Bardstreet

Plays by
Gwen Adams

The Other Wiseman:
A Festival of
Lessons and Carols

A PLAY BY GWEN ADAMS

The Other Wiseman by Anna Wiebold

Two Commedia dell'Arte Plays for the Modern Stage

PLAYS BY GWEN ADAMS

The Other Wiseman by Anna Wiebold

Puss-in-Boots &
The Return of Puss-in-Boots

A PLAY BY GWEN ADAMS

The Other Wiseman by Anna Wiebold

The New Underground Theater

In the footsteps of St. John Paul II (1920-2005)
& The Rhapsodic Theatre

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The Other Wiseman

A Festival of Lessons and Carols

Adapted for the stage from the story by Henry Van Dyke.
Full-length play
Comedy | Drama
Cast Size: (with doubling) 7 M., 5 W. May be expanded up to 19 m., 10 w., 4 either gender, extras as needed, 1–3 infants.
Balthasar, Caspar, Melchior, and Artaban of Ecbatana are four magi of the East, whose studies lead them to believe that they may find a King, foretold in prophecy and worthy to be served. The first three magi set out westward, promising to rendezvous with Artaban three days after the appearance of a certain great star. Meanwhile, Artaban sells all his possessions to purchase a ruby, sapphire, and pearl to present as gifts to the King. Setting out on the journey with young servant Gill, Artaban fails to meet up with the other magi, or to locate the King they are seeking. Artaban dreams strange dreams and has many adventures as he continues his search. Finally, he comes to Jerusalem where he learns of a man to be crucified who is indeed the King worthy to be served. Old and dying, Artaban almost despairs. He then receives one last dream before his death, after which the dreams become reality.
There’s nothing quite like this play, combining elements of a Christmas pageant with Lessons & Carols, pantomime with aspects of a musical. This play offers much scope for creativity. Scenes can be staged amid the audience, and the audience can be enlisted to help by encouraging them to join in the singing at times and providing them with real or electric candles to be lit in certain scenes. Juggling, acrobatics, and dance can be incorporated. (With permission) recorded music may be used, and the play also lends itself to live performance by one or more choirs or music ensembles. With colorful characters, enchanting dream sequences, and opportunities for dance, spectacle, and over a dozen beloved Christmas carols, The Other Wiseman is a musical feast.
Approx. Run Time: 80 minutes. One-Act, 8 scenes, with optional intermission.
Cast Size: 12-33 with extras.
Time Period: Scenes 1–7 are set around 4 BC–0 AD. Scene 8 is set around 33 AD.
Setting: Various locations in the Middle East: a Persian palace, a temple in Babylon, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Egypt, and places on route. Can be staged in minimalist fashion, without sets or backdrops.
Min. Royalty Rate: $100/performance with substantial discounts for Private Group Readings. Learn more about Private Group Readings and the New Underground Theater or visit our Licensing Page. Actual royalty rate for performances will be determined during application for rights.
Genre: Comedy | Drama
Target Audience: Young Audiences | Middle School | High School | College/University | Adult/Family (all ages) | Catholic and Christian audiences
Performing Group: Middle School | High School | College/University Theater | Community Theater | Professional Theater | Touring Group

Two Commedia dell'Arte

Plays for the Modern Stage

Full-length plays
Comedy | Drama
The Secret Room: Adapted from the fairy-tale “Bluebeard” as told by Charles Perrault.
Cast Size: 6M., 4W., 1 either gender
The Flower of Beauty: Adapted from the fairy-tale “The Flower of Beauty” as told by Elsie Spicer Eells.
Cast Size: 5 M., 4 W., 2 either gender
Scripts coming soon: subscribe to get updates on availability!
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The Secret Room: Isabella finds herself in a predicament: her mother Perpetua wants her to marry the rich and popular Pantalone. However, there is something about him: for one thing, he has been a widower seven times, but no one knows the circumstances of his wives’ deaths. No one seems able to resolve Isabella’s doubts, except the servant Pedrolino—but no one ever listens to him. When Scaramuccia warns his sister against the marriage, Isabella loses her temper, and accepts Pantalone’s proposal. The first months of marriage are happy, but Isabella’s maid Columbina grows suspicious. When Isabella discovers Pantalone’s secret, he determines to destroy her. It takes a change of heart and help from the most unlikely person of all to save the day.


The Flower of Beauty: Perpetua is perplexed when her poor son Arlecchino’s attempts to apprentice to a baker, and then a butcher, go poorly. But things begin to look up when Arlecchino apprentices to the court painter Scaramuccia. For the king’s dreams are haunted by visions of a princess. Scaramuccia despairs when the king orders him to paint the princess’ portrait. But Arlecchino volunteers to give it a try. When Arlecchino succeeds, the king takes him on a journey to find the princess. She, with her servant Columbina, are being held by enchantment in the castle of Il Dottore. When the king and Arlecchino free them, Il Dottore pronounces a terrible curse. How will they find a remedy?
The plays can be performed individually or paired with an optional intermission. Each play employs French scenes, i.e., no lighting or set changes, and both plays are intended to be performed with minimal set design. These modern Commedia plays are primarily composed of scripted lines. This is a departure from the original Commedia plays, which had far fewer set lines (and sometimes none!) However, the plays preserve the Commedia dell’Arte flavor by allowing traditional Commedia characters to present the play, and giving them ample opportunity for “lazzi” or “business,” improvisation, pantomime, music, dance, tumbling, sword-play, and recommendations for memorized poems to present as “stock speeches.”
Approx. Run Time: “The Secret Room”, 50 min., Two Acts. “The Flower of Beauty”, 40 min., Three Acts.
Cast Size (both plays): 11.
Time Period (both plays): Once upon a time.
Setting (both plays): Italy or a faraway kingdom. Can be staged in minimalist fashion, without sets or backdrops.
Min. Royalty Rate: $100/performance with substantial discounts for Private Group Readings. Learn more about Private Group Readings and the New Underground Theater or visit our Licensing Page. Actual royalty rate for performances will be determined during application for rights.
Genre: Comedy | Drama
Target Audience: Young Audiences | Middle School | High School | College/University | Adult/Family (all ages) | Catholic and Christian audiences
Performing Group: Middle School | High School | College/University Theater | Community Theater | Professional Theater | Touring Group
Coming soon!

