The Barricade

(A group of people all lined up together. All roles gender neutral except Harry. Number 1 paces back and forth up the line.) Number 1: I’m not sure about this. I don’t know how much longer we can hold out.
Number 2: We’ve been in tougher situations than this before. They’ve thrown everything at us, but we’re still here! Whatever comes down that tunnel, you hold your ground you hear me!
Soggy: I’m scared! I’m coming apart!
Number 2: Bunch up, Soggy. We came down here to do a job, and no matter what happens we’ll do our duty!
(Harry giggles.)
Number 2: Shut up Harry!…Here it comes!
(There is the very loud sound of a toilet flushing. The group locks arms facing forward. They wobble a bit and start to come undone. Harry flies backwards.)
Number 1: Harry!
(Number 1 follows.)
Soggy: This is it!
Number 2: Hold on Soggy! You’re not torn yet!
(Soggy flies away. Number 2 tries to hold on by itself but can’t take the pressure alone.)
Number 2: OH SHIT!
(Number 2 goes tumbling away as well.)

End Scene






An Afternoon Drive

(Gertrud and Peter are sitting in a car driving.) Gertrud: My, my, Peter, it sure is pouring down hard.
Peter: Gertrud, I have something I need to say. And if I don't say it now I-
Gertrud: My feet are cold!
Peter: What?
Gertrud: My feet are cold. I just realized it, and I must do something about it right away.
Peter: Well?
Gertrud: And if I don’t do anything about it, I will be miserable. I will go on and on knowing that my feet are sitting there cold, and I will be miserable.
Peter: Well, alright.
(They ride for a bit not saying anything.)
Peter: Were you going to say something?
Gertrud: No I don’t think so. Were you?
Peter: No. I don’t think I was.
(They ride a bit more.)
Gertrud: Lovely day isn’t it?

End Scene

Limelight



A young(ish) woman is leaning against a street lamp (or the proscenium if you'd like - against something) dressed for winter - heavy coat, hat, scarf. She's reading a book and obviously frozen through. A man of similar age passes, sees her shivering, and stops.)

Man: Excuse me.

She looks up.

Woman: yes?

Man: You're freezing.

Woman: I noticed.

Man: Why are you out here in the cold?

Woman: I'm on break.

Man: On break?

Woman: I work there. (She gestures downstage)

Man: That's a book store.

Woman: Yeah.

Man: ...but you're out /

Woman: (interrupting) Yeah. They don't like us to read in there.

Man: But it's a bookstore.

Woman: Yeah.

Man: Filled with books. Stacked with 'em.

Woman: Yeah.

Man: And they don't/

Woman: (interrupting) No.

Man: Oh. But...that's nuts.

Woman: Yeah.

Pause

Man: It's freezing. Why are you out here?

Woman: Same reason I work in there.

Man: You like books.

Woman: Love them. pause. Why'd you stop?

Man: Excuse me?

Woman: Why did you stop and talk to me?

Man: I wanted to know what you were reading.

Woman: Because you like book people.

Man: Love them.

Woman: ...oh. she smiles.


fade to black

A Lovely Day

Parts: Sunshine, Modernist

(Modernist enters, blinking as if it is a bright day)

Modernist: Ach, the sun is hurting my eyes! Daylight is such an outmoded concept!

(Sunshine enters, with a sword)

Sunshine: I beg to differ, dear friend. Today is a lovely day, perfect for a quarrel! Tell me, have you offended the honor of any ladies, perchance?

Modernist: (scoffs) Oh, a fight during daylight? What an outmoded concept! Nobody fights during the day anymore! All the good fights happen at night, with precision bombing and such.

Sunshine: Well, we need a well-lit day if we are to quarrel with swords.

Modernist: Fight with swords! What an outmoded concept! Nobody fights with swords anymore.

Sunshine: Well, it's not very honorable otherwise. Where's the honor in killing a man if you're not fighting fairly?

