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The Story:


On a sweltering Labor Day morning, the women of a quiet neighborhood on the wrong side of the tracks are preparing for the annual picnic. Watchful mother Flo Owens has hopes that her beautiful daughter Madge will get a proposal from Alan, the local millionaire’s son. Younger sister Millie, the “smart one”, yearns to grow up and leave her small town behind. Good-natured Mrs. Potts is happy to get a break from taking care of her aged mother. And spinster schoolteacher Rosemary Sydney cheerfully keeps her boyfriend Howard at arms’ length. This seemingly placid feminine environment is disrupted when Hal Carter, a muscular and charming young drifter who happens to be a former fraternity brother of Alan’s, hops off the freight train, and straight into Mrs. Potts’ hospitable home. Hearts are broken and lives are changed in the following twenty-four hours, as Hal’s lively, dangerous, masculine energy wakes up the sleepy community. A small Kansas town in the 1950s is the setting for William Inge’s bittersweet melodrama Picnic, which explores themes of repression, rites of passage, and disappointment.


Read more about the Pulitzer Prize Winning play HERE.


Buy the script HERE.


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Cast and stage age:



  • FLO OWENS (late 30's to early 50's) – A cautious and sometimes overbearing single mother of two girls, Madge and Millie. She has big dreams for her daughters, and seems to live vicariously through them. She is hesitant about accepting outsiders, because she is very comfortable with the way she leads her life.
  • MADGE OWENS (late teens to late 20's) – Eldest daughter of Flo, sister to Millie, and dates Alan Seymour. Madge is a beautiful girl growing gracefully into adulthood. Some call her materialistic and conceited because she spends quite a bit of time with makeup and beauty products. She is not as naive as she may seem; she definitely has some hidden knowledge about the world. On the outside, she wants to be wealthy and gorgeous all her life. But on the inside, she is sick of always being the pretty one, and desperately wants to be loved.
  • MILLIE OWENS (age 12 to mid teens) – Youngest daughter of Flo, sister to Madge. Millie is wild and tomboyish. She shows herself to the world as a tough kid, but she is really nervous about what other people think of her. She wants to be noticed, but in the right way.
  • HELEN POTTS (40's-70's) – Neighbor to Flo Owens, boards Hal. A bit past her prime, Helen longs for the days when she was a wild young girl. She is easygoing, still loves fun, and wants to share her knowledge with the young people around her.
  • HAL CARTER (early to late 20's) – Boarder of Helen Potts, old friend of Alan Seymour. Hal is young, handsome, crazy, impulsive and has seen some harsh times. He has been to reform school, a few colleges, a fraternity, been chased by the police and claims other things that may or may not be true. He is a confident fellow, and he loves attention. Hal has a soft inner side that really wants to be accepted and fit in somewhere.
  • ALAN SEYMOUR (early 20s to late 20's) – Old friend of Hal Carter, dates Madge Owens. Alan is a handsome and rich young man looking to settle down with a beautiful girl. He is level-headed most of the time and tends to criticize those who make decisions without thinking them through.
  • BOMBER (mid teens) – A local high school boy who delivers the newspaper. Confident and somewhat obnoxious. Bomber is a small character in the play who tends to reinforce Madge's beauty as well as criticize Millie for being the oddball.
  • ROSEMARY SYDNEY (40's and up) – Boarder of Flo Owens, dates Howard Bevans. Rosemary is an aging schoolteacher who calls herself independent and brags about not having a man and doing whatever she wants. She is rather unconventional for a schoolteacher, since she is not reserved and scholarly.
  • HOWARD BEVANS (40's and up) – Dates Rosemary Sydney. Howard is a businessman who is rather set in his way of life. He is easy to get along with but not extremely assertive of what he wants. Howard is a reasonable guy who does what he can to live each day.
  • Irma Kronkite and Christine Schoenwalder (late 30's and 40's) – Schoolteachers with Rosemary. They are slightly younger than Rosemary and definitely like gossip.