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The Curious Savage

The Curious Savage
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: John Patrick
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 78
Pub. Date: 2000
ISBN-10: 0822202603
ISBN-13: 9780822202608
Cast Size: 6 female, 5 male

About the Play:

The Curious Savage is a full-length comedy by John Patrick. Widow Ethel P. Savage's adult step-children send her to a private mental institution to "come to her senses" when she announces that she will spend her late husband's $10 million on helping people to realize their dreams. It's not long before she becomes a part of the family at the institution, and begins to question if the safe world "on the inside" makes more sense. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

The Curious Savage tells the tale of Mrs. Ethel P. Savage, who inherits a business empire worth ten million dollars from her husband. Wanting to create a "happiness fund" in his name to help people realize their dreams, no matter how foolish, she sells the family businesses and converts the cash to negotiable securities, concealing their location from her grown stepchildren – Titus, a crooked politician; Samuel, an inept judge; and Lily Belle, a celebrity jet-setter. Believing the money to be their birthright, her greedy stepchildren commit her to a private country club-like "sanatorium" called The Cloisters, hoping to "bring her to her senses" and reveal the location of the money. There, she meets an assortment of fabulous characters, men and women who just cannot adjust themselves to life, people who need the help Mrs. Savage can provide. In getting to know them, she realizes that she will find happiness with them and plans to spend the rest of her life as one of them. But when the doctor tells her there is no reason why she should remain, she hesitates to go out into a hard world where people seem ready to do anything for money. The self-seeking stepchildren are driven to distraction by their vain efforts to browbeat Mrs. Savage, but she preserves her equanimity and leads them on a merry chase. At last her friends conspire to get rid of her stepchildren, and through their simple belief in the justice of her cause, they enable Mrs. Savage to carry out her plans. The last scene, a farewell party, is a delightful fantasy where each "guest" in the sanatorium realizes at last some hopeless dream for something they were never able to attain. Primarily a comedy, contrasting the kindness and loyalty of psychiatric patients with the avarice and vanity of "respectable" public figures, The Curious Savage calls into question conventional definitions of sanity while lampooning celebrity culture. The audience is left with a feeling that the neglected virtues of kindness and affection have not been entirely lost in a world that seems motivated at times only by greed and dishonesty.

The Curious Savage premiered in 1950 on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre (now known as the Al Hirschfeld Theatre) and has been delighting audiences ever since. An entertaining and fanciful comedy, and one of the most successful plays for regional, high school, and community theatres.

Cast: 6 female, 5 male

What people say:

"American playwright John Patrick's The Curious Savage, in which self-serving politicians and celebrities are the bad guys, may be as relevant today as it was when the comedy opened on Broadway almost 70 years ago." — The Baltimore Sun

"The Curious Savage is a little gem of a play with some sweet, sentimental surprises." — The Westerly Sun

"The Curious Savage is a wonderful combination of humor, mystery and heart-warming sentimentality with a good message about trying to live your life to its fullest and not letting dreams go unfulfilled." — Broadwayworld

About the Playwright:

John Patrick (1905-1995) was a prolific American playwright and screenwriter, writing more than a dozen screenplays and some 30 plays. He had several Broadway successes, most notably Teahouse of the August Moon (which was awarded a Pulitzer, a Tony and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award) and The Hasty Heart. His movie scripts are impressive with Three Coins in a Fountain, The Shoes of the Fisherman and The World of Suzie Wong as well as adaptations of the two plays mentioned above. His "Opal" series of plays remain popular with high schools and community theatres.

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