One-Acts

Here are short summaries of my one-act plays. I’m also posting links so you can read sample pages of each script. For the unpublished work, just e-mail me and I can send you the entire script (I’m wary of posting entire scripts online). For the published work, you can order complete copies from the publisher.

All Is Fair.
30 minutes. Drama. 1m,2w
Three old friends are engaged in a very strange, very nasty game of freeze tag. This is a play that can be done indoors or out, but was originally conceived as part of Theatre in the Wild, a series of site specific works set in a meadow.
Read sample pages.

Beatrix Potter Must Die!
10 minutes. Comedy. 2m,1w
A desperate American farmer travels back in time for an unusual solution to his plague of rabbits.

The Bernoulli Effect.
10 minutes. Comedy. 1m,1w
When a family’s schedule gets out of control, sometimes one person needs to take drastic action. But can Nikki get Davis to go along with her plan, even using handcuffs?
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages.

Breakdown in Wakefield.
25 minutes. Drama. 1m,1w
A man trying to avoid his brother’s funeral and a woman desperate to get out of her claustrophobic small town meet in the middle of the night.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages.

A Bright New Day.
15 minutes. Drama. 2m,1w
The world has suffered a catastrophic flood of biblical proportions, stranding a brother, a sister, and her fiancee. The boat seems to be missing, and there is the matter of confessions and consequences. Who does Melinda love more, her lover or her brother?
Read sample pages.

Christmas Breaks.
10 minutes. Romantic Comedy. 2m,1w
A woman tries to deal with being dumped by her boyfriend and the replacement that he found for himself through the personal ads. This has been a very popular Christmas show in theatres across the country.
Published by Playscripts Read sample pages.

Christmas Flight (a.k.a. Lies for the Holidays)
10 minutes. 1m,1w
Sarah and Jeb are two highly successful professionals are their way home for the holidays. Or are they? What happens when your secret hidden life is shared by another?
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages.

Confirmed Sighting
10 minutes. Comedy. 2w
Fiona and Kelly have spotted an ivory-billed woodpecker, once thought extinct, in the swamps of Arkansas. Fiona is an ornithologist and this sighting will make her career, but Kelly owns the photographic evidence that Fiona desperately needs.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages.

Couch Potato
25 minutes. 3m,2w.
Eric is the ultimate slacker, but his goal of remaining motionless in front of the TV is in serious jeopardy. His sister and fiance move out and leave him behind in the apartment, and the two newlyweds moving in aren’t keen to share their space with a complete stranger. Can Eric use his wits to stay rooted, or is he about to be yanked from his chosen resting place? A fast-paced comedy of inertia.
Published by Playscripts Read sample pages.

Counting Rita.
10 minutes. 2w, drama
Sarah plans to find out exactly what her low her friend will go, as she tallies the results of lies and betrayal.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Curse the Darkness
7-10 minutes. Comedy. cast size 4. Gender flexible.
The crew is trying to get the stage set for the next piece, but a battle ensues over the right placement of the furniture. And the stupid candle just won’t light.  Curse the Darkness is a perfect stealth comedy for a festival of short plays.
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David In Goliath
10 minutes. 2m,1w
The soul of a dying young man tries desperately to communicate with his parents, who keep vigil by his body in a hospital room. This one is one of my earliest plays and one that had a very powerful impact on audiences. It’s a script that uses a very theatrical soundscape of objects in action and Biblical language to create additional layers of emotion and meaning.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Den of Iniquity
10 minutes. Comedy 1m,2w
Gerald sneaks off from his wife and kids to a shady part of town where he meets Thalia, who, for the right price, will satisfy his needs–his creative needs. She runs an illicit studio where people go to try that most addictive of habits–writing. Gerald scrambles to hide his desires when his wife, Maggie, comes pounding on the door. A tremendously fun take on the writing life.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

The Discovery (a.k.a. “The Spot)
10 minutes. Cast of six or more, any combo of genders.
A man finds a good spot to stand, a comfortable place to call his own. But the rest of the world is intent on making him move. People try bribery, threats, prayer, politics, even murder to get what he’s got.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Disturbing the Peace (a.k.a. Peace of Mind)
20 minutes. 2m, 1w
Earl brings his buddy Roy to a bizarre, secret club for overstressed executives–all they have to do is relax. Roy’s not good at calming down, but once he sinks into a state of nirvana, he won’t give it up. Can Earl and Elaine pull him back to reality? Should they? (Or will he end up like Jenkins?)
Read sample pages

Dropping Off, co-written with Sam Lasman
10 minutes, drama. 2w
Zoey has brought Amy to this seaside B&B with the intention of re-invigorating their relationship, but Amy might not be able to stay awake long enough to change.

