"Ingeniously touching and intensely real," wrote the critic of The Baltimore Sun. "Convincing, suspenseful, touching," was the comment of the New York Times critic who concluded his review with the observation that this was "affecting, too. How otherwise explain the tears that come to one's eyes at the end." This is the compelling story of Charlie, a mentally retarded man, and the strange interweaving of his life with that of Algernon, a mouse. Experimental surgery has been performed on Algernon increasing his intelligence fourfold. The operation is tried on Charlie, who rapidly changes from a moron to a genius, far more intelligent than his teacher, Alice Kinnian, or the doctors who created the operating technique. As Charlie approaches the peak of his brilliance, Algernon shows frightening symptoms of regression. The play becomes a race against time in which Charlie tries to keep his new intelligence long enough to save himself and thus continue what he and Alice have found. This is a different kind of play: poignant, romantic, funny and tragic, but with hope of man's indomitable spirit.
NotesThe original London cast recording of Flowers for Algernon (Charlie and Algernon) can be purchased from Footlight Records.
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- Type of Show Full-length Play
- Product Code F21000
- Cast Size 17
- Min. Royalty Rate $100/perf
- Cost $10.95
- Approx. Run Time 140 min
- Target Audience Young Audiences | Middle School | High School | College and Adult | Family (all ages) | Senior Adults
- Performing Group Middle School | High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre | Touring Group
- Genre Drama
- ISBN(13) 9780871295378
- "This was a wonderful play! It challenged our students to think outside of the box and perform something new and exciting."
- Review by Anthony Greer, United Township HS, East Moline, Ill.
- "Beautiful story with lots of characters. It's performed as a period piece with the mid-century language and use of the "r-word." It provided great conversation starters for our cast, crew, and community."
- Review by Joe King, Shorewood HS, Shorewood, Wis.
- "Flowers for Algernon was the best play we have done in years. The power of the script is awesome. With talented principals this play will have an immediate and tremendous impact."
- Review by G. Rhodenizer, Kelly Road Secondary School, Prince George, BC
- "This story lived up to everything I remembered from many years ago when I first became acquainted with "Flowers for Algernon." The plot carries the emotional needs of this story. It is an easy story to direct as it is self-motivated."
- Review by Jan Lucas, Gasconade County R1 School District, Hermann, MO
- "The show was well received. Due to our small performance space, the fact that we could do the show with a minimal set was a great help."
- Review by David Jirik, Brookfield Players, Brookfield, WI
- "Algernon is such a touching, human script. What a fantastic, meaty piece for young actors to dive into."
- Review by Scott Buchanan, Arts Council of Conejo Valley, Thousand Oaks, CA
- "Flowers for Algernon is a play which enables actors and audiences alike to experience a range of emotions. Its moving story stretches the limits of its actors and yet presents a timeless message through its diverse characters."
- Review by Linda Barber, Lakewood Park Christian School, Auburn, IN
- "It is a wonderful drama that allows for a real emotional connection to the main character. It is also a positive dramatic experience for those who perform in it as well as those in the audience."
- Review by Dana McAfee, Warsaw Community High School, Warsaw, IN
- "It's a beautiful, touching story, that is universal in its message."
- Review by Carl Occhipinti, Shining Through Productions, Chicago, Ill.
- "Beautiful story that gives actors strong, interesting characters to play. Our audience left in tears every night."
- Review by Sara Youngblood-Ochoa, Arts Council of Wilson - ACT!, Wilson, N.C.
- "Flowers for Algernon was a wonderful show, well suited to production by our high school. We utilized abstract scene design, scrim, and just a few props to bring this show to life. This is an excellent star vehicle for an exceptionally talented lead male and is a good competition piece. Our audience loved itÑwe received a standing ovation!"
- Review by Linda Nyhart, Wellsville High School, Wellsville, Kan.
- "A dynamic and powerful play that touches audiences with heartfelt honesty and human concern. Charlie's lines ring with a vulnerable truth that causes us all to examine our desire to "improve" mankind through scientific tinkering. Standing ovation closing night!"
- Review by Dennis Hollenbeck, Madison High School, San Diego, Calif.
- "This production sets a new standard for ICHTHYS Theatre. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster, which could have come across as simplistic and melodramatic if poorly done, but rather was rich and real. Pats on the back all around."
- Review by Lorna Stratton, ICHTHYS Theatre Productions, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
- "This production was well received by our audience. A terrific study for main character to show many emotions. The emotions in this play had cast members hooked from the first read-through and audiences in tears through most of the production."
- Review by Elizabeth Schreiner, Portland Christian School, Louisville, Ky.
- "This was a fantastic show for a group of talented middle-school students that had been yearning to do something more challenging. Across the board, they inhabited their characters and brought poignant life to the script."
- Review by Rick Clark, Village Academy, Powell, Ohio
- "Flowers for Algernon was an excellent choice for our program. I was able to add many students to the show and give the opportunity to all my students to be involved. It's a great piece that will bring in middle schoolers (they read it as part of the curriculum) and also recruits those same students to our program next year."
- Review by Justin Bulla, South Stokes High School, Walnut Cove, N.C.
- "This beautiful play was expertly directed by a student internÑa perfect piece that is meaty for actors and fulfilling to work on. Lots of scenes with only a few actors gave all more individual attention."
- Review by Rodney Hearn, Damonte Ranch High School, Reno, Nev.
Hints, Tips, and Tricks
- "The person who plays Charlie needs to do extensive study on a person with a disability in order to be true and respectful. Also, they need to learn their lines from day one. "
- Tip by Anthony Greer, United Township HS, East Moline, Ill.
- "We utilized the idea of a "maze" in our set design, including covering some sections of a large 3-D backdrop with scrim, so as the family were introduced we could control, with lighting, whether they were silhouettes, blurry, or fully seen. We also constructed all furniture pieces out of 8 16" blocks and 8 16" X 8" blocks with table tops. Very effective when mixed with "lab coated" crew to appear as though the whole thing was out of Charlie's control once he'd given permission for the surgery."
- Tip by Linda Nyhart, Wellsville High School, Wellsville, Kan.
- "This show uses a modern overlapping scene approach so that there are virtually no blackouts between the numerous scenes. Add video projections, music, and some cool lighting effects and you'll have a major hit!"
- Tip by Dennis Hollenbeck, Madison High School, San Diego, Calif.
- "A multi-level set worked well for the numerous scene changes."
- Tip by El. J. Arnston, St. Mary's Central High School, Bismarck, N.D.
- "Definitely cross fade lights between scenes and minimalize blackouts or the show will be too choppy."
- Tip by Cynthia K. Schreiner, Mt. Lebanon High School, Pittsburgh, Pa.
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