Short Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2m, 3f
"Admirers of Thornton Wilder's virtuouso short plays will be glad to hear he has returned to the form in which he excels." -Irving Wardle, London Times, March 16, 1973
In this provocative, sometimes chilling comedy, Wilder renders a child's-eye view of the grown-up world.
In this provocative, sometimes chilling comedy, Wilder renders a child's-eye view of the grown-up world, as a father, a mother and their three children play a revealing game of make-believe in which the children pretend to be orphans. Startling truths emerge on both sides, as pretense challenges the family to discard the traditional roles of parent, spouse, child, and sibling--blurring the lines between perception and reality, artifice and innocence.
Published in Thorton Wilder One Act Series: The Ages of Man.
"Admirers of Thornton Wilder's virtuouso short plays will be glad to hear he has returned to the form in which he excels. " -Irving Wardle, London Times, March 16, 1973
"We often hear the phrase, 'a winning child.' Winning children (who appear so guileless) are children who have discovered how effective charm and modesty and a delicately calculated spontaneity are in winning what they want." -Thornton Wilder in The Paris Review Interviews, 1957
"I've been writing two plays (Ira and Childhood) that have dream sequences, and have become very attentive to what takes place in dreaming...In Childhood I use something I none too clearly remember from The Interpretation of Dreams (and by the light of that book, observed in my own dreaming): that an important person in one's dream, whom one's censor does not wish to identify or acknowledge, appears veiled or masked, or seen from the back only. So my children's father and mother." -Thornton Wilder, Journal, March 24, 1960
- No Special Cautions
- Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
$125 with other plays in collection
- Time Period: 1960s
- Duration: 30 minutes
- Setting: The yard of a suburban house.
- Additional Features: No intermission
- Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes
- Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
- Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
DODIE - her sister, 10
BILLEE - her brother, 8
- Ensemble cast
- Non-Traditional casting
- Features Children
- Roles for Teens
- Roles for Children
This play can also be cast with 2 Girls, 1 Boy, 1 Male Adult Actor and 1 Female Adult Actor.
Childhood was first produced at the Circle in the Square Theater in New York January 10, 1962, as one of three plays grouped as "Plays for Bleecker Street. It was televised by the CBC in 1966 and 1969, and by an educational television channel in 1966 and 1970.