The Elevator.
20 minutes. 1m,1w
Two people in an elevator learn the consequences (and rewards) of acting on impulse.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Escape to Wonderland
10 minutes. Drama 2w
Jackie’s answer to her life falling apart is drastic and just the kind of thing to catch thrill-seeker Cassie’s attention. Escape to Wonderland is an intense standoff over a friendship that’s been ground to dust by hard times. Neither woman wants to stay stuck in their old neighborhood forever, but only one of them has what it takes to escape.
Read sample pages

Flight
10 minutes. Comedy. 2w
Sarah leads an odd existence–she sleeps at home, goes to work, and spends every other moment at the airport. She’s fled from the cares and concerns of the world into an odd cocoon. But her high achiever, high strung big sister, Deedee, can’t understand, and is determined to drag Sarah back to “normal” life.
Published by Heuer Publishing Read sample pages

Flying the Friendly Skies.
10 minutes. Drama. 2w
How would you feel if your best friend didn’t tell you she was in town? Lynne and Daphne find out when they become seatmates on what might be a very long flight. A drama about frayed relationships, for anyone who’s ever found and lost a best friend.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Frank’’s Right Auricle. (a.k.a. Crowded Heart)
10 minutes. Drama. 1m,1w
A man confronts his ideal lover in a secret chamber of his heart.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Insomnia
10 minutes. Comedy. 2w
Mary’s struggles with the pressures of motherhood produce an intense, lyrical, sleepless night. A wild, romp–perfect for anyone who’s ever had a hard time falling asleep.
Published by Heuer Publishing Read sample pages

The Invisible Husband
10 minutes. 1m, 1w.
Iris wants to love every aspect of her husband, but he comes from a tribe of invisible men who can’t be seen until they die. Her overpowering desire to see his face twists her mind and emotions. This adaptation of an Eskimo folk tale is a tragic story of love and death.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

It’s a Girl
10 minutes. 1m, 2w.
Joseph and Mary are desperate to find a name for their daughter. After 21 years of failure to compromise, they finally agree on a strategy-they’ll open the dictionary to a page, and somewhere on that page will be the name. A loopy, linguistic comedy. Very goofy.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Lies, Lies, Lies
10 minutes. Comedy. 1m, 1w.
A man and woman meet at at cafe. She’s not interested, because all men lie. He agrees and promises to only tell her lies, if she’ll return the favor. A very fun play, and definitely my most popular script with high school students. (It also got a great professional production from CentaStage in Boston a few years ago.)
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Lost Oasis.
30 minutes. 1m,2w
After a three-day hike to scatter his father’s ashes, Tom discovers that his remote, private spot is already occupied by Danny. Can Jill keep her husband from going off the deep end? Can he find the space and privacy that he needs for his special ceremony? Danny isn’t ready for one more ghost to be added to the meadow. This is another script that can be done indoors or out. It was developed with Chameleon Stage for their Theatre in the Wild series, and performed in mountain meadows in Aspen and Evergreen, Colorado. But it’s also been done in New York’s Central Park, as well as in indoor theatre spaces.
Read sample pages

Measuring Matthew
10 minutes. Romatic Comedy. 1m, 2w.
Matthew is obsessed with two things: numbers and Jennifer. When Jennifer leaves him, he’s driven to the edge of desperation. His salvation rests in the hands of his neighbor, June, who understands Matthew more than he expects. A quirky comedy of neuroses. This is one of my more popular plays and has been produced in Boston, New York, DC, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and is included in Smith & Kraus’s Best Ten-Minute Plays 2008–3 Actors. For this play, Brooklyn Publishes a version suitable for use by students in duet competition, but there’s another version, more recent, more geared towards use in production. The sample below is from that version. If that’s the one that interests you, e-mail me and I can send you the complete script (licensing is still handled through Brooklyn).
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

The Next Big Thing.
30 minutes. Comedy. Cast size: 6-15, gender flexible.
Together with their assistant Kelsey, venture capitalists Beckman and Mortimer search for a device to be the heart of their next business, and the result is a parade of oddball inventors, each certain they’ve discovered the next big thing. (This is a great script for high school students.)
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Newton’s Call
10 minutes. Romantic comedy. 1m, 1w, plus 2 voices (1m, 1w)
Jasper hopes to use a tree and the power of gravity (and a few apples) to help shake up his relationship with Ariel.
Read sample pages

Organic Seed
10 minutes. Comedy. 2m, 2w
Conflict erupts at the farmer’s market between a young woman farmer and an older conventional farmer as they battle for customers. Beware the Brandywines.
Read sample pages

Out of Time
10 minutes. 2w
The fast pace of life and motherhood engulf Mary in a surrealistic whirlwind as she comes unstuck from time. She struggles to connect with her daughter, Jenna, before it’s too late. A terrific acting challenge.
Published by Heuer Publishing Read sample pages

Perfect Vision (a.k.a. Deadly Perfection)
10 minutes. 2w
Diana discover her sister’s greatest treasure and greatest peril-a Pandora’s box that gives the viewer the most perfect, beautiful, fantastic sight imaginable. Once. A second glance means death. Can the sisters help each other resist this ultimate temptation? A great workout for an actor’s imagination.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Phoenix Funeral Draft 3
10 minutes. Very meta. 2w
A time-pressed mother has written a script for a competition. The producer is a friend but has some suggestions. As the play proceeds, we realize that what we’re watching isn’t just the play; it’s the results of the suggestions as they’re being made. (Probably my most “meta” play.)
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

