The Curious Savage written by John Patrick
Mrs. Savage has been left ten million dollars by her husband and wants to make the best use of it, in spite of her grown-up stepchildren’s efforts to get their hands on it. Knowing that the widow’s wealth is now in negotiable securities, and seeing they cannot get hold of the fortune, the stepchildren commit her to a sanatorium hoping to “bring her to her senses.”
In the sanatorium Mrs. Savage meets various social misfits, men and women who just cannot adjust themselves to life, people who need the help Mrs. Savage can provide. In getting to know them, she realizes that she will find happiness with them and plans to spend the rest of her life as one of them. But when the doctor tells her there is no reason why she should remain, she hesitates to go out into a hard world where people seem ready to do anything for money. The self-seeking stepchildren are driven to distraction by their vain efforts to browbeat Mrs. Savage, but she preserves her equanimity and leads them on a merry chase.
At last her friends conspire to get rid of her stepchildren, and through their simple belief in the justice of her cause, they enable Mrs. Savage to carry out her plans to establish a fund to help others realize their hopes and dreams. The dominant mood is high comedy, and the audience is left with a feeling that the neglected virtues of kindness and affection have not been entirely lost in a world that seems at times motivated only by greed and dishonesty.
Florence Williams: (30s and up) The elegant “mother” of The Cloisters, she believes she has a five-year-old son named John Thomas; in fact, John Thomas is a doll. During Mrs. Savage’s stay at The Cloisters, Florence believes that John Thomas has the measles.
Fairy May: (20s and up) Fairy is a compulsive liar who is obsessed with having others love her. She is unkempt throughout the play, but believes herself to be stunningly beautiful. She is also very childlike, behaving and speaking in the tone of a six-year-old.
Jeffrey: (20s-30s) Once a military pilot, Jeff was shot down in the war, surviving a crash that killed all his men. He now believes that he has a scar on his face, which he constantly hides from others. He plays the piano, but is too shy to do so around other people. He is also married to Miss Willie, but does not remember that he is, due to the crash. Miss Willie works at the Cloisters in the hopes that one day her Jeffrey will remember her.
Hannibal: (20s and up) Hannibal, once a statistician, was fired and replaced by an electronic calculator. He has then taken up the violin, which he wrongly believes he can play beautifully. He is a kind man with a vast array of knowledge stored in his sometimes sarcastic head.
Mrs. Paddy: (40s and up) Mrs. Paddy paints with the quality of Hannibal’s violin playing. She paints only seascapes, which strikes Hannibal as “odd, because she’s never seen the ocean.” The other patients say that Mrs. Paddy stopped talking when her husband told her to “shut up” one day, and she hasn’t spoken since. She only speaks to announce what she hates. She hates “everything in the world.” Her main lines are lists of random things she hates, strung together loosely alphabetically. Her tirades are ignored by the other characters. She has given up electricity for Lent and turns off all the lights multiple times throughout the play, causing mayhem.
Titus: He is one of two step-sons of Mrs.Savage. He has been sent so many threatening letters that he is listed by Western Union as a “tangible asset”; Titus is the least popular Senator in Congress. He is sober, humorless, and direct. Titus also has a temper that tends to come out most when dealing with his mother.
Lily Belle: Lily Belle, Mrs. Savage’s step-daughter, was once married to a Slovak prince, and has remarried five times since then. A celebrity heiress, she is arrogant, chic, and self-assured. She is also very selfish and is constantly putting forth the effort to make sure others are respecting her. When Lily Belle first met Ethel, she bit her new stepmother’s finger and has promptly been just as vicious ever since.
Samuel: The other step-son of Ethel, Samuel has the distinction of being the judge with the most overturned decisions in the U.S. He walks in the shadows of his siblings, offering a sassy, short comment every once in a while, only to be shot down.
Mrs. Ethel P. Savage: Referred to as “Mrs. Savage” for the majority of the play, she is a witty, kindhearted, blue haired woman with a shifted viewpoint of humanity. The events of the play are centered around her and her decision to hide the money which she has inherited from her late husband from her greedy stepchildren, to give away to those less fortunate or to fulfill others’ random, yet important lifelong dreams.. She dislikes her stepchildren, but learns to love the residents of The Cloisters, accepting their own realities and delusions with an open-mindedness that others on the outside do not.
Small boy: (5-7) A young child is needed for a cameo at the conclusion of the show. There are no lines and rehearsal needs will be minimal.
Dr. Emmett: The staff doctor for this wing of The Cloisters, Dr. Emmett is kind, warmhearted, and works hard to help the patients.
Miss “Willie” Wilhelmina: (20s-30s) Miss Willie is an administrative assistant and nurse. She is married to Jeff, but struggles to pretend not to be because he doesn’t remember her. She occasionally calls Jeff her pet name “Bingo.” He is the reason she is working here, but she is nonetheless extremely kind and understanding towards all the residents of The Cloisters.
Sun Sep 9, 2:00 pm
Mon Sep 10, 7:00 pm
Community UMC, 20 N Center St, Naperville, 60540, Sanctuary (2nd floor)
Starting Sun Sep 16
Sundays 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Mondays 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Wednesdays 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Fri Nov 9, 8:00 pm*
Sat Nov 10, 8:00 pm*
Sun Nov 11, 2:00 pm
Fri Nov 16, 8:00 pm*
Sat Nov 17, 8:00 pm*
[*Times are subject to change]