Date of Award

Spring 1979

Document Type



Communication Studies

First Advisor

James Bartruff

Second Advisor

Harold Smith

Third Advisor

William Thompson


In the theatre nothing comes easy. The director, the actors, and the entire production staff have many difficulties beginning with the initial reading and continuing through closing night. One of the major problems is understanding what the playwright is trying to say or convey with his work. This taxing duty is hardly easy, and any guide that can be of value is greatly welcomed. After reading What Do You Say After You Say Hello? I realized the potential value of transactional analysis for use in theatre. Thus the seed of this thesis was implanted. Then I selected Frank Gilroy's The Subject Was Roses as the example for my study of TA for two reasons; first of all, I had directed Roses as part of the Carroll College Little Theatre season in December of 1977, and so I was quite familiar with the play; and secondly, it had a small cast, thus lending itself to a thorough analysis without having a lot of time spent on the study of incidental characters. And so in 1978 I set out to write a thesis with the express purpose of illustrating that transactional analysis, as developed by the late Dr. Eric Berne, offers valuable and productive insights into the analysis of a theatrical work, in this case, The Subject Was Roses.