The Ruckus At Machias — a play

The Ruckus At Machias — a play

The true story of the American Revolution’s first sea battle.

by Richard Sewell

(Perfect for Professional, Community, College/University and High School production.)

Hannah won herself a red dress, and the town a warship!

Starvation threatens the people of Machias, Massachusetts Colony, (now Maine) in June of 1775, when a British warship accompanies a local merchant returning from Boston with supplies. Machias was a lonely lumber camp in dire need of food, powder and shot. Instead of providing the lumber demanded by the British to build barracks for British soldiers near Boston, the desperate citizens erected a Liberty Pole to commemorate the fighting at Lexington and Concord. As the British navy was the undisputed master of the world’s oceans, the enraged Captain then ordered the warship to fire on the community, causing the townsfolk to muster their meager resources — axes, pitchforks, and a few small arms — which enabled the patriots to capture the British armed cutter, Margaretta, moored in their harbor. How that tiny community thumbed its nose at King George and captured a warship makes a fascinating page of history and gives a thumbnail sketch of the dynamics of all rebellion. As if the citizens weren’t bold enough, after rechristening the Margaretta, they send her out as a part of the new Colonial American fleet.

WINNER: 2002-2003 Fremont Centre Theatre Playwrighting Contest in California.

NOTE: There are four folk songs sung in whole or in part in the play: “Flout ‘Em and Scout ‘Em”, “Sweet Jane”, “Sweet England”/”Poor Stranger”, and “The Spacious Firmament”. The melody lines and lyrics are included in the back of the script.


  • 7M 5W (some play multiple roles)
  • Period Costumes
  • Simple or elaborate settings (can be done with props)
  • About 100 minutes
  • ORDER #3040



Bangor Daily News — January 20, 1976 by Robert H. Newall
“It is about a Maine event by a Maine writer… Fortunately, it’s not a weak nod to the Bicentennial spirit, but a good play with many credits. For one, its author, Richard Sewell…has a knack of building to a culmination, each climax followed by moments of reflection before building to the next. Further, he has a keen ear for dialogue; hence, his people speak as real people do, with recognizable cadence and verbal import.”


  • Any PDF purchased will be emailed to your email address — if you need to provide that to us (not the one on your PayPal account), EMAIL us. CDs will be mailed to a snail mail address. Before we ship any rehearsal material we will need your performance dates, the name of your organization and the theatre where you will perform.
  • Email us prior to your order so we have the info to give you a complete quote. EMAIL us for rights and information. Be sure to give us anticipated performance dates and the address of your group and, if different, your theatre. Please also include a contact name and phone number.
  • Script in PDF format — Order #3040a : $25.00 (will be sent to you by email, from which you will be authorized to print copies for your production)

  • First Performance Amateur/Educational Royalty — Order #3040d : $65.00


  • Second Performance Amateur/Educational Royalty — Order #3040e : $55.00

  • Professional Royalties will be quoted upon application


  • Waterville Opera House, Waterville, Maine — 2009
  • University of Maine at Machias — 2006 (Live radio broadcast)
  • The Fremont Center Theatre, South Pasadena, California — 2003
  • Machias Memorial High School, Machias, Maine — 2002
  • Colby College Department of Theatre and Dance, Waterville, Maine — 1989
  • University of Maine at Augusta — 1987 (short version for Outreach tour)
  • The Theatre At Monmouth, Monmouth Maine — 1977
  • Professional Premiere: Acadia Repertory Theatre (became Penobscot Theatre Company), Bangor, Maine — 1975 (full length)
  • PREMIERE: Coburn Classical Institute, Waterville, Maine — 1968 (50 minute version)



The following is how the credits should read in all programs, posters, fliers, handbills and other promotional advertising for the show:
The Ruckus At Machias

The first naval battle of the American Revolution

a play in two acts by
Richard Sewell

NOTE: The names of the Playwright(s), Composer, Lyricist, and Bookwriter shall be equal in size, type, coloring, boldness, and prominence. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent than the billing to the Authors except for the title of the play.

The Ruckus At Machias” is presented through special arrangement with Leicester Bay Theatricals.  All authorized materials are also supplied by LBT,”

from the catalog of