Tesla's Letters

by  Jeffrey Stanley

Full Length Play, Drama  /  2m, 2f

"This well written, well constructed drama constitutes pertinent, intelligent, and often witty and suspenseful theatre. It's a measure of it's appeal as theatre that the first act ends not with a whimper but a bang...Tesla's Letters provides a multitude of rewards." - The New York Times

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Tesla's Letters

by  Jeffrey Stanley

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 2f
  • Duration

    Duration

    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

The two-act, 4-character stage play set in 1997 in the Balkans is about an American who sets out to find Nikola Tesla's doomsday device only to discover that a machine is not required. Electrical pioneer Tesla, a Croatian-born Serb, was Thomas Edison's biggest rival. Daisy Archer, a bright-eyed Ph.D. candidate, arrives in Belgrade thinking she has permission to view a certain cache of letters at the Nikola Tesla Museum. She is not prepared to face the museum's director Dragan, a Serb with family in Croatia, who has needs of his own and who strikes a dangerous bargain with Daisy. He will test her willingness to see the letters by having her enter war-torn Croatia to visit Tesla's birthplace and determine whether it has been destroyed. If she returns with photographic evidence she will be given access to Tesla's letters. Daisy learns that the bargain is much more complicated than it at first appears, and that she is a pawn in a larger agenda.
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Reviews

REVIEWS

"Is there a more timely play in New York? This well written, well constructed drama constitutes pertinent, intelligent, and often witty and suspenseful theatre. It's a measure of it's appeal as theatre that the first act ends not with a whimper but a bang...Tesla's Letters provides a multitude of rewards." - The New York Times

"Jeffrey Stanley has a nice ironic sense of humor, but it took NATO air strikes to turn it black. In its refusal to take sides or settle for easy analysis, the powerful Tesla's Letters provides a welcome contrast to the high-intensity chatter of CNN et al." - Time Out New York

"It perceptively tells the story of a Balkan society so laden with a sense of victimization that it can no longer see its own murderous face ...[Daisy] obtains an intimate knowledge of human evil, a discovery that shatters even the myth of Tesla's peace-loving past...The writing offers historical depth and insight on a subject that defies simplified soundbites and media clichés." - Village Voice

Considerations

Performing Groups

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

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Artboard 3 Gun Shots
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, 1990s
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting: Office of the Director, Nikola Tesla Museum, Belgrade, Serbia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. A bus on the highway, the Serbian-Croatian border. A field, Gospic, Croatia.
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Casting

2m, 2f
DRAGAN MILINCEVIC - 42; Director of the Nikola Tesla Museum.
BILJANA - 60; Dragan's secretary.
DAISY ARCHER - 27; US graduate student.
ZORAN JELECIC - 24; Croatian entrepreneur.
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Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

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Authors

Jeffrey Stanley

Jeffrey Stanley has written a number of stage plays and screenplays. TESLA'S LETTERS premiered Off Broadway at The Ensemble Studio Theatre in 1999, directed by Curt Dempster and funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It has gone on to numerous productions and readings around the world. He also wrote th ...

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Tesla's Letters had its World Premiere Off Broadway in 1999 at The Ensemble Studio Theatre.

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