Over the Rainbow - a site for survivors of any unwanted sexual activity
    Plays Featuring Themes And Scenes of Rape
This is a list of plays that focus on or include scenes about rape and/or sexual abuse:

    Barker, H. The Europeans, London, Calder Publications Limited, 1996.
    A young girl, Katrin, has been gang raped by the Turks during the fight between Islam and Christianity. She describes her rape in detail to officials, gives birth to a daughter as a result of the rape who is handed back to the Turks at the end of the play.
    Brenton, H. Plays for Public Places , Eyre Methuen & Co, London, 1972.
    Three children, including a young autistic girl, play at various different characters including at one point an old man who the girl refers to as her dirty old man and who tries to take her away. This is stopped when the other child becomes a policeman and arrests the old man calling him a child fingerer.
    Devised in eight days for teachers and first performed at the Brighton Combination in 1969.
    Four sisters, three of which experienced sexual abuse as children at the hands of their father. The abuse is over and is spoken about by the non-abused sister and represented in a flashback which shows the three abused girls playing a form of Give Me a Clue. The youngest sister portrays the abuse in her turn of the game by lying on the floor with her hand over her mouth. The other sisters run away from her. The on going effects of the abuse are shown in the sister's difficulties with dealing with relationships.
    Performed at the White Bear Theatre London in 2000
    Cullen, M. Anna Wiess, London, Nick Hern Books, 1997.
    A play about recovered memories of abuse which focuses on the issue of false memory syndrome. Anna Wiess is a hypnotherapist who helps Lynn to recover memories of abuse at the hands of her father who denies the accusations desperately. The abuse is described in detail by Lynn who reads a letter she has written to her father.
    First performed at the Traverse Theatre in the 1997 Edinburgh Festival.
    Daniels, S. Beside Herself, London, Methuen, 1990.
    Looks at child abuse, focussing mainly on the experience of one woman whose abuse is represented by a separate character. Other female characters in the play also experience the issue of child abuse both from the point of view of a mother of an abused child and the adult who was abused as a child. All those in the play who experience sexual abuse experience or move towards experiencing a confrontation of their abuser
    Dorfman, A. Death and the Maiden, London, Nick Hern Books, 1999.
    A powerful political drama which focuses on a woman who is in a position to take revenge on the man she believes tortured (including rape) her during the time when Pinochet was the dictator of Chile
    Eldridge, D. Festen, London, Methuen, 2001.
    A father's patriarchal power and a mother's cowardly silence are shattered when the dead sister’s twin brother, decides to share some of his childhood recollections of abuse at his fathers sixtieth birthday party.
    Ensler, E. The Vagina Monologues, London, Virago Press, 2001.
    Eve Ensler's exploration of sexuality inspired by interviews with hundreds of different types of women looks at many issues including body image, sex, oppression, rape and sexual abuse.
    Commissioned by the Women's Playhouse Theatre Trust. A rehearsed reading took place in the theatre upstairs at the Royal Court in 1988 and the play was first performed in full on the main stage in 1990.
    De Vega, L. Fuente Ovejuna, London, Absolute Press,1997.
    Lope's Fuente Ovejuna takes its name from a Spanish village which rebels against its military tyrant. It is a true story of oppression, rape, a rebellion led by a young woman, lynching and courage under torture.
    Lavery, B. Frozen, London, Faber and Faber Ltd, 2002.
    Looks at the issue of paedophile murder the mother of a missing 10 year old girl, a serial killer and an academic. The play looks at the effects of child murder through those who are left behind. Anger, grief and hope are all explored through the three characters - the mother of the murdered child, an academic and the serial killer.
    First performed at Birmingham Rep in 1998.
    Maxwell, D. Decky Does a Bronco, London, Oberon Books Ltd, 2001.
    The tragi-comic story of a gang of 9 year old boys who spend the summer of 1983 'Broncoing Swings' in Girvan on the west coast of Scotland. David remembers the summer when his friend Decky went missing.
    Pielmeirer, J. Agnes of God, location unknown, New Amer Library Trade, 1985.
    Story of Agnes a young nun who gives birth in secret then murders her baby. Agnes was abused by her mother, which is discovered by a Psychiatrist trying to solve both the mystery of the baby's death and how Agnes became pregnant. No rapist is ever identified and Agnes is unable to tell anything of what happened.
    (Unpublished - possibly available through Splash Theatre Company)
    Tells the story of Little Bear who is experiencing abuse. All the characters are animals and no relationships between them are stated allowing the children to decide those for themselves. Other characters in the play are Little Reindeer- the friend, Big Reindeer- the responsible adult and Big Bear the offender. Bug Bear is the only character whose gender is identified (as male) and he is not portrayed as being all bad to help children being abused by those they care about make connections with it.
    The play was performed by Splash Theatre Company in 1988.
    Kane, S. Blasted, London, Methuen, 2001.
    Sarah Kane who is considered to be one of the key playwrights of the In-yer-face theatre, debut play caused huge controversy when it opened at the Royal Court in 1995. Set in a hotel room in Leeds, Blasted begins with a middle aged man " Ian," and a young woman "Cate." In the second scene we learn that Ian has raped Cate during the night, soon after this a soldier enters into the room bringing the horrors of war with him. Greig (2001) writes " as though the act of rape, which blasts the inner world of both victim and perpetrator, has also destroyed the world outside the room" (Greig in Kane, 2001, p.x). The soldier describes the acts of rape that he has committed and that happened to his own girlfriend. He then goes on to rape Ian towards the end of the play.
    Kern, W. Hell Cab, Unknown binding, Dramatist Play Service Inc, 1997.
    The story of a cab driver in Chicago on Christmas eve and the passengers he picks up - including a rape victim.
    Ravenhill, M. Shopping and Fucking, London, Methuen, 2005.
    Like Sarah Kane, Ravenhill was part of the In-yer-face theatre movement. Shopping and Fucking explores themes of consumerism. Contains male rape.
    Stephenson, S. Five Kinds of Silence, London. Methuen, 2001.
    The play opens with the murder of Billy a wife beater who also physically and sexually abused his two daughters, now both adults. The play explores the aftermath of abuse through the experiences of the three women structured in a series of monologues while their dead father continues to prowl the stage haunting them even after his death and talking about his own abusive childhood.
    First performed at the Lyric Hammersmith in 2000.
    Wedekind, F. Spring Awakening, London, Methuen, 1993.
    This play is subtitled "A children's tragedy". It tells of the consequences that a sexually repressed society has on a group of teenagers. The majority of the adults in the play are grotesque and the young people are lied to or not even told about sex. In their attempts to make sense of their feelings they explore violence, homosexuality and masturbation with no real understanding of what they are doing. The frustration and confusion that results from the clash of the sexual repression of the adults and the sexual awakening of the young people leads to the rape of Wendla Bergman on the same day her mother tells her that babies come from storks. Her mother's fury at her following pregnancy leads her to attempt to abort the baby which results in Wendla's death. The teenagers suffer oppressive education, physical abuse at the hands of their parents, one boy is sent to the reformatory and another commits suicide.
    Spring Awakening was written in 1891 but not performed in full in Britain until 1974.
    Wertenbaker, T. The Love of the Nightingale, London, Faber & Faber, 1989.
    In return for Aid in war, King Pandian of Athens gives his daughter in marraige to Tereus, King of Thrace. But once in Thrace Procne misses her sister Philomele and sets out to fetch her from Athens. On the way back Tereus decieves and rapes Philomele, silencing her by tearing out her tounge, which in turn unleashes even more violence.
    Wilcox, M. Massage & Other Plays, London, Methuen, 1987.
    Jane try's to uncover the truth about the abuse of her 12 year old son by her ex-boyfriend Tony. Tony receives a visit from a rent boy who reveals his own experience of sexual abuse at the hands of his adoptive dad and his friends. The rent boy discovers Tony's collection of pictures of young boys and attacks him with a knife and then arranges to meet him the next day.
    First performed at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in 1986.

