Comedy/ 7 Characters, 4 Women, 3 Men (plus extras)/ Full Length, Two Acts
Nights at the Round Table is a love story which takes place in a quirky little rural bar. With a clientele of farmers, peat moss salesmen, and even old political candidates, it seems like time took a right at the county line and missed the Round Table completely.
Presiding over the bar are the bashful Harry and the unflappable Hazel, co-owners. Tonight they’re celebrating a recent turn of events in Harry’s usually fumbling love life. He’s met Diane, a new resident who, like Harry, is looking for love and a quiet life.
The “Governor,” a perennial candidate, is the bar’s favorite patron. In the 50’s he was a serious contender for the office, but after losing two close elections he has given up. The only reason he continues to campaign is because his father left a will which states he must run for office to get the money. He doesn’t even bother to give original speeches anymore, instead cribbing from other famous politicians. Farmers have come from as far away as Moline to hear tonight’s pontification.
Complications arise when Harry discovers that Diane has a husband: a recent parolee and no one to mess with. Diane begs Harry not to make a stand. She needn’t have bothered; Harry is an inveterate invertebrate.
Once again, Harry is a failure with love. With the election returns, the Governor grapples with his own disillusionment and lost dreams. It occurs to the Governor that he and Harry are the same kind of person – the kind that accepts failure.
Encouraged by Hazel, they both set out to change their lives, but fate is against them. Diane’s husband shows up and terrorizes the bar.
In the end, Diane’s husband is subdued, the “Governor” delivers his first original speech in twenty years, and Diane and Harry fall in love.
“Nights at the Round Table is four square fun with a plenty of laughs and lots of action.”
– The Omaha Star
– The Omaha World-Herald
Amateur and professional rights:
William Missouri Downs
PO Box 83
Centennial, Wyoming, USA 8205
Ph: (307) 742-8879
University phone: (307) 766-2227
About the Playwrights: William Missouri Downs holds an M.F.A. in acting from the University of Illinois and an M.F.A. in screenwriting from U.C.L.A. He studied playwriting for several years at the Circle Rep. in New York. He has authored a dozen plays, including Kabuki Medea which won the Bay Area Critics Award for best production in San Francisco, Jewish Sports Heroes and Texas Intellectuals which took first place at the Mill Mountain Theatre’s Festival Of New Plays and Dead White Males which was a semi-finalist in Eugene O’Neill. Bill’s plays have been produced from New York to Singapore, from the Kennedy Center to the Berkeley Rep. In addition to writing plays, Bill is the author of the books Playwriting: From Formula To Form and Screenplay: Writing The Picture, both published by Harcourt Brace. In Hollywood, he wrote for such NBC sitcoms as “My Two Dads,” “Amen” and “Fresh Prince Of Bel Air,” won the Jack Nicholson Award for screenwriting and sold the movie Executive Privilege to Tri-star. He is a member of the Denver Center’s Playwright’s Unit.
Lou Anne Wright holds an MFA in Voice, Speech and Dialects from the National Theatre Conservatory. She co-wrote the play Kabuki Medea which won the Jefferson Award for Best Production in Chicago. It was also produced at the Kennedy Center. She is co-author of the book Playwriting: From Formula to Formpublished by Harcourt Brace. Her screenwriting credits include the film adaptation of Eudora Welty’s The Hitch-Hikers, which featured Patty Duke and Richard Hatch (and for which she was nominated for the Directors Guild of America’s Lillian Gish award). As an actor, she has appeared in regional repertory productions of The Last Night of Ballyhoo, The Seagull and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
Nights at the Round Table was first produced at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington (State), and received its professional premiere at the Firehouse Theatre, Omaha, Nebraska in 1987.