The Brothersby Louisa May Alcott
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:
Candidate for Adaptation? Promising
A strange stillness filled the room as the elder brother held the younger’s life suspended in his hand, while wavering between a dim hope and a deadly hate. In the whirl of thoughts that went on in my brain, only one was clear enough to act upon. I must prevent murder, if I could,–but how? What could I do up there alone, locked in with a dying man and a lunatic?–for any mind yielded utterly to any unrighteous impulse is mad while the impulse rules it. Strength I had not, nor much courage, neither time nor wit for stratagem, and chance only could bring me help before it was too late. But one weapon I possessed,–a tongue,–often a woman’s best defence: and sympathy, stronger than fear, gave me power to use it.
A young Civil War nurse’s two patients turn out to be half-brothers: one white, and one a slave bent on murdering the other. It’s a very interesting premise, and could make a wonderful, intense short one-act. There’s a lot of cumbersome backstory to deal with (WHY does the slave tell-all to the nurse; why not just kill the brother?), but if you can solve that, the intensity of the situation and the characters might dramatize quite well. (Word of advice: don’t look to stretch it unto a full-length, or a long one-act.)
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