The Prisoner of St. Pierre.
30 minutes. 2m,2w, 1 off stage voice.
When Mt. Pelee erupts in a cloud of steam and ash and destroys the city of St. Pierre, Auguste Ciparis is saved from death by the thick walls of his prison cell.  Badly burned, he waits for rescue in a state of delirium, where he’s confronted by his girlfriend’s ghost, two men from his possible future, and an angel of death ready to dispense one last kiss.  Auguste must choose between the comfort of death or life as a crippled, sideshow freak.  An intense, lyrical play about courage in the face of despair.  (Based on the true story of one of the 20th century’’s worst natural disasters.)
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Pumpkin Patch
10 minutes. Drama. 2w
A battle over pumpkins brings out simmering racial and class conflicts in a newly gentrified neighborhood. How far will Sasha go to keep LaToya from taking fruit from the community garden? A short play that raises some very complicated questions. (I like plays where actors get to break stuff.)
Published by Playscripts Read sample pages

Quiet (a.k.a. Silent Battle)
10 minutes. Drama. 2w
Friction between a landlord and tenant over noise transforms into an intense competition for silence. Zelda and Elisa are two strong women who will go to any lengths to achieve their goals. An intense, unusual play.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Reassembling Sasha.
25-35 minutes. Comedy. Cast size: 1-3 men, 7-9 women.
Professor Sasha Marlowe has created a fantastic machine that can split a person into their constituent parts, but maybe she shouldn’t have tested it on herself. The seven different elements that make up Sasha are running loose and aren’t all eager to go back to being part of a single workaholic person. And what happens if she gets put back together and one of the parts is missing? A comic look at trying to find a balance between all our different strengths and weaknesses (and a riff on the seven deadly sins). This is a great comedy for high school students (or for adults).
Published by YouthPlays Read sample pages

Recognition
10 minutes. Drama. 2w
A chance encounter between an adoptive mother, Allison, and the birth mother of her child reopens old wounds. How far will Allison push Tanya for information? This is another of my “adoption” plays, and in some ways is a companion piece to Stop, Rain.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

The Retriever
10 minutes. Drama.  1m, 1w
Mr. Lenox is sent to retrieve one of his students who has run off prom, but her price for returning presses against some difficult secrets.

Schedule-Meisters
10 minutes. Comedy. 2w
Schedule-Meisters promises to help ease any mother’s busy schedule, but Mary might be their most challenging customer yet. A very fun look at motherhood, with a mom who has very much reached her limit.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Second Look
10 minutes. Drama. 2m
A chance encounter between two old friends, one of whom is now begging for spare change on the sidewalk, raises some tough and awkward questions.
Read sample pages

Ship of Fools.
10 minutes. 2w
Two women stranded on a lifeboat have found a unique way to keep themselves sane–pretending to be a whole boatload of other people. An excellent acting challenge, as the stakes and water continue to rise.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

The Sky is Falling.
20-25 minutes, comedy. 3-4w
Samantha is informed by her guru that the rapture will arrive tomorrow, and she and the elect will be taken from the earth in space ships. Samantha’s sister Ricki and her Grandmother aren’t surprised by Samantha’s apocalyptic news-they’ve seen it from her before. But they go along for a wild night of farewells and a surprising visitation. A fast-paced, heartfelt comedy.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Stick Up for Mars.
10 minutes. 2w
Fiona and Kelly are halfway to Mars, but after a year in space their personalities are wearing on each other. One little Post-It note might be the last straw. A zero-gravity comedy.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

Stop, Rain
10 minutes. 2w
Birthmother Rain desperately wants to see the son she placed for adoption, but adoptive mom Marla feels she needs to protect her son from Rain’s screw-ups and chaotic life. Can the two mothers learn to understand each other?
Published by Heuer Publishing Read sample pages

Tearing Down The Walls.
10 minutes, comedy. 1m,1w
A young couple accidentally seal themselves into a room. Nothing like being confined in a tight space to learn about your spouse.
Published by Brooklyn Publishers Read sample pages

The Three Great Loves of Christopher J. Tomaski.
50 minutes. 1m,3w
Chris returns to his boyhood home to probe into his sister’s suicide and finds himself caught in an intense tug-of-war between his mother, his girlfriend, and his sister’s ghost. A drama centered on secrets, love, ghosts, small towns, and suicide.
• Winner, Market House National One-Act Competition
• Selections published in Best Stage Scenes 2000 and Best Men’s Stage Monologues 2000, both from Smith & Kraus. “An intense, gripping drama. Written stylishly by Pat Gabridge, it has clever twists and a dramatic payoff.” The Tolucan Times
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The Whittling Place.
20 minutes.  Drama. 3m,1w
Sometimes an eye for an eye isn’’t enough–revenge in an unusual sanctuary–a whittling parlor in the middle of the big city. In this place of sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle, people come to whittle. But bitter old man Talcum has a score to settle, one that’s been festering for a long, long time. And he’s got a knife and a sharp stick.
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will/did/is
10 minutes. Romantic comedy.  1m,1w
Mindy meets the time traveler for whom she’s spent years obsessively waiting. A time-crossed encounter of hearts and minds.
Read sample pages

 

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