Titanic (1997) Film: A Modern Theatre Adaptation

In the centre of the stage is a table with an old mirror, old jewellery, and old bedsheets. Old Rose enters. She addresses the audience.

In the centre of the stage is a table with an old mirror, old jewellery, and old bedsheets. Old Rose enters. She addresses the audience.

Old Rose: A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets. (Picks up the mirror and looks at her reflection) It’s been 84 years since The Titanic sank and I can still smell the fresh paint. (Picks up the jewellery) China had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. On April 10th, 1912, the world’s largest and most luxurious passenger steamship set off on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Titanic was called “the ship of dreams”, and it was. It really was.

Twenty boats were floating nearby and only one came back. One. Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six... out of fifteen-hundred. But among the 2228 passengers on board, there was a young man named Jack Dawson who saved me in every way that a person can be saved.


Lights open. The Titanic dock.

Crowd cheering. Titanic steam whistle blows.

Boarding Crew: (Blows whistle) All third-class passengers with a forward berth. (Raises hand) This way, please, this queue. Right here.

Car horn tooting. Rose, Cal, and Ruth enter. Cal applauds with the crowd.

Young Rose: (Displeased) I don’t see what all the fuss is about. (mumbling) It doesn’t look any bigger than Mauritania.

Cal: You can be blasé about some things, Rose, but not about Titanic. It’s 882 feet 9 inches long and 185 feet high. That’s 100 feet longer and taller than Mauritania. Besides its exquisite veranda cafes and 39 private suites are far more luxurious. (To Ruth) Your daughter is far too difficult to impress, Ruth.

Crowd indistinct chattering. Ruth is impressed by the Titanic from a glance.

Ruth: (Laughs) So this is the ship they say is unsinkable...

Cal: (Interrupts Ruth) It is unsinkable. God himself could not sink this ship...

Crowd surprised reaction. Ruth walks around and admires the Titanic.

Young Rose reluctantly follows Ruth.

Officer: (Interrupts Cal) Sir. Sir. Sir! (pushes through the crowd).

Cal looks around the crowd and notices the Officer.

You have to check your luggage through the main terminal.

Cal: (hands over the boarding tickets to the Officer) I put my faith in you, good sir. Now kindly see my man.

Officer: Yes, sir, my pleasure, sir.

Spicer: (Grabs the Officer on his shoulder) Oh, yes, right. All the trunks from that car truck there (points offstage), 12 from here (points at the opposite direction), and the safe... (reading his notes) to the parlour suite rooms B-52, 54, 56.

The Officer is puzzled. Spicer exits before the Officer is able to recount the details. The Officer runs offstage in the opposite direction.

Crowd waving good-byes.

Boarding Crew: (Blows whistle) All third-class passengers due here for health inspection. All third-class passengers due here for health inspection.

Boarding crew inspects a child's mouth and a man’s hair and beard with a brush.

Titanic steam whistle blows.

Cal: (Looks at his watch) Ladies, we better hurry. (Gestures the ladies to the ship)

Young Rose: (To nanny) My coat and my hat?

Nanny: (Carrying a pile of boxes) I have it.

Cal exits.

Young Rose: (Pessimistic tone) The difference between Cal’s taste in art and mine is that I have some. They’re fascinating. It’s like being inside a dream or something. It’s so unfair he always gets to make the call.

Ruth: (Assures Young Rose) Of course it’s unfair. We’re women. Our choices are never easy.

Ruth grabs Young Rose by her hand and they both exit.

Old Rose enters.

Old Rose: (Concerned) Titanic was indeed the ship of dreams but to me, it was a slave ship taking me back to America in chains. Outwardly, I was everything a well-brought-up girl should be. Inside, I was screaming. I saw my whole life as if I had already lived it. An endless parade of parties and cotillions, yachts and polo matches. Always the same narrow people, the same mindless chatter. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice, with no one to pull me back, no one who cared... or even noticed.

Boarding Crew: (Blows whistle) All aboard! All aboard!

Titanic steam whistle blows.