The Kindness of Strangers  by Dan Borengasser


Darin Fisher, claiming to be a MFA grad student, arrives to produce and direct a Shakespearean play. He's staying till the performance, one week away. Ten residents show up for the initial meeting. They are irascible and headstrong, but they agree to do "The Tempest." Then they bully Darin into playing Ferdinand and therapist Heather Barclay into playing Miranda. As it turns out, Darin's not a grad student, but an undercover cop sent to Swann to investigate a series of suspicious deaths. When Heather discovers this, he realizes his mission is jeopardized, and he's ready to pull out. But he stays for one more night, just long enough to suspect that the deaths have been suicides, assisted by the very group he's directing. He's in a quandary - does he apply the letter of the law? Or try to rationalize away their illegal intervention.


Cast of Characters
7 men, 7 women

  • DARIN FISHER: (31), Producer/director, police detective. Plays Ferdinand.

  • HEATHER BARCLAY: (27), Therapist. Plays Miranda.

  • HELEN LARSON: (81), Swann resident. Wheelchair-bound. Not obsessed with appearances. Plays Ariel.

  • OLIVIA STILES: (80), Swann resident. Still attractive at her age; nicely dressed. Plays Trinculo.

  • SARA RYMER: A Swann resident. Plays Stephano.

  • JESSICA WARREN: A Swann resident. Plays Sebastian.

  • FAYE GOSSLIN: A Swann resident. Plays Caliban.

  • WALLACE STEDMAN: A Swann resident. Plays Antonio.

  • ROBERT BARROW: A Swann resident. Plays Prospero at first, till replaced by Gregory Hiller.

  • JAMES GOLIATH: A Swann resident. Plays King Alonso.

  • FORREST RANDOLPH: A Swann resident. Plays Gonzalo.

  • JASON BLACKMAN: (mid 30s), An orderly at Swann.

  • GREGORY HILLER: A Swann resident. Tall and solidly built. Plays Prospero.

  • CHARLOTTE ADDISON: The newest resident at Swann Rehab.

  • UNRECOGNIZABLE FIGURE: A Swann resident. Could be played by anyone.

The Setting

Swann Health and Rehab's an independent living facility for elderly actors.

The Kindness of Strangers by Dan Borengasser
ISBN #1-60513-103-2; JAC #2011-0008


$10.25/individual copy

Script Package (17): 20% Discount

$35/performance royalty

This title is also available for

To license this play, please call (781) 272-2066


Read an Excerpt

<Sunday evening. 7pm. The cafeteria of Swann Health and Rehab. Olivia Stiles pushes Helen Larson in. The two are playing a game - guessing the quotes from Tennessee Williams plays.>

OLIVIA: <Dramatic.> “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

HELEN: Cripes, Olivia. Is that the best you can do? Blanche in Streetcar. <Dramatic.> “Time goes by so fast, nothin’ can outrun it.”

OLIVIA: <Stops pushing the wheelchair and thinks.> Give me a hint.


OLIVIA: Come on, Helen. Just a little one. It’s right on the tip on my tongue.

HELEN: No. Not when we’re betting tonight’s tapioca pudding.

OLIVIA: All right. Be that way. It’s ... ah ... it’s ...

<Helen begins humming the “time’s running out” music from Jeopardy.>

OLIVIA: Okay, okay. Ah ... Tom from Glass Menagerie.

HELEN: Sorry, old girl. Big Mama from Hot Tin Roof.

OLIVIA: Damn. I even played that once.

HELEN: Played it and couldn’t guess? Goodbye, memory— hello, Alzheimer’s.

<Heather Barclay enters and thumbtacks a notice on the bulletin board.>

OLIVIA: Know what I like about you?


OLIVIA: Me, either.

HELEN: Oooh ... really nasty, Olivia. And coming from me, that’s high praise.

<They hear Heather and turn to watch her.>

HELEN (Continued): Well, Heather, sneaking around with midnight memos?

HEATHER: It’s only 7 o’clock, Ms. Larson.

HELEN: Just making a point. What’s this one about— new prune rations?

HEATHER: You may actually find this interesting. There’s going to be a play produced at Swann Rehab.

OLIVIA: You’re kidding. A play? Has that ever happened before?

HEATHER: Not as long as I’ve been here.

HELEN: Who’s the director? Jason Rivers?

OLIVIA: I don’t think so. He died.

HELEN: How could they tell? 


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