitrary plot contrivances.) I love how they surprise, how they make me laugh and move me, how they represent a broad spectrum of teachers and styles and ambitions. I loved every minute of Evelyn in Purgatory.” – Atlanta Theatre Buzz
- Mild Adult Themes
- Minimum Fee: $90 per performance
- Time Period: New Millennium/21st Century
- Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
A windowless, forgotten office deep in the Department of Education building, New York City. Autumn 2008 through Spring 2009
- Additional Features: Not Applicable
- Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
CANDACE METZGER - 30s. The person with the most power in the room, and the least qualifications for it. From New Jersey, tries to hide the accent but fails when she gets emotional.
EVELYN REID - 30s. Likeable and resourceful. A careful mix of guarded pleasantry- she has a stellar game face. New England native.
LILA WADKINS - 50s. Calm, maternal, thoughtful, witty. The voice of reason. The art teacher everyone wishes they had. Upstate New York native, some residual hippie around the edges.
TOBY FLEMING - 20s. A bit of a geek. Quiet, passive-aggressive, perpetually uncertain. Brooklyn native.
FRED DISALVO - 50s. Bombastic, funny, a bit of a bully. A gym teacher from Hell's Kitchen, back when that still meant something.
ROBERTA BURKE - 60s. The self-appointed queen of all she surveys. Razor-sharp wit, no patience, and an uncanny ability to spot the weaknesses in those around her. Very Bronx.
ATWOOD (unseen) - The head of the disciplinary panel. The invisible voice of absolute authority. Written as “Ms. Atwood,” but can be changed to “Mr. Atwood” to accommodate a gender swap.
- Role(s) for Asian Actor(s)
- Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
- Role(s) for Latino Actor(s)
- Ensemble cast
- Multicultural casting
Evelyn in Purgatory was first produced by The Essential Theatre Company in Atlanta, GA in July 2012 under the direction of Betty Hart.