Modernist: Oh, honor! What an outmoded concept! Nobody fights fair anymore!

Sunshine: Hmmm, I hadn't considered that. You may have... a point. En garde!

(Sunshine stabs Modernist, he falls to the ground dying.)

Modernist: Oh, death! What an outmoded concept!

END SCENE

The Last Straw

One man in uniform stands two feet from from a group of four huddled closely together. He wears a dour face, the others, a face of fear.

Man dressed in uniform: YOU WILL EACH PICK ONE STRAW FROM MY HAND! SHORT STRAWS INDICATE DEATH, LONG, LIFE.

Man walks to group.

The closest person to the man in uniform slowly reaches for the first straw.

Uniform: QUICKLY!

Closest person finishes drawing the straw. The next rushes to draw his.

They are happy to find that their straws are the same length.

Uniform: Good, good.

The next person slowly and nervously approaches the uniformed man. He can't make up his mind over which of the two straws he should pick.

Uniform: Shoot him, he's taken too long.

The nervous one lets out a scream and begins to run as gunshots play over the speakers.

The last one quickly picks one of the two remaining straws and is relieved to see that all three straws are the same length. He shakes the hands of the other two wildly, all of them happy to be alive.

Uniform: Thank you all for humoring me.

The three turn slowly as the uniformed man smiles and opens his hand:

Uniform: Every straw was the short straw.

fade to dark amid screaming and gunshots.

Wedding

One and Two are women of the same age, dressed in identical outfits. One wears a hat.


Lights up. One and Two are standing back to back, close but not quite touching, in centre stage. One faces stage right, Two faces stage left.

Two turns her head to face the audience.
Two: It seemed to happen so suddenly.
Church Bells start to chime.
Two: Last time I thought about weddings I was at school and the nearest I'd got to a proper relationship was seeing Hugh Grant on a big screen in his pyjamas.
A pause.

Cheering is heard from the wings at stage right.
Two: Next thing I know, ten years have flashed past.

One: (towards wings at stage right) Hip hip...hooray!

Two: Where I used to get letters from friends, all I see now is invitations, wedding lists. All the conversations are about honeymoons, babies, houses, the good schools.

One: (mimes air kissing both cheeks) Lovely to see you! Yes, it's been too long. Mmm, must see you more often.

Two: (Angrily) It feels so false.
One gasps and reaches out just in time to catch the bouquet thrown from the wings at stage right.

One is triumphant. She turns to face the audience and then turns to face Two, holding her spoils.

Two grunts with disgust. She stares for a moment at One, and swiftly exits stage left.
Blackout

CRISIS!!

A NERDY YOUNG MAN SITS AT A TABLE. HE IS OBVIOUSLY AGITATED. HE ATTEMPTS TO LIGHT A CIGARETTE TO CALM HIS NERVES AND FAILS BADLY (crumpling cigarette or perhaps lighting sleeve on fire, etc.).

MAN: God damn everything! My life is a mess! Why do I even bother to live anymore?!

WOMAN ENTERS. SHE RESEMBLES THE MAN BUT WEARS CONTRASTING COLORS.

WOMAN: Hello, Harry.

MAN IS INTRIGUED.

MAN: How did you know my name?

WOMAN: I am your anima: the shadowy feminine aspect of your unconscious. I know everything about you.

MAN IS NERVOUS.

MAN: Oh, hell...

WOMAN: I have come to help you. I know you're very unhappy, but I think if you let me into your life, you'll attain inner happiness, insight...enlightenment!

MAN: Do you have a match?

WOMAN: I don't smoke.

MAN: Figures.

MAN SHOOTS SELF.

Brainstorm

by Joe Bryant

An office meeting. Everyone sits except Pat who is leading the meeting, perhaps with some kind of flipchart. All roles gender neutral.

Pat: So, what I think we need to do is brainstorm ideas...

There is a general hubbub of agreement, but one dissenting voice stands out:

Chris: Hah, "brainstorm."

