Cover art compliments of The Public Theater

Women of a Certain Age

Richard Nelson
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WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE is Part Three in The Gabriels trilogy:
Part One: HUNGRY
All three titles may be purchased as a bundle at 20% off the regular price: THE GABRIELS: ELECTION YEAR IN THE LIFE OF ONE FAMILY


THE GABRIELS trilogy chronicles a year in the life of a neighboring family who reunite in real time at three different points across 2016 to celebrate, remember, and wait for the world to change. History and politics, art and culture, love and hate are all on the table as the Gabriels gather in the kitchen of the house they grew up in — ultimately revealing the deep, human impact of one of the most extraordinary years in American history. Part Three, WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE: It is election night as the Gabriels economic woes worsen. They have worked hard and played by the rules, and yet they are slipping from the middle class. Is there hope to be had?

Production Info

Cast: 6 total (5 female, 1 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tags: ,

Press Quotes

“[The Gabriels] … may collectively represent the most profound achievement in topical theater in this country since the Depression-era triumphs of Clifford Odets’ WAITING FOR LEFTY and Marc Blitzstein’s THE CRADLE WILL ROCK. Not that Mr. Nelson’s cycle of works is anything like those ardently partisan predecessors … What Mr. Nelson … does is quieter and, ultimately sadder and more resonant. He asks us to sit down in real time, in the kitchen of a close family for a casual meal. And as we listen to its members talk, even on trivial subjects like the decoration of cookies, we feel the far-reaching tremors of a scared country that has come down with a rattling case of identity crisis …” —Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Nelson’s work seems more vital than ever.” —Max McGuinness, The Financial Times

“One of the exquisite rewards of WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE, and there are countless, is that while the play takes place on Election Night 2016 when it premiered … it provides a reprieve from the muck of politics. It’s a kind of healing balm, if you will, from the toxicity of a U.S. presidential race that was nastier and more divisive than any in memory.” —David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“It’s Nelson’s greatest strength as playwright and director here that he relegates politics mostly to the background; it’s oddly secondary (it wouldn’t be for anyone else) that this is at once the most and least momentous installment in the series — and perhaps Nelson’s canon — with nothing and everything happening simultaneously, and at a dizzying pace.” —Matthew Murray, Talkin’ Broadway

“… with a wordsmith’s scalpel, [Nelson] performs delicate surgery on the American psyche to probe what ails it. In exquisite character portrayals by Nelson’s six actors, we learn that the political season coincides with the ageless experience of loss — the death of Thomas, Hannah’s subtle casualisation from caterer to maid, Karin’s envy of a decent, dogged family, and the perennial mysteries of old age into which Patricia is disappearing. The crafted naturalism of each family member arriving to clutter the kitchen with books and ingredients, stir the (actually) cooking pot and set the table eases the audience into a realm of domestic intimacy. Against all theatrical rules, there’s almost no dramatic action, but as the gentle conversations unfold around the table, you feel the urge to lean in and listen intently. And you are rewarded.” —Victoria Laurie, The Australian

“Unique chance to be a fly on the Gabriels’ kitchen wall is not to be missed … What is perhaps surprising about these plays at first sight is how little the family discuss politics as such. For the Gabriels, it’s the little rituals of family life that matter, exemplified by how they set the kitchen at the start of each play. It is the issues that matter to ordinary people that Nelson wants to explore. How do we pay for health care? With rich ‘out-of-towners’ buying up our properties, why can’t we afford to live in our own communities any more? When did the banks stop paying interest to savers? The communal activity of cooking a meal is the enabler, a special ‘family’ time at which such matters can naturally come to the fore at an unforced pace. It’s all real — you can smell the onions frying — and put across with a particularly magical naturalism inhabiting every line, gesture and chopped pimento … Much of the writing is heart-warmingly gentle and brilliantly observed. There’s plenty of humour … The Gabriels will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.” —Clive Paget, Limelight Magazine (Australia)

