By Robert Johanson. From the novel by Charles Dickens.
Cast: 13m., 8w. (3 children, up to 40 cast without doubling, extras.) "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times..." So begins one of the great novels of English literature, as well as this exciting new dramatization which premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse to audience and critical acclaim. Sidney Carton, a dissolute lawyer, who bears a striking resemblance to Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, loves the same woman as Darnay, the charming Lucie Manette. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, this romance will eventually lead us to the guillotine and the famous final line: "It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done..." Along the journey are some of Dickens' most remarkable characters: the Revolutionary hero Defarge and his ever-knitting wife Madame Defarge; Dr. Manette, falsely imprisoned in the Bastille for 18 years and then "recalled to life"; the evil Marquis St. Evremonde; the hilarious Jerry Cruncher with his grave robbing and his wife's "floppin"; the devoted Miss Pross; and a vast array of delicious character roles. The production can be done on a unit set with clever effects fully described in the script to whisk the audience from the slums of Paris to a rich chateau; English courtrooms, graveyards and La Guillotine herself. The play has been lavishly praised for its adherence to Dickens' narrative and embodiment of the characters he created. Excellent for school groups. Unit set.