The digital theatre library for the 21st century

A Strange Disappearance of Bees
by Elena Hartwell

Production photo

Anna Townes and Gretchen Douma in a scene from the Driftwood Players production of A Strange Disappearance of Bees

Author: Elena Hartwell

Description: Five characters search for identity while bees disappear all around them.

Year Written/Copyrighted: 2010
Date Added: 10/27/2011
Content Advisory: Appropriate for children over 14
Keywords: Drama · Families · Grief and Mourning · Romance · Single Set · Tearjerker · War
2 Acts, 120 Minutes
2 Females, 3 Males

NOTE: A Strange Disappearance of Bees is fully protected by copyright law and is subject to royalty. All inquiries concerning production, publication, reprinting or use of this play in any form should be addressed to elenahartwell@gmail.com.

Add this play to my library - $1.29

From the Author:

I first learned about Colony Collapse Disorder at a time when my own life had started to fragment. In the space of a few years I lost my job, my confidence, my significant other, my house, and my longtime canine companion. I began to think about the parallels between human experiences and all the possible causes of CCD. The disappearance of millions of honey bees has been attributed to pesticides, cell phone interference, mites, an HIV-like virus, and the large--and less nutritious--mono-crops of big agro-businesses. It struck me that sometimes people disappear too. Cancers from chemicals, isolation through technology, a disconnect from community. Out of those ideas came this play. As my own life got back on track, a new love, four new animals, a new home, a re-imagined career, the drafts became more hopeful at the end. This play, to me, is art representing life and life representing art.

More Plays by Elena Hartwell:

People who bought A Strange Disappearance of Bees also bought:

You might also like:

Original Production Information

A Strange Disappearance of Bees was first presented in 2010 by the Detroit Repertory Theatre with the following cast and credits:

Beekeeper: Milfordean Luster
Lissa: Kelly Komlen
Callum: Stephen Blackwell
Robert: Scott V. Norman
Cashman: Dexter T. Mays

Artistic Director: Bruce E. Millan
Director: Hank Bennett
Stage Manager: Seth Amadei
Set Design: Harry Wetzel
Light Design: Thomas Schraeder
Costume Design: Judy Dery
Sound Design: Burr Huntington

Review by John Quinn in Encore Michigan (2012)

The Detroit Repertory Theatre opens its 53rd season with the world premiere of Elena Hartwell's A Strange Disappearance of Bees, an engaging tale about the complexities of romance.   Read the review.

Review by J. Peter Bergman in edgephiladelphia.com (2013)

The premise of promise is at the core of Elena Hartwell’s play, "A Strange Disappearance of Bees,"...    Read the review.

Review by Telly Halkias in The Advocate (2013)

Playwright Elena Hartwell got the idea for her play "A Strange Disappearance of Bees," when her own life once crumbled around her. She linked that experience to the trials of beekeeping and the attrition of bee populations worldwide.   Read the review.

Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray in Berkshire on Stage (2013)

Without question, A Strange Disappearance of Bees has to be one of the best original plays I’ve seen in a long time.   Read the review.

Review by Stephanie L. Ryan in North Adams Transcript (2013)

In Oldcastle Theatre Company's latest production, honey bees are disappearing, and five people are working out exactly where they fit in the world.    Read the review.

Excerpt from A Strange Disappearance of Bees

BEEKEEPER and CASHMAN are in the bakery. CASHMAN wears a backpack and carries a large bag.

BEEKEEPER

What’s in the bag?


CASHMAN

Just some stuff I’m taking with me. To show my son.


BEEKEEPER

Can I look?


CASHMAN

Sure.

She pulls out a case for a purple heart. She opens the case and looks at the medal.

BEEKEEPER

Your purple heart?


CASHMAN

Yeah. Something wrong with that?


BEEKEEPER

No. It’s just a surprise.


CASHMAN

Why?


BEEKEEPER

You never talk about your medals.

She pulls out other cases, other medals. He has several.

BEEKEEPER

Are they all in here?


CASHMAN

Yeah.


BEEKEEPER

Why these?


CASHMAN

What else have I done to make a boy proud?


BEEKEEPER

You have been a lot more than a soldier.


CASHMAN

Like what?


BEEKEEPER

Well you are a great lay.


CASHMAN

That’s not really what I want to tell my twelve-year-old.


BEEKEEPER

Why not tell him about this place?


CASHMAN

I will.


BEEKEEPER

Tell him about your bees. How you make your own honey.


CASHMAN

It’s just a hobby.


BEEKEEPER

It’s more than that.

She puts the medals back into the bag.

BEEKEEPER

You don’t have to start with the war.


CASHMAN

We are defined by what we do, right?


BEEKEEPER

You don’t do that anymore.


CASHMAN

It’s how I know his mother.


BEEKEEPER

I’m sure his mother has told him all about the war. He doesn’t need to hear it from you.