Everyone turns to look at Chris, who feels obliged to explain.

Chris: Why is it that giving something a silly name makes it a legitimate thing to do? I mean, you're just going to draw a load of nonsense diagrams which will be of no help at all, but because it's called "brainstorming" we all go along with it.

Sam: Like snowboarding.

Pat: Hah, yeah, if some guy nails his feet to a plank of wood and throws himself down a mountain, he's an idiot, but call it "snowboarding" and it's a SPORT.

Rob: Powernapping.

Pat: Powernapping! Jim isn't dozing off, he's POWERNAPPING so it's alright.

Jim is startled awake by his name.

Jim: I'll have it done by Tuesday!

Pat: Shut up Jim.

Sam: Speed dating.

Pat: Yeah, trying to chat up twenty people in one night isn't desperate, it's speed dating!

Mike: Sodomy!

Startled silence for a beat, maybe two.

Pat: So I think we can get this done for quarter three...

Hubbub of agreement.

END.


Inspired by a catbox comment of fondue's.

Before the Law

(Vor dem Gesetz)

by Franz Kafka

adapted for the minute stage by Waldemar Exkul

[A Suppliant, old and infirm. A Sentry, stern and impassive. Behind the Sentry, the suggestion of an open door.]

SUPPLIANT: I do not have much longer to live, I think.

[The Sentry looks at the Suppliant and nods. A short pause.]

SUPPLIANT: May I go in now?

SENTRY: No.

[A slightly longer pause.]

SUPPLIANT: There is... something I would like to ask you.

[The Sentry looks at the Suppliant.]

SUPPLIANT [effortfully]: In all these years I have sat here before this door, waiting to be admitted to the Law, I have never seen anyone else come here seeking entry. Why is that? Doesn't everyone strive to reach the Law?

SENTRY: This door was made for you, and you alone.

[The Suppliant looks at the Sentry, then, overcome by the revelation, dies. The Sentry bends down and, almost gently, uses two fingers to lower the Suppliant's eyelids.]

SENTRY: I will go and shut it now.

The following play has everything: suspense, casual racism, and jokes that Americans won't get. It's a squeeze, but you could cut the minicab gag and the admittedly hackneyed 'commercial break/repeated line' gag.

Untitled (Sci-fi)

THE PLAYERS: CAPTAIN, NAVIGATOR, SCIENCE OFFICER, TACTICAL OFFICER

THE SCENE: The bridge of a spaceship, such as those seen in popular serialised television shows. CAPTAIN is seated centre-stage. TACTICAL OFFICER and NAVIGATOR are seated in front. SCIENCE OFFICER is stands at off to one side at the back.

CAPTAIN: (to NAVIGATOR) Mister Crabs, lay in a course for Omega Persei.

NAVIGATOR: Yes sir.

SCIENCE: Sir, I'm picking something up on the long range scanner.

CAPTAIN: Is it a minicab company?

SCIENCE: What?

CAPTAIN: I mean, on screen.

SCIENCE: Main screen turn on, sir.

(The crew react to the big, alarming thing on screen.)

CAPTAIN: What is it, number one?

SCIENCE: Fascinating. According to my readings, it's a Stu Francis Anomaly.

CAPTAIN: You mean, (pause) a rip in the tissue of the space-time continuum?

SCIENCE: That's right sir.

CAPTAIN: (dramatically, a la Zap Brannigan) My god, we'll be crushed like grapes!

(dramatic chords denoting cliffhanger, commercial break)

CAPTAIN: (as before) My god, we'll be crushed like grapes!

CAPTAIN: (regains composure) Tactical guy, how are we going to get out of this one?

TACTICAL: (outrageously Italian) I say we turn around and-a go really fast the other way.

CAPTAIN: (snorts dismissively) Maybe that's how they do things on your vaguely allegorical planet, Giuseppe. (to NAVIGATOR) Crabsy?

