Community Theatre One-Act

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  The Rise of the House of Usher

Comedy Horror by Sean Abley

40 pages

4 - 5 m, 4 w


Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” gets turned upside down in this sequel ... of sorts! Far from the Gothic mood of the original story, this is a broad comedy-mystery with a little bit of the macabre thrown in for fun. Some characters from the original story, as well as a few new ones, are now trapped in a different mansion. They’ve been called together on this dark and stormy night by a mysterious host for a reading by Poe. The guests are unknown to each other, yet there must be a connection because one by one they disapp...

  Roman Fever

Classic by Renee Rebman

23 pages

2 m, 7 w, doubling possible


Adapted Renee Rebman from the story by Edith Wharton. A period piece set in the 1920s, this play provides an opportunity for two old friends, Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Slade, to sit in an outdoor cafe in Rome and reminisce about the past. Now both widowed, the women begin to examine their strangely intertwined lives. A dramatic and emotional confrontation reveals a startling secret that is explored through well-staged flashbacks. A twist of fate long buried in the past leads to a surprising ending that will leave their friendship marked and the women changed forev...

  Mixed Nuts

Comedy by Corey Sprague

16 pages

4 m, 1 w, 2 flexible


This play is written in the tradition of the great Marx Brothers movies and plays of the ‘30s and ‘40s. The not-so-famous lawyer Julius P.Milksop (Groucho) is defending Luigi and Adolph (Chico and Harpo) in court. They turn the courtroom into a circus of hilarious gags. The two are on trial for stealing jewelry from the famous Buckwalter estate. (Mrs. Buckwalter is a Margaret Dumont-type.) The stage directions for this play could never be complete, so it is up to each production to come up with business, bits, gags, etc., to fill in the gaps, thereby making e...

  Paper Umbrellas

Comedy by Kandie St.Germain-Kelley

35 pages

7 m, 9 w


Members of the Dream Big Society are meeting in Hawaii's Paradise Hotel for the fourth annual convention, where they can find motivation to achieve their personal dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. And wild dreams they are: Yvonne wants to be the Queen of England, CJ wants to be a samurai, Dora wants to train dolphins even though she can't swim, and Cory wants to be a rock star, though he can't sing a note or even play the air guitar. Clare, whose only dream is to have a happy family, discovers and is befriended by the society after being jilted ...

  Naz

Mystery by Sharon Dunn

23 pages

4 m, 3 w


Investigator Keith Schwartz has been sent to look into the alleged suicide of Mr. Nazareth, a patient at the Fallen Oaks Correctional Facility for the Criminally Insane. But there are complications: The body has disappeared from the morgue, staff and patients are hiding something, and even the head psychiatrist seems reluctant to talk. Schwartz interviews the patients to discover what really happened that night. This one-act, single set drama is both a whodunit mystery and a retelling of the gospel for a modern audience.

  Only Virgin in Jubilee County

Comedy by Patricia Milton

42 pages

1 m, 5 w


In this rollicking comedy two brides-to-be get caught up in a web of lies and half-truths while shopping for their wedding dresses at Tammy Ann Rennert’s One-Stop Bridal Bootique in rural Texas. When an iconic image of the Virgin Mary makes a miraculous appearance on the back of one of the gowns, chaos ensues. Secrets are revealed, hair is let down, and each woman reconsiders her attitudes towards marriage, men, morals, and miracles. Ultimately, everyone gets her heart’s desire. About an hour. Winner of the 2007 Hill Country Playwriting Festival in Marble Fal...

  Sunday Tea with Desiree

Drama by Billy St. John

31 pages

2 m, 6 w


On a sunny summer afternoon on the lawn of a country estate, Desiree and her guests gather for tea. Though the conversation is witty and sophisticated, one senses that underneath all the frivolity, something is wrong -- but what? What subjects has the new maid been instructed to avoid? What is implied in the guests' covert glances to one another? Why does Desiree's daughter, who is away at boarding school, write for permission to visit a friend over the holidays rather than come home? It's not until the last few minutes of the play that the audience learns th...

  Two by Two in Love

Comedy Drama by Jack Nuzum

17 pages

1m, 1w


One male actor and one female actor each play two parts that's the challenge and fun of this one-act play. All the action takes place in front of a simple park setting. First a teenage boy and girl discuss their young love, he the romantic, she the practical one. She leaves (late for work) and the actress returns as a middle-aged woman, who gives the young romantic some sage advice on love from her lifetime experience. The boy rushes off to save his girlfriend's job and the actor returns as a middle-aged British man who is wooing the older woman. Their scene ...

  What Fools These Mortals Be

Shakespeare by Anthony Powell

35 pages

2 m, 2 w


This show is a lively compilation of the many face of love, taken from the works of William Shakespeare. Selections range from the ridiculous to the sublime: excerpts from A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM, ROMEO AND JULIET, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, and LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST alternate with some of the Bard's most beautiful sonnets in this very funny and moving show. This is an entertaining and accessible tribute to Shakespeare and his most irritating muse, Cupid. 30 - 40 minutes.

  Adventure of the Dancing Men

Classic by Al Rodin

35 pages

7 m, 2 w


Hilton Cubitt, a squire, has come to Sherlock Holmes for help. Cubitt has found several messages of coded letters drawn in the form of dancing men, undecipherable to him but extremely disturbing to his American wife, Elsie. With his typical brilliance Sherlock Holmes quickly realizes the danger the messages convey, and he and Watson travel to the Cubitt estate. But it is too late. Cubitt is dead and it is believed that Elsie shot him, although it cannot be proved because she herself is unconscious, near death’s door. Holmes sets a trap for an American man ren...

  Blind Spot

Classic by Burton Bumgarner

34 pages

6 m, 5 w, 1 flexible, doubling possible


Based on the story by H.H. Munro (Saki). Wealthy Uncle Lulworth eagerly awaits the next meal from his uncommonly skilled, but foul-tempered cook, Mrs. Sebastian. His niece, Ellen, visits him shortly before dinner after their aunt's funeral. As executor of the estate, Ellen has run across a series of letters to the aunt from another relative, Uncle Peter, who died years earlier under mysterious circumstances. Through re-enactments based on the letters, we learn Uncle Peter was a despicable human being and was probably killed by a "common" criminal, perhaps som...

  Brothers

Drama by R. James Scott

24 pages

2 m, 1 w, 5 or more extras as non-speaking soldiers


Following the end of the Civil War, Jed and Ben have arrived outside their home in northern Pennsylvania after having traveled on foot for nearly a thousand miles. The younger brother, Ben, espoused to the beautiful Mary Shae, refuses to go into town for fear that in his crippled state he will not make a suitable mate for the love of his life. In the end, Mary Shea and Jed succeed in persuading Ben to return home and marry her.

  Charles Augustus Milverton

Reader Theatre by Al Rodin

19 pages

4 m, 3 w


Charles Augustus Milverton is a blackmailer who preys on women who have at times slipped into indiscretions. Thus Lady Eva Blackwell wrote several imprudent letters to a young squire, which Milverton now possesses, and threatens to release them to her future husband if she does not give him 7,000 pounds. Sherlock Holmes, who agrees to represent her, refuses payment. Instead he and Watson resort to obtaining the letters by burglarizing Milverton's home. While doing so, they surreptitiously witness his meeting with a veiled woman whose letters had been sent by ...

  Displaced: An Animal Adventure

Comedy by Bryan Starchman

35 pages

3 m, 1 w, 16 flexible


A small California town is under mandatory evacuation as a huge wild fire threatens its citizens, their homes, and the surrounding forest. Just as the family is about to leave, their unsuspecting dogs Loony and Max are tricked by Prince, the evil cat. Following the cat’s sinister advice, the sweet but gullible dogs disappear to avoid the vet and to find the barbecue sausages, leaving the family no choice but to drive off without them. During their big adventure to find their family again, the dogs journey through the forest where they encounter pushy raccoons...

  Gravedigger

Drama by Eric Luthi

22 pages

2 m, 1 w, 2 flexible.


Here is a dark, suspenseful play that follows the life of Tiburtius Gerhardt, the gravedigger. As the cemetery he has worked in all his life fills up and comes to its end, Tiburtius tries to cope with his demanding and demeaning boss; his deceased uncle; and two other denizens who should or should not really be there. It’s enough to drive a man to his grave. Approximate running time is 35 to 45 minutes.