Anna Christie


Writers: Eugene O'Neill


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Multiple Settings
Time & Place
new york, 1920s
Cast Size
Orchestra Size
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes young adult, adult, mature adult characters


A hard-hitting, yet humorous drama, Anna Christie depicts the reunion of a troubled father and daughter in the docks of New York. Chris Christopherson is an old sailor who has spent his life on the seas, to the detriment of his family. He has not seen his daughter, Anna, since she was 5 years old. After his wife died, he sent Sweden-born Anna to live with cousins on a farm in America. At the beginning of the play, he receives a letter from his daughter, announcing that she is coming to New York. Anna is now a prostitute, after being abused by the men on the farm, and has fallen on hard times. She does not reveal this to her father, but instead lets him think she is a nurse. Anna hopes that she can stay with her father to rest up for a while, but she does not realize that he lives on a barge. Initially resistant to this lifestyle, Anna goes to live with Chris and, while living there, they rescue 5 men who have survived a shipwreck. One of these men is Mat Burke and, although Anna is initially wary of him, they become close and fall in love. Chris is not happy about this match as he does not want his daughter to marry a sailor. After Chris and Mat argue, Anna stops them both by revealing the secrets of her past. Furious, both Mat and Chris storm out of the barge and disappear on a drunken bender for 2 days. When Chris returns, he reveals that he has signed up for a voyage to South Africa but has arranged for all of his earnings to be sent to Anna. Mat then also reappears, desperate to know if Anna really loves him. When she confirms that she does, Mat also reveals that he has signed up on the same voyage as Chris, but he will wed Anna before he goes. As the play closes, Anna has escaped the life she hated and is about to marry the man she truly loves. Undeterred by loneliness, she promises both men that she will find a house and be waiting for them there when they return from their voyage.

Lead Characters

Anna Christie guide sections