NAVIGATOR: Sir, if we expediently orient the foremost protuberance of the vessel at an angle diametrically opposed to the nexus of the African American cavity and inducing maximum motive force -

SCIENCE: Of course!

CAPTAIN: Make it happen!

TACTICAL: (aside) Ahh, this is-a bullshit!

Thinking Aloud

Phil and Cathy stand talking. Behind Phil at a small distance stand four voices - Compulsion, Paranoia, Violence, and Mother. Each time they speak, they take a step toward and talk a bit louder.

Cathy: I'm glad I got a chance to talk to you alone. I just wanted to thank you for taking me out last night; I had a wonderful time.

Phil opens his mouth to reply. Paranoia interrupts, speaking quietly.

Paranoia: She's lying.

Phil: Yes, it was a fantastic evening. What did you think of the play?

Cathy: I thought that some of the dialogue seemed --

The remainder of Cathy's reply is lost (though her mouth continues to move as though she is still speaking) as Mother speaks.

Mother: You took her out and you didn't bring her home to meet me? Are you ashamed of your own mother?

Compulsion: She's blinked 12 times in the last five seconds.

Paranoia: It's because she's lying. About the play, too, she doesn't know anything about plays. She just wants you to think she's intelligent.

Phil is becoming visibly distraught as the voices continue speaking.

Phil: Yes, yes I... I know what you mean.

Violence: Look at her, so small and frail. You could kill her right here, right now, and nobody would notice.

Compulsion: Two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four...

Cathy: You know, I was thinking... What are you doing tonight? I hear there's a great --

Cathy's sentence is lost again.

Mother: Don't you dare make plans for tonight, you know that Uncle Bernie is coming to visit!

Another voice, Libido, joins the four behind Phil.

Libido: Wow, she's really hot for you! Do you see the way she's staring? Hoo, boy!

Compulsion: Thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six... I wish she would quit blinking.

The voices are all crowded around Phil, almost shouting. Cathy's mouth is still moving as she speaks, unheard.

Violence: I can show you how to stab her to make her bleed. See where the shoulder meets the neck...?

Mother: Dinner is at seven. Make sure you're on time, your father hates it when you're late.

All the voices begin speaking at once, shouting to be heard over one another.

Paranoia: Don't listen to anything she's saying! It's all a lie!

Libido: She wants you bad. Skip the date and take her straight home!

Mother: Are you listening to me? Don't ignore me, young man!

Violence: Do it quick, I hate it when they scream.

Compulsion: Two thousand forty-eight! Four thousand ninety-six! Eight thousand one hundred ninety-two!

Phil turns to face the voices.

Phil (angrily): Shut up! All of you, just shut up!

The voices disperse. As they go, Cathy joins them.

Phil (turning to face Cathy): I'm sorry, what were you saying? I got -- (seeing that he is alone) distracted...

Scene ends with Phil alone, looking confused.




Speed Dating

A woman is standing in front of a line of men, all of whom are holding signs facedown.

A buzzer sounds. Woman moves to the first man in line. He turns up his sign so the audience can see it. It says "Married."

Married: I'm not interested in a serious relationship, but I'm looking for someone I can have fun with.

A buzzer sounds. Woman moves down the line to the next man. He turns up a sign that says "Abusive."

Abusive: My last girlfriend dumped me and now she won't talk to me. I'm just looking for someone to talk to.

Buzzer. Woman moves on. "Womanizer."

Womanizer: I'm looking for someone who can dance after a few drinks.

Buzzer. Woman on. "Boring."

Boring: I work at the law firm downtown, I'm an accountant. I spend a lot of time working in my garden on the weekends.

Buzzer. Woman moves on. "Stalker."

Stalker: Hey, my name is -- Oh, wow! Imagine meeting you here! It's really nice to see you.

Buzzer. Woman moves on. "Insecure."

Insecure: Hey. Heh, I'm really nervous. Not even sure what I'm doing here, really. I just--

Woman moves on. "Insensitive."

