Cover art: detail from "The Intrigue"
by James Ensor

Five of Us

Len Jenkin

Enter total users
Winner of a 1984 Obie Award


FIVE OF US deals with the parallel lives of New York tenement dwellers, who live next door to each other but whose paths do not cross until one fateful moment, which spells disaster for them all. One apartment is occupied by Mark, a young writer who churns out pornography while planning the “big novel” he will someday write, and his live-in girlfriend, Lee, an anthropology grad who works as a waitress. Their next-door neighbor is Herman, a mentally deficient messenger who speaks in a language all his own and amuses himself by calling 800 numbers to make hotel reservations he has no intention of keeping. When Lee is offered a chance to join an anthropological expedition to Sri Lanka, Mark is faced with a crisis — the loss of both her companionship and her income. With the connivance of his ex-con buddy, Eddie, a street-smart would-be mercenary, Mark decides to prop up his finances by robbing Herman's apartment, in the misguided belief that the poor eccentric has been hoarding money. But, instead, what they find is the bizarre detritus of a stunted life — a life which is abruptly ended when Herman, coming upon them, is startled into a fatal epileptic fit. Fearful and guilt-ridden, Mark and Eddie try to cover their tracks — but as the play ends it is also clear that no matter how far or fast they flee they will never escape the spectre of the lonely misfit whose pathetic world they have so thoughtlessly and fatally shattered.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (2 female, 3 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“FIVE OF US is a 10. Jenkin has a real genius for character.” —The Hollywood Reporter

“… it proves that he not only has a vivid imagination but that he also has an artist’s command of his craft.” —The New York Times

“… a gripping, haunting experience that can’t be dismissed lightly.” —Drama-Logue

“… full of surprises and subversions, so that the expected keeps failing to happen, and the unexpected keeps happening, in new and absurdly ironic ways … FIVE OF US is several kinds of a good play.” —The Village Voice

About the Author


  • Len Jenkin

    Len Jenkin is a novelist, playwright, director, and screenwriter. His novels include N Judah, New Jerusalem, and The Secret Life of Billy's Uncle Myron (with Emily Jenkins). Plays include DARK RIDE, PILGRIMS OF THE NIGHT, CARELESS LOVE, MY UNCLE SAM, LIMBO TALES, THE DREAM EXPRESS, and LIKE I SAY. His works for the stage have been produced throughout the United States, as well as in England, Germany, France, Denmark, and Japan. His films include Blame It on the Night, Welcome to Oblivion, and American Notes. He has received many honors and awards, including three Obie awards for directing and playwriting, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Award, a nomination for an Emmy Award, and four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Mr. Jenkin holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Columbia University. He's a Professor in the Dramatic Writing Department, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and lives in New York City.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 9/16/2015
Pages 72
ISBN 9780881456189

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