One-Act plays in English

AFTER THE DREAM by Richard Macaulay
The play is a mini-sequel to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Nick Bottom, still partly in thrall to his experiences in the wood, has become a travelling play actor, leading a ragbag company gathered up over the years on the road. Now, ten years later, he returns to Athens. His career has been neither a financial nor a dramatic success, and, after yet another disaster, he and his players find themselves sheltering in the same woodland glade of the Pyramus rehearsals ten years earlier. The action of the play concerns Titania’s making amends for the turmoil she has caused to Bottom’s life. Comedy. Cast: M6 F3 plus extras £4.50

ANOTHER AUGUST 919 by Monika Johnson
Nic and Daniel Dime are brothers who have never been close.  Nic, the dreamer, and Dan, the arrogant layabout, only brought together by their friendship with the streetwise Pam.  However, when Dan announces he is leaving to go to war, Nic starts to fear for his brother and questions whether Dan deserves to be honoured in the same way as good, decent men who have laid down their lives for their country. He remembers Dan before he went away… Can the three of them come together once more and realise that there are causes closer to home also worth fighting for? Drama. Cast: M2 F1 £4.50

THE ARK by Helen Griffin
A beautifully crafted and deeply touching play, The Ark charts the journey of a mother and her two grown up daughters following the death of Dad. By turns funny and moving.  Although set in Swansea, this play is completely transferable to anywhere in the UK because of the honest universal humanity of its theme. Drama. Cast: F3 £5.00

THE AUDITION by Richard Macaulay
Adam Sparrow attends an audition for Garrick’s Drury Lane company at the beginning of a new season. He meets two of the backstage staff, Mrs Trundle and Tom Grout, then Hannah Moody, also hoping for an audition, who immediately catches at his heart, and seemingly returns his feelings. Dr Johnson arrives. Finding Garrick is indisposed after too riotous an evening, he indulges himself by conducting his own audition, a scene from Romeo and Juliet. But this brings ructions, first from Peg Woffington, one of the Lane’s established actresses and Garrick’s mistress, then from Garrick himself. Hannah, deserting Adam, succeeds in joining the company, but Adam loses both his new love and his chance of employment. Johnson sympathises but can do nothing. Only the sonnet that Adam brought with him as his audition piece can echo his feelings in the end. Drama. Cast: M4 F3 £4.50

The Beach Inspector is retiring and giving way to the new generation – ‘Baywatch’ comes to Barry Island. The Beach inspector and his hut take us back to the times of family days out at the seaside, contrasting them against the dog eat dog competitiveness of the modern work ethic. But before he goes he passes on the mantle with warmth and human dignity, assuring us that his experience, knowledge, values and humility will continue to thrive in his replacement. Drama. Cast: M1 F1 plus 4 extras £5.00

BEDSIDE MANNER by Frank Vickery
Performance rights held by Samuel French Ltd.
She’s back! The loveable, gutsy, human bulldozer, Marlene, finds herself hospitalised once more. Will she be discharged in time for her daughters’ wedding? In true Marlene form things just never quite go exactly to plan. Comedy. Cast: M1 F5 £5.00

BEST END OF LAMB by Yvonne Williams
Set in a theatre green-room during a performance of Macbeth. It is a delightful comedy involving ghosts, famous tragediennes, the playing of Shakespearean tragedy, infidelity and an unseen actor who can’t resist adding Casanova to his list of credits! Brief flashes over the tannoy remind us that off-stage/on-stage the “Scottish Play” is heading for a disastrous finale. Comedy. Cast: M1 (voice only) F5 £4.50

BISCUITS by Graham J. Evans
It is 1361 and William, failed builder and Clerk of Works to Henry of Grosmont, is in trouble: the building work on the new courthouse is behind schedule and Henry is not happy. With a frustrated daughter, a rebellious son and a bad tempered witch adding to his problems, the offer of help from Gerald, scribe, legal adviser to Henry of Grosmont and fully paid-up lecherous monk, is accepted with tragic and hilarious results. Comedy. Cast: M5 F2 £4.50