Insensitive: Wow, you're really pretty. I'm surprised you don't already have a date.

Buzzer. Woman moves on to the final man. When he holds up his sign, it is blank. Woman reacts for the first time, holding out her hand as though offering a handshake.

Woman: Hi... I'm Nancy.

Buzzer. Scene ends.


Many thanks to Jophur

Dinner Hour

by maxClimb

Scene: Longish line of people at a grocery check-out. A young couple with a hand basket of items are one customer back from the front of the line. She's ahead, turned toward He a bit.

He: So then the next slide is that 'snake eating its tail' thing, the Oro-Barrosa - always creeps me out.

She: The 'Ouroboros'.

He: Whatever. Scarfing till it's just a dot of a head. Yuck.

She: There's more to it than that...

He: I mean, it would hurt! It's self-destructive!

She: What'd he say about it?

He: Oh... ancient symbol... self-consuming lust... gateway to the next world. Usual mumbo-jumbo. (nods toward counter) We're up.

She: (unloading basket) It's eternity - like the snake doesn't just chomp away blindly...

He: I'm gonna chomp away tonight - I'm starved! What's cookin', anyway?

She: (Holds up flat ovoid pack containing a large sausage, one end nearly touching the other) Kielbasa and Red Cabbage, old family recipe.

He: God! It's everywhere!

She: Wha...? (looks at sausage pack, tosses it on counter) Oh. It isn't circular, and there's no head, silly. And I'm counting on leftovers, so restrain yourself.

He: Don't worry!

She: So anyway, the snake only takes a little bite, digests it and makes more snake - that's the positive view. The world creating itself, from itself.

He: (with dry sarcasm) Gee Professor! (dismissively) Makes no sense to me. (to Clerk) Yo dude, 'sup?

Clerk: Hey man. Off tonight? (rings up groceries)

He: Yeah. I got can alley in the AM, then Express Line till noon.

Clerk: Killer. I got graves all next week.

He: Enough in there for my paycheck? (endorses check and hands it to clerk)

Clerk: (smirking) Enough for what YOU get.

He: Keeps us going.

She: (smiles wanly) Income just meets outgo.

Clerk: Never any different. Here's your change.

He: (pockets bills, He and She pick up bags) Thanks, bro! Laters.

(They walk a couple of steps)

She: I just remembered! We're outta' TP!

He: Shit! I guess we'll have to get back in line...

(blackout)

I geeks.
By: Sly Penguin

There are two t-shirt clad persons, one male one female, sitting close to each other both playing videogames on the floor facing the front of the stage with a dim blue light emulating a television set.

female:(with excitement gesturing to screen) HAHA! YES! DOUBLE KILL!
male:(with excitement gesturing to female) HAHA! YES! BOOBIES!

to black

A Play Without Actors

Preamble and Preparation

This play is a play "without acting". The actors play the stage directions and other explanations written in the script, but not the role of the characters, as the characters have no speaking lines, and the story does not require any.

There are 10 actors, called for ease of reference 1 through 10.
They are each wearing a letter on the front and a letter on the back (this can be done in various ways - see * below).
They are wearing the following letters (front, back)

  1. S, E
  2. R, X
  3. O, E
  4. I, U
  5. T, N
  6. N, T
  7. B, C
  8. E, H
  9. A, S
  10. R, D

The play

The stage begins empty. The actors will arrange themselves on stage to spell words, in the following way: 3f means actor number 3 stands with his front facing the audience (showing the letter O). 7b means 7 stands with his back towards the audience (showing the letter C). They will stand in the order that I have written. Once they arrange themselves (which should take about 5 seconds), they stand still to let the audience read what is written for about 3 seconds and then rearrange themselves to form the next line. During the arranging, the actors which are not in the line leave the stage. I will not explicitly write who enters and who exits at each line, because it is obvious. I will leave it up to the director, or leader to decide exactly how this will be done.
9f 7b 5f    4f
A  C  T     I

