One Act Plays

ONE-ACT PLAYS

AT HALF TIME
1M, 5F
Comedy
A park area near a basketball court
Running time 20 minutes

It’s half-time, and the team in the Over 60 Women’s Basketball League, is losing 59-6 to a team of ancient nuns who have taken a vow of silence.

This one-act is the basis of the full-length play, Old Broads Can’t Dunk.

At Half Time is among the best selling and most performed one-acts published by Art Age (www.seniortheatre.com), It has been performed multiple times and was the winning play in the Senior Canadian Olympics competition in Vancouver.

BAGELS (the one-act play)
1 M, 1 F
Romantic comedy
A living room
Running time 20 minutes

Two seniors meet through an Internet dating service, but did the computer make a mistake?

The full-length play of the same title, BAGELS, was based on this one act. Seniors Jake and Rachel are matched by an Internet dating service. She comes back to his apartment to play Scrabble, but after the game he wants to go to bed with her. She refuses but has to spend the night because of a freak snowstorm. Is he successful to luring her to bed? Or did the computer just make a big mistake?

BEGGARS
1M, 1 F
Drama
A park
Running time 20 minutes

Who’s the true beggar – she, the rescue worker collecting money for charity, or he, an ill-dressed man who asks her for money?

She takes him as being homeless. But he asserts he is a true philosopher, having a graduate degree in philosophy. She refuses to give him money, but gradually they come to know each other better. Finally, she leaves him with her collection pot filled with money, so she can go home and change. Is he still there when she returns?

Performed several times at different theaters as part of programs of one-acts.

COPERNICUS
Drama
1, either F or M, 30+

No set required
Running time 10 minutes

A person reflects on a former pet.

Copernicus was the name of the cat that the character owned for many years when he/she was a young child. After many years Copernicus needed to be put down. The character reflects on a replacement.

DISCUSSION AFTER THE PLAY READING
3 flexible
Comedy
Any room
Running time 10 minutes

A pompous playwright doesn’t seem to really hear what people are saying about his play.

The previous week a play had been read at the theater company, but the play was so long there was no opportunity for discussion. So, it’s being held now. But, in addition to the pompous playwright, only two people show up for the discussion – the moderator and the director of the play, whom the playwright doesn’t quite recognize.

Presented as part of the Misconceptions line-up of one-act plays.

FATHER-DAUGHTER
Drama
1 F, 1 M

A concerned daughter tries to get depressed widower out of his funk.

A distressed widower, almost estranged from his adult daughter is urged by his almost estranged but concerned daughter to develop an interest, including writing plays.

Living room/dining room setting

Running time 15 minutes

FLOWERS FOR ADAM
2 F
Comedy
A streetcorner
Running time 12 minutes

Two young women meet at a street corner shrine for Adam, each claiming she was Adam’s true girlfriend.

Two young women, students in high school or college, show up at the street corner shrine, replete with flowers, where Adam has been killed, hit by a car while he was trying to escort a blind girl across the street. One is a cheerleader, the other more studious. Each woman believes she was Adam’s girlfriend.

Finalist in the Secret Rose 10-minute Play Contest.

GRAVESIDE
1 M, age 60
Drama
Cemetery
Running time 15 minutes

In this monologue play (a highly personal one to me) a man visits the grave of his mother, to break news about himself.

In the process he reflects on the poor relationship he had with his father, buried nearby, and ultimately reaches an insight which turns his perspective upside down.

Graveside was performed (by the writer) as part of the Misconceptions program of one-acts.

HEAVENS
1 Male, age 35-45
Dramedy
Either a coffeehouse or a park
Running time 12 minutes

A very observant Jew is stressed out because of his profession – flight controller.

He is angry at his God for feeling this way. He gradually works out his feelings as he begins, unknowingly, to speak in verse.

Performed as part of the one-act program, Private People In Public Places, at the Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, and also in the Misconceptions line-up.

I DON’T BELIEVE AND I DON’T CARE
1 person, either gender, any age
Dramedy

The actor relates what he/she doesn’t believe or care about. But why is this being said?

A monolog about caring and believing. But is it true?

No set required
7 minutes

LIFEGUARDS
1 M, 2 F
Dramedy
Coffeeehouse
Running time

Who is the true lifeguard?

A beach lifeguard with a terminal illness meets a bossy mother and her beautiful daughter at the coffeehouse. The three of them get to know each other as they talk. But who does the lifeguard connect with the most? And who is the true guardian of life?

MEASURING
2 M
Drama
A park
Running time 20 minutes

Why is someone measuring the dimensions of a park bench?

A homeless man sleeping on a park bench is awakened by a younger man who wants to measure the bench dimensions because he must find another bench just like it to meet the terms of the will of the man he thinks was his father. But who is his true father?

Measuring has been performed several times, once by the American Renegade Company, and as part of the Misconceptions slate of one-act plays, all performances in North Hollywood, California.

MENDING
1 F; a male who has no lines, is optional
Drama
The room where the woman’s husband has his office
Running time 5 minutes

In this monologue play, a very meek wife addresses her completely unresponsive husband.

She tells him that she doesn’t feel she’s getting enough of his attention and that she knows about his affairs.

ON A SCALE FROM 1 TO 10
1 M, 1 F (both “plain” looking)
Dramedy
A bedroom
Running time 12 minutes

Will the romance between two “plain” looking people break up?

Both characters are in bed, eyes closed. Finally, Martin rises and delivers a long speech in which he rates both himself and his girlfriend Marlene on physical attractiveness, using a 1 to 10 scale. Finally he returns to bed and closes his eyes. Then Marlene rises and comments on what he said. He then gets up and they argue about what each of them said about themselves and each other. Do they ever get back into bed with each other?