BREAK, MY HEART by Arnold Wesker
Inspired by a true story, Break, My Heart confronts the breakdown of a marriage. Maeve’s love of words and poetry intimidates her husband, whose resentment explodes into violence. Shame follows. Maeve comforts him. Literacy, violence, shame, comfort – will the cycle ever be broken?  This complex and sophisticated work is an intense and harrowing drama and was described by The Western Mail as ‘ of the best pieces of theatre ever to come out of Wales’ and ‘As a metaphor about humanity, it has almost mythic quality; as a domestic drama it is explosively, frighteningly real’. Drama. Cast: M1 F1 £7.00 

THE BRIDGE by Gabe Torrens
On a dark, wet and windy night Dave stands alone on a bridge under which flows a fast, dark torrent. Trying to face up to his past, he is contemplating suicide when the sudden arrival of a stranger stops him. Who is this stranger?  What is it that links these two men?  What is the secret tragedy in Dave’s past that has led him to this moment and can the stranger convince Dave not to jump off The Bridge? Drama. Cast: M2 F1 £4.50 

A CANTERBURY TALE by Richard Macaulay
In 1388, a group of Barons, jealous of the power of lesser men close to the young King Richard II, brought appeals of treason against them in Parliament.  A number were taken and executed, including Sir Simon Burley, and many others who had held minor roles in the King’s service, including Chaucer himself, feared for their lives.  That much is history.  This play supposes a final meeting between Burley and Chaucer at the Hope Inn in Canterbury, among a haphazard collection of pilgrims and local characters who witness Burley’s capture ad then improvise a rescue to save Chaucer from arrest by the King’s Marshal.  And from these events emerge – with prompting – the germ of the idea that was to grow into the Canterbury Tales. Drama. Cast: M7 F3 £4.50

A CLASS ACT by Ken Owen
Frank wakes up one Sunday morning in a strange bed, hung over and wearing a red dress! The bed’s owner Barbara, gradually explains the circumstances that brought Frank to her bed. The unexpected arrival of Barbara’s over-protective mother, an enraged neighbour and a woman hell-bent on revenge all add to the pace of this fast-moving farce. Farce. Cast: M4 F3 £4.50

Pantalone and his Commedia dell’Arte players are touring their new Comedy of a Summer Season. Funds are low and the standard of performance perhaps lower still, though we will never see the play to judge for ourselves. Nor will we know them other than by their character names. But the tangled events of the afternoon are a living Commedia of deception, quarrels and courtship, echoing the mannered style of the time, until the denouement of reality paints a darker shade both to their day and to the drama. Comedy. Cast: M5 F4 £4.50

A DOCTOR BY PERSUASION by Moliere, adapted by Graham J. Evans
Gėronte is worried as the marriage he has arranged for his daughter Lucinde to his OLD friend has been postponed because she has lost her voice. Local doctors are baffled, so Gėronte sends out his two faithful servants to search for a brilliant doctor. They meet Sganarelle who has to be 'persuaded' to use his medical skills... Comedy. Cast: M4 F5 £4.50

THE DRAG FACTOR by Frank Vickery 
Performance rights held by Samuel French Ltd.
Simply set in a hospital corridor, The Drag Factor is classic Frank Vickery. It is a poignant and blisteringly funny account of a husband and wife coming abruptly to terms with the fact that their son is gay. Certain to be a festival favourite, the characters of Ruby and Griff offer brilliant opportunities for middle-aged actors. The small role of the male nurse completes the casting. Drama. Cast: M2 F1 £5.00

EGGPLANT by Lesley Ross
Lisa invites you to her cousin Tom’s 30th birthday party, and all that comes with it; jelly, pass the parcel and some home truths about the Little Mermaid. But a group of elements, a swimming pool and the history of a man called Rob are about to change the way they look at the world forever. This is about to become one party that you won’t want to miss. Drama. Cast: M1 F1 £4.50

