THE STORY: Three generations of women from a well-known, and for the most part respectable, family of English teachers live under the same roof in the twin towns of Ceredo-Kenova, West Virginia, in 1960. Polly, a spinster and grand dame of the Huntington Community Players, brings shame to the family after being fired from teaching for allowing one of her students to read from Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem “Howl.” Polly’s losing her job infuriates her widowed sister, Vic, also an English teacher, as such a scandal may undermine her effort to be elected as the Democratic candidate for the sixteenth-district seat to the West Virginia House of Delegates. Vic is also concerned about the influence Polly has on her fifteen-year-old daughter, Lib, a baritone-playing misfit of a girl who is madly in love with the handsome boarder, Bobby, a history student at nearby Marshall College, and one of Vic’s campaign aides. Miss Ruthie, Vic’s campaign manager, encourages Vic to distance herself from Polly and tries to lure Lib away from Polly’s influence by telling Lib she will end up with an unhappy manless life. Mary, the self-righteous matriarch of the family, tries her best to keep order and peace in her house. In a moment of desperation, Polly escapes to New York, and, after her brief, failed venture there, turns to Bobby for comfort. Ultimately, Vic wins the election by Miss Ruthie’s manipulative shenanigans; Miss Ruthie marries a doctor; Lib becomes a majorette; and Polly ends up working as a check-out clerk. The play celebrates these women who defy the status quo in pursuit of their dreams, and explores the compromises each makes in their efforts to realize those dreams.
“Napier’s subjects…are intriguing…Napier…knows how to develop scenes deftly, and he ends with some poignant points.” —Newsday (NY).
“Trust the audience. Listen to the silent sound of spectators during one particular scene in Edward Napier’s, THE ENGLISH TEACHERS…When…a flamboyant frustrated community theatre actress, and…a not unintelligent hunky stud stalk each other in words and movements that barely screen their sexuality, the audience rewards them with a palpable hush broken only by applause when the scene ends…The comedy…has strong…characters in search of fulfillment.” —Backstage.
“His seriocomic drama is an eyes wide open tribute to his many school teacher relatives…Napier knows how to evoke a strong sense of place and provides a number of poignant scenes…a play which will, like those rare teachers who occasionally cross our paths, make a lasting impression.” —CurtainUp.