This play was performed as part of Bedroom Secrets, Fire Rose Productions’ show of one-act plays, North Hollywood, CA.

PIGEONS
2 M, 1 F
Comedy
A park
Running time 20 minutes

Who has been killing the pigeons at the park?

When the pigeon lady arrives at the park she realizes that the pigeons that usually frequent the park are gone. The man sitting on the bench says he doesn’t know what happened. The detective shows up and tells the two that the pigeons have been killed, poisoned by cyanide. The mystery finally is justly resolved by the end of the play.

This play was performed as part of the Misconceptions productions

SEEING THE STAR AFTER THE SHOW
1 F, 5 flexible
Comedy
Outside the dressing room of the star of the play
Running time 10 minutes

The lead actress thinks her performance has been just wonderful. Do her “friends”?

When her “friends” come to visit her after the show and comment on her performance, she is oblivious to what they are really saying.

SEX IS FOR THE HEART
1 M, 1 F
Comedy
Living room
Running time 18 minutes

A man recovering from a heart attack is reluctant to resume sex, much to the chagrin of his attractive and eager wife.

This play was the basis of my full-length play, SEX IS GOOD FOR YOU! In this one-act comedy Al had a heart attack while making love with his wife. Now he’s reluctant to engage in bedroom behavior. Sheila, his eager wife, wants to. Badly!

STUNG
1 M, 2 F
Comedy
Coffeehouse
Running time 20 minutes

Can a nerdy misfit pick up a sophisticated very attractive woman at the coffeehouse?

Arnold, an awkward ill-dress man is rebuffed trying to pick up Deborah, a very sophisticated attractive woman at the coffeehouse. Linda, an equally nerdy woman, overly melodramatic, turns up and the two nerds sit down at a nearby table, where Deborah can overhear. Deborah determines that the others at one time were a couple living together. Linda has the remnants of a black eye, which Deborah assumes was given to her by Arnold. So, who does Arnold end up with? Or does he end up with anyone?

THE ACTAWR AND THE DIRECTAWR
2 actors, either gender
Comedy
Rehearsal space
Running time 10 minutes

Can a pompous director improve the performance of an actor in a 1 minute play contest?

It’s the first rehearsal for a one-minute play, and the pompous director is attempting to pull a great performance from the actor, even utilizing quotes from famous directors such as Hitchcock, DeMille, and Bergman.

THE HOLE
1 F, age 45-65
Drama
A park
Running time 12 minutes

An older woman relives her childhood when her grandniece gets lost in the park.

In this monologue play a woman recalls her abusive childhood where she was beaten by her father right in this park after she had gotten lost. Earlier in the current day she had taken her grandniece to this park, and Mindy became lost. Once Mindy has been located the angry grandaunt must now deal with her.

The Hole has been performed as part of the Misconceptions slate of one-act plays in North Hollywood, California. It was also a semi-finalist in the Secret Rose 10-minute Play Contest.

THE LEMONADE GIRL
2 M, 1 F 8 years old, 1 either gender
Comedy
The street outside a home
Running time 12 minutes

A little girl calls for her policeman dad when two trash scavengers refuse to pay for the lemonade she served them.

Two men scavenging trash on a scalding hot day buy homemade lemonade from an 8 year old girl. When they complain about her charging an outlandish price, she calls for her father, a policeman. The policeman sides with his daughter, and the trash guys must decide what to do.

Semi-finalist in the Secret Rose 10-minute Play Contest.

THE REHEARSAL
1M, 1 F
Dramedy
A stage
Running time 20 minutes

An odd behaving woman interrupts an actor while he’s rehearsing his monologue.

Bill is rehearsing his monolog about how he never got enough attention from his important father. An odd woman interrupts him several times. After a while the woman chastises him for talking so badly about his father. It turns out that the woman is his mother, who, later, confesses to him what it was like for her being married to that man.

This play was a semi-finalist in the Secret Rose 10-minute Play Contest.

THE SPELLING BEE
3 flexible
Comedy
A classroom or a stage
Running time 10 minutes

Which eleven year old will win this year’s spelling bee, officiated by a pompous judge?

The regional spelling bee is down to two remaining contestants, both eleven year olds. The judge, a pompous English professor, presents the words the contestants need to spell. One contestant seems to get all simple words, the other gets longer, more obscure words. Who wins?

TOYS
1M, 1 F
Drama
Coffeehouse
Running time 18 minutes

Today is a special day for a schoolteacher, when she meets the owner of a toy company that makes toy guns.

A schoolteacher and an owner of a toy company meet at a coffeehouse. Today is the anniversary of her son being killed by a gunshot fired by another student at his school. One of the products the toy company makes is toy guns.

Toys was performed as part of the Misconceptions slate of one-act plays, and also was performed in Lake Arrowhead, California.

UNITY
1M, 2 F
Drama
Living room or bedroom
Running time 10 minutes

Unity is highly unusual in that each speech consists of just one word.

The husband has left cash on a table. The doorbell rings and the husband lets in a sultry woman. She arouses him with an erotic massage as he tells her his wife is away on vacation. They’re just getting into it when the front door opens, and we hear another woman’s voice announcing, “Home”.

Semi-finalist in the Secret Rose 10-minute Play Contest. Also, later performed as part of Fire Rose Productions’ show, Bedroom Secrets.

WAITRESS
1 Female, 35-55
Drama
Coffeehouse
Running time 12 minutes

What’s her life really about?

In this monologue play a former child star, now working as a coffeehouse waitress, reflects on her life, and the possibilities for her return to stardom.

Waitress has been performed as part of the Misconceptions slate of one-act plays.