About the Author


  • Richard Nelson

    Richard Nelson's plays include the four-play series, THE APPLE FAMILY (THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING, SWEET AND SAD, SORRY, REGULAR SINGING (Nominated for Outstanding Play in Drama Desk Awards 2014; Public Theater, 2010 – 2013), NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS (Lincoln Center Theater, 2013), FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE (Hampstead Theatre, 2012), HOW SHAKESPEARE WON THE WEST, (Huntington Theater, 2008), CONVERSATIONS AT TUSCULUM (Public Theater, 2008), FRANK'S HOME (Goodman Chicago, Playwrights Horizons, 2007), RODNEY'S WIFE (Playwrights Horizons, 2004), WHERE I COME FROM (National Theatre Connections), MADAME MELVILLE (which ran in the West End starring Macaulay Culkin and Irene Jacob and opened in May 2001 Off-Broadway); GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE (winner of Olivier Award for Best New Play, 2000), KENNETH'S FIRST PLAY (with Colin Chambers, RSC), THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA (at the RSC and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York), NEW ENGLAND (RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), MISHA'S PARTY (with Alexander Gelman, RSC and Williamstown Theater Festival), TWO SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS (Tony nomination for Best Play, RSC and Broadway), COLUMBUS AND THE DISCOVERY OF JAPAN (RSC Barbican), SOME AMERICANS ABROAD (Olivier nomination, Best Comedy; RSC, Lincoln Center and Broadway), LEFT, BETWEEN EAST AND WEST (Hampstead), PRINCIPIA SCRIPTORAE (winner of Time Out Award, RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, AN AMERICAN COMEDY, BAL, CONJURING AN EVENT, RIP VAN WINKLE, JUNGLE COUP, THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI, THE VIENNA NOTES (Obie Award). His musicals include JAMES JOYCE'S THE DEAD (starring Christopher Walken and Blair Brown; Playwrights Horizons, Belasco Theatre, Broadway, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, Kennedy Center, Washington; for which he received a Tony Award in 2000 for Best Musical Book), CHESS (the book for the Broadway musical), PARADISE FOUND (dir: Harold Prince and Susan Strohman), MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE (with Ricky Ian Gordon; Playwrights Horizons), UNFINISHED PIECE FOR A PLAYER PIANO (with Peter Golub). His translations and adaptations include TYNAN starring Corin Redgrave (with Colin Chambers, RSC and West End), LOLITA with Brian Cox (National), Molnar's THE GUARDSMAN (Kennedy Center), Carriere's THE CONTROVERSY (Public Theater), Fo's ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST (Broadway), Strindberg's THE FATHER with Frank Langella (Broadway) and MISS JULIE (Yale Rep), Beaumarchais' THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (the Guthrie and Broadway); Molière's DON JUAN, Ibsen's WILD DUCK and ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, Pirandello's ENRICO IV, Goldoni's IL CAMPIELLO, Erdmann's THE SUICIDE. With the esteemed translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, he was co-translated Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Gogol's THE INSPECTOR, Turgenev's A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY and Bulgakov's DON QUIXOTE. Films: Hyde Park on Hudson, staring Bill Murray and Laura Linney (Dir: Roger Michell), Ethan Frome, starring Liam Neeson (Dir: John Madden); Sensibility and Sense, staring Elaine Stritch and Jean Simmons (Dir: David Jones). Television: The End of a Sentence with Edward Herrmann (Dir: David Jones). Radio Plays include: HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, LANGUAGES SPOKEN HERE (Giles Cooper Award), EATING WORDS (Giles Cooper Award), ADVICE TO EASTERN EUROPE, AN AMERICAN WIFE (all BBC).

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 3/26/2017
Pages 104
ISBN 9780881457001

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 developed and produced by
The Public Theater
Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Patrick Willingham, Executive Director

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


Upcoming and Recent Productions


9/8/2018 – 9/15/2018
Actors Theatre Playhouse
West Chesterfield, NH

3/1/2018 – 3/10/2018
Alley Repertory Theater
Garden City, ID