Fourteen (play)

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Written by Alice Gerstenberg, 1919
  • Dunham
  • Mrs. Pringle
  • Elaine
Date premiered 1919
Place premiered Arthur Maitland's Theatre, San Francisco
Setting The dining room of a New York residence

Fourteen is a play by Alice Gerstenberg. This one-act social satire was first performed at Arthur Maitland's Theatre, San Francisco, in 1919 and originally published in the February 1920 issue of The Drama magazine. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.


The play has three characters:

  • Dunham, the butler or maid
  • Mrs Horace Pringle
  • Elaine


Mrs. Pringle is preparing to host a dinner party to introduce her daughter, Elaine, to the city's most eligible bachelor. Illness and a blizzard force some guests to cancel and the three characters are compelled to try to salvage the evening and the dinner-table layout.[1][2]


Writing in The Drama magazine, J. Vandervoort Sloan described Gerstenberg as "a progressive young playwright, possibly the best-known and most widely be-played by amateur groups in America" and Fourteen as belonging "in the 'a' class of her plays".[3] A reviewer for the American Library Association called it an "exemplary social farce".[4]

The play was among those "unqualifiedly recommended" for high-school productions in front of "mixed audiences" by a New Jersey public school drama adviser in 1923. The adviser described it as "portraying the contretemps of a dinner party".[5]

The play has continued to appeal to theater companies and audiences, with several modern productions.[1][6] Reviewing a 2007 production in the New York Times, Anne Midgette described Fourteen as delightfully dated.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Synopsis of Fourteen by Alice Gerstenberg". Michael Weston Organisation Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ Gerstenberg, Alice (1921). "Ten one-act plays". New York: Longmans. pp. 221–241. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ Sloan, J. Vandervoort (October–November 1921). "Books". The Drama. 12 (1–2): 19. 
  4. ^ Drury, Francis Keese Wynkoop (1925). Viewpoints in Modern Drama: An Arrangement of Plays According to their Essential Interest. American Library Association. p. 41. 
  5. ^ Moses, Grace C. (April 1923). "Dramatics in the High School". Education Bulletin. New Jersey Department of Education. 9 (8): 137. 
  6. ^ McSheffrey, Kevin (June 22, 2011). "One Act Play Festival attracts five plays to Elliot Lake". Elliot Lake Standard. Elliot Lake, Canada. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ Midgette, Anne (September 12, 2007). "A Woman's Worth in Love, Marriage, Friendship, Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 

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