Agnes Under the Big Top

by  Aditi Brennan Kapil

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3m, 3f

Against the subterranean rhythms of a subway train, a Liberian home care worker, a former Bulgarian ringmaster and his wife, an Indian call center escapee, and a bed-ridden American woman, find and redefine themselves in today’s America.

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Agnes Under the Big Top

by  Aditi Brennan Kapil

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Not Applicable
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Cutting Approved for Competition
  • Audience

    Target Audience

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

Additional Info

Agnes Under the Big Top: A Tall Tale explores the intersecting lives of several immigrants in a US city. It is a magical tale of hope and disappointment, identity and reinvention, narrated by an itinerant subway busker. Against the subterranean rhythms of a subway train, a Liberian home care worker, a former Bulgarian ringmaster and his wife, an Indian call center escapee, and a bed-ridden American woman, find and redefine themselves in today’s America.
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Reviews

REVIEWS

"Rich in feeling, wide in scope, teeming with poetry and sprinkled with Bulgarian." - The New York Times

"...a tough and tender play...that is as graceful and evocative as trapeze artists flying through air with the greatest of ease." - Variety

"...Kapil has created a masterly matrix for what are essentially first-person short stories told by the five main characters...this lyrical, bittersweet play is a spirit-soaring experience." - Hartford Courant

Videos

  • Agnes Under the Big Top - Long Wharf Theatre promo
  • Actress Fancesca Choy-Kee discusses Agnes Under the Big Top
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Drugs Drugs
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Smoking Smoking

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: Interior of an apartment, a subway platform, and a subway train. The components of these locations are a bed, subway train, a pole, a window, doors, and seats.
  • Additional Features: Mime, No intermission, Physical Comedy, Play w/ Music
  • 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

3m, 3f
AGNES - 30s; Liberian immigrant; Ella’s home care worker; tough and funny.
ELLA - American; white; a rheumatoid, bedridden woman; deformed and wooden, her fingers trapped in claws; prematurely aged.
ROZA - 40s; Bulgarian immigrant; speaks Bulgarian; Ella’s home care worker; silent except when addressing birds.
SHIPKOV - 40s; Bulgarian immigrant; Roza’s husband; drives a subway train; former ringmaster.
HAPPY - 20s; Indian; recently immigrated con artist; training as subway driver; smiles a lot.
BUSKER - plays an instrument on the subway platform; is all other voices/voiceovers; moves freely through time and space.
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

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Authors

Aditi Brennan Kapil

ADITI BRENNAN KAPIL is a writer, actress, and director, of Bulgarian and Indian descent. She was raised in Sweden, resides in Minneapolis, MN, and her work is produced nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. Her play Love Person, a four-part love story in Sanskrit, ASL and English, was developed during a ...

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Agnes Under the Big Top was commissioned by Mixed Blood Theatre, and selected as a NEA Distinguished New Play Development Project as part of the NEA New Play Development Program. The play was presented in a National New Play Network rolling world premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre (MN), Long Wharf Theatre (CT), and Borderlands Theatre (AZ). The play opened at The Mixed Blood Theatre, under artistic director Jack Reuler, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on February 18, 2011. It was directed by the author. The play opened at Long Wharf Theatre, under artistic director Gordon Edelstein, in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 9, 2011. It was directed by Eric Ting. The play opened at Borderlands Theatre in Tucson, Arizona, on February 9, 2012. It was directed by artistic director Barclay Goldsmith.

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