Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance

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About This Show

TheatreFIRST presents John Arden’s bracingly topical Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance. Clive Chafer directs.

Arden intended the play to be timeless, calling it "An Un-historical Parable". Long regarded as a modern classic, and coming out of a period of great creativity in the British theatre (the late 1950’s), the play starts with four soldiers apparently on a recruiting mission to a coal mining town in the north of England. It’s winter, and the town is cut off from the outside by snow. It is also in the grip of a miners’ strike (or lock-out) caused by a drop in the price of coal. As the story unfurls, it becomes clear the soldiers’ mission is not what it seems: these soldiers are deserters from a war being fought in a distant foreign land for questionable reasons. And they are bringing in a box what their leader, Musgrave, thinks will bring an end to this war – and finally to all wars. The play’s ending has been a source of great debate and not a little confusion: it is deliberately ambiguous, but not hopeless.

Show Details

Dates: Opening Night: May 4, 2007 Final Performance: May 27, 2007
Location: Old Oakland Theatre, California

481 9th St,



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