Donkey in Horse Heaven
by Rick A. Elina
Cast of Characters
NELSON, a Chestnut
TRAVELLER, an Iron Grey Horse
BLACK JACK, a Black Horse with
a white star on his forehead
TRIGGER, a Palomino, smaller
than the other horses
MR. WAR, a Chestnut Stallion
HORACE, a Donkey
Horses can be played by one or more
actors playing several characters. Certain
Ensemble Horses are optional.
Various “Other Horses” are
sitting or standing around and can used as additional ensemble
characters, if needed.
Poor little Horace has found himself in Horse Heaven. And he doesn’t belong.
This is a fact that Horace is reminded of all too often. For one thing,
Horace is a donkey and donkeys simply don’t go to Horse Heaven. To add to
his troubles, Horace finds himself among the most famous horses in history.
In fact, the inhabitants of Horse Heaven have been described as “a veritable
who’s who of horses.” Questioned by these icons of equine history as
to why Horace is even in Horse Heaven, the little donkey can’t seem to come
up with an answer. When the great deeds of the other horses are recounted,
Horace feels that perhaps a mistake was made. Until the end, when a simple
deed is revealed that trumps all the rest. Donkey in Horse Heaven
is a morality play about acceptance and how even the simplest of gestures
from the unlikeliest of sources can affect the world.
Horse Heaven. The set is minimal and can be accomplished by a variety of
designs ranging from the simplistic to the elaborate. From unit set pieces
to cloud covered table and chairs; from a basically bare stage to a heavenly
home filled with stars and clouds. The only limit is imagination.
About this Playwright
RICK A. ELINA is a playwright based in Plano, TX and is the Theatre
Critic for the North Dallas Gazette.
Have you read Elina's full-length First Kiss,
also available through JAC?
$3 S & H is added upon checkout.
In Horse Heaven by Christopher Soden, EDGE Contributor
Thursday Dec 18, 2008
in Horse Heaven is a one-act
children’s play that has much in the way of amusement for adults as well.
During the holidays it’s not always easy to find something different and
original, but "Donkey in Horse Heaven" is an absorbing, reflective,
intelligent and clever piece with a cast of gifted young people. Dressed in
fine jet-black trousers and t-shirts, bushy tails and manes, they pass time
in the circle of heaven reserved only for the elite of the equine community.
Amongst the horses dwelling here are: the horse that supported George
Washington at Valley Forge (Nelson) the horse that went riderless to honor
the passing of John F. Kennedy (Black Jack) Man o’War and Roy Rogers’
faithful steed, Trigger. The other horses give Trigger a hard time, as his
only claim to glory is his "make-believe" heroics on the silver screen. Into
this Valhalla for valiant horses walks sweet, poor, little unassuming Horace
the Donkey, confused as the rest of them as to why he was sent there.
Surprisingly lofty (though no less enjoyable) "Donkey in Horse Heaven"
considers the nature of heroism, bravery, and what constitutes a worthy
contribution to society. It’s intriguing to hear the horses discuss, from
their point of view, the perseverance and often grueling details of battle
and travail, not to mention the revelation that often unseemly behavior can
better suit the occasion than compliance. Apparently there’s a caste system
everywhere, even in the land of eternal bliss, but fortunately, the more
soft-spoken ponies are there, too, to offer their humble, less strident
Throughout Donkey the suggestion is woven that often the most powerful acts
of altruism are the least spectacular. That we needn’t be diminished by
Without a doubt the two most interesting characters are Trigger and Horace.
Trigger must bear disrespect from his peers because of the "trivial" nature
of his career. Like so many in the field of artistry, he must deal with the
less enlightened, who would dismiss film as mere diversion.
The young man who plays Trigger, Cam Wenrich, has great charisma and aplomb.
When he rose for his tap dance number he was relaxed and convivial in the
spotlight, very professional and poised. The young lady who played Horace,
Hope Henderson, was impressive as well, touching our hearts with the plight
of the wandering donkey, berated by the more pompous inhabitants of horse
heaven and wanting only to find the place where he belongs.
