The Western Tale

Written by:

Tracy Krauss

Cast Size:
18

Roles For:

  • Men: 6
  • Women: 6

Genre:

Adaptation
Dark Comedy

Themes:

Shakespeare

Length:

80 min.

Year Written:

2007

Synopsis:

The Bard goes cowboy in this adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘The Western Tale’. Big Leo and Doc Xavier have been friends since boyhood, until Big Leo’s suspicious nature convinces him his wife, Ramona, and the Doc are having an affair. Following the original story line, he takes her to court where she collapses – apparently dead. He banishes her newly born baby in the wilderness to die, but his loyal ranch hand, Gus, secretly saves the child who is raised by some local squatters. Fast forward sixteen years, and ‘Pearl’ (Leo’s daughter) falls in love with Doc Xavier’s son.

You can guess the rest… In the end, Leo repents, Ramona reappears, everyone is reunited and they all live happily ever after. True to the original Shakespearean version, the play is a comedy but there are also some dark dramatic moments. The famous ‘bear scene’ remains, and Father Time has been transformed into a traveling ‘snake oil salesman’ named Otto, who also functions as the narrator.

Characters:

Otto – snake oil salesman and con man
Big Leo – powerful ranch owner
Ramona – Leo’s wife
Doc Xavier – Leo’s long-time friend
Hank – Leo’s foreman
Gus – Leo’s hired hand
Paulina – housekeeper for Leo and Ramona
Sheriff Rosco*– cowering law man
Deputy* – no lines (optional)
Roy* – a cowboy- comic relief
Judge Cob*- appears twice
Tootsie* – saloon girl
Wootsie* – another saloon girl
Bear* – definitely a role to be doubled
Mrs. O’Riley* – Pearl’s step-mother and a squatter’s wife
Cletus* – O’Riley’s stupid son
Pearl* – Leo’s daughter
Felix* – Xavier’s son
Extras – Crowd during trial / festival goers/ bar tender
Doubling possible*

First Produced:

First produced by the WLSS Drama Club in 2007; published by JAC Publishing in 2012. Rights reverted back to playwright in 2020.

Resources:

The Western Tale is available through the playwright’s website.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.