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The Voice of the Turtle

The Voice of the Turtle
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: John Van Druten
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 165
Pub. Date: 1944
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822212137
ISBN-13: 9780822212133
Cast Size: 2 female, 1 male

About the Play:

The Voice of the Turtle has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues and Female/Male Scenes.

The Voice of the Turtle is a full-length romantic comedy by John Van Druten. A young actress is forced to entertain a soldier for the evening when her friend, who was supposed to do so, cancels. The Voice of the Turtle is a classic of modern, sophisticated comedy that centers largely upon a most attractive and charming young man and an equally attractive young woman who, by gradual stages, fall in love with each other.

The Voice of the Turtle is about single life and sexual yearning in wartime Manhattan. A serviceman on leave finds himself without a date or a place to stay, only to accidentally arrive at the apartment of a wide-eyed young actress, Sally Middleton, who has sworn off love since an affair with a married producer went south. That is, until her promiscuous best friend Olive leaves her alone with the courtly Sergeant Bill Page, whom Olive has stood up for a better prospect. With no plans and no hotel rooms to be found, Bill ends up camping on Sally's sofa and taking her to dinner as recompense. The passion of the moment leads to a sexual encounter and love blooms. Though gentle and sensitive by today's standards, John Van Druten's play was considered daring in its day for its treatment of love and sex. Sally and Olive openly talk of sexual affairs, and Sally and Bill spends the night together after knowing each other less than 48 hours, with seeming nice girl Sally saying "There's a beast in me, too!" just before the lights go out.

The Voice of the Turtle premiered in 1943 on Broadway at the Morosco Theatre and played for more than four years (more than 1,500 performances), the ninth-longest running play in Broadway history. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been performed in regional, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 2 female, 1 male

What people say:

"A heartwarming, feel-good play about life and love in a simpler ... John Van Druten's The Voice of the Turtle ... is a 1943 romantic comedy set in wartime Manhattan that reminds us how sweet it can be to live in the moment and to grab the brass ring when it comes our way." — BroadwayWorld

"The Voice of the Turtle unfolds as a lovely antidote to cynicism. The World War II-era drama by John Van Druten ... could play like an old-fashioned museum piece. But ...the years have not dimmed The Voice of the Turtle, or dampened the hope implicit in its sincere approach to romance." — The Boston Globe

"The Voice of the Turtle, a gentle romantic comedy by John Van Druten, is a souvenir from an earlier age of American theater ... The play itself holds up well, nearly 70 years after its first production. Van Druten's take on sexual freedom and gender roles must have seemed daring at the time and remains relevant as it questions the double standard for men and women. At its heart, though, what is timeless about The Voice of the Turtle is the notion that love, commitment and stability offer the best hope for happiness in an often cold and cruel world." — Lowell Sun

About the Playwright:

John Van Druten (1901-1957) was an English playwright and theatre director who, after being educated as a solicitor, found much success writing for the London theatre in the 1920s and '30s. He relocated to the United States in 1940, and became a naturalized American citizen in 1944. He was known for his primarily light comedies about witty and urbane observations of contemporary life and society.

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