Donkey in Horse
through December 21st at Teatro Delle Muse in Plano, a special benefit run
for The Brittany Stene Medical Fund. Brittany, a talented and outgoing
member of the Teatro Delle Muse family, was recently diagnosed with a form
of bone cancer, and has since had chemotherapy and two surgeries in the last
nine months. Brittany has shown what a true fighter she is, and is expected
to complete chemo In February, about ten months earlier than originally
projected. 100% of ticket sales from Donkey in Horse Heaven will be donated
to Brittany’s medical fund. Everyone involved has donated their wages
or participated without payment to help contribute to this worthy cause. TDM
has also organized a silent auction that will be running through the month
of December in The ArtCentre Gallery. You need not be present to win. For
tickets call 972-424-6873 or check the website at
For donations email Ande Bewley at
or call : 972-424-6873. Brittany’s Website with information about her
diagnosis and progress :
You must sign up for an account and then search for BrittsPage2008.
Teatro delle Muse presents:
Donkey in Horse Heaven
by Rick A. Elina and directed by Sarah VC Henderson, playing December 13th
through the 21st. For more information call: 972-424-6873 or check out their
website at :
Christopher Soden received his MFA in Poetry from
Vermont College in 2005. He is a teacher, lecturer, actor, performer and
playwright. In addition he writes film, theatre and literary critique. In
his spare time he likes to read, cook, dine, do crossword puzzles, chill and
What in the world is a donkey doing in Horse
Heaven? This is the question on everyone's mind in Teatro delle Muse's
Donkey in Horse Heaven,
by Rick A. Elina, theatre critic for the
North Dallas Gazette.
An unassuming donkey named Horace (Hope Henderson) finds himself in not
just any old corner of Horse Heaven, but in the "seventh level," among
the creme de la creme of the upper echelons of horsehood. The famed and lauded horses who inhabit
this realm are a veritable "who's who" of horses. Of course you can
imagine their reaction when a lowly donkey enters their "hallowed hall."
We learn of the great contributions to history of
such Horse-Heaven luminaries as Nelson (Mardi Robinson), Traveller
(Shelby-Marie Sloan), Man O'War (Jay Reavis), and and of course, the
"spirited" Blackjack (Rachel Southworth). Though their names may not be
household, or horsehold, now, but you will remember these noble
creatures long after the curtain falls. As the story unfolds, each of
these respected and honored equines one by one recounts his exploits and
valor. This only serves to raise even more doubt as to why a donkey
would be in Horse Heaven. And the most doubtful of all is poor Horace.
The petit Ms. Henderson plays well against the older actors. This
contrast in stature with the other horses fuels the underlying theme of
self-doubt and heaven-worthy qualifications. But in the end, kindness
and acceptance trumps all.
In fact each cast member holds their own, ably
portraying a selection of horses (and donkey) with a wide range of
personalities and styles. Cam Wenrich as Trigger adds comedic moments
that work well as a foil to the more serious horses. As scenic designer,
Sarah VC Henderson creatively explores the idea of just what might
constitute heaven for a horse, giving the angelic equines plenty of
space to do what they love: eat, roll in the dirt, and play games. As
director, Henderson has struck just the right balance of humor, rivalry,
and tenderness with this carefully crafted script. The lighting design, by Jason Fehrm, superbly
illuminated the celestial realm.
Making this production all the more poignant during
this holiday season is the fact that it is a benefit for the young
Brittany Stene, an actress, singer and dancer who has been active with
Teatro delle Muse from its first production. Brittany has been battling
cancer this year, and all proceeds from this show and an accompanying
silent auction will go toward her medical fund.
The opening performance audience enjoyed an
additional treat in a warm-up turn on piano and vocals by Louisiana
musician Talmadge Wells. This opening act was hard to follow, but the
talented cast was up to the challenge and kept everyone rapt to the
final revelatory moments.
Donkey in Horse Heaven
continues through December 21. Tickets may be purchased online at
www.TeatrodelleMuse.us or by calling