EMBODIMENT by Jeremy Hylton Davies
The local rugby team are all killed in a tragic coach crash and Franklin takes the opportunity to build his own perfect fly-half with bits nicked from the mortuary – the magnificent Tennyson Evans. But in the true tradition of the creature created by Frankenstein, things don’t quite turn out as Franklin envisaged... No, Ten doesn’t go around destroying everything in sight and falling in love with hapless maidens – he becomes an actor!! A superb piece of fresh new writing. Comedy. Cast: M3 F1 £4.50

A comedy set in the 1960’s. It takes a fond look at the life of the Welsh Baptist Chapel, at a time when the chapel was still at the centre of most village life in South Wales. The Griffiths family prepare for their anniversary services at Bethel and the arrival of the ‘Big Preacher’. As part of the celebrations, the chapel is to select a new ‘deacon’ and Edward Griffiths is, once again, standing for office, having failed several times in his attempts to be raised to this very important position of authority. Whilst the manners, the language and the beliefs at the heart of this world have all but disappeared, Edward’s longing for position and acknowledgement by his peers, is a universal longing and his pettiness and pomposity are all too real. A simple setting, where a sense of the period and place is deeply important and five characters, all of whom offer depth and challenge for actors, make this a compelling, warm and touching piece of theatre. Comedy. Cast: M4 F1 £4.50

Macie Loverett’s family gather for her funeral and it is a fairly sorry and absurd sight.  Her husband is determined to bring his mistress to the ceremony, and her eldest children can’t seem to feel anything.  The devoted mother is little mourned, it seems. But as the funeral approaches, a whole life they knew nothing about comes to light.  This is a play about love, loss, grief, wilful blindness and secrets. Told in part through a variety of fonts, it draws out as much laughter as it does sadness at the absurdity of the lives we make for ourselves. Drama. Cast: M4 F3 £5.00

FUTURE SHOCK by Richard Stockwell
Laura is woken from an eight hundred year hyper-sleep because she has run out of money.  It is a hundred years before her partner will return from surveying new planets.  How can she reach him?  She has no money to be returned to hyper-sleep, and she is alone in an unfamiliar time.  All she has are the stories of the past, until she is offered a strange and desperate way of reaching the future.  Is she brave enough to accept? Drama. Cast: M1 F2 £4.50

Just when the Shakespeares were finally getting a coat of arms and becoming 'gentry' at last, William was performing in a play for Ben Jonson, in which a country family gain a coat of arms with the comic motto, 'Not Without Mustard'. This appears to be a jibe at the Shakespeare's motto of, 'Not without Justice'. In this hilarious comedy, Will takes his revenge on his best friend, Jonson. The play features an angry and troubled Will, a bemused and tormented Jonson and, with echoes of Hamlet, the touching appearance of the ghost of Will’s father, John Shakespeare. This is robust, bawdy comedy, but there are levels of complex enjoyment – with many references to the works and life of the playwright for members of an audience who know and love Shakespeare – and a strong plot and comedy for those for whom all this is less familiar. Drama. Cast: M3 £4.50

GUERNICA GOODBYE by William Olson Campbell
Chartres in 1944 is a time of lionising heroes and denouncing collaborators. Solana is celebrating the Liberation when her grandson Rafael visits with a disclosure. The two are the only family survivors from the Fascist bombing of Guernica, and now Rafael has fallen in love with a German. His confession is stalled by the presence of Resistance leader Jacques, Solana’s young lover. As questions surface, tensions build and break into a violent realignment of passions. Drama. Cast: M2 F1 £4.50

The winner of the 1993 Drama Association of Wales, Playwriting Competition. Honi is considered to be a miracle worker by the people of his village. Overnight, he is transformed from village idiot to miracle worker and hero. Biblical allegories abound; the play questions the infallibility of prophets given authority by fallible Man and the ways in which Man uses these prophets as scapegoats for all things beyond his power and comprehension. Drama. Cast: 7 Speaking Parts (with doubling) £4.50

