JAC Publishing & Promotions


Donkey in Horse Heaven by Rick A. Elina

ISBN #1-60513-025-7


Cast of Characters

  • NELSON, a Chestnut Horse

  • 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 (Optional)

  • HORACE, a Donkey


*Ensemble 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.
The Setting
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?

NOTE: $3 S & H is added upon checkout.

Donkey in Horse Heaven by Rick A. Elina

$4.50/individual copy

$30/performance royalty

For more than one script or a script package, please call (781) 272-2066

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Donkey In Horse Heaven by Christopher Soden, EDGE Contributor - Thursday Dec 18, 2008

Donkey 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 wisdom.

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 servitude.

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 Heaven plays 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 www.TeatrodelleMuse.us. For donations email Ande Bewley at Ande@TeatrodelleMuse.us or call : 972-424-6873. Brittany’s Website with information about her diagnosis and progress : www.carepages.com. 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 : www.TeatrodelleMuse.us

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 nap.

Donkey in Horse Heaven by Sis. Shirley Tarpley
North Dallas Gazette

What in the world is a donkey doing in Horse Heaven? This is the question on everyone's mind in Teatro delle Muse's current offering, 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 1-866-811-4111.

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