Old Familiar Faces

Nominated for the 2014 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full Length Script.

"Where are they gone, the old familiar faces?" In 1786, author Mary Lamb commits a horrifying act of bloodshed and her brother Charles learns to forgive. In 2013, a talented man refuses to change and his brilliant lover learns to evolve. OLD FAMILIAR FACES is a heartbreaking, time-jumping drama...
Nominated for the 2014 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full Length Script.

"Where are they gone, the old familiar faces?" In 1786, author Mary Lamb commits a horrifying act of bloodshed and her brother Charles learns to forgive. In 2013, a talented man refuses to change and his brilliant lover learns to evolve. OLD FAMILIAR FACES is a heartbreaking, time-jumping drama about four lives, bound by obsession, rocked by madness, and saved by blank verse. Based on the true life story of Charles and Mary Lamb, interwoven with a contemporary American "adaptation" of the true romance between Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.

******PRESS: "[A] wise and moving new play ... The play enacts some of the most tender connections and most honest and aware accounts of mental illness and disintegrating relationships I’ve ever seen ... As heartbreaking as anything in the theatrical canon." - Adam McGovern, Fanchild.

"[M]agical ... [Shakespeare's] verse is so beautifully illuminated by Cassidy’s storytelling, knowledge of Shakespeare is not a pre-requisite for enjoying the show. ... [S]o poetic, so full of insight and understanding, so much brilliance on stage." - Sarah Tuft, Usher Nonsense

"Brimming with acerbic wit ... Ingenious ... The counterpoint here is spectacular, not to mention ballsy. It takes a lot of nerve for a playwright to put his own text right next to – literally – the greatest words ever written for the theater. Cassidy pulls it off, mostly thanks to the dry sense of humor sneaking through the piece and giving it mischievous life." - Mitch Montgomery, Surreal Time Press.

"Cassidy [is] a seismic talent ... He is a craftsman of the stage, and earns one’s trust from the start. ... I can’t imagine another contemporary playwright who would think to use the slang, insults, and bawdy humor of Shakespeare as a way to inform the inner and outer lives of his non-Shakespearean characters. It’s a gutsy move characteristic of Cassidy, and one that perhaps only he could pull off successfully." - Nathaniel Kressen, nytheatre.com.

"Impressionistic, funny and personal ... Gorgeously written." - Susyanne Dottino, Show Business Weekly | "This new play reinvents and thrills. ... Cassidy weaves an ornate tapestry full of little gems of searing humor, haunting violence, deep regret, and profound love. ... Cassidy's language envelops you. At times, it is reminiscent of Christopher Durang and even Tony Kushner. One moment you are laughing hysterically and the next you are questioning everything you know." - Shawna Cormier, Theatre is Easy.

"Combining quotations from Shakespeare and his own blank verse, Cassidy presents us with much that is beautiful and moving. To combine his own writing with Shakespeare's takes, what?, daring, courage, ego, balls? But Cassidy pulls it off, and the play is an aural pleasure." - Wendy Caster, Show Showdown.

"We’re nearing the point that when Nat Cassidy is in something or writes something or produces something, we just show up without needing any further information." - Maxamoo
  • Recommend
  • Download
  • Save to Reading List

Old Familiar Faces

Character Information

  • Mary Lamb
    60s-70s,
    White
    ,
    Cisgender Female
    Witty, sarcastic, vulgar, hilarious, tragic, terribly fragile yet indomitable all the same. She suffers from severe bipolar disorder with occasional psychotic outbursts. Murdered her mother and has lived under the custodial care of her brother ever since. Clings to the works of Shakespeare like a life raft. Must have a fantastic British accent.
  • Charles Lamb
    60s-70s,
    White
    ,
    Cisgender Male
    Every bit his sister Mary's equal, in both sarcasm and vulnerability. He also suffers from depression, but not as bad as she. He's a famous essayist and writer, known for his wit, which masks a deep, ever-fresh pain. He and his sister are best of friends, as well as co-authors. He also hates and loves his sister in equal measure--he's so tired of taking care of her, he's terrified of what she's capable of, and he cannot imagine a life without her. Must have a fantastic British accent.
  • Lee
    20s-30s,
    Any
    ,
    Female
    Smart as hell, Vulnerable, but never indulgent. Hides behind a dozen walls. She's hungry, ambitious, lonely, wise, scared. A phenomenal actor who knows she deserves to be successful. She hides her own history of mental illness and, though she wants her love affair to work out, she also has a strong flight reflex. She is a loose adaptation of the real life Vivien Leigh. Ideally played by an actor of color but not a requirement. American accent.
  • Oliver
    20s-40s,
    Any
    ,
    Male
    Arrogant, charming, fun until he's not. A fantastic actor, but not as amazing as he thinks (but also not an Actor Stereotype). He firmly believes in the superiority of theatre over film, and in the classics most of all. He could be a success if he was willing to be more of a team player and more open minded about the worthiness of contemporary stories. He has a lot of growing up to do and, like all men who do, he puts a little more stock than is healthy in his love affair with Lee. A loose adaptation of the real life Laurence Olivier. Ideally played by an actor of color. American accent.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    The Players Club
    ,
    2012

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    Tin Drum Productions, FringeNYC
    ,
    2013

Awards

Finalist
,
Outstanding Full Length Script
,
New York Innovative Theatre Awards
,
2014