The Execution of Eddie Slovik

A play by Robert Knuckle

 

Eddie Slovik is the only American serviceman to be executed for desertion from 1863 to this very day. Born to a poor Polish family in Hamtramck, Michigan, he was a troubled teenager who served time in prison. However, his life changed for the better when he met and married Antoinette Wisniewski. Then, in 1942, during WW II, Eddie was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to fight in France. Petrified in battle, he ran away from the front lines. Later, when he returned to his unit, he openly confessed to his desertion. Eddie's hope and plan was to avoid combat by being sentenced to a military prison. But the rising tide of American deaths in the Battle of the Bulge caused the military court to find him guilty and sentenced him to death. General Eisenhower refused to commute his sentence and Eddie was shot by a firing squad and buried among criminals in an isolated U.S. military cemetery. His wife Antoinette was advised he had been killed in action and it was long after the war ended that she learned he had been executed. Living in shame, she changed her name and went into seclusion where she endured the long and arduous task of bringing Eddie's body home to Detroit.

 

Playwright's Notes

Eddie Slovik's powerful and riveting story is the essence of exceptional drama. Although there has been a book and a TV movie about Eddie, this play adds a new fascination to his story by presenting his wife's painful experiences after Eddie's ignominious death. Act I tells Eddie's story from his perspective. Act II tells it from Antoinette's point of view. Robert Knuckle

 

Director's Notes

I'm drawn to stories dealing with injustice. They have always had a powerful impact on me. Eddie' Slovik's fate at the hands of an unthinking bureaucracy has many echoes in our present world In this play you will embrace Eddie and Antoinette's story as though you are in their minds reliving their emotional experience. What you make of their tragic lives will reflect a part of your own life's story. I trust your understanding and your enjoyment of this superb script will be enhanced by your own personal perspective. Willard Boudreau

“a theatrical paragon ... highly recommended.”

- Danny Gaisin, Ontario Arts Review

CAST OF CHARACTERS

 
  • U.S. Private Eddie Slovik : 24 years-old

  • U.S. Corporal Ken Karlson : in his twenties

  • Mr. Dimmick : in his forties or fifties

  • Antoinette Slovik : plays in her early thirties and late sixties (as Ann Lavasseur)

  • U.S. Capt. William Ormand : in his thirties or forties

  • Jean Mazur : a woman reporter, any age

  • Father Carl Cummings : a U.S. Army chaplain in his late fifties

  • U.S. General Norman Cota : in his fifties

One copy of the script. (May be be duplicated for cast and production staff.)

 

MATERIALS

 

PERFORMANCE FEES

NON-EQUITY (Amateur) THEATRE GROUPS

A one-time fee of $450 or $75 for each performance whichever is higher shall be paid by the theatre to Maple Leaf Theatre Productions for the rights to perform, and for all materials listed above:  cf  standard performance contract for other terms.

EQUITY THEATRE GROUPS

Royalties shall be paid by the theatre to Maple Leaf Theatre Productions at a rate of 10% of the certified gross box office receipts, not including credit card charges, group sales commissions, and all sales tax, goods and services or similar government taxes. :  cf Production Contract for other terms​.