HEARTS OF STONE

Doomsday, Lizley, DeGaulle, and Dummy lived at Central State Psychiatric Institute more than fifty years ago. Now, Lydia Stokes is dreaming about them. At first, she and husband Roy are amused, but when the dreams become visions in her waking hours, Lydia believes the deceased patients need her help, while her husband believes she's losing her grip, possibly due to grief over her mother's recent...
Doomsday, Lizley, DeGaulle, and Dummy lived at Central State Psychiatric Institute more than fifty years ago. Now, Lydia Stokes is dreaming about them. At first, she and husband Roy are amused, but when the dreams become visions in her waking hours, Lydia believes the deceased patients need her help, while her husband believes she's losing her grip, possibly due to grief over her mother's recent suicide.

As Lydia's attention to the visions increases, Roy fears for her sanity, and enlists psychiatrist co-worker Jack to help. Jack is hard-pressed to explain Lydia's visions, but he's not quite ready to dismiss them or give in to Roy's request to have Lydia admitted for psychiatric evaluation. Pushed to the limits, Lydia determines to prove to Roy that she's not crazy, and the shocking result brings about closure that none of them could have imagined.

Semi-finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival
Recipient Individual Artists Grant, New York State Council on the Arts
  • Recommend
  • Download
  • Save to Reading List

HEARTS OF STONE

Recommended by

  • Sarah Tuft:
    13 Aug. 2020
    Though rich with everything we love about the supernatural, HEARTS OF STONE is not your usual ghost story. Yes, there’s a sense of mystery and allure that there’s more to life than just death. But Hoke’s story also gives us a rare, multi-layered window into who we are based on our relationship to mental illness - past and present. A special bonus in this play, for me, the brilliantly crafted portrait of a marriage that has some significant structural weaknesses. So much truthful humanity in this play!
  • Diane Almeter Jones:
    6 Aug. 2020
    Donna Hoke’s characters: Lydia, Lizley, Doomsday, Dummy, and DeGaulle thoroughly engage the audience with their mysterious relationships. The ghostly dialogue between a small-town teacher and long dead inhabitants of an insane asylum is magnetic. Hoke’s exploration of institutionalization for reasons other than mental illness during the turn of the century 1800’s to the 1900’s, is to be applauded.
  • Sheila Rinear:
    26 Jul. 2020
    In her play, Hearts of Stone, Donna Hoke effectively tackles tough issues (mental illness, suicide). But she also tells an ethereally poignant story while delivering a 1-2 punch to society's often unaddressed and unapologized for assignment of shame to the victims of mental illness and suicide. With strong characters, an amazing story line, and important social issues effectively championed, this play is a winner!

Character Information

  • Lydia
    50s,
    Any
    ,
    Female
    Schoolteacher in a rural area
  • Roy
    50s-60s,
    Any
    ,
    Male
    Lydia's husband, a medical equipment repairman
  • Lizley
    mid-20s,
    Latinx
    ,
    Female
    lesbian, butch, institutionalized for 7 years
  • Doomsday
    30s-40s,
    Any
    ,
    Male
    alarmist, depressed
  • Dummy
    40s,
    same as Lydia
    ,
    Female
    deaf, institutionalized since late teens;
    NOTE ON DUMMY’S SIGNING: She was institutionalized at a young age and does not know ASL nor has anybody bothered to teach her; her signs are organic, and should be fairly easy to decipher. She and the other patients have intuitive understanding, as a result of living together for so long.
  • DeGaulle
    30s,
    Any
    ,
    Male
    likely autistic; NOTE ON DEGAULLE: It can be very easy to forget about him when he doesn’t have active stage directions. Please don’t. He should always be active, either in movement, practicing his RPS moves, or trying to engage someone in a game. He and the actress playing Dummy should be allowed to build nonverbal moments together.
  • Daniel Cosgrove
    same as DeGaulle,
    same as DeGaulle
    ,
    Male
    Principal at Lydia’s school, doubled with
  • Jack Hellum
    same as Doomsday,
    same as Doomsday
    ,
    Male
    mental health professional
  • Armstrong
    teen,
    same as Doomsday
    ,
    Male
    male high school student
  • Alvarez
    teen,
    Latinx
    ,
    Female
    Female high school student
  • Reporter #2
    same as Dummy,
    same as Dummy
    ,
    Female
    reporter
  • Reporter #1
    Same as Doomsday,
    same as Doomsday
    ,
    Male
    reporter
  • Bureaucrat #1
    same as DeGaulle,
    same as DeGaulle
    ,
    Male
    bureaucrat
  • Bureaucrat #2
    30s,
    Latinx
    ,
    Female
    bureaucrat

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    5th Wall Productions
    ,
    2019
  • Reading
    ,
    Town and Country Signature Series
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    Women's Theatre Festival of North Carolina
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    Buffalo East
    ,
    2017
  • Reading
    ,
    Western New York Players
    ,
    2016

Production History

  • Workshop
    ,
    Arts at the Palace
    ,
    2020
  • Workshop
    ,
    Buffalo Infringement Festival
    ,
    2017

Awards

Finalist
,
PlayFest Santa Barbara--current
,
PlayFest Santa Barbara
,
2020
Semi-Finalist
,
Bay Area Playwrights Festival
,
Bay Area Playwrights Foundation
,
2019
Finalist
,
Inaugural contest
,
Hive Collaborative
,
2018
Winner
,
Individual Artist Grant
,
New York State Council on the Arts
,
2017
Honorable Mention
,
Panndora
,
Panndora Productions
,
2017