John

Play

New Work
Writers: Annie Baker

Overview

Show Information

Category
Play
Number of Acts
3
First Produced
2015
Genres
Drama
Settings
Contemporary, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
contemporary (2010s), november, a bed-and-breakfast, gettysburg, pennsylvania
Cast Size
small
Licensor
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes adult, mature adult, elderly characters

Synopsis

When Elias and Jenny, a troubled young couple, stop at a bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, they have different expectations. Elias is excited to explore the historical sites, while Jenny is hoping to reconnect with her mistrustful boyfriend. They end up, late at night, at Mertis Katherine’s bed-and-breakfast, a cozy home chock full of toys, figurines, and Victorian kitsch with a grim Civil War past. Hospitable Mertis tells ghost stories, offers Vienna finger cookies, and records the sunsets in florid, sinister prose, while Elias and Jenny bicker painfully, and Mertis’ blind and elderly friend, Genevieve, describes being haunted by the spirit of her abusive ex-husband, John. Childhood trauma, Latin incantations, lists of birds, Lovecraftian monsters, a watchful universe, mistrust, infidelity, and one very angry American Girl doll, are just a few of the troubles crowding the air during one fraught post-Thanksgiving weekend. Annie Baker’s gentle, atmospheric, and eerie play John is a delicate, amusing, emotional drama which explores loneliness, communication, and the question of whether objects do, indeed, have souls.

Lead Characters