Seabiscuit: The Horse that Became America’s Hero tells the story of the legendary Thoroughbred that lifted America’s spirits during the worst years of the Great Depression.
The colt came out of nowhere to captivate America’s imagination during the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis of the Twentieth Century.
Seabiscuit was born to an illustrious stable. But he was treated with neither consideration nor understanding and was forced to race an unconscionable 35 times as a two-year-old. He developed a “bad attitude” and his owners tried to sell him for whatever price they could get.
Two men from California, owner Charles Howard and trainer Tom Smith, saw something in the nondescript colt and took him on.
Tom Smith, whom they called “Silent Tom,” had an uncanny ability to penetrate the minds of his horses. With patience and understanding he found the ways that men and horses could best work together to achieve their common goals.
Seabiscuit resisted Tom’s good will. He had risked trusting humans before and regretted it. Only when Howard and Smith found a brilliantly intuitive jockey, Red Pollard, did the horse begin to overcome his fear. Only then did the genius that the men thought they saw behind Seabiscuit’s defensive personality begin to blossom.
The play tells Seabiscuit’s story from the point of view of his owner, Charles Howard.
Howard and his wife set out to develop a horse that will go down in history. He knows he needs a great team to do that. But Howard is not interested in hiring someone who is already famous and a member of the East Coast establishment.
When he meets a wise old cowboy known as Silent Tom Smith, Howard is intrigued. When he hears Tom’s philosophy – that you have to treat every horse as an individual and respect its personal way of doing things – Howard hires him on the spot.
Both men see something promising in the three-year-old Seabiscuit. Howard is skeptical because Seabiscuit is a son of Hardtack, a horse with the worst personality of his generation. But when he goes to inspect the horse, Seabiscuit gives Howard a gentle nudge that steals his heart.
But Howard is not prepared for Seabiscuit’s strong-willed refusal to trust even Silent Tom Smith. He wonders if they made a mistake about the colt. Then a down-and-out jockey from the West walks up to Seabiscuit’s stall one day in 1936. The colt takes sugar from his hand and nudges him. Howard and Smith know their team is complete.
- 2001 – First performed at the Pinecrest Lake Amphitheater in Pinecrest, California on August 8 under the auspices of the Stanislaus National Forest and then toured Tuolumne County under the auspices of the L.A.T.C.H program.
Suitable for grades 5 and up as well as adults.
- Can be performed in theater, classroom, multi-purpose room, gymnasium, or out-door space.
- Sound system is not required except for unusual situations. Performer will supply wireless microphone and single speaker if necessary.
- Special lighting is not required.
- Set up time is fifteen minutes.
Reviews and Comments
The early response to Seabiscuit has been exhilarating. At one school the students were almost too rapt to applaud, asked few questions, but spent the next week discussing it in class. At another they kept the actor till after school, plying him with questions about horses and racing. At a third they wanted to know all about the problems of creating and presenting a one-person play.
Availability and Pricing
Please contact Duende regarding production or performance rights for this play.