Now Circa Then

by  Carly Mensch

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  1m, 1f

"A twisty, humorous tale of significance" -

"Mensch's script is a layered, clear-eyed work of art" -

"Fulfills the potential of theater circa now." -

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Now Circa Then

by  Carly Mensch

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 1f
  • Duration


    90 minutes
  • SubGenre


    Romantic Comedy
  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Meet Julian and Josephine, an immigrant couple on New York's Lower East Side, circa 1890. Meet Gideon and Margie, an unlikely pair of historical reenactors, circa now. A museum tour goes off the rails in this jaunty tale of old places, new beginnings and timeless questions.

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"A twisty, humorous tale of significance" -

"Mensch's script is a layered, clear-eyed work of art" -

"Fulfills the potential of theater circa now." -


Friendship, Love, Memory


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Present Day
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting:

    A restored 19th century tenement on New York’s Lower East Side, present.

    The play is divided into three rooms: the parlor (beginnings), the kitchen (middles), and the bedroom (endings).

  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


1m, 1f

MARGIE, 26 – a shy and slightly awkward girl; more goose than swan, but with an unconventional beauty. Non-white.
GIDEON, 27 – a hardcore history buff; passionate and youthful, with a hint of arrogance. White.

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Cast Attributes

  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

Margie's character is scripted as Filipino-American, based on the actress who originated the role, but she can be of any race or ethnicity, really, so long as she's an unlikely casting choice for a 19th century Jewish immigrant. 



Carly Mensch

Carly Mensch's plays include Oblivion (Steppenwolf’s First Look Festival, Westport Playhouse), Now Circa Then (Ars Nova, TheatreWorks), All Hail Hurricane Gordo (Humana Festival, Cleveland Play House), and Len, Asleep in Vinyl (2nd Stage/Uptown Series). Her work has also been read/workshopped at Playwrights Horizons, M ...

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NOW CIRCA THEN was originally produced by Ars Nova (Jason Eagan, Artistic Director) in New York City.

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