God knows why Buddy and Jean should get married… God knows… but nobody else seems to. With only 12 hours to plan a wedding, Buddy and Jean must prove that love can overcome any obstacle. As they encounter exploding wedding dresses, tyrannical fathers, and one stickler of a priest, it’s a bumpy road to the altar for this love-sick couple. Set at the beginning of World War II, with the slapstick humor of classic Neil Simon, a younger generation strives to live life by a new set of standards while breaking all the rules in the process.
Jean is bursting with news— she and her fiancé Buddy have decided that tomorrow’s the day they get married. Despite Jean being Catholic and Buddy being Presbyterian, they’ve got a priest to agree to marry them. At this very house at 1330 Divinity Place.
This throws the household into a tizzy. Jean’s cousin Ceil, surrogate mother to a brood of cousins and sisters, has to get the house ready in 12 hours. Jean’s sister Marguerite insists that they invite their shrewish guardian, Aunt Mary. Jean’s best friend Caputo is hugely pregnant. And Jean’s brother’s fiancée, Jinx, is fuming— she thought her wedding would go off first.
The morning of the wedding, Father Brendan, the young priest who agreed to perform the ceremony, has been sent off to the harbor to bless some ships. Monsignor Aloysius McDonough, known to all as “Holy Joe,” arrives to announce that no wedding can take place until Buddy signs a form promising he’ll raise their children Catholic.
But Buddy won’t sign. His word has to be good enough. And Jean’s behind him. No amount of pressure from Holy Joe, or Buddy’s mother (who sneaks down the street while her husband is asleep), can budge Buddy. He believes that you have to have faith -- in people as much as in God.
Jinx, meanwhile, has decided that she’ll be seen in her wedding gown first, after all. She arrives in a full, to-beat-the-band wedding dress. Only it’s just been pinned together. During the course of the play various pieces of the dress keep falling off— at the most inopportune times.
Act I ends with Buddy’s tyrannical father, Mr. Sinclair, banging on the door, violently opposed to the wedding. And it looks like Caputo just went into labor.
Mr. Sinclair bursts in and demands that Buddy leave. Buddy refuses, which only serves to ratchet up Mr. Sinclair’s wrath.
When left alone, Buddy and Jean consider their fate. Buddy suddenly hits on an idea. He and Jean hop on the sofa and begin to dance. Even though it feels strange, and it’s against the rules, they realize that it’s really not so bad. Maybe they’ll just have to find their own way.
Caputo goes into serious labor, prompting everyone to try and get a way to the hospital. Jean informs Holy Joe that if she can’t get married as a Catholic, she’s willing to leave the faith. Buddy’s father and Holy Joe get a tongue-lashing from cousin Ceil, who reminds them of what’s important— Caputo’s baby, the world at war.
As Caputo is carted to the hospital, it looks like Holy Joe will marry them after all— in the rectory at noon sharp.
Mr. Ellis has a terrific ear for distinctive dialogue!
Jean (Regina McManus) – F, 24. The bride to be. Hides her nerves with either hysterical laughter or slightly salty language.
Caputo (Angela Caputo Provenzano) – F, also 24. Jean’s wisecracking best friend. Very pregnant.
Nicki (Ludmila Wisnicki Scarzy) – F, also 24. Deadpan friend of Jean.
Marguerite McManus – F, 27. Jean’s sister. Single and not happy about it. Tries to be the boss to Jean and Fixie, but is generally regarded as just butting in.
Ceil (Cecilia O’Connell) – F, 30. Jean and Marguerite’s cousin and owner of the house. Warm, loving, motherly but a demon when it comes to keeping a clean house.
Jinx (Genevieve Kelly) – F, 26. Future sister-in-law to Jean and Marguerite. Chubby and the “odd man out” among the young women. Doesn’t get humor and easily offended.
Buddy Sinclair – M, 24. Jean’s fiancé. Wholesome, open, and fun-loving.
Fixie (Francis Xavier McManus) – M, 26. Jinx’s fiancé, Jean and Marguerite’s brother, Buddy’s best friend. Clumsy, sweet.
Father Brendan – M, 30+. Local priest. Soft-spoken, earnest.
Holy Joe (Monsignor Aloysius McDonough) – M, 50+. Parish pastor. Strikes fear in the hearts of his parishioners.
Mrs. Sinclair, Buddy’s mother – F, 50+. Lives under the thumb of her husband.
Mr. Sinclair, Buddy’s father – M, 50+. Irascible, tyrannical, and a match for Holy Joe.
Setting: 1942: The parlor of a Row House in West Philadelphia.
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“Divinity Place is set at the beginning of World War II and features the slapstick humor of classic Neil Simon” –Eastern Shore News
"Mr. Ellis has a terrific ear for distinctive dialogue!" –OnStage
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The production materials for Divinity Place include:
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Director's Script – Single-sided script with space for director’s notes.