Such Things Only Happen in Books

by  Thornton Wilder

Short Play, Satire/Political Satire  /  3m, 1f

In this one-act, originally entitled, A Matter of Conscience, a lordly novelist, his wife, their doctor, their maid, her brother, and a visiting stranger are caught up in various deceptions, illusions and mysteries-including a murder mystery in a haunted house. 

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Such Things Only Happen in Books

by  Thornton Wilder

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    30 minutes
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

In this one-act, originally entitled, A Matter of Conscience, a lordly novelist, his wife, their doctor, their maid, her brother, and a visiting stranger are caught up in various deceptions, illusions and mysteries-including a murder mystery in a haunted house. Novelist John's two pleasures in life are losing at solitaire and lecturing his wife about how there are no plots in life. Of course, his wife is cheating on him with the family doctor, who reveals not only their infidelity but a whole network of jailbreaks, murders, mutilations and buried treasure, all of which has taken place in John's house.
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
    $125 with other plays in collection

Production

Details

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Setting: An old house in a New Hampshire village.

Casting

3m, 1f
JOHN - a young novelist
GABRIELLE - his wife
DOCTOR BUMPAS - the local doctor
MR. GRAHAM - about 50, John's friend
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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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Such Things Only Happen in Books 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 The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden.

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