THE HAPPY JOURNEY to TRENTON and CAMDEN
3 men, 3 women
A father, mother and two of their three surviving children drive from Newark, New Jersey to Camden to visit their married daughter, who has recently lost her baby in childbirth. Their journey is punctuated by talk, laughter, memories (some mundane, some happy, some painful), and appreciation of the Now – ham and eggs, flowers, family, sunsets and the joy of being alive. In this family drama, nothing much happens-and yet everything important happens. As Ma Kirby says, “There’s nothin’ like bein’ liked by your family.”
The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden requires no scenery-just a curtain back-drop, a cyclorama, or an empty stage. It was first produced November 25, 1931, at the Yale University theater in New Haven, Connecticut, by the Yale Dramatic Association and the Vassar College Philalethis, with The Long Christmas Dinner, Love and How to Cure It, and Such Things Only Happen in Books.
One of the most popular and frequently performed of Wilder’s One Act Plays, The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden was one of the six one-act plays published in The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays in One Act (New York: Coward-McCann, 1931). It was reprinted in The Collected Short Plays of Thornton Wilder, published by TCG, edited by Donald Gallup and Tappan Wilder; and in Collected Plays & Writings on Theater edited by J. D. McClatchy, published by The Library of America in 2007.
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