Cast: 4-6m, 11f, 1 either gender
Denise is a talented musician and passionate about social justice. After a short time away at college, she is befriended by a charismatic church leader who may or may not be what he seems. On the very first page, Gregory delves into Denise's family dynamics and her strong social conscience.
DENISE: (after finishing a song) "I'm Denise Kozak, we're Lost Horizon and that was "You Can Run But You Can't Hide." Dedicated to my kid brother Cliff - who I guess had better things to do tonight? Than support Guatemalan earthquake relief? ... But you're all here - which is awesome! ... Because - it's like - you know fate? You don't choose your fate. It chooses you. And if you're lucky in this life ... you have an obligation, you know? To do what you can for the ill-fated of this world."
Right away, we see Denise's musical talent, her rift with her younger brother and her wish to give back to the world. Denise is from a loving home. Her decision to leave what her new church deems a "toxic family" and a useless school comes from a deep-seated longing to be needed, to be appreciated and to develop this "special" gift that the church says in inside her. It's a different take from a young person running away to avoid a challenging home and looking for acceptance anywhere she can find it.
Cliff's best friend, Duffy, sees Denise at a mall and convinces Cliff that his sister is in trouble and needs rescuing. It takes some convincing but Cliff wants some answers. What is it that Denise gets from a shallow preacher that she doesn't get at home? Cliff and Duffy embark on a road trip leaving Cliff's younger sister, Jill, at home to run interference with the parents. But Jill won't stay out of it. She has done some research on her own. She sets Cliff and Duffy up with an interview with a woman who can tell them in no uncertain terms what they will be up against if they try to rescue Denise and how they could wind up driving Denise further away from them.
SISTER: "There's a certain security. In having someone else make decisions for you. And if you toe the line, you do feel loved."
CLIFF: I never thought Denise would fall for something like that.
SISTER: Imagine if you're alone. On a huge campus. Away from home for the first time. And maybe you're fighting with your parents. Or you just broke up with your boyfriend. Or you're really confused about your major, what you want to do with your life. And someone ... comes along. Who makes you feel just wonderful about yourself. And it seems like he has all the answers. Are you going to tell him to get out of here, you're too nice?
Faith versus fanaticism collide but how does one tell the difference? Especially if you're young, vulnerable and longing to make a positive impact on the world?
WHY YOU SHOULD PRODUCE THIS PLAY
The cast is comprised of mainly teens with a few early 20's and one adult which make all of the characters very accessible to student actors. Students in high schools and colleges will relate to both Cliff's story of trying to save his sister and Denise's journey of trying to make her mark in the world.
Smartly-written, the dialogue is very fast paced in the manner that teens speak today without the slang that could date it. Gregory's main characters have a clear arc where they grow and change on this journey to Salvation Road. There is an expandable ensemble and and numerous chances for the minor characters to shine. Gregory gives the actors a script that poses many questions about family, social justice, faith, fanaticism and purpose in life - all questions that teens grapple with today. There is no tidy ending but there is hope which is all any of us can dare to wish for in the end.
The play will leave the audiences with much to discuss, even more to think about, and will thoroughly engage the audience throughout the course of the play.
To order a copy of this play, read an excerpt, and/or produce it, please go to: https://www.dramaticpublishing.com/salvation-road
- D.W. Gregory's plays frequently explore political issues through a personal lens. The New York Times called her "a playwright with a talent to enlighten and provoke" for her most produced play, Radium Girls, about the famous case of industrial poisoning. Other plays include Molumby's Million, nominated for a Barrymore Theatre Award by Theatre Philadelphia; October 1962; and a musical comedy, The Yellow Stocking Play. Her short comedy So Tell Me About This Guy was a finalist for the Heideman Award and produced at Actor's Theatre of Louisville. Her work has been developed through the support of the American Alliance for Theatre Education (AATE), The National New Play Network, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Gregory is a member of the Dramatists Guild and affiliated writer with the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. More information can be found at: www.dwgregory.com.
You might also like: Ark 5 by Sandra Fenichel Asherark-5-by-sandra-fenichel-asher.html