Tales of the Lost Formicans

Constance Congdon

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Sheet music for two songs, "A Lullabye for the Lost" and "Oh Crocodile Night," is available to productions upon request.


This witty and passionate play explores the story of a man with Alzheimer’s and at the same time turns into “a travel guide to Middle America conducted by aliens from outer space.” The play has a wonderful comic sensibility, but this is a chillingly painful play addressing postmodern society’s collective nervous breakdown.

Production Info

Cast: 7 total (3 female, 4 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“If not the best new play of recent years, surely this is the most imaginative. Constance Congdon’s brilliant Off-Broadway script wryly deflects the story of a man with Alzheimer’s disease into a travel guide to Middle America conducted by aliens.” —William Henry III, Time

“Constance Congdon’s TALES OF THE LOST FORMICANS is a treat in so many ways — starting with its deliciously wry title … you shouldn’t miss it: Congdon is a new voice, and her innumerable small triumphs are achieved with a freshness of spirit, with a humor and charm so distinctively individual, that one just wants to hear more and more from her … Congdon’s aliens are a fluidly shifting metaphor for her own complex relation to the subject of her drama, a lower-middle suburban family coping with three generations’ worth of stress simultaneously …” —Michael Feingold, Village Voice

“… a savagely uncompromising play of searching insights, biting wit and all too recognizable home truths … There are laughs, wit and humor, but this is a chillingly painful play. Congdon is a terrific playwright with sure command of language and her subject …” —Polly Warfield, Drama-Logue

“Congdon’s writing creates dialogue that crackles with wit, imagination and incisive passion …” —A J Esta, Drama-Logue

About the Author


  • Constance Congdon

    Constance Congdon has been called "one of the best playwrights our country and our language has ever produced" by playwright Tony Kushner in Kushner's introduction to her collection TALES OF THE LOST FORMICANS AND OTHER PLAYS. In addition to TALES OF THE LOST FORMICANS, which has had more than 200 productions worldwide, Congdon's plays include: CASANOVA, DOG OPERA, NO MERCY, LOSING FATHER'S BODY, LIPS and NATIVE AMERICAN. PARADISE STREET, was produced in Los Angeles and Amherst. Three commissions from the American Conservatory Theater: A MOTHER, starring Olympia Dukakis, a new verse version of THE MISANTHROPE, and a new adaptation of THE IMAGINARY INVALID, were all produced by ACT. Also at ACT: MOONTEL SIX, a commission by the ACT Young Conservatory and subsequently performed at London's National Theatre, followed by another production of the two-act version at San Francisco's ZEUM. THE AUTOMATA PIETÀ, another YC commission, received its world premiere at San Francisco's Magic Theatre in 2002; NIGHTINGALES went to the Theatre Royale Bath's Youth Theatre. Congdon's NO MERCY, and its companion piece, ONE DAY EARLIER, were part of the 2000 season devoted to Congdon at the Profile Theatre. She has written a number of opera libretti and seven plays for the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis. THE CHILDREN OF THE ELVI, Congdon's epic and NOT suitable for children, play received its premiere at the Key City Public Theater in 2007. Congdon's plays have been produced throughout the world, including Cairo, Tokyo and Berlin. Her new verse version of TARTUFFE is in a single-volume Norton Critical edition and in the Norton Anthology of Drama. In 2013, Congdon was the Honored Playwright at the GPTC and had a fully-staged workshop of her play about the water crisis in the West, TAKE ME TO THE RIVER. Her recent play HAIR OF THE DOG is about Shakespeare and Marlowe. Her most recent play, ENEMY SKY, is about drones, Islamaphobia, and late-in-life love. Congdon has received three NEA grants, two Rockefeller grants (one for Bellagio), an Albert Sloan grants for TAKE ME TO THE RIVER, The Berilla Kerr Award, Helen Merrill Award, The Albert Weissberger Award, New York Newsday's Oppenheimer Award for Best New Play in NYC, New England Theater Conference Award for Distinguished Service to the Theater (2004), two Great Plains Theater Conference Awards, one for Distinguished Service to the Theater and the other as the 2013 Honored Playwright. She is an alumnus of New Dramatists, The Playwright's Center of Minneapolis, and a current member of The Dramatists Guild and PEN. Congdon has taught playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, but her home is as playwright-in-residence at Amherst College where she has taught playwriting for 25 years. Her work is published by Norton, TCG, Inc, but mostly by Broadway Play Publishing.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 6/1/1990
Pages 80
ISBN 9780881450910

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:

Originally produced by the Actors Theatre of Louisville

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


Upcoming and Recent Productions


7/23/2021 – 9/1/2021
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT


2/9/2023 – 2/19/2023
The Stagenorth Groundlings, Inc.
Washburn, WI

4/25/2019 – 5/4/2019
Silverthorne Theater Company
Greenfield, MA

4/14/2019 – 3/16/2019
Umw Theatre
Fredericksburg, VA

4/10/2018 – 4/15/2018
Texas State University
San Marcos, TX

5/3/2017 – 5/5/2017
High School For The Performing And Visual Arts
Houston, TX

4/12/2017 – 4/22/2017
University Of Nebraska At Omaha
Omaha, NE

11/17/2016 – 11/19/2016
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA