Length: One Act
Characters: 4 M; 2 F (and additional male voices)
Warnings: Use of strobe lighting and smoke machine; some coarse language
Susan is stuck at home, while her beloved Edward is away fighting in France (in the 1st Infantry Brigade, 11th Battalion). She is heartbroken when she gets a letter from the Army saying that he has been killed (during the Battle of Pozières). However, it transpires that the letter was sent in error, and that he is still alive, but seriously injured. When Edward returns home in a wheelchair, he is angry with the world that put him in such a situation, and begins to push Susan away, because he believes that she is only staying out of pity, and that she will begin to resent him. But she promises to stand by him. Slowly, she helps him realise how lucky he is that he is still alive, even if he is going to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, and he asks for her hand.
This script is dedicated to those who fought in WWI.
“At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”
Susan Gardiner – 18-21
Edward Freeman – 22-25
Nurse – 25-30
Reverend – 50-60
Soldiers (2 delivering the notice (optional); 2 others as voiceover) – can double as backstage crew
Officer (Voiceover only)
Premiere Production Edit
The Yellow Letter's premiere production was directed by Luke Heath as part of the Perth Fringe Festival and staged at the Stevenson Theatre. It featured the following cast:
Susan – Adrienne Coombes
Edward – Luke Heath
Nurse – Kairaa Nissen
Reverend – Nigel Goodwin
Officer – voiced by Tim Prosser
Sergeant – voiced by Chris Gerish
Soldier 1 – voiced by George O'Doherty
Soldier 2 – voiced by Angus Cummings
Set Design Edit
Because this piece is driven by what is said and done, the set needs to be shown using only minimal furniture.
- Scene I: Hospital bed
- Scene II: Writing desk and chair/couch
- Scene III: Couch; Table (with whisky decanter and glasses)
- Scene IV: Couch; Table (with whisky decanter and glasses)
Tech Design Edit
1/I: The dialogue with the nurse is at night, so low lighting would be used, with shades of blue indicating the time.
1/II: Susan’s writing desk can be individually lit to show the distinction between that segment and the standard wash for the scene in the rest of the room.
1/III: When Edward returns, the light is a low standard wash; when Edward is sleeping on the couch, the lights are low to distinguish the flashes of lightning in the storm.
1/IV: standard wash
- The soldier Charlie who is mentioned briefly is included as a nod to Charles Pope, though Pope was a commissioned officer at the time.