You Shouldn't Have Told

by  Anne Thompson Scretching

Full Length Play, Drama  /  4m, 5f

Winner! 1997 Jean Dalrymple Award for Best New Playwright

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You Shouldn't Have Told

by  Anne Thompson Scretching

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 5f
  • Accolades


    Winner! 1997 Jean Dalrymple Award for Best New Playwright
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Standing room only audiences cheered at the curtain call on West 54th Street in New York for this emotionally charged drama about a middle class black family coping with a shameful tragedy. It is the story of a decent mother who refuses to believe her three daughters when they tell her that her boyfriend is sexually molesting them until the youngest dies from a botched abortion touches a nerve that crosses class and cultural experiences.
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  • Winner! 1997 Jean Dalrymple Award for Best New Playwright



"Cyclonic action from angry, tearful parental outbursts to almost knock about farce a sometimes hilarious, often searing panorama of black urban America in the 1990s.... Everybody identifies with the characters." - The New York Post 

"In You Shouldn't Have Told, the family's story and Anne L. Thompson-Scretching's intelligent, observant play about sexual abuse, no one is completely innocent." - The New York Times


Performing Groups

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

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



  • Setting: A multi-dwelling on Powell Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn


4m, 5f
AUNT FREDA TAUBER - Freda is the sharp-tongued, funny matriarch of the King family. She has very little formal education and is in her late seventies. She has silver hair that is pulled back into a bun. She's an elegant, proud, and independent woman who walks with a cane because she has difficulty walking.
MARIE KING - Marie is a slightly overweight fading beauty in her late forties. She is an unmarried working mother of five children. A high school dropout who received a GED. She is vain, self-centered and lonely. She's a person who missed grabbing the brass ring in life. She is excitable, bitchy and bitter.
CARLOYN KING - Carolyn is the oldest girl. She is an attractive 22 year old, who is a drunk. She is a college dropout who has Pancreatitis and is on public assistance as a result of her illness. She internalizes her pain and drinks to forget. She is always to the point and carries a bitterness with an air of resolution.
RAY-RAY (RAYMOND) KING - Ray-Ray is the first born son who is 21 years old. He is a militant who wears his blackness like a badge of honor. He is well versed and locked into the world of African culture through his reading. He is a high school graduate and is employed at Burger King as a manager. He is arrogant, duty-bound, and bossy. He is easily embarrassed by his family's circumstances and chooses to ignore them until their problems personally affect him.
JOJO KING - Jojo is 18 years old and is in school for fashion design. He is gay and has a strong sense of identity. He's glib and somewhat attractive. Although he has a childlike quality about him, he is very explosive and the most dangerous member of the family.
TRACY (TRA) KING - Tracy is a 16 year old senior. She is attractive, soft spoken and introverted. She is thin and has a little girl quality about her persona. There is also a sadness about her that goes unnoticed because of her quiet spirit. She was closer to Nessa than any of her siblings. Because of her fear of speaking out, she feels responsible for her sister's death.
LARRY DRAYSON - Larry is in his mid fifties and has a pot belly. He is a product of the sixties and gives the appearance of being a man of the world. He is a high school dropout who works at menial jobs. He is resourceful, a womanizer and fears responsibility. He is a man of many words and very little action.
STANLEY (STAN) YOUNGSTON - Stanley is in his early thirties, very attractive and polished. His manner is direct but his eyes are shifty. He is a master manipulator of women and children. He is persuasive, charming and cunning. Unemployed, he is used to being taken care of by women and shows little shame. He has a silent rage about him that is always ready to boil over but somehow he contains it.
ROSETTA GREEN - Rosetta is a slightly overweight suburban type. She is a widow, white and a woman of means. She's in her late fifties with graying hair that's worn in a pompadour. She is not very attractive but she is well groomed. She is bitchy, insecure, pushy, and has a controlling nature.
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Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)



Anne Thompson Scretching

Anne Thompson Scretching

You Shouldn't Have Told premiered at the American Theatre of Actors in 1996.

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