HUNGER MARCH by Michael Bodenstein
A Soldier returns to home after a war. He is battle weary and fatigued; he has been incarcerated, tortured and raped. He grips firmly to the hope that the life he left, is the one to which he will return. The reality of his homecoming is one of rejection, distrust, threat and fear. The Soldier’s survival is guaranteed by the family’s need to protect him as a source of food. The play is both well written and constructed and has a distinct ‘Brechtian’ feel edging into areas of Theatre of Cruelty. Drama. Cast: M2 F2 £4.50 

IN THE BLINKING OF AN EYE by Jeremy Hylton Davies
Joyce and Madge share a picnic and reminisce about their younger years. Their lives are linked by their love of the same man. His singular character has made an indelible mark on both their lives; find out how in this fast-paced, moving yet witty dialogue. A play offering quality writing and comi-tragic opportunities for two older actresses. Black Comedy. Cast: F2 £5.00 

KILLING TIME by Neil Rhodes
A comedy with a serious twist. Four musicians gather in a recording studio, to play composer Franklin Campbell’s latest piece of experimental music, whose theme is time and its passing. The trouble is, are they being foolish to be in a place with only one exit, and with Franklin on the outside? Especially when he holds a grudge against each of them: Linda, who was his wife until she went off with Malcolm; Malcolm, who was his best friend, until he went off with Linda; Jacob, who was his tutor at college but who failed him; and Stuart, who is, in Franklin’s opinion, far less talented, but far more successful. Black Comedy. Cast: M3 F1 £4.50 

THE LEGACY by Meredith Knight
For Bethany Hunter, the day of her mother’s funeral should have signalled the start of a whole new chapter, but the past is lying in wait in a way that she could never have imagined. What is the secret of the hidden key? What will the truth bring for Bethany? Mystery/Thriller. Cast: M2 F3 £4.50

MAKING THE GRADE by Peter Hartley
India and her sister Jasmine are refugees from an African war.  India wakes up too hung-over to face an interview for a job teaching Performing Arts at the college where her younger sister will soon enrol as a student. Jasmine takes her place and gets the job, but her identity card photograph is taken, and so the two girls are forced to continue to swap roles and play each other’s part in the class. Can the younger girl teach her older sibling anything? Drama. Cast: F2 £4.50

MENTAL by Helen Griffin and Jo Brand
Mental is the story of two women with very different outlooks on life, who meet in unusual circumstances one night. Their conversation is both disturbing and hilarious and full of twists and turns. Does God have a sense of humour? What is the calorific value of sperm? If men did dishes would they have time to fight wars? Just some of the idle talk that women indulge in when they get together. Men wouldn’t understand it but they don’t cleanse and moisturize, do they? Black Comedy. Cast: F2 £5.00

THE MOZART MAN by Tony Powell
Having failed for over a year to track down a serial killer, Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Meredith is informed that he is to be taken off the case, much to the relief of his wife Lynn. Then a polite young man, Mark Sorrel, arrives at his home and confesses to being the killer. Meredith’s initial reaction of irritation and disbelief turns first to anger, then to fear as Sorrel’s disclosures, and his obsession with Mozart, uncannily begins to tie together so many unanswered questions. Thriller. Cast: M2 F1 £4.50

MUM’S THE WORD (Revised Edition) by Susan J. Bevan
Sisters Jane and Sophie are hitting forty. Jane is happily settled with two teenagers and a third child on the way; Sophie, though, has shunned motherhood in favour of a career after their mother walked out on them as children. When Sophie’s biological clock strikes twelve, she goes in search of the mother she has never since seen. The subsequent train of events unravels the stories of three generations of mothers in her family in a way she could never have imagined. Drama. Cast: F3 £4.50


Updated September 2022

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