Four Places

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2574-2
Publication Date
April 2009
Page Count
112 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Four Places

A Play
Joel Drake Johnson

Sketched together on a deceptively simple frame, this emotionally precise play uses its spare structure to devastating and darkly comic effect. A brother and sister have received word from their parents’ caretaker that their elderly parents may be a danger to each other. The brother breaks his routine to join his sister and mother on their weekly lunch date in hopes that together he and his sister can get a clearer picture of the situation. As the mother confronts the indignities of age and the children stare down a mounting list of losses and disappointments, an image of the family emerges that is true to life. Johnson gives readers an unwavering exploration of the ways that the love and knowledge family members have of one another creates both hurt and comfort.

About the Author


Joel Drake Johnson has seen his work produced by Chicago’s Econo-Art theater, Victory Gardens Theater, and Steppenwolf Theatre. Steppenwolf has commissioned him for A Blameless Life, Tranquility Woods, and The First Grade. Johnson wrote and produced three plays with Victory Gardens: Four Places, Before My Eyes, and The End of the Tour, all of which were Jeff-nominated for best new play. He lives in Chicago and New Buffalo, Michigan.


"Joel Johnson is a playwright. Straight up. He brings people onto the stage who have no way of telling their stories except by being themselves. And then he clears a space for them to talk and behave in a way that is entirely natural, deeply idiosyncratic, and heartbreakingly revealing. And funny. And sad. And human. Joel's generosity toward what is broken in the human heart is his gold. Giving that brokenness its eloquence is his gift." —Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre