One-Act Plays

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  Two Gentlemen of Verona

Shakespeare by Tom Smith

42 pages

4 m, 3 w, 7 flexible parts, some doubling possible


Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy follows the adventures of best friends Valentine and Proteus and the intrigues that ensue when Proteus, engaged to Julia, falls in love with Valentine's beloved, Julia. Reduced from the original 2 ½ hours to 45 minutes, this competition-length adaptation is for teachers who would like to present Shakespeare but feel intimidated to find ways to make it accessible to their students. This adaptation is fast, funny, easy to stage and easy to understand, even for middle school students.

  We Need A Bigger Stage

Comedy by Emilio Regina

18 pages

5 m, 2 w, 6 teen boys (Some male roles can be played by females)


Imagine this: A high school P.E. teacher who does not have a gym facility for his students, and a high school drama teacher who has it all and wants more! Mr. John Brief's proposal to the school administrators for the construction of a gym, and Mr. Lawrence Hacker's proposal for additional seating for his very extravagant theater takes an interesting turn!

  Stoplight

Comedy by Raleigh Marcell

24 pages

1 m, 3 w


Four young people are driving to Grandma's for the holidays through a deserted stretch of highway with an "obeyer of all laws" at the wheel. They come to a stoplight in the middle of nowhere as it changes from green to red. They stop. And wait. And wait. It doesn't change back. They know it's working. Do they run the light or wait even longer? Suddenly citizenship intersects with folly! This gentle comedy is sure to make your audience laugh.

  The Straight Skinny

Drama Humor With Humor by Frank Cerabino

42 pages

9 m, 9 w


What happens when a sympathetic teacher slips an advance copy of the algebra midterm exam to a struggling student and warns him not to share it with the rest of the class? In two words: cheating scandal! Come sort out the vagaries of honor, friendship and the straight skinny with the 18 members of Mr. Bolton's fourth-period algebra class. Join them as they discover the value of truthfulness, morality and higher math in a way that is at times hilarious, touching, and provocative. The one-act play is chockful of vividly drawn characters, generously explored eth...

  The Problem with Problem Plays

Comedy by Ken Preuss

28 pages

Widely flexible cast of 12


Two writers poke fun of the pitfalls and perils of producing problem plays while The Problem with Problem Plays Players act out the comical conundrums. They explore the challenges of censorship, the madness of metaphors, and the awkwardness of adults who tackle teen dialogue. All is well and witty until unexpected guests and unearthed secrets send things amusingly awry. Realizing they have become trapped in a problem play of their own, the cast and crew must scramble to escape. Will they perish in the predicament or persevere and produce a positive payoff? Th...

  Second Stain

Reader Theatre by Al Rodin

32 pages

4 m, 2 w


Lord Bellinger and the Right Honorable Trelawney Hope, Secretary for European Affairs, visit Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker street to have him find a missing document, which, if published, could lead to war. It had been kept in a dispatch box at the Secretary's home. Holmes suggests to Watson three possible individuals, any one of whom could have stolen the document to use for bribery. One of them, Lucas, is found murdered at his home, which Holmes visits with Inspector Lestrade. They find that the bloodstain on the carpet is not in the same position as the on...

  Sixteen Shambles

Comedy by Bradley Hayward

30 pages

2 m, 4 w, 7 flexible


Janet is about to celebrate her sweet sixteenth birthday, but little does she know it's going to be the worst day of her life. Things start spiraling downward from the moment she wakes up and gets toothpaste all over her shirt. This sets off a chain reaction of misfortune as she faces a variety of kooky characters insistent on ruining her big day. From her manic-depressive English teacher and a hot-headed driving instructor, to an overly sensitive drama coach and a super-creepy mortician, Janet is up to her ears in craziness. She's determined to put an end to...

  No Chewing

Farce by Sarah C. James

19 pages

1 m, 2 w


The government has banned it, so people are buying it on dark and hazardous city streets, using it in the secrecy of their own cellars, in airplane bathrooms, in dark closets, and rebelling by the threes and fours. What is this dangerous and outlawed substance? It's chewing gum! And secret agents are everywhere. In a back alley, John, Jane, and Janice arrive to pursue their passion of gum chewing. But what secret does each hold, and why are they really meeting like this? This screaming, madcap comedy adventure is an excellent choice for competitions. About 20...

  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...

  Not an After-School Special

Comedy Dark by Jeffrey Smart

21 pages

1 m, 5 w


Are you overdosed on teen problems, dramas about eating disorders, drunk-driving, suicide, etc.? Then this darkly humorous one-act is the antidote. Violet is in the nurse's office after having fainted that morning. One by one her friends visit her and one by one she takes advantage of them by confessing to all the ills teens are supposed to have. With a story of illiteracy, she gets the bright but mousy Moxie to do her homework. A tale of bulimia gets tomboyish Caryn to give up her car keys. A fable of drunk driving gets the uptight Kelly to bring Violet her ...

  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 ...

  Pecos Bill's Wild West Show

Comedy by Lane Riosley

34 pages

3 m, 2 w, 1 puppet.


Y’all know of Pecos Bill, the first Texas cowboy! He was raised by coyotes, made the first lasso out of a rattlesnake, broke a cyclone down to a gentle breeze, tamed the longhorn cattle and almost married Slewfoot Sue, who caught his attention by riding a giant catfish. Unfortunately, this Pecos Bill is a little confused. Ya see, the setting is in the present at a performance of “Pecos Bill's Wild West Show,” patterned after the Wild West shows of the late 19th century. But Bill and the other performers still live in the past. They believe everyone comes to t...

  The Pirate Princess

Comedy by James Armstrong

32 pages

2 m, 2 w, 2 flexible


You might think it's fun to be a princess like Alwida, and to live in a castle. But her castle is so lame! It doesn't even have a moat. Tired of parents who never listen and are always telling her what to do, Alwida runs away from home in search of adventure. Instead she finds Alf, the prince from a nearby country. The two hit it off at first, until Alwida's parents ground her in her tower. She escapes, but is captured by bloodthirsty pirates. Finally! An adventure! The pirates think they've taken a frail, simple girl as their prisoner, but they are about to ...

  Thousand Dollars

Drama by Robert Blaskey

18 pages

3 m, 3 w, extras


According to his uncle's will, Bob, a carefree young man, must spend $1,000 within 24 hours and give an account of how it was spent to the lawyer. First he almost buys a necklace for his greedy girlfriend, then he almost gives it to a con man. Finally he gives it to his uncle's ward, Linda, and the orphans she cares for. Bob then learns if he spent his $1,000 wisely he would receive another $50,000; if not, it would go to Linda. In true O. Henry style where coincidence affects character, Bob tells the attorney he lost the money at the race track.

  Three Strangers

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

27 pages

8 m, 4 w


The clever short story, "The Three Strangers," by English Victorian writer Thomas Hardy, has been skillfully adapted to a rural Appalachian setting. On a snowy winter's afternoon, a farmer and his wife are celebrating the christening of their infant daughter with friends and family. The party is interrupted by the arrival of a stranger, a poorly-dressed man seeking shelter from the cold. Soon a second stranger appears. This man is finely dressed but pompous and offensive. The guests are impressed by the humility of the first man, and angered by the arrogance ...