|Written by||Alice Gerstenberg, 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 October 7, 1919 at the Maitland Playhouse, 332 Stockton Street, San Francisco, on a bill with three other one-act plays. The San Francisco Chronicle remarked that it "gayly lampoons the question of dinner entertainments". Arthur Maitland's company had just moved into a new 200-seat theater from its previous incarnation as the St. Francis Little Theatre Club in the Colonial Ballroom of the St. Francis Hotel.
The play was 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:
- Mrs. Horace Pringle, a woman of fashion
- Elaine, a debutante and Mrs. Pringle's daughter
- Dunham, the butler or maid
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.
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". A reviewer for the American Library Association called it an "exemplary social farce".
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".
The play has continued to appeal to theater companies and audiences, with several modern productions. Reviewing a 2007 production in the New York Times, Anne Midgette described Fourteen as delightfully dated.
- "This Week's Attractions: Maitland", San Francisco Chronicle: E7, October 5, 1919
- "New Maitland Theater Opens for Inspection", San Francisco Chronicle: E5, September 14, 1919
- "The Stage", Town Talk: The Pacific and Bay Cities' Weekly, 32 (1330): 16–17, February 16, 1918
- "Synopsis of Fourteen by Alice Gerstenberg". Michael Weston Organisation Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
- Gerstenberg, Alice (1921). "Ten one-act plays". New York: Longmans. pp. 221–241. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
- Sloan, J. Vandervoort (October–November 1921). "Books". The Drama. 12 (1–2): 19.
- Drury, Francis Keese Wynkoop (1925). Viewpoints in Modern Drama: An Arrangement of Plays According to their Essential Interest. American Library Association. p. 41.
- Moses, Grace C. (April 1923). "Dramatics in the High School". Education Bulletin. New Jersey Department of Education. 9 (8): 137.
- 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.
- Midgette, Anne (September 12, 2007). "A Woman's Worth in Love, Marriage, Friendship, Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2015.