Evelyn in Purgatory

by  Topher Payne

Full Length Play, Dark Comedy  /  2m, 5f

“The Breakfast Club for teachers... an uncommonly smart and restrained commentary on the public education system.” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Evelyn in Purgatory

by  Topher Payne

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 5f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Not Applicable
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

When a complaint is filed against one of the 70,000 teachers in New York’s public schools, they’re sent to a Reassignment Center, one of a series of empty offices in the Department of Education Building. There, they sit and wait for their case to be reviewed. Usually for months. Sometimes for over a year.

A claim of improper behavior by a failing student lands Evelyn Reid in “the rubber room,” where she encounters a group of teachers, some guilty, some not, who have long since lost any hope of returning to a classroom.

Over the course of the school year, these colleagues form an unlikely alliance, reminding each other of forgotten passions, emerging to face life outside in unexpected new directions. They also learn French and workshop a screenplay.

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Reviews

REVIEWS 

“The Breakfast Club for teachers... an uncommonly smart and restrained commentary on the public education system.” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“A remarkably well-constructed and very funny dramatic comedy… we’re kept constantly curious about each character.” – ArtsATL

“I love how these characters are introduced, how they change before our eyes (through an unlayering of truth and falsehood rather than through arbitrary plot contrivances.) I love how they surprise, how they make me laugh and move me, how they represent a broad spectrum of teachers and styles and ambitions. I loved every minute of Evelyn in Purgatory.” – Atlanta Theatre Buzz

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: New Millennium/21st Century
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting:

    A windowless, forgotten office deep in the Department of Education building, New York City. Autumn 2008 through Spring 2009

  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Casting

2m, 5f

CANDACE METZGER - 30s. The person with the most power in the room, and the least qualifications for it. From New Jersey, tries to hide the accent but fails when she gets emotional.
EVELYN REID - 30s. Likeable and resourceful. A careful mix of guarded pleasantry- she has a stellar game face. New England native.
LILA WADKINS - 50s. Calm, maternal, thoughtful, witty. The voice of reason. The art teacher everyone wishes they had. Upstate New York native, some residual hippie around the edges.
TOBY FLEMING - 20s. A bit of a geek. Quiet, passive-aggressive, perpetually uncertain. Brooklyn native.
FRED DISALVO - 50s. Bombastic, funny, a bit of a bully. A gym teacher from Hell's Kitchen, back when that still meant something.
ROBERTA BURKE - 60s. The self-appointed queen of all she surveys. Razor-sharp wit, no patience, and an uncanny ability to spot the weaknesses in those around her. Very Bronx.
ATWOOD (unseen) - The head of the disciplinary panel. The invisible voice of absolute authority. Written as “Ms. Atwood,” but can be changed to “Mr. Atwood” to accommodate a gender swap.

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Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Asian Actor(s)
  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Role(s) for Latino Actor(s)
  • Ensemble cast
  • Multicultural casting

Resources

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Authors

Topher Payne

In 2014, The American Theatre Critics Association awarded Topher Payne’s play Perfect Arrangement the M. Elizabeth Osborn Prize for Best Play by An Emerging Playwright. The play went on to be produced Off-Broadway in 2015 by Primary Stages and MARS Theatricals, and was a finalist for a 2017 Lambda Literary Award. He wa ...

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Evelyn in Purgatory was first produced by The Essential Theatre Company in Atlanta, GA in July 2012 under the direction of Betty Hart.

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