Magda's Story

by  David F. Eliet

Full Length Play, Drama  /  6m, 4f

The remarkable true story of an ordinary person, who when she was presented with the opportunity to do something to save the life of another chose to act when so many others chose to turn away.

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Magda's Story

by  David F. Eliet

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    6m, 4f
  • Duration


    90 minutes
  • SubGenre


    Biography, Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

In September 1942, a young Catholic Slovak Woman boards a train bound from Bratislava to Budapest. She is traveling alone in the middle of a war to a city she has never seen, to meet people she does not know, to do something that is forbidden. She is on a mission to secure a forged baptismal certificate that will hopefully save the life of a man she loves, a Jew. If she succeeds, she will save his life, if she fails she could bring disaster upon herself and her entire family.

Magda's Story is the remarkable true story of an ordinary person, who when she was presented with the opportunity to do something to save the life of another chose to act when so many others chose to turn away. The play spans nearly sixty years from Magda’s arrival in Bratislava in 1938, when the city was known as “the little Vienna,” through the turmoils of the war, the communist revolution, the Prague Spring, and the collapse of communism. It is the story of personal courage, self-sacrifice, imprisonment, exile and finally redemption. But it is first and foremost a love story. The love of Magda for two remarkable men, the one whose life she saved, Josef Zachar, and her husband, Jan Fliml.

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"Biographical Magda takes two ordinary heroes of the Holocaust and celebrates them." - Detroit News

"Magda's Story is a powerful epic play told in a third person docu-drama style wher the story and the times drive characters rather than the other way around...Great theatre, as well as being an important play - one that is sure to live in the memory of all who see it." - The Monitor

"It's a tale of courage - courage as seductive as it is powerful." - Detroit Free Press


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: 1990s, 1960s, 1950s, 1940s / WWII, 1930s
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: The play can be done as simply on an almost bare set with a few pieces of furniture moving on and off stage, or it can be done with a more elaborate unit set providing multiple settings.
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


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


6m, 4f
MAGDA ROZGONOVA - 19-year-old Slovak Woman
JOSEF ZACHAR - 25, wealthy, a Jewish industralist
JAN FLIML - early 30s, Director of The Slovak Travel Bureau
PEOPLE ON THE TRAIN - Businessman, Woman 1, Woman 2, Government Man, Soldier, Passengers
PEOPLE FROM THE WAR YEARS - Magda's Mother, Girl 1, Girl 2, Waiter, Jewish Youth, 2nd Jewish Youth, First Jewish Mother, 2nd Jewish Mother, Government Man, The Man, Man-In-Bathrobe, The Other Man
PEOPLE AFTER THE WAR - Friend of Magda's, Voice on Loudspeaker, Government Woman, Cashier, Daniela, Laclo
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Roles for Children
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

The play has over two dozen characters and was meant to be done with ten actors, five principal actors and five actors who play all the other parts, although more actors can be used if desired.



David F. Eliet

David F. Eliet is a professional playwright, director, and theatre educator. He was the founding artistic director of The Perishable Theatre, director of the Cleveland Play House Lab Company and the Circle In The Square Suitcase Theatre and Acting Ensemble. He was the a co-founder of The Trinity Rep C ...

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Magda's Story was the winner of the Playwrights First Award and was given a staged reading by professional actors at the Kaufman Theatre on Theatre Row in New York City. The play received its first full professional production at the Detroit Repertoy Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.  The production was directed by the artistic director, Bruce E. Millan.

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