Seneca and the Soul of Nero (Full-length play)

History remembers Nero as one of the most bombastic and cruel emperors of the ancient world. His tutor and later advisor, Seneca, the stoic philosopher and dramatist, takes drastic measures to reign in the emperor, and in his quest to save Rome, Seneca writes some of his most enduring plays. Focused on the power and failures of the political insider, Seneca and the Soul of Nero looks back to ancient Rome to...
History remembers Nero as one of the most bombastic and cruel emperors of the ancient world. His tutor and later advisor, Seneca, the stoic philosopher and dramatist, takes drastic measures to reign in the emperor, and in his quest to save Rome, Seneca writes some of his most enduring plays. Focused on the power and failures of the political insider, Seneca and the Soul of Nero looks back to ancient Rome to hold the mirror up to modern American politics.
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Seneca and the Soul of Nero (Full-length play)

Recommended by

  • Elisabeth Giffin Speckman:
    16 Nov. 2021
    I was able to stream Southbank Theatre Company's production of this play recently, and what a history lesson! Recent politics are hauntingly reminiscent of the Ancient Rome depicted here, and the cast of characters encompass a spectrum of youthful, full of promise and hopeful individuals to devastated, deteriorating, and downright grotesque. I found myself particularly fascinated by the female characters on the margins of this history, and their scenes from the work have stayed with me longest.
  • Julie Zaffarano:
    4 Nov. 2021
    “Seneca and the Soul of Nero” brings historical persons to a vivid and human level. Ambition, lust, fear, and greed are set against the desire for honor and truth. The struggles are painfully real. The ending is as surprising as it is beautiful.
  • Donald E. Baker:
    22 Sep. 2021
    This is a brilliant contemporary political satire cleverly disguised as a Shakespearesque history play. Nero is portrayed as a raging egomaniac surrounded by sycophants seeking either to curtail or to profit from his excesses. Sound vaguely familiar? There are no exact parallels to recent events but there are many echoes, some faint, others blaring: "I am untouchable. I could cut throats in the street and no one would arraign me." Well done!

Character Information

  • Seneca
    50-60
    Tutor and then advisor to Nero. Stoic philosopher. Wealthy. Married to Pompeia Paulina. Uncle of Lucan. (Doubles with Thyestes -- character in a play)
  • Nero
    20-30
    Son of Agrippina and adopted son of Claudius. Becomes emperor as a teenager.
  • Pompeia Paulina
    35-45
    Pompeia Paulina (aka Poppy), Seneca's wife and best friend.
  • Agrippina
    35-45
    Mother of Nero. (Double Medea with Agrippina)
  • Octavia
    18-30
    Wife and adopted sister of Nero.
  • Sabina
    20s-30s
    Second wife to Nero. (Doubles as Nurse in Medea and Ambassador 2)
  • Burrus
    45-55
    Co-advisor with Seneca to Nero.
    In charge of the Praetorian guard.
  • Britannicus
    14-18
    Step-brother of Nero. Should be played by a younger looking adult. (Double Jason, Tantalus, and Guard with Britannicus)
  • Lucan
    20-30
    Nephew of Seneca, poet of the court. (Double Creon, Ambassador 1 with Lucan)
  • Guard
    (Doubles with Britannicus)
  • Ambassador 2
    Can double with Sabina
  • Ambassador 1
    (Can double with Lucan)
  • Actor playing Tantalus
    15-20
    Double with Britannicus
  • Actor playing Nurse in Medea
    (Can double with Sabina)
  • Actor playing Medea
    35-40
    wife of Jason and killer of her own children in Seneca's play Medea (Double with Agrippina)
  • Actor playing Jason
    20s-30s
    (Double with Britannicus)
  • Actor playing Creon
    Actor playing King in Seneca's Medea. (Can double with Lucan)
  • Claudia
    infant
    infant, best to use a doll.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Indiana Playwrights Circle
    ,
    2020

Production History

  • Community Theater
    ,
    Southbank Theatre Company
    ,
    2021

Awards

Quarter Finalist
,
Screencraft Stage Play Contest
,
2020