Drama/ 8 characters, 5 Men, 3 Women/ Full Length, Two Acts
Synopsis: Duty explores the challenges and consequences of perceived and real duty.
David Crenshaw is a middle-aged professional who served as a Marine during the Vietnam War, where he received wounds and medals. He and his wife Ellie are both opposed to their son Adam entering the armed forces. They enlist the aid of Roger Melnick, a friend of David’s from his service days, to help dissuade Adam from enlisting.
During these discussions Ellie and David briefly revisit his forgiveness of her infidelity. Points and counterpoints are made about duty to country and duty to politicians.
While Adam is away training, David starts a grass roots peace organization that is dedicated to making friends in the Muslim world. Adam, accompanied by his fiancée Jane, learns of his father’s organization while on leave before being deployed to Afghanistan. David’s efforts prove newsworthy and he, Roger, and Roger’s new Muslim friend Ali are interviewed on a syndicated radio talk show by host Robert Williams.
The radio session is punctuated by differing opinions about David’s peace organization. The program ends with Ali defending the efforts of David and Roger.
After the loss of Adam to combat in Afghanistan and while mourning his death in battle, Ellie accuses David of culpability in their son’s death. The couple disagrees over the concept of obligation. Their argument is colored by Ellie’s infidelity and David’s sense of loyalty to her.
Unable to deal with her bitterness and grief, Ellie leaves David.
A month later, Ali informs David and Roger that a scholarship in Adam’s name has been established at a leading Muslim university. He also asks Roger to speak to a group of Muslims.
After that, David makes his daily pilgrimage to his son’s grave. His father, a wounded World War II Marine veteran, is buried next to Adam. The play ends with David, a decorated veteran of Vietnam, alone, speaking from the heart to his dead father, a decorated veteran of World War II and to his dead son, a decorated Marine who fell in Afghanistan. Three generations of Crenshaws have performed their duty to their country and to their families in their own ways. David acknowledges Adam’s sacrifice to duty and the necessity of that sacrifice.
– Russ Simmons, Sun Publications
“Compelling . . . A worthwhile evening in the theatre . . . as relevant as tomorrow’s headlines.”
– KC Confidentia
l“A stirring piece of theatre . . . as powerful an ending as I have ever seen.”
– KC Stage
“I have directed or acted in hundreds of plays in 45 years in professional theatre — but I have never been so struck by the power and relevancy of any script as I have been by Hal Parrott’sDuty.
– Art Suskin, Artistic Director of The Theatre Gym
Click here to view more production photos and listen to an interview with playwright Hal Parrott.
Contact information:Amateur and professional rights:
8204 NW Forest Drive
Weatherby Lake, Missouri
About the Playwright: Hal Parrott has written for newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. Duty is his first play. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife and daughter.Duty was first produced by The Theatre Gym in Kansas City, Missouri, September, 2010.