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Mrs. Cage

Mrs. Cage
Your Price: $14.95 CDN
Author: Nancy Barr
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 35
Pub. Date: 1993
ISBN-10: 0822213133
ISBN-13: 9780822213130
Cast Size: 1 female, 1 male

About the Play:

Mrs. Cage is a taut one-act psychological drama by Nancy Barr. Robbery, mayhem, and murder in the supermarket parking lot… An affluent suburban house wife's usual day of shopping ends abruptly and she finds herself in police custody for the murder of a stranger. As the homicide detective probes, a remarkable mystery unfolds. Mrs. Cage offers her confession, revealing the complexity of her impulses and the turmoil of her motivations. This gem of a one-act has been paired with Specter by Don Nigro as a double bill to create a full evening of entertainment.

Mrs. Cage is a two-person interrogation that takes on crime, careers, murder and marriage. Mrs. Martin Cage, the "perfect" wife of a prominent criminal attorney, is in police custody for the shooting of a well-dressed businesswoman named Phyllis Dean. While in the supermarket that morning, Mrs. Cage witnessed a crime. Billy, the young supermarket checkout boy she is extremely fond of, was helping Mrs. Dean take her groceries to her car when her purse was snatched. Billy tried to stop the thief and was shot in the chest, but as he lay dying Mrs. Dean, an abrasive career woman, continued to scream not over his death, but over the loss of her purse. Without a thought, Mrs. Cage decides to silence the woman by picking up the thief's discarded gun and firing a bullet directly between Mrs. Dean's eyes. Now Mrs. Cage is being interrogated by Lt. Reuben Angel about the crime, but what she ends up talking about is herself: Her 33-year marriage to Martin, a defense lawyer, who has never lost a case, who is often vulgar, and who no longer really sees his wife, and their daughter, Elizabeth, a civil lawyer, who is herself looking to end an unsuccessful marriage. As Mrs. Cage talks, she paints a picture of her lonely life crammed with abuse, love, hate, jealousy, rage and human weakness and her actions become clearer. She knows what she did was wrong; she has declined her right to have a lawyer present, especially her own husband; she is making a full confession; and she is ready to suffer the consequences. Mrs. Cage probes the mind of a middle-aged woman who may be the last person in the world willing to take responsibility for her actions.

Mrs. Cage premiered in 1990 at Two Lights Studio in Santa Monica and ran for over six months in Los Angeles, where it was named "Critic's Choice" by the Los Angeles Times and Daily News, "One of the Year's Best" by the Outlook, and won four Drama-Logue Awards, including Best Production. Since then this long one-act has been performed in regional theatres across the US, including off-Broadway at the Kaufmann Theater in 1997, and has been mounted in high school, fringe festival, and college theatre productions.

Cast: 1 female, 1 male

What people say:

"Rarely is a theater piece so translucent that it can take a banal situation, in this case a crime of passion, and fill it not only with life but theatrical art." — Los Angeles Times

"Barr's play is insightful and challenging ... it's all first class." — Variety

"…compelling drama." — The New York Times

About the Playwright:

Nancy Barr Canson is an American playwright and screenwriter, known best as the author of the one-act play Mrs. Cage. Born in Toronto, she moved to the San Gabriel Valley when she was 10. After theatre studies at UC Davis, she moved to New York for a short stint at New York University's graduate school, eventually drifting away from acting to concentrate on writing.