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Trifles

Trifles
Your Price: $14.95 CDN
Author: Susan Glaspell
Publisher: Samuel French (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 24
Pub. Date: 2010
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0874406382
ISBN-13: 9780874406382
Cast Size: 2 female, 3 male

About the Play:

Trifles has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues and Female/Female Scenes.

 

Trifles is a one-act drama by Susan Glaspell. On the surface, this short play is a slice-of-life story about a murder investigation in the rural United States. However, it is also a story about the relationships between men and women, husbands and wives, and the often-overlooked "trifles" which can say so much about a person's life. Trifles is a thought-provoking drama that explores themes of justice, gender roles, and the complexities of human nature. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

Trifles is about a woman accused of strangling her husband. An isolated small-town community is deeply troubled when well-respected farmer John Wright is murdered, strangled in his own bed. They are even more shocked to learn that his timid wife, Minnie, is arrested for the sinister crime. While officers and neighbours are searching the old farmhouse for clues, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale wait in the one room deemed to be unimportant to the investigation: the kitchen. But what the two women friends discover as they wait not only could solve the case: it could prove the wife guilty, but by keeping her secret, they free her. Based on an actual murder case Susan Glaspell covered as a young reporter for the Des Moines News, the play represented an early exploration of gender relationships in a time when women often were considered to be mere "trifles." A groundbreaking feminist play, Trifles is a masterful blend of murder mystery and social commentary, thoughtfully examining traditional gender roles in early 20th century American life and illuminating how these ideas are still hauntingly relevant today.

Trifles premiered in 1916 by the Provincetown Players at the Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In the original performance Susan Glaspell played the role of the neighbour Mrs. Hale. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops. Unusually powerful and effective, it gives fine roles for two good actresses, and remains a popular choice for community theatre productions and is an ideal choice for high school drama contests and one-act festivals.

Cast: 2 female, 3 male

What people say:

"Although written in the early past of the century, Glaspell's haunting drama still resonates with its theme which now would be identified as feminist." — The Record (Kitchener, Ontario)

"...it was the deceptively named Trifles, written in 1916, that established Glaspell's reputation. Set on a remote farm where a murder has taken place, it shows female observation triumphing over male obtuseness ... With the deftest economy, Glaspell conjures up a world of solitude, despair and imprisonment where the women acknowledge their share of guilt." — The Guardian (UK)

About the Playwright:

Susan Keating Glaspell (1876-1948) was a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, actress, journalist, novelist. She is also known for her role in establishing the Provincetown Players, the first modern American theater company that also introduced the plays of Eugene O'Neill. Most of her nine novels, fourteen plays and over fifty short stories are set in Iowa, where she was raised. She has been heralded as America's first important 20th century female playwright. Her repertoire of short works not only reflect the political pulse of her time, they continue to shed light on the current female perspective. And yet, not many people know her name. This is why British theatre critic Michael Billington dubbed her "American drama's best-kept secret."