Other plays that were identified but not found were:

  • Easy Access - Clare Dowie Dowie, C. Easy Access, London, Methuen, 1998.
  • Killing the Cat -David Spencer Spencer, D. Killing The Cat, London, Methuen, 1990.
  • Bad Blood - Debbie Tucker Green Unpublished - Performed at the Hampstead Theatre, April 2003.
  • The Sugar Syndrome - Lucy Pebble Not yet available but to be printed soon and available from Samuel French Ltd.
  • Touching Tomorrow - Gillian Plowman Plowman, G. Touching Tomorrow, London, Samuel French, 2002.
  • Brimstone and Treacle -Denis Potter Potter, D. Brimstone and Treacle, London, Quartet Books, 1982.
  • How I learned to Drive - Paula Vogel Vogel, P. How I learned to Drive, London, Josef Weinberger Plays, 1999.
Healing Monologues/Scenes (Click on the titles to view them):
  • The Europeans - Howard Barker: A young girl, Katrin, has been gang raped by the Turks during the fight between Islam and Christianity. She describes her rape in detail to officials. The difficulty of trying to describe what happened comes across strongly in this speech.
  • Death and the Maiden - Ariel Dorfman: Paulina tells her partner what she wants to do with the man she believes tortured her 15 years ago.
  • The Vagina Monologues - Eve Ensler: One of may powerful and beautiful monologues from the world famous Vagina Monologues. The play is based on interviews with 200 women about their experience of sexuality. The play is a celebration of female sexuality and has inspired V-day - a movement that aims to end violence against women where the play is performed to raise money for local women charities. For more infomration on the play and on V-day please go to: V-Day
  • Hellcab - Will Kern: A scene between a Chicago cab driver and a woman he picks up who has just been raped.
  • Fuente Ovejuna - Lope De Vega: A powerful speech from Laurencia who challenges the councillors of the town after they failed to stop her from being abducted and raped by the town's military tyrant. She calls the women of the town to arms to fight against the Commander and his men.
  • Decky does a Bronco - Douglass Maxwell: In this play David recalls the summer his friend Decky was raped and murdered. This speech comes at the end of the play and both challenges the audience not to forget the issue as well as offering hope for the future.
  • Spring Awakening - Frank Wedekind: Wendla's first speech after being raped. Her mother hasn't told her about sex and she doensn't understand what has happened to her. Her confusion and desire to tell someone what has happened to her are clear in this short speech.
  • The Love of the Nightingale - Timberlake Wertenbaker: I love this speech and have used it many times at auditions. I love the journey that the character Philomele makes. From trying to make sense of what happened, to blaming herself for what happened, then realising that the blame lies with Tereus to the final declaration of 'I will talk' showing her refusal to be silenced by rape.
If you know of any other plays that are not listed here please email me.
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