Still on the look-out for a play to enter into hj1act? Or maybe you’ve had to jettison the one you first chose because of casting issues or the like? In a follow up to the first in our series ‘Choosing a play’ (find part one HERE) we’ve selected a few more winning plays to look at today. Having proved successful already, their calibre has already been tested. We’ll skip back a few years as it’s probably best not to focus on something that did well in the last year or two, for obvious reasons.
Here’s a few more super-champs from the past that we hope you’ll find inspiring:
[synopses and details as per the publishers ‘blurb’]
FIND ME by Olwen Wymark
Drama, 1f, 7 m or f
At the age of twenty, Verity was charged by the police with damaging a chair by fire in the mental hospital were she was a patient. Later, she was committed to Broadmoor “from where she may not be discharged without permission of the Home Secretary.” Using a technique of multiple characterization, Find Me seeks to investigate in depth the personality of the young girl – to ‘find her’ – and at the same time studies the effects of her behavior on those around her. A great play to produce a stylised, experimental performance, with characters constantly swapping roles, narrators addressing the audience and moments of action which suddently freeze. Short and easy to read and does not require any special costumes, staging or props.
‘Find Me’ won the British Final Festival of One-Act Plays in 2007 and was performed by Total Arts Community Theatre (TACT) from Tamworth. You can find out more about TACT HERE
Find the play at Amazon HERE
A BENCH AT THE EDGE by Luigi Jannuzzi
Dramatic Comedy, 2m or f
A person sits on a bench at the edge of an abyss. In the style of Theatre of the Absurd, this is simply done as a bench on the edge of the apron. Along comes a second person contemplating “a heroic dive.” Their repartee, the meaning of where they really are and what they are really there for, draws out the humor and conflict of the edge. What is the abyss and what are these people doing here? Comic and terrifying concepts mix with these lives that are drawn to the edge, the confrontations here, and the concludion that life is precious after all. A terrific, bare stage, 2 character piece!
‘A Bench at the Edge’ won the British Final Festival of One-Act Plays in 2001 and was performed by The Wick Players from Caithness, Scotland. You can find out more about The Wick Players HERE.
Find the play at Samuel French HERE.
THE LAST YANKEE by Arthur Miller
Drama, 2m, 2f
Set in a New England state mental hospital in the early 1990s when Prozac was routinely administered to treat depression, The Last Yankee sees Miller exploring aspects of the American Dream through the lives of four characters who question and grapple with definitions of success, health and fulfillment. Described by Miller as ‘a comedy about a tragedy’ the one act play highlights conflicts between men and women, between the working class and the capitalist businessman and between interior and exterior realities.
‘The Last Yankee’ won the British Final Festival of One-Act Plays in 1995 and was performed by Dewsbury Arts Group who are HERE.
Find the play at Bloomsbury Publishing HERE.
THE DUMB WAITER by Harold Pinter
Black comedy, 2m
The story concerns the lives of two thugs—possibly killers—on the night of a new assignment. The uncertainty of their situation, however, is remarkable: They do not know who has hired them or who their victim will be. They are merely waiting for their orders. For diversion, Ben concentrates on his newspaper, while Gus, the more inquisitive of the two and ultimately the most vulnerable, nags him with questions about their assignment. The menacing tone becomes more pronounced as Ben begins reading newspaper…
‘The Dumb Waiter’ won the British Final Festival of One-Act Plays in 1999 and was performed by The Kirkton Players from Carluke, Scotland.
Find the play on Amazon HERE contained in a larger volume entitled ‘Harold Pinter Plays 1’
THE DONAHUE SISTERS by Geraldine Aron
The attic of the family home in Ireland, once a playroom, is the setting for this sinister play. Awaiting the death of their father, sisters talk about their unhappy lives long into the night. The time comes for a ritual re enactment of a violent incident from their childhood. Departing from the hitherto naturalistic style, Aron imaginatively has the sisters speak and act in unison to create the persona of a young boy. When the ritual is complete, things return to normal and the women seem to have found answers to their problems. Remaining is the uneasy prospect of the past repeating itself.
‘The Donahue Sisters’ won the British Final Festival of One-Act Plays in 1991 and was performed by Bangor Drama Club from Northern Ireland who are HERE.
Find the play at Samuel French HERE
We hope this series will help prompt a few ‘light-bulb’ moments!!
We’ll feature more winning plays in the weeks to come.
Also, don’t forget you can find more play finding resources on our website HERE
NEXT UP: Christmas!
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If you have a story you’d like us to include here in our blog, or if there’s something you’d like us to write about, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org So long as it’s festival/drama/local theatre centred, we’ll definitely give it a look!