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A Gladiator On The Town

    by John Waterhouse

"...a truly enjoyable piece of work..." (Large Manchester)


Comedy Play Script: 'A Gladiator On The Town' by John WaterhouseIn ancient Rome, Livia and Marcus have recently got married and set up house on the outskirts of Ostia by the sea. Marcus owns an olive farm and treats his few slaves as virtual partners, now that the farm is starting to thrive. Livia has set up a horse riding school and breeds horses, especially for chariot racing. Livia’s father, Gallus is about to finish a successful year as magistrate and is now poised to be a Consul, with greater powers and responsibilities. 

Marcus has received a letter from a certain Claudius, an influential food buyer from Rome, who turns out to be a flamboyant woman called Claudia when they meet in the unusual setting of one of the town’s main taverns. Meanwhile, Serapas, a visiting merchant, is a guest at Gallus’s and after meeting Livia shows an unusually keen interest in doing business with her. Livia agrees to meet Serapas at Adrianus’s bar the next day; the same place where Marcus has agreed to meet Claudia again, and mutual suspicious are soon aroused. 
When Serapas and Claudia arrive together at Marcus’s house, Claudia is keen to learn about Gallus’s prospects. His wife, Pulcheria is full of herself at being the wife of a Consul and is preparing a huge feast at Gallus’s to which both Serapas and Claudia are invited. At the feast, Serapas works to get Livia alone whilst Claudia seems keen on Marcus. However, it is Gallus who is in danger, narrowly surviving an attempt to poison him. Something deeper is going on than just attempts at seduction and Marcus is determined to find out what. 
After finding his wife drugged and tied up in a sack, he knows he has to act fast before some diabolical plan comes to fruition but Livia has her own ideas about who might be behind a plot and why but she know it will be risky trying prove who the villain is.


(3m, 3f)

  • Livia - 20s, Gallus and Pulcheria's daughter, married to Marcus, runs a horse stud, beautiful with a strong, dynamic character
  • Marcus - 20s, married to Livia, runs an olive farm, former-gladiator who has been granted his freedom
  • Gallus - 40s, magistrate of Ostia, after a successful army career Gallus has moved into public life
  • Pulcheria - 40s, married to Gallus, very much the first lady of the town, enjoys dressing to impress
  • Claudia - 30s, a merchant who has arrived in Ostia, voluptuous and lively, tall and sophisticated
  • Serapas - 40s, a mysterious, dark-skinned Arab trader from the East, expresses interest in Livia’s horses but seems to be equally interested in Livia

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