Getting Out


Writers: Marsha Norman


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Contemporary, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
Louisville, Kentucky, apartment, 1970s
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Mature Audiences, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Star Vehicle Female
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, young adult, late teen, mature adult characters


Arlene Horsclaw is out of prison, paroled after spending eight years following a murder conviction. Her eight years did not go easy, and Arlene spent much of her time in solitary confinement. As Arlene tries to adjust to life on the outside, memories of her criminal past “Arlie” force their way in. She remembers a vicious and angry child who killed frogs for fun and beat up other kids. But Arlie was also brutally abused by her father, and ran away with a pimp named Carl--what she saw as her only escape. Arlene, for the first time in eight years, has choices in front of her: Will she return to Carl? Will she allow former prison guard Bennie to stay and take care of her? Will she be alone forever? Getting Out, Marsha Norman’s first professional play, is inspired by the playwright’s time working with juvenile offenders, and creates a stark and heartbreakingly realistic portrayal of a woman trying to start over.

Lead Characters

Getting Out guide sections