THE THOUSAND-YEAR ROSE

ISBN 978-1-61588-431-5 | Heuer Publishing

A Play in 2 Acts for 13+ Actors (7 Women, 3 Men, 3+ Roles for Any Gender)

Recommended for Professional, Community, College, High School, and Middle School Productions

 

Three storybook-style witches seek the lost treasure of Hanenbough, Ireland, sealed by a rose that will only bloom for a pure heart. The witches decide to simply kidnap somebody with a pure heart to make the rose bloom. They set their eyes on the sharp-witted and sassy college student, Kimmi Larkin, who is also searching for the treasure and making fast friends with most that she meets. This is the play that I probably feel the closest to. Writing a second play meant Knights was not just a fluke. With this play also as my directorial debut, the world premiere production staged in Jukebox Theater at Wheaton College holds an extremely special place in my heart, with Piper Curda as Kimmi Larkin leading such an incredible cast.

 

I wanted to take this play to explore questions of "what truly makes a good person?" "are there certain traits that would exclude a person from ever being good?", which were especially strong questions I considered as I was a bit disillusioned heading in my fourth year attending an evangelical college. Good and evil are much more complex than fairy tales (and evangelicalism) tend to present - so I would liken this show as a companion piece to The Good Place. I also would be remiss if I didn't mention the inspiration I drew for this play from my favorite video game of all-time, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.

 

THE THOUSAND-YEAR ROSE is dedicated to Harris, R.J., and the rest of the Men’s Glee Club New Men of Fall 2015 – the quirky, strong-hearted adventure party that I love seeking the Treasure with.

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

SPOILERS BELOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

KIMMI LARKIN

Female, 18-22 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

A sharp-witted and sassy research intern for Professor Davis. She is confident, resourceful, and true to herself in all situations. Talkative with an infectious energy, Kimmi has a way with winning others over quickly and seeing those connections she makes as opportunities. She is a pretty terrible liar and has a tendency to speak before she thinks, as she thinks, and after she thinks. Kimmi is indisputably the protagonist of this story, but she is a subverted take on the stock fantasy "chosen one". Kimmi is content with exactly who she is - which makes her a perfect agent to draw good out of others. Kimmi's actress should be an especially strong woman on and off stage.

ABIGAIL

Female, 30-49 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

The eldest and leader of the three witches. She is a wicked witch straight out of a storybook masking her insecurity under heavy layers of snark and sarcasm. She intends to find the treasure of the Thousand-Year Rose and use the money to take over the world. Resourceful, determined, and demanding, she serves in many ways as an evil counterpart to Kimmi -  while Kimmi's snark comes from a place of loving confidence and selflessness, Abigail's comes from fear and selfishness. Abigail is quite good at sniffing out when she is being lied to - making her a worthy antagonist for Kimmi.

CIERA

Female, 28-35 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

 

The middle of the three witches, a consummate follower. She's happy-go-lucky, soft-spoken, and more than a little stupid, but do not be fooled: Ciera is a dangerous witch who is deeply loyal to Abigail. She remains loyal to Abigail and serves as comic relief and a wide-eyed sounding board for Abigail's scheming. This role often steals the show.

VIVIAN

Female, 23-30 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

 

The youngest of the three witches. Book smart and full of common sense, she rarely has the opportunity for her voice to be heard, as Abigail will not listen to it except as a last resort. Vivian experiences continual abusive treatment from Abigail but nonetheless continues to tag along with her sisters because she knows nothing else. Vivian is skilled in fire and explosive magic. Vivian the character is meek but the role must be played by an actress who is an especially strong woman. Her arc is one to watch from start to finish.

SCOTT FOLEY

Male, 13-16 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

Maryann’s shy, hesitant grandson in the throws of the early stages of puberty (so, eighth grade). He is slow to trust and would prefer not to talk. Scott is a bit of a coward at the start of the play and hides behind a "cool teenager" persona - but he's really something of a nerd. Beneath the cold exterior, he is pure of heart and passionate about the legend of the Thousand-Year Rose. He begins to open up when he meets Kimmi and learns important lessons about courage and liking himself.

DIANA MARIE BAILEY

Female, 45-60 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

A dignified, classically trained, high society actress at the theatre in Hanenbough with a warm and motherly soul. As an actress of her age, she is regularly cast in roles as the mother and sort of takes on a mother's role for both Kimmi and Scott. No stranger to creating mischief herself, Diana can hold her own in confrontation and protects Kimmi and Scott from the witches' attack at the theatre. She is another image of a strong woman who does good and is pure of heart.

