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Susan Glaspell – Four Plays

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Susan Glaspell – Four Plays

by Susan Glaspell

Genre: Comedy
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length: 60 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


Susan Glaspell’s one-act play “Trifles” has survived into the current repertoire. (Based on her short story called “A Jury of Her Peers”)

This collection of four plays includes “Trifles” as well as “The Outside”, “The Verge” and “Inheritors.”

an excerpt from “Trifles”:

MRS HALE: What do you suppose she was so nervous about?

MRS PETERS: Oh–I don’t know. I don’t know as she was nervous. I sometimes sew awful queer when I’m just tired. (MRS HALE starts to say something, looks at MRS PETERS, then goes on sewing) Well I must get these things wrapped up. They may be through sooner than we think, (putting apron and other things together) I wonder where I can find a piece of paper, and string.

MRS HALE: In that cupboard, maybe.

MRS PETERS: (looking in cupboard) Why, here’s a bird-cage, (holds it up) Did she have a bird, Mrs Hale?

MRS HALE: Why, I don’t know whether she did or not–I’ve not been here for so long. There was a man around last year selling canaries cheap, but I don’t know as she took one; maybe she did. She used to sing real pretty herself.

MRS PETERS: (glancing around) Seems funny to think of a bird here. But she must have had one, or why would she have a cage? I wonder what happened to it.

MRS HALE: I s’pose maybe the cat got it.

MRS PETERS: No, she didn’t have a cat. She’s got that feeling some people have about cats–being afraid of them. My cat got in her room and she was real upset and asked me to take it out.

MRS HALE: My sister Bessie was like that. Queer, ain’t it?

MRS PETERS: (examining the cage) Why, look at this door. It’s broke. One hinge is pulled apart.

MRS HALE: (looking too) Looks as if someone must have been rough with it.

MRS PETERS: Why, yes.

(She brings the cage forward and puts it on the table.)

MRS HALE: I wish if they’re going to find any evidence they’d be about it. I don’t like this place.


“Trifles” is a one-act musical just waiting to happen. We’re on the side of the two ignored women, and yet there’s also a moral tension about the illegality of the woman suspect. NMI has not read the other three plays — are they as good as “Trifles”?


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