One-Act Plays

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  Lunch

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

29 pages

4 m, 5 w


George and Dana each had such high hopes for their high school popularity and love life back when they were in junior high. But the reality is they now have their lunch stolen every day and are subjected to catty comments by the sports jocks and cheerleaders. Laugh and cheer as George and Dana's daydreams for wild success come alive as they imagine themselves as successful business people, Nobel Prize-winning scientists, famous actors and authors, and secret CIA operatives foiling hijacking attempts. Meanwhile, their tormentors' biggest achievement is to memo...

  Making the Grade

Drama by James Brady

28 pages

1 m, 2 w


Katherine Bourgeois, a senior at college, has flunked algebra, a course she needs to graduate. She complains to Dr. Hoffmann, the chairwoman of the math department, who tells Mr. O'Leary, Katherine's instructor, to go over the final exam and give her another test. Mr. O'Leary tries to do this, but Katherine evades the work - she apparently has something else in mind. What is she really offering him for a grade? When Dr. Hoffmann returns, a sobbing Katherine accuses Mr. O'Leary of sexual harassment. Dr. Hoffmann offers Katherine an incomplete, but she’s not in...

  Life Refrains

Drama by Renee Rebman

15 pages

2 m, 4 w


Ryan's drinking at the school dance leads to a fatal car accident, leaving his family and friends to deal with the aftermath. His sister, Megan, is flooded with anger and grief, lashing out at everyone. She places blame for Ryan's death on herself and others. Ryan's girlfriend, Pam, suggests counseling, an idea Megan's mom supports as a final bid to keep the family together. The powerful dialogue of this play rings true and sends a message not only about the dangers of drinking and driving, but about dealing with grief. An excellent play for contest use.

  Listen to the Snow

Christmas Drama Holiday by Max C. Golightly

33 pages

1 m, 2 w


This play deals with the heartache and the trauma of being old, being alone in the world and forgotten. Mrs. Delmonico, a former actress, lives in a tenement building in New York. She exists mostly in her imagination and takes her torment out on her neighbor, Mrs. Quinn. They are unable to get along in any way until this Christmas Eve when Mr. Gartch, one of the roomers whom they have never met, happens upon the scene. He becomes their catalyst - motivating them to look at things differently. Because of his being so positive and hopeful, and because he is ano...

  I Know This For Sure

Drama by Peggy Welch Mershon

16 pages

4 w


Sarah, a student at a girls' prep school, isn't going home for Christmas. Her boyfriend has dumped her, her grades have bombed, and being at home with her alcoholic stepfather is unendurable. Sarah's friends try to talk her into leaving with them, but Sarah has a different trip in mind, a permanent one where she won't feel sad anymore. Then Miranda, a hippie vision from the '60s, drops in. Her message is infused with humor but unmistakable: There's no makeup exam for suicide. Finally, she tells Sarah, "I know this for sure: You've got a great future ahead of ...

  The Elevator Stories

Contest Play by Neal Barth

29 pages

4 m, 3 w and 1 m, 2 w


Here are two short, comic plays that have won high school state festivals and competitions: THIEF BETWEEN THE FLOORS (4 m, 3 w) What would you do after the elevator stopped, the door locked, and someone said "Hands up!"? A thief robs everyone in the elevator, but they talk him out of keeping their money and valuables. They then use the same possessions to bribe the thief into saying they were the heroes. About 15 minutes. THREE IN AN ELEVATOR (1 m, 2 w) A man and his wife are stuck in an elevator with the man's first wife. The problem is that he never told hi...

  Family Outing

Drama by Dolores Klinsky Walker

39 pages

3 m, 4 w


Ashley, one of the hottest girls in school, is shocked when, on their first date, Peter doesn't respond to her overtures. Peter, a pastor's son, knows the reason why: he thinks he is gay. He’s still hoping it’s not true, that no one will ever have to know he even suspected it. But what about Ashley? After storming out of his house, will she tell the whole school? Then there’s Craig, the youth leader at church, who saw Ashley rush out. He thinks Peter tried to go too far. How could he possibly understand Peter’s fears? But bit by bit Peter’s secret is revealed...

  Crush!

Comedy by Rand Higbee

21 pages

2 m, 4 w, 2 flexible


Have you ever been in the middle of a boring job and suddenly found yourself fantasizing about that great-looking person across the room? That's what happens to Tom Algren one night in the library when he spies a girl named Rhonda, the woman of his dreams! Laugh with Tom as his daydreams come to life on stage - as he becomes the cool Bogie, the tough Rambo, and the all-American superman. Some fantasies involve Rhonda with her two roommates, one stunningly beautiful and one super tough. Here's a play that's packed with humor and opportunities for fun acting.

  Frump Tales

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

37 pages

1 m, 3 w, 13 flexible


Mega-millionaire Ronald Frump (known as "The Ronald"), a tough businessman, has purchased a company called All the Fairy Tales in the World, Inc., and it isn't making a profit. With the assistance of his loyal (and wimpy) secretary, Miss Filposh, he brings in a group of recent college graduates to try and spice up the story of "Little Red Riding Hood." The graduates use "Macbeth" as the basis of their version and arrive at "Macwolf." Unfortunately Little Red, now a tough Jersey girl, isn't afraid of anything, and the tale falls flat. Next, Frump brings in a g...

  Gone Tomorrow

Drama by Daniel S Kehde

26 pages

1 m, 5 w, 1 flexible, extras and audience members


Rick, an intelligent ninth grade student athlete, has his first sexual encounter with Amanda, a senior. He has four more relationships before he graduates. By the spring of his senior year, when he tests HIV positive, he has inadvertently exposed more than fifty of his classmates to AIDS. That number has little impact on most audiences until the end of the play when fifty audience members are called to the stage from the names on cards they are handed. When the name on the card is read by the actor playing the doctor, the audience member holding the card shou...

  Hex Marks the Spot

Comedy by Scott Haan

40 pages

4 m, 4 w, 5 flexible, plus 1 extra optional female


Jean Emery is a normal high school girl whose world gets turned upside down when she receives a surprising letter in the mail from her eccentric aunt. The letter claims that Jean has magical powers and the ability to grant wishes. Jean dismisses it as a joke, but unfortunately, her rival gets possession of the letter and plans to use it to blackmail her. Neither one believes for a moment that the crazy story in the letter could possibly be true -- or what kind of disasters could happen if everybody were to suddenly get exactly what they wished for!

  Valjean

Drama by Jeffrey Watts

28 pages

6 m, 5 w doubling possible to 4 m, 3 w


This powerful one-act is based on the first pages of Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables." The year is 1815 and Jean Valjean has been imprisoned nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family. Now, after being released, Valjean finds it impossible to find lodging or food. Society has treated him like an animal and he feels like one. Finally he finds refuge at the Bishop's home. The clergyman welcomes him with kindness and even trust, using his best silver candlesticks at the evening meal, much to the dismay and warnings of the susp...

  Cinderella

Classic by Vern Adix

39 pages

5 m, 6 w, 2 flexible


Here’s unconventional, humorous, and easy-to-stage treatment of the famous fairy tale. Rather than one huge ball to find his future Princess, the Prince has met eligible ladies of the kingdom at smaller, separate gatherings called “Choose a Princess Parties.” Now, after 118 parties, where the Prince has danced with “364 clods,” the Zanzibany family has finally received its invitation. The formidable sisters Wartzella and Bageena, along with their domineering mother, go to the party escorted by Cinderella’s meek father and their clumsy farmhand. Cinderella is ...

  Commencement

Drama by Tim Mogford

29 pages

4 m, 4 w (all teen roles)


It’s Steph’s high school graduation party. Her friends are all around, her family will be back shortly, and she is supposed to be adding the final touches to the house. But this “commencement” is anything but easy or simple. She and her boyfriend Brandon have news that will devastate her father, has already caused an upheaval with her mother and sister, and will no doubt upset her best friend Gina’s careful plans. Everyone has an opinion about what Steph should do, but naturally everyone tells her it’s “her decision.” As the news filters through her network o...

  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 ...