Agnes Under the Big Top
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.
"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
- Strong Language
- Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
- 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
- Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
- Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
- Chorus Size: No Chorus
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.
- Ensemble cast
- Multicultural casting
- Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
- Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
- Parts for Senior Actors
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.