A play by John Patrick.
The recently widowed Ethel P. Savage (she doesn't know what
the P stands for, mind you, but her agent thought it had a certain ring
to it) is elderly and rich and wants to give all ten million dollars of
her inherited money to charity. Her three socialite stepchildren,
however, have a problem with this.
the end of their collective rope, the pompous
judge Samuel, the rather slow Titus, and the gold-digging Lily
Belle decide to commit their dear mother into the best asylum in the
state until she comes to her senses.
in the crazy house, Miss Savage manages to meet some pretty interesting
people: there's Florence, who pretends her baby doll is real, the manic
Fairy May, the slightly out-of-touch Hannibal, Jeffrey, whose severe
and ugly scarring seems to be only in his head, and the extremely
interesting Mrs. Paddy, who only pauses
from her silent painting to scream about the things she hates most. The
good doctor Emmet does his best to keep them all in check, while Miss
Wilhelmina, the nurse, negotiates between the wise-cracking Mrs. Savage
and her three money-grubbing stepchildren (while being secretly married
to one of the inmates, of course).
point of all this, it seems, is to contrast the actually-rather-sane
patients of the sanitarium with Samuel, Titus, and Lily Belle's endless
pursuit of money. In the end, the play does it quite well-- and with a
rather irreverent quality, showcased in particular during Mrs. Savage's
subdued departure after the location of the money has finally been revealed.
the entire play is set only in the asylum's main room and hallway, it's
rather low-cost, as well as an excellent comedy to perform on the high
school / middle school level.