The Nightingale Rose or The Bitch of Balaclava

This is a modern play about science, gender and war. It should be inhabited by a culturally diverse cast. Not strictly “historical,” the play should have an ensemble feel to it - inspired by performance art.

SYNOPSIS: This play follows an imagined Florence as she struggles with life, death and authority in the Crimean War (1850s) and through her return to England. Along the way she changes the...
This is a modern play about science, gender and war. It should be inhabited by a culturally diverse cast. Not strictly “historical,” the play should have an ensemble feel to it - inspired by performance art.

SYNOPSIS: This play follows an imagined Florence as she struggles with life, death and authority in the Crimean War (1850s) and through her return to England. Along the way she changes the course of medical history.

On the eve of discoveries that will revolutionize medicine, Florence Nightingale fights a battle against disease, ignorance, and prejudice during one of the first ‘modern’ wars where more die in the hospital than the battlefield. A saint, a tyrant, an adversary, a friend: this icon restlessly inhabits this play about the casualties of war and the high price of high tea. The double title is a nod to 19th century theater: think Gilbert and Sullivan.

Doubling characters creates a cast of just 5 while retaining the epic quality of the play.
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The Nightingale Rose or The Bitch of Balaclava

Recommended by

  • Cheryl Bear:
    13 Jul. 2020
    A fascinating tale of a woman's journey through adversary to make an impact on history. Well done.
  • Ian Gregory Trutt:
    23 Oct. 2018
    I was fortunate enough to be a part of an early staging of this script (2014) and can say it blew me away. Rich characters, smooth dialogue, and a gorgeous final image keeps this play in my all-time favorites.
  • Eugene O'Neill Theater Center:
    27 Apr. 2016
    It is the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's pleasure to recommend Patricia Henritze and their play The Nightingale Rose or the Bitch of Balaclava as a finalist for our 2016 National Playwrights Conference. The play rose through a competitive, anonymous, multileveled selection process that took nearly nine months to execute. As one of 54 finalists out of more than 1,450 submissions, the strength of its writing has allowed this work to prosper in such a competitive selection process. Our readers especially appreciated the way the play balances history and science, humor and poetry.

Development History

  • Workshop
    ,
    Working Title Playwrights - Ethel Woolson New Play Lab
    ,
    2015
  • Workshop
    ,
    Theater Emory - Brave New Works
    ,
    2014

Production History

  • Workshop
    ,
    University of North Georgia - Gainesville Theater Alliance DISCOVERY SERIES
    ,
    2015

Awards

Finalist
,
O'Neill National Playwriting Conference
,
Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
,
2016