Farewell Farewell Eugene


John Vari & Rodney Ackland

Published by Dramatists Play Service

3 Male 6 Female

How do you say "farewell" to someone who never appears in the first place?

Let the action speak for itself: the time is 1915; the place a shabbily genteel basement apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side

Its denizens are Gert and Minnie Povis, the former quite correct and slightly formidable, the later not above sneaking a clandestine bottle of beer or reliving her brief but happy days as a member of a third-rate opera company

The sisters supplement a small income by turning out handpainted greeting cards, which Cousin Peonie merchandises through her acquaintances in the "outside world." One of these is Chuck Bailey, who is in love with Poenie but out of favor with Gert

He does move a lot of greeting cards, however, which means more money for the growing fund in the "Visit to Eugene Box." Brother Eugene, we might add, has been off in Africa for a rather long time doing nobody knows what

All this, of course, has its complications, which runs something like this: Gert manages to break up Peonie's romance; Peonie vanishes; a baby is left on the doorstep; the authorities take the baby away despite the pleas of Gert and Minnie

But then the pendulum swings back: Chuck redeems himself; Poenie returns; Minnie gets slightly tiddly on liqueur-filled chocolates; Chuck and Peonie decide to get married and adopt the baby

As for brother Eugene, he is exposed for the worm he is by a certain letter not meant for his sisters' eyes, and they decide not to visit him after all - so it is farewell, and perhaps good riddance too

" a triumphant union of farce and near tragedy" - London Observer

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