At a time when the United States’ volunteer army is stretched to breaking point,   Glockenspiel explores the war on the home front, the alliances formed by those left behind and the sense of betrayal and rage that undermines trust, support and hope. While tackling issues of race, class and sex, the play also celebrates the humour and spirit of ordinary people trapped in an extraordinary situation.


In an American town we witness three funeral ceremonies for which the deceased have been granted military honours. As we meet the relatives we discover that none of the dead has been killed on active duty and that the inglorious nature of their deaths prevents the families from truly coming to terms with their loss.

A single mother struggles to make sense of her daughter’s death in an ‘accident’ on base, while her oldest friend finds that far from bonding over the tragedy, she is further alienated from her community.

A young widow mourns her veteran husband’s suicide, still unable to end her affair with her sister-in-law’s fiancé.

The sudden death of a retired colonel leaves his army-officer daughter distraught and at loggerheads with his second wife, a woman of her own age.

And a funeral home assistant must hide his own demons as he clings to a new job on being discharged from the military.

At a time when the United States’ volunteer army is stretched to breaking point, Glockenspiel explores the war on the home front, the alliances formed by those left behind and the sense of betrayal and rage that undermines trust, support and hope.

While tackling issues of race, class and sex, the play also celebrates the humour and spirit of ordinary people trapped in extraordinary situations.

Contains scenes of a sexual nature.

Playwright’s Note


Statistics drawn from: Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Preliminary Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families National Academies Press (Washington DC, 2010)


– The Pentagon has a budget fourteen times that of the State Department (and a third more personnel) and yet the US Military has been reduced by over a third in the last twenty five years (in terms of enlisted servicemen and women).

– Because the number of ‘active’ troops is smaller, military personnel are sent on repeated tours to meet the demands of extended conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

– 40% of current military service members have been deployed more than once; 263,150 service members have served more than two tours.

– Families have little warning of deployments, which often extend beyond originally stated durations. Official military policy is 2 years of dwell time (service at home) for every year of active duty (overseas.). [But] average dwell times are substantially shorter than the established policy.

– The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen a growing reliance on the National Guard, reserves and older, married soldiers, creating a new array of concerns related to family-life readjustment and the well-being of older children.

– The proportion of service members who have been killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan has been lower than that in past conflicts. The lower number of fatalities is attributable to improved body armor and emergency medical care. But it means more service members survive to return home with severe combat-related injuries that require additional care.

– About 27% of those who have been deployed three or four times have received diagnoses of depression, anxiety, or acute stress.

– Another troubling consequence of extended deployment is the increase in the number of suicides. Historically, the suicide rate has been lower in military members than in civilians. The US National Violent Death Reporting System now indicates that male veterans have a suicide rate twice that of the general population.

– Diagnoses of alcoholism and alcohol abuse have more than doubled since 2003.

– 20% of recent veterans are unemployed, and 25% of those who are employed earn less than $21,000 per year.

– Veterans have been pursued for repayment of military debt, such as unpaid expenses for lost or damaged equipment, medical services, household moves, insurance premiums, and travel advances – incurred through no fault of their own.

– Recent data from the Army shows an overall increase in the number of divorces since the start of the Afghan and Iraq conflicts, especially in female soldiers.

– Domestic violence affects 20% of military couples in which the service member has been deployed for at least 6 months

– There is a stigma seeking treatment for mental health. Many consider it a “stripe-killer.”

Production History


Classic Studio, Columbia College, Chicago, October 2015


Debra, Alicia Watly
Yolanda, Shenise Brown
Andre, Jesimiel Jaddua
Eloise, Katharine Harbison
Zinnie, Almanya Narula
Josh, Topher Loos
Carmen, Amanda Lopez
Justine, Evelyn Hilleran Finne
Soldier, David Stobbe


Director, Steven Dykes
Producer, Brian Shaw
Assistant Director, Spencer Diedrick
Stage Manager, Madisen Dempsey
Set Designer, Hayden Penn
Lighting Designer, Ben Carne
Costume Designer, Emily Blood
Sound Designer, Antonino ‘Nino’ LaCorte


American Theatre Arts, Barn Theatre, Rose Bruford College, March 2011

Soho Theatre Studio, London, June 2011.


Debra, Vanessa Igho
Yolanda, Laura Asare
Andre, Rohan Yates
Eloise, Hannah Peaker
Zinnie, Mahala Francis Sladden
Josh, Matthew Phoenix
Carmen, Cassandra O’Reilly
Justine, Esti MacInnes
Soldier, David Mowbray


Director, Steven Dykes
Designer, Franziska Ziegler
Lighting Designer, Lucy Bird
Sound Designer, Ella Wahlström
Military Consultant, Lee Bainbridge


Potomac Theatre Project (PTP/NYC), ‘After Dark’ Series, Atlantic Stage II, New York, July 2013.

Platform Performance:

Debra, Chandra Thomas
Yolanda, Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Andre, Genesis Oliver
Eloise, Christina Fox
Zinnie, Deonna Bouye
Josh, David Barlow
Carmen, Aamira Welthy
Justine, Esti MacInnes
Narrator, Nesba Crenshaw
Director, Steven Dykes


Columbia College, Chicago, October 2015



  • Categories: Cast size 8 or more / Contemporary
  • Cast: 6 Women, 2 Men
  • Setting: America, Contemporary
  • Running Time: 120 minutes
  • Characters:
  • Scripts:
  • Performance Rights: Rights Currently Available.
    Non-exclusive Student/Amateur/Unwaged Professional:
    £60/$100 per performance.
    Territory Exclusive Waged Professional:
    Royalty on application.
    N.B. All licences require one purchase of the authorised rehearsal script.

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