Before Lesbians

When Charlotte and Vivian meet, they are about to marry their fiancés who are leaving to fight for President Lincoln. Through letters and visits, Charlotte and Vivian nurture their friendship, sharing books and projects to support the troops and their husbands. In an era where women were not recognized as sexual beings and when words did not exist for women falling in love, Charlotte and Vivian struggle to...
When Charlotte and Vivian meet, they are about to marry their fiancés who are leaving to fight for President Lincoln. Through letters and visits, Charlotte and Vivian nurture their friendship, sharing books and projects to support the troops and their husbands. In an era where women were not recognized as sexual beings and when words did not exist for women falling in love, Charlotte and Vivian struggle to understand the confusing feelings they are developing for each other while the Civil War rages on.
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Before Lesbians

Recommended by

  • Mark Loewenstern:
    3 Feb. 2020
    This play takes our universal human experience of plunging into love's uncharted waters and magnifies it ten times. Gartner shows us so clearly how unprepared Charlotte and Vivian are for their love, how overwhelmed they are by it, how their whole world denies it, and that makes their struggle for it all the more compelling. Highly recommend!
  • Liz Amberly:
    3 Nov. 2019
    This is a poignant and passionate story of a secret relationship between two women who wait for their husbands to return from the Civil War. The women’s unique personalities, talents, experiences and fears draw them together and also keep them apart. The danger of the war is always present, and the women must navigate the challenges of society, violence, religion and love. It’s lovely and heartbreaking!
  • David Hansen:
    23 Apr. 2019
    This play might have been titled "Inventing Lesbians," as our Civil War era protagonists discover in themselves something they had never had reason to believe has ever existed before, and create without guidance a language for a desire, a passion, and a lasting devotion. It's a beautiful, heartbreaking love story, and one I highly recommend!

Character Information

  • Vivian
    Mid 20's,
    Caucasian
    ,
    Female
    Middle class. Bookworm.
  • Charlotte
    Early 20's,
    Caucasian
    ,
    Female
    Upper Middle Class.
  • James
    Early 20's,
    Caucasian
    ,
    Male
    Upper Middle Class.
  • Henry
    Mid 20's,
    Caucasian
    ,
    Male
    Middle class. Interest in accounting.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Oberlin College
    ,
    2017
  • Workshop
    ,
    EMG Playwriting Workshop and Manhattan Oracles
    ,
    2016

Awards

Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women (2nd Place)
,
Yellow Rose Productions
,
2018