Cover art by Claude Simpson to Lord Lylllian by Jacques d'Adelsward Fersen

Mustn’t Do It!

Jo M Van Ijssel de Schepper-Becker, translated by Laurence Senelick
Book Item Icon $15.95
PDF ePlay Item Icon
Enter total users


A domestic comedy whose homosexual character is part of an ordinary family that views his sexual orientation as unnatural. When the play was first produced in 1922, it enjoyed two performances and then was quietly removed from the repertory as too progressive for its time. It is, however, just right for ours.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (2 female, 3 male)
Full Length Comedy (about 90 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“Highly amusing.” —Pieter Liefhebber, Der Telegraaf

“It goes without saying for the play MUSTN’T DO IT! is a real curiosity for the audience eighty years on because gay liberation has taken place in the meantime … A fine monument to bygone manners, outdated norms and values, and irrational fears. At the same time the play comes across as a radically up-to-date human document about sorrow and despair.” —Hans Oranje, Trouw

“A mixture of earthy humor and high drama.” —Michel, The Personal in Culture

“Out Came the First Coming-Out Play.” —The Gay and Lesbian Review World-wide

“The most amusing play I have seen in the last few years. Everything worked. The acting was so authentic that I really felt I was in the oppressive household of yore.” —André Gieling

About the Author


  • Laurence Senelick

    Laurence Senelick is the Director of Graduate Studies, Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory, at Tufts University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard. His expertise is in Russian theatre and drama, history of popular entertainment, gender and performance, history of directing, classical theory. Prof. Senelick is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, the most recent being, Soviet Theatre: A Documentary History; Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters; and The American Stage: Writing on the American Theatre (Library of America) and A Historical Dictionary of Russian Theatre. Others books include: The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance and The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and Theatre, as well as over a hundred articles in learned journals. He is a former Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. Prof. Senelick was named Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Prof. Senelick has been named a Distinguished Scholar by both the American Society of Theatre Research and the Faculty Research Awards Council of Tufts University. He is the recipient of grants and awards from, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has received the Barnard Hewitt Award of the American Society for Theatre Research for The Chekhov Theatre; the George Freedley Award of the Theatre Library Association for The Age and Stage of George L. Fox and The Changing Room; and the George Jean Nathan Award for best dramatic criticism of 2000. He holds the St. George medal of the Russian Ministry of Culture for services to Russian art and scholarship, and is honorary curator of Russian theatre at the Harvard Theatre Collection. He was also awarded a stipend from the TranScript/Mikhail Prokhorov Fund for Translation from the Russian. In 2008 he won the Graduate Teaching award (doctoral level) of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools and in 2012 the Betty Jean Jones Prize of American Theatre and Drama Society for Distinguished Teaching. He is a widely produced translator of plays from such authors as Chekhov and Feydeau, and director at Tufts of his own translations of The Inspector General, The Bakkhai, and Anything to Declare? He has acted and directed with such organizations as the Poets' Theatre, the Loeb Drama Center, the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Baroque, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the revue The Proposition. He recently devised new courses on Cabaret, Theatre and Visual Studies, and Low Comedy and played Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Balch Arena Theatre. His recipes appear in the Bon Appetit cookbooks.

  • Jo M Van IJssel de Schepper-Becker

    Johanna Maria IJssel de Schepper-Becker (1885 – 1973) was a Dutch novelist. Her play WAT NIET MAG… (MUSN'T DO IT!) was the first play to treat homosexuality as an inborn condition and "coming out" as an act of self-realization. Previous treatments of the subject, in contrast, found gay characters being "outed" as a result of, in the words of Laurence Senelick, "blackmail or vice-squad raids or the maneuvers of jilted lovers."

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 9/1/2010
Pages 62
ISBN 9780881454215

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:
Mustn’t Do It! is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC