Cover art by Rick Butler


Karen Sunde
Book Item Icon $12.95
PDF ePlay Item Icon
Enter total users


On the eve of his departure from Paris, Benjamin Franklin and his French contemporaries avoid goodbyes by engaging in charades and parlor games. The passions of revolution are overshadowed by the intensity of personal relationships in this structurally inventive play within a play.

Production Info

Cast: 6 total (1 female, 5 male)
Full Length Drama (about 110 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Period Costumes

Press Quotes

“… the power of BALLOON is its density … magnificence … poignancy … Encountering BALLOON bears some resemblance to being overwhelmed while assembling a giant jigsaw puzzle, but then relishing its finished design.” —The Times London

“It’s absolutely first-rate … serious, intelligent, challenging, a play that’s humane in its concerns, vividly theatrical, and gracefully written with one sharp epigram after another … full-blooded drama, layered with meaning … intriguing conceit … the individual in history, both as shaper and thing shaped … a play about the shapes of lives and the fates of nations.” —The Record

“… intriguing … arresting ideas … full of an engaging playfulness, an admirable seriousness.” —Women’s Wear Daily

“[Sunde] converts our text book history into flesh and blood passions … People achieving greatly, now and then crippled by arrogance and intolerance, suffering mightily, dazzled by possibilities, devastated by disappointments yet continuing and surviving are what she dramatizes.” —The Villager

“The extremely high quality … is apparent throughout — it bubbles with crisp language, depth, and humor. Your “actor’s ear” serves you so truthfully and consistently. So rich … And thus so rare. Coming to the BALLOON for the third time just now leaves me in awe … Truly.” —Richard Dysart

About the Author


  • Karen Sunde

    Playwright/Screenwriter Karen Sunde was first an actor. Off-Broadway she performed many leading roles and became Associate Director of CSC Repertory. Her plays have been performed Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, on a USA tour, in eleven countries, in seven languages. As screenwriter (adapting her plays) Sunde's won the Gold Prize from Hollywood Screenwriting Contest for IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA; HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM is an "Official Selection" at Oaxaca Film Festival (; UNDERCOVER PATRIOT was finalist at Sundance, THE FASTEST WOMAN ALIVE adapted for Howard S Shulman Productions, NYC. Among her plays: Shakespeare's DARK LADY, produced Abbey Theatre, Ireland; Aalborg State Theatre, Denmark; BALLOON, produced CSC won three VILLAGER awards Off-Broadway, nominated Best Play by Outer Critics Circle; in French, aired by Radio France; TO MOSCOW premiered Ankara National Theatre, Turkey; Chain Lightning, NYC. PLAYS BY KAREN SUNDE includes TRUTH TAKES A HOLIDAY; IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA produced Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey; HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM, produced PTNJ; Praxis Theatre Project, NYC; The Unicorn, Kansas City. HAITI: A DREAM in FACING FORWARD, produced Seven Stages, Atlanta; radio play produced WNYC, aired WHYY, NPR. ANTON, HIMSELF for Actors Theatre of Louisville, played the Moscow Art Theatre and Yalta Festival in Russia; Peoples Light and Theatre, PA. THE FASTEST WOMAN ALIVE produced Luna Stage, NJ; Praxis, NYC; the Edinburgh Festival. KABUKI OTHELLO, produced People's Light and Theatre; Annenberg Center, Philadelphia; Wisdom Bridge, Chicago. KABUKI LADY MACBETH produced Chicago Shakespeare Theater, cited for five JEFF Awards. ACHILLES (a Kabuki play) toured Hungary, Cyprus, Japan. Sunde cowrote musical QUASIMODO, produced Byrdcliffe Festival, Woodstock, NY; Lahti City Theatre, Finland. For Cheltenham Center, Philadelphia, Sunde wrote LA PUCELLE (Me & Joan) and DADDY'S GONE AHUNTING (Tracking Blood White); for Chain Lightning, WHEN REAL LIFE BEGINS. Scenes from TO MOSCOW; ANTON, HIMSELF; MASHA, TOO; HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM appear in SCENES & MONOLOGS FROM THE BEST NEW PLAYS. Sunde lives in New York City and is faculty at New Hampshire Institute of Art's "Writing for Stage and Screen" MFA program.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 5/1/1983
Pages 86
ISBN 9780881450064

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Premiered by CSC Rep in New York City

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Balloon is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC