One-Act Plays

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  Shakespeares

Comedy by Colleen Shaddox

29 pages

5 m, 3 w, 1 flexible


William Shakespeare retired at about age 48. Why did this prolific genius stop writing? How did he get along with his long-neglected wife, Anne, once he gave up the stage? “The Shakespeares” imagines what The Bard’s last years were like in Stratford-upon-Avon. The play is full of inside jokes for Shakespeare fans. But even for those unfamiliar with his plays, there are laughs (and a few tears) as we watch this profoundly mismatched couple try to make a go of it. Shakespeare’s confidante, daughter Susanna, realizes that her father’s creative spirit is being cr...

  Shelby's Song

Drama by Renee Rebman

16 pages

3 m, 3 w


Shelby has been feeling depressed and seeing her grandmother in constant pain has upset her even more. Finally, she decides to steal two bottles of her grandmother's pain pills and commit suicide. But Grandma finds the pills and confronts Shelby - admitting that her age and illness have caused her to consider overdosing on the pills herself. Horrified, Shelby realizes she has her whole life ahead of her and both recommit to life.

  Storm-Breeder

Drama by Brian Billings

29 pages

2 m, 2 w, 3 flexible


Adapted from the story "Peter Rugg, the Missing Man" by William Austin. This play tells the story of the phantom coachman Peter Rugg, a man doomed forever to race along the roads to Boston but never to arrive there. Overtaken by a fit of rage while traveling during a stormy night, Bostonite Peter Rugg made a dangerous promise: "Let the storm increase! I will see home tonight in spite of the tempest, or may I never see home again!" He never arrived in Boston. Now his ghost rides the roads leading to and from that city, and he always brings behind him the feroc...

  Suburbia, B.C.

Comedy by Lois E. Hobart

38 pages

4 m, 3 w


Philip, the Stone Age lord of an elegant cave suite, is something of a Neanderthal when it comes to change. Rumors of a new secret weapon worry him. So does the alarmingly barbaric tribe that has settled across the river who live in boxes made of wooden logs with a panel that opens and closes! Then there's his son, Thomas, who has dropped out of hunting-fishing-agriculture school and does nothing but play with inventions. His daughter, Sharon, befriends animals instead of attracting a nice caveman who will carry her off to a decent cavern in a good neighborho...

  Things That Fly

Drama by R. James Scott

23 pages

4 m, 4 w, 2 flexible


Eleven-year-old Robert, with help from his little sister Sally, has built a flying machine in their backyard. On launch day, he is hassled by his older brother Bryan, as well as the local neighbor kids. When the machine fails to operate as Robert expects, he is laughed at and ridiculed by those who have come to watch. Little Sally comes to his rescue, and together they fly. About 35 minutes.

  Tobermory

Classic by Burton Bumgarner

37 pages

4 m, 6 w, 1 flexible


Adapted from the short story by H.H. Munro (Saki). When an old friend invites Jake, a science writer for a newspaper, to spend a weekend at a gathering of prize-winning scientists, he sees a way to write an impressive article and move on to being a sports writer, his real goal. At the gathering we meet a botanist, who has invented a rapidly growing vine that the Defense Department can use as a weapon of mass destruction; a systems engineer, who has invented a new software language only engineers can learn; a physicist, who has written a textbook that is a com...

  Muddin' In Chumuckla

Drama by James Armstrong

36 pages

3 m, 3 w


Six teenage friends hop into a car on a Friday night, determined to have a blast, and perhaps rekindle their fading relationships. But with high school over and the future beckoning, nothing can remain quite the same. Lynn and Bert discover their attraction for each other may not be enough to keep them together. Jay finds that the hometown he loves will never offer enough for him. Kate discovers that her friends may care more for her than she knows. Carl tries desperately to relive days that never were. And Monique, always the center of everything, discovers ...

  My Girlfriend's Stupid Talking

Comedy by Dwayne Lee Yancey

31 pages

3 m, 1 w, 3 flexible, extras


Erin buys a talking parrot which turns out to be under a voodoo curse. The troublesome parrot soon causes a rift between the Erin and her boyfriend, Jeremy, because she blames him for all the evil pranks the bird is pulling. The parrot is really Captain Jack, a pirate who, centuries ago, buried treasure on a Caribbean island, then cheated his shipmates out of the loot. Once in human form, Captain Jack persuades Erin and Jeremy to help him retrieve the treasure, but Jeremy winds up walking the plank instead!

  Neon Nude

Comedy by Kay Rhoads

32 pages

4 m, 4 w


Friendships are tried, prejudice revealed, and self-interest is (dare it be said) exposed, in this fast-moving comedy. A small Iowa town must deal with the weighty issue of whether a stone statue violates the morals ordinance. Chorlis Deets, longtime resident of Lamb’s Corner, has a new lawn ornament in honor of his departed wife...a stone statue of Aphrodite...painted pink and “situated” on a swing in his front yard. An emergency meeting of the city council is called to debate the issue and decide whether or not to forcibly remove the statue. As the meeting ...

  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 ...

  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!

  Six Beds

Drama by R. James Scott

32 pages

6 m, 2 w, 1 flexible, extras


It's 1983. Peter Miller from Chicago, a recent college graduate, is determined to write an account of the pain and suffering caused by the new AIDS epidemic, so he persuades the directors of a clinic to allow him to masquerade as a patient. All goes well until the other patients on the floor discover his pretense. In an intensely emotional scene they hold him down and inject him with what he believes is the virus. In the end, Zeb, the last of the five patients to survive, has the honor of telling Peter of the subterfuge, that he was not injected the “bug” at ...