Belles

by  Mark Dunn

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  1m, 6f

Told in "two acts and forty-five phone calls," Belles visits six southern sisters, who, over the course of an autumn weekend, seek to bridge the physical and emotional distance between them via the telephone, and in the process come to terms with their shattered family history. The gold standard among Mr. Dunn's many plays about southern women, and offering very strong roles for an ensemble of six actresses, Belles continues to pack an emotional punch after all these years.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 6f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

This play, originally published in 1989 and revised in 1997, has entered the theatre canon as one of our most delightful and endearing plays about southern women, and enjoys popularity to this day. Told in "two acts and forty-five phone calls," Belles visits six southern sisters, who, over the course of an autumn weekend, seek to bridge the physical and emotional distance between them via the telephone, and in the process come to terms with their shattered family history. The six Walker sisters all hail from Memphis, but now they are scattered all over the country. Only Peggy still lives in Memphis, where she cares for Mama. When the play begins, Peggy is phoning her sisters with the latest about Mama... whether they want to hear it or not!

The gold standard among Mr. Dunn's many plays about southern women, and offering very strong roles for an ensemble of six actresses, Belles continues to pack an emotional punch after all these years. More and more theatre companies are revisiting this play, many setting it back in the day in which it was originally written - back before cell phones and texting and the virtually free long distance phone call became commonplace - a day in which a call to another city could be freighted with dramatic consequence and heartbreaking honesty.

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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes
  • Caution Smoking Smoking

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1990s
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Set in six different cities around the country in rooms specific to each of the six sisters in the play, who communicate with one another via their respective telephones. The composite set should be suggestive of each of these six spac
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

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

Casting

1m, 6f
PEGGY REECE - 40; Memphis, Tennessee
ANEECE WALKER - 37; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ROSEANNE JOHNSON - 29; Atlanta, Georgia
AUDREY HART - 32; Collierstown, Mississippi
SHERRY "DUST" WALKER - 30; Elk Run, Washington
PAIGE WALKER - 22; Austin, Texas
VOICE - 21-year-old Mike Kozlowski
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Cast Attributes

  • All Female

Casting Notes

Offers roles for six women ranging in age from 22 to 40, although productions have been successful in casting these roles with actresses several years older than the ages specified in the script. Plus one male voice.

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Authors

Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn is the author of over thirty full-length plays, with two of his one-acts and eleven of his full-lengths published in acting edition by Samuel French, Inc. His award-winning plays BELLES, FIVE TELLERS DANCING IN THE RAIN, NORTH FORK: A TEXAS TRAGICOMEDY and A DELIGHTFUL QUARANTINE have together been produced ...

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Belles was first presented on January 29, 1988, as winner of the Margo Jones playwriting award competition sponsored by Texas Woman's University. Its production on the TWU campus was directed by Mary Lou Hoyle.The play opened in New York City at the Thirteenth Street Repertory Company on april 5, 1989. This production was directed by Seth Gordon.

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