The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden

by  Thornton Wilder

Short Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3m, 3f

A father, mother and two of their three surviving children drive from Newark, New Jersey to Camden to visit their married daughter, who has recently lost her baby in childbirth.

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The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden

by  Thornton Wilder

License Estimator

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

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f
  • Duration

    Duration

    30 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Not Applicable
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Broadway, From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Children (Age 6 - 10)
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

A father, mother and two of their three surviving children drive from Newark, New Jersey to Camden to visit their married daughter, who has recently lost her baby in childbirth. Their journey is punctuated by talk, laughter, memories (some mundane, some happy, some painful), and appreciation of the Now - ham and eggs, flowers, family, sunsets and the joy of being alive. In this family drama, nothing much happens-and yet everything important happens. As Ma Kirby says, "There's nothin' like bein' liked by your family."
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Reviews

REVIEWS

"It should constantly be borne in mind that the purpose of this play is the portrayal of the character of Ma Kirby, the author at one time having even considered entitling the play The Portrait of a Lady. Accordingly, the director should constantly keep in mind that Ma Kirby's humor, strength and humanity constitute the unifying element throughout. This aspect should always rise above the merely humorous characteristic details of the play. " - Thornton Wilder, "Notes for the Producer," 1931

"My earlier one-act plays, before Our Town, were free of scenery too and things went back and forth in time...In my plays I attempted to raise ordinary daily conversation between ordinary people to the level of the universal human experience." - Thornton Wilder in an interview with Bob McCoy, 1974

Considerations

Performing Groups

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

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Setting: The Kirby house; then the Kirby family car trip. The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden requires no scenery-just a curtain back-drop, a cyc, or an empty stage.
  • Additional Features: Mime
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes

Music

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

Casting

3m, 3f
THE STAGE MANAGER
MA - Mrs. Kate Kirby
ARTHUR - 13, her son
CAROLINE - 15, her daughter
PA
BEULAH - 22, the Kirbys' married daughter who lives in Camden, New Jersey
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Features Children
  • Features Teens
  • Roles for Children

Casting Notes

Alternatively, this play can be cast using 1 boy, 1 girl, and 2 male adults, and 2 female adults.

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Authors

Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated at Yale and Princeton, was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience.

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Happy Journey was first produced November 25, 1931, at the Yale University theater in New Haven, Connecticut, by the Yale Dramatic Association and the Vassar College Philalethis, with The Long Christmas Dinner, Love and How to Cure It, and Such Things Only Happen in Books.

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