A Tale of Two Cities

Written by:

Rose Scollard

Cast Size:
24

Roles For:

  • Men: 17
  • Women: 7

Genre:

Adaptation
Drama
Historical

Themes:

Death
Hope
Resurrection
Self sacrifice

Length:

120 min.

Year Written:

2022

Synopsis:

The tale of a man who gives his life for his friend to ensure the happiness of the woman they both love.

A Tale of Two Cities, adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens, is set in Paris and London against the backdrop of the French Revolution. Jarvis Lorry, a London banker, travels to Paris to reunite Lucie Manette with her long-lost father who has just been released from 18 years of imprisonment in the Bastille by Ernest and Therese Defarge.

Some time afterwards, Charles Darnay who met Lucie and Dr. Manette on the boat back to England is tried for treason at the Old Bailey and is dramatically rescued by dissolute lawyer Sydney Carton who uses his resemblance to Darnay to discredit a key witness.

Five years later, Lucie marries Darnay, who confesses to Dr. Manette that he is a member of the French aristocracy. Furthermore, as the Defarges discover, he is the nephew of their sworn enemy Evremond. When Darnay returns to Paris to save a former servant, he is arrested by revolutionaries led by the Defarges and is sentenced to death.

Sydney Carton, who is hopelessly in love with Lucie, and seeks redemption in the assurance of her happiness, trades again on his resemblance to Darnay, swaps places with him in prison and dies on the guillotine in his stead.

Characters:

Actor 1: Evremonde, fifties, a cruel aristocrat who considers those below him in class as worthless and scarcely human.
Jailer.

Actor 2: Woman on deathbed.
La Vengeance.
Jaqueline.

Actor 3: Alexandre Manette, mid forties, A gentle doctor traumatized from 18 years of imprisonment in the Bastille.
Barsad, thirties, devious spy.

Actor 4: Sydney Carton, twenties, dissolute lawyer who falls in love with Lucie and seeks redemption.
Gaspard, peasant, seeking revenge for the death of his child.

Actor 5: Charles Darnay, twenties, nephew of Evremond who renounces his aristocratic privileges and moves to England.
Brother of woman on deathbed.

Actor 6: Ernest Defarge, thirty, revolutionary, husband of Therese Defarge but less rabid.
Cly, spy, Barsad’s sidekick.

Actor 7: Mme. Therese Defarge, thirty, consumed with anger and hatred against Aristocrats and seeks revenge above all else.
Servant of Evremond.

Actor 8: Jarvis Lorry, forty, worried bustling little man but totally loyal to his clients.
Jacques 2, revolutionary.

Actor 9: Miss Pross, forty, nurse and companion to Lucy Manette. A force to be reckoned with.

Actor 10: Lucy Manette, 17, daughter to Dr. Manette, sweet and gentle, beloved by everyone.

Actor 11: Jerry Cruncher, gofer for Mr. Lorry, a shifty, comically expressive fellow with unhealthy and illegal night-time pursuits.
Jacques 1, revolutionary.

Actor 12: Stryver, twenties, Lawyer, Carton’s partner.
Voice of Prosecutor.
Gabelle.

Resources:

The play can be accessed by contacting the author at rosescollard@gmail.com

Notes:

There are 24 characters (17 men and 7 women) who may be played by 12 actors (8 men and 4 women).

Warnings:

The play contains violent language.