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Rumors of Polar Bears

Written specifically for young actors, Rumors of Polar Bears by Jonathan Dorf follows a group of teen characters living in a world that's been radically altered by a chain reaction of climate change-related events. The play is in no way a lecture, but rather a play about the people in it, and what they do to survive and find little moments of joy, moments where they can still be teenagers in a less than forgiving, not so distant future.  It exists in both one-act form, ideal for competitions and one-act festivals, and as a full-length.

Practical Details

Running time: 30-35 minutes (one-act) or 90-100 minutes (full-length).

Cast Breakdown:
3-4 males, 8 or more females (one-act) or 4+ males, 8+ females and a cast of 14-40+ performers possible (full-length).

Technical Requirements:
While it can be done as simply as your needs require, as you can see from the pictures on the website, Rumors of Polar Bears has the potential to be a designer's dream. The wasteland setting of the characters' original home, coupled with the recycled feel of New San Francisco offer ample opportunities for a scenic designer (a kiddie pool is required - how much fun is that?!), while a costumer can go to town on the "found" attire of Deme's group and contrast that with the New San Franciscans "green" gear. Similarly, sound and lighting offer opportunities to create this striking environment.

Best suited for
production by youth theatres, high schools, middle schools (the full-length would require fairly advanced middle school actors), and colleges, as well as community and professional theatres' young actors' ensembles.


In the near future, a ragtag band of teens struggles for survival in the face of a climate induced catastrophe. Despite dire circumstances that leave them scavenging for food and water, they find fun where they can, frolicking in the "party pool" and forgetting themselves just long enough to be teenagers. But that all changes when they're forced to flee their makeshift home. On the road, they'll encounter everything from unfinished coloring books and failing paradises to a frozen-in-time former pre-kindergarten drama class, deadly bikers determined to turn the chaos into their own new world order...and a mysterious people that even the bikers won't cross. Will the teen refugees follow Deme, their leader, and chase after the rumored polar bears that she believes are the key to their long-term survival, or will the little patchwork family fall apart?

Read an Excerpt, or Order a Reading Copy or Performance Rights!

The one-act version is available from Playscripts. Click here to read a large excerpt from the play or place an order!

The full-length version is available from YouthPLAYS. Click here to read a large excerpt from the play or place an order!


 Check out the battle scene from the Cambridge-Isanti High School (Cambridge, MN) one-act world premiere production! More videos on the Produce the Play page.