Puss-in-Boots

& The Return of Puss-in-Boots

Based on the fairy-tale as told by Charles Perrault
Full-length play
Comedy | Drama
Cast Size: (with doubling) 1 M., 1 W., 6 either gender, extras. May be expanded up to 1 m., 2 w., 13 either gender, extras.
Script coming soon: subscribe to get updates on availability!
Your personal data will only be used to support your experience throughout this website unless you request otherwise. By subscribing, you confirm that you agree with our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Puss-in-Boots: Before their old father dies, he leaves his business to the oldest, his donkey to the second oldest, and to the youngest son Tom, he leaves . . . a cat. What is Tom supposed to do with a cat? But this turns out to be no ordinary cat. “Get me a pair of boots,” says Puss. “And you’ll see how I make your fortune.” Ogres, castles—nothing is too difficult for Puss-in-Boots.


The Return of Puss-in-Boots: Tom, the Marquis of Carabas was all set to wed the princess, only to learn he must first pass three impossible tests. Puss-in-Boots is on it! First, Puss has to help Tom bake the finest cake in the world. Next, Puss has to help Tom solve a complex riddle. Finally, Puss faces the great challenge yet: to help Tom win the Royal Race of the Hot Air Balloons. Will this prove too great a challenge?
Puss-in-Boots and The Return of Puss-in-Boots are designed to be performed as a single play, with Puss-in-Boots taking place as Act 1, and The Return of Puss-in-Boots as Act 2. If desired, Puss-in-Boots (Act 1) can be performed as a stand-alone play. Directions are given for deleting portions of dialogue so that Puss-in-Boots (Act 1) can arrive at a satisfactory resolution and happy ending by the end of Act 1. The Return of Puss-in-Boots is not a stand-alone play: if presented, it should follow as a second act to Puss-in-Boots.
Approx. Run Time: 75 min., Two Acts.
Cast Size: 8-16, with extras.
Time Period: Once upon a time.
Setting: A faraway kingdom, with one scene set in France at the finest bakery in the world, Le Beau Gâteau.
Min. Royalty Rate: $100/performance with substantial discounts for Private Group Readings. Learn more about Private Group Readings and the New Underground Theater or visit our Licensing Page. Actual royalty rate for performances will be determined during application for rights.
Genre: Comedy | Drama
Target Audience: Young Audiences | Middle School | High School | Family (all ages) | Catholic and Christian audiences
Performing Group: Middle School | High School | College/University Theater | Community Theater | Professional Theater | Touring Group
Coming soon!

The New Underground Theater

In the footsteps of St. John Paul II (1920-2005) & The Rhapsodic Theatre

What was the Rhapsodic Theatre?

As a young man, Karol Wojtyła participated as an actor in the Rhapsodic Theatre founded by actor, director, and literary critic Mieczyslaw Kotlarczyk (1908-1978).
Against political oppression and hostility to the Catholic Faith, the Rhapsodic Theatre gathered in private homes.
“The theater wasn’t a physical building but an act of artistic resistance . . .
“The shows that the Rhapsodic Theater staged were offered secretly, in people’s living rooms, out of fear of arrest. The sets were minimal (since they had to be smuggled in and set up amid furniture). Everything was stripped away but the essential: to tell the truth, beautifully.

We're carrying the fire.

~Cormac McCarthy, The Road

New Plays for the New Underground Theater

What if times were tough for us? Politically, economically? What if we had to stay home indefinitely? What if it was hard to live our Catholic Faith?
Could we do something so bold as the Rhapsodic Theatre?
You think: “We’re not exactly an amateur or professional company.”
You’re a family, a religious order, a teacher and a handful of students, or just a group of friends.
There’s no ticketing.
Your concessions are simple: cookies, popcorn, a mug of hot chocolate, a glass of wine. Maybe you’ve made sets, props, and costumes from household items. You’re reading a play together; you’re keeping hope alive. There’s no audience–just God and a handful of friends.
If this sounds like you, then you’re doing just what John Paul II and the Rhapsodic Theatre did.
If this sounds like you, then you fall under the bracket of “private group reading.” Nothing would make me happier than to learn family and friends were gathering in small groups across the world to tell stories, share friendship, and keep hope alive by doing live theater in their own homes.
Stage a great play–Shakespeare, Calderon, Chekhov! Or enjoy one of my plays by requesting a license to hold a private group reading and stage your own Underground Theater in the footsteps of St. John Paul II and the Rhapsodic Theatre.

Keep Beauty Alive.

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