PROFESSOR FRANK DAVIS

Male, 65-75 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Straight

Kimmi Larkin's professor of archaeology at a university in the suburbs of Chicago. While a seemingly friendly, grandfatherly type, Davis has never let anything come between him and his research of Hanenbough, Ireland and the legend of the Thousand-Year Rose. He sees deep potential in Ms. Larkin to fulfill his life’s work in Ireland - though his own tresure hunting comes to a halt when he meets Maryann Foley.

THE GARDENER, DESROSIER

Any Gender Identity, 18-22 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

 

A mysterious man with a shovel tending to the garden growing inside the cave of the Thousand-Year Rose, where the lost treasure of Desrosier is fabled to be buried. His role in the legend of the Thousand-Year Rose mirrors that of Kimmi's through the play - he was not originally from Hanenbough, but drew treasure (goodness) out of the people that he met and sealed the treasure with the rose for someone with a pure heart to find. His poem sets the themes of the show:

"On this night a heart is shattered,

For all things good had disappeared.

E'en so, a garden grows in the cave

While the rose waits a thousand years.

At dawn, the rose shall bloom

When the pure of heart draw near.

The wicked may seek its beauty,

But the treasure they'll ne'er find here.

For the treasure is a beating heart

Held fast in grips of fear

When the gales thrash the ocean

And the rolling thunder leers-

E'en so, a garden grows in the cave

While the rose waits a thousand years."

May double as JEWELER, CASTING DIRECTOR, and CONDUCTOR.

CAPTAIN SEAMUS BOGGS

Male, 50-65 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

The thickly-accented Irish sailor who called his retirement too soon who sees Kimmi into town when she arrives. He also serves as Kimmi and Professor Davis’ landlord, renting out a portion of his house to them for the summer. He is kooky and a little blunt, but he, too, is pure of heart. He joins the adventure party in the second act after Kimmi convinces him to come along in search of the rose.

MARYANN FOLEY

Female, 60-75 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Straight

A spry widow raising her grandson, Scott, in Hanenbough. She works part-time as a fitness instructor while Scott is in school. She takes an immediate liking to both Kimmi and Professor Davis. She enchants Professor Davis and it is love at first sight.

PAREZCO / PAREZCA

Any Gender Identity, 20-35 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

A smarmy impressionist with a massive ego who occasionally acts at the theatre in Hanenbough. Despite ego and smarminess, this impressionist is the best of the best Hanenbough has to offer. Parezco becomes plot relevant after a few background appearances. When the role is male-identified, he is Parezco and when the role is female-identified, she is Parezca. May double as PASSERBY.

ELIZABETH PEACHES

Female, 18-22 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

 

Kimmi’s uptight roommate and close friend, appearing only in Kimmi's introductory scene. She is to provide a foil to Kimmi and allow for exposition of Kimmi's character. May double as STAGE MOM and KATHLEEN.

JEWELER

Any Gender Identity, Any Age, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

A traveling salesperson who has a shop set up in the Hanenbough market. May double as GARDENER, CASTING DIRECTOR, and CONDUCTOR.

CASTING DIRECTOR

Any Gender Identity, 25-45 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

A thoroughly bored casting director working on auditions for the Suzanne's production of Knights of the Square Table. May double as GARDENER, JEWELER, and CONDUCTOR.

STAGE MOM

Female, 30-45 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

An overly involved stage parent. May double as ELIZABETH and KATHLEEN.

CHILD ACTOR

Any Gender Identity, 6-12 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

A child actor who did not choose their stage parent. May be portrayed as a voice recording to avoid hiring a child actor.

KATHLEEN

Female, 30-45 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

Loyal housekeeper of Captain Boggs. May double as ELIZABETH and STAGE MOM.

TRAIN CONDUCTOR

Any Gender Identity, 35-65 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

An employee on the train bound for Olcott at 8pm. The conductor is a little suspicious of Professor Davis when they meet. May double as GARDENER, JEWELER, and CASTING DIRECTOR.

PASSERBY

Any Gender Identity, Any Age, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation

A passenger on the train bound for Olcott at 8pm. May double as PAREZCO.

© 2019 ByPeterFenton.com. All rights reserved.
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