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Longer One-Act Plays

' dentity Crisis

(approximately 30 minutes)

Production History


Katherine Clarke as Jane, Darcy Pulliam as Edith Fromage, Mark Linn-Baker as Robert (Dwayne, Father, Count, etc.), David K. Miller as Mr. Summers, Nancy Mayans as Woman

‘dentity Crisis had its professional premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, on a double bill with Robert Auletta’s “Guess Work,” on October 13, 1978.  The direction of ‘dentity Crisis was by Frank Torok, scenery by Michael H. Yeargan, costumes by Marjorie Graf, lighting by Robert Jared.

Some reviews included:

...irreverent mixture of parody, satire, theater jokes, and nonsense.
      – New Haven Register

Durang's writing is short and sharp moments of wit and hilarity.
      – Variety

The Story

Recovering from a nervous breakdown, Jane is nursed and nagged by her energetic and overwhelming mother, Edith Fromage, who claims to have invented cheese.  She also criticizes Jane for her suicide attempt, but then claims it never happened.  Plus Jane is very confused by the fact that her mother and her brother Dwayne seem to be having an affair.  But then at other times, her brother turns into her father, and then into her grandfather, and sometimes into a French count.  So Jane isn’t really sure who he is.  Her psychiatrist makes a house call and listens sympathetically to Jane’s recurring memory of attending a nightmarish production of “Peter Pan” in her youth.  But then he goes off and has sex change, and returns as a woman, and Jane has trouble recognizing him.  Then his wife shows up, also with a sex change, and the wife now looks like the psychiatrist.  So poor Jane feels crazier still, though Edith and Dwayne/father/ grandfather/count think the new company is great fun, and everybody ends by conjugating the verb “dentity” : I dentity, you dentity, he she or it denties.

Note: Jane’s “Peter Pan” monologue has become somewhat famous through much use in high school forensics.

Cast: 2 male, 3 female, 5 total.
Rights: Dramatists Play Service

Photos from Yale Repertory production:

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