Trespasses

Written by:

Emma Donoghue

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

2SLGBTQIA+

Cast Size:
11

Roles For:

  • Men: 9
  • People with Disabilities: 1
  • Women: 2

Genre:

Drama
Historical

Themes:

Colonialism
Community
Identity
Illness
Ireland
Prison
Religion

Length:

120 min.

Year Written:

1997

Synopsis:

Set over three days in 1661, Trespasses is inspired by the judge’s own account of one of the tiny handful of witch trials that ever took place in Ireland. It asks why a servant girl who fell into fits would have put the blame on an old beggarwoman – but also, more timeless questions about the clashing cultures that have to share a small island country. Trespasses is about faith and superstition, politics and class, sadism and love. Trespasses is based on the trial of Florence Newton of Youghal.

Characters:

FLORENCE NEWTON an old Irishwoman (i.e. in her 40s/50s) who scrapes a living from cloth-making and charity

MARY LONGDON a ‘New English’ (i.e. immigrant from England) maid-of-all-work in her late teens

DONAL O’DARE an Irish boy, fourteen

JOHN PYNE a New English widowed merchant

MAYOR an ‘Old English’
(i.e. descended from English immigrants) educated man

VALENTINE GREATRAKES an Irish ‘stroker’ (healer)

CLERK the Mayor’s New English secretary

NED PERRY an Old English merchant and bailiff (can double with CLERK)

TURN-KEY an Irish jailer (can double with MAYOR)

GUARD 1 an Irish guard (can double with GREATRAKES)

GUARD 2 an Irish guard
(can double with CLERK/PERRY)

First Produced:

First produced by Cirencester College at Cheltenham Festival of Literature Youth Drama Festival, UK, 11–19 October 1997.

Resources:

Trespasses is published in Emma Donoghue: Selected Plays, available through Oberon Books.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.

Notes:

The eleven roles can if needed be covered by two women and four men.

Gallery: