Play-script - No.5


Title:       When The World Was Green (A Chef's Fable).

Writer:    Joseph Chaikin and Sam Shepard.

Setting:    The action of the play takes place in a prison cell in an unnamed country.

Time:        The recent past.


This play was originally commissioned and produced by Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games Cultural Olympiad for the Olympic Arts Festival in conjunction with 7 Stages, Atlanta, in 1996.



Interviewer, Young woman, about 25, wears dress of neutral colour.

Old man, in his sixties or seventies, wears a muted blue prisoner's uniform, no stripes.



When the World Was Green is a one-act play by Joseph Chaikin and Sam Shepard. Shepard is better known for plays such as: Fool For Love, True West and Cowboy Mouth.

When the World Was Green follows a young female journalist in search of her father. She interviews an old man in a prison cell, who resolved a generations-old vendetta by murdering the wrong man. An ancient tale mixed with a need for answers, this play is a story of loss, regret, forgiveness and love.


My thoughts:

What a beautiful piece of writing this is. I didn’t want it to come to an end but the ending was both strong and satisfying. I have to say I’m a big fan of Sam Shepard’s work. The characters in this piece work so well against each other; the young journalist on a quest for answers is contrasted with the old man, who is resigned to his ill-fate behind bars. The text is rich and you can hear the lilt of the Old man’s accent float off the page as he conjures up mouth-watering dishes to pass away his time behind bars.

When the World Was Green would be a great choice for a one-act festival, as it has such a small cast and a manageable set. This piece could also be produced with either The Late Henry Moss or Eyes for Consuela. All three of these plays appear in a collection by Sam Shepard.

(ISBN 1-4000-3079-X)


*There are possible male and female audition monologues within this piece. However, bear in mind the male character is in his sixties.



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