9b 7b 3b 5b 8f   4f
S  C  E  N  E    I

9f   7b 3f 4b 2f 5f
A    C  O  U  R  T

1b 5b 6b 3b 2f    7b 8b 9f 10b
E  N  T  E  R     C  H  A  D 

3b 6f 5f 1b 2f    10b 8f 7f
E  N  T  E  R      D  E  B

1b 5b 6b 3b 2f    7f 8f 9f 10f
E  N  T  E  R     B  E  A  R 

The people spelling BEAR move offstage to the left, and the people spelling ENTER move to the (audience's) right and are joined by 4, and spell:
1b 2b 3b 4b 5b 6b
E  X  E  U  N  T
 
The people spelling BEAR - 7f, 8f, 9f and 10f enter from the left, chasing the people spelling EXEUNT off the stage, until they have all exited on the right.

i.e.

Exeunt, pursued by a bear.


* This is, ideally, a letter printed on the front and back of a shirt. If not, then a paper/cardboard with the letter written on it, attached to the shirt somehow (stapled, for example). If not, then the actor could hold two pieces of cardboard - one in the front and one in the back. Last resort - a piece of paper with a letter on the front and a letter on the back - the actor remains facing the audience and flips the paper over to display the correct side.


Note that the actors spelling ENTE switch around for the 3 consecutive lines of ENTER. This is for comic effect (and not optional). It's amusing to see people changing places like crazy and ending up spelling the same word.

Note to the director: this is much easier to pull off than it may at first appear. All each actor has to remember is 7 positions. Also, I have arranged it so that the movement of the actors (except for intentional ENTE switching, which is very easy) is minimal. For example, between ACT I and SCENE I - 9 and 5 turn around, 5 moves a bit to the right and 3 and 8 enter. Likewise from ENTER CHAD onward, the two groups (1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7,8,9,10 stay distinct).

Dad: I hope you don't think you're going out wearing that.

Kimmi: Dad, all the kids are wearing it!

Dad: I don't care, I will not have my daughter out in public looking like a cheap whore.

Kimmi: I am NOT a cheap whore. I hate when you call me that.

Kimmi: This cost me 37 dollars at Victor... I mean, The Gap.

Kimmi: Plus, you should see what Candi's wearing. I look like a fricking nun compared to her.

Dad: Hmm... that's a good idea. Maybe we should send you to a convent.

Kimmi: MOoooOM! Dad's at it again!

Kimmi: Listen, I'd love to chat about my parents' sexual inadequacies, but I've got to run. I need your car keys and $40

Kimmi: Be home by midnite, I promise.

Dad: Car's in the shop.

Kimmi: SHIT DAD YOU ARE WORTHLESS

Kimmi: Mom..... can I borrow the *sigh* van?

Mom: (offstage) Ask your father, dear.

Kimmi: I'm running away and living with Katie!

Kimmi: storms out of the house

Dad: Katie... Katie... Didn't I see her at the strip club?

Dad: Leggy blonde, nice rack?

Kimmi: GRRRR!

Kimmi: flips open cell phone

Kimmi: Katie? Yeah, they're being stupid again. I hate my life. Can you pick me up?

Dad: calling out the door If you get pregnant, don't bother coming home! Your mother will kill you!

Kimmi: I don't care -- You always liked Barbie best.

Dad: Sheesh... kids these days. Can't even take a joke.

Kimmi: I'm getting this all down in my diary. You'll pay.

Dad: (yelling over TV) since when were you allergic to dairy?

Kimmi: (into the cell phone) Katie, get here quick. I'm losing it.

Dad: Don't forget your tampons! Oh, and your acne cream! It's that time of month again, isn't it?

Mom: (offstage) You two!

Kimmi: God. I hate you.

Kimmi: I so want to die right now.

Dad: Love you too, dear! Have a nice time!

Kimmi: (sotto voce) Mom, can you hear me? Dad's screwing the au pair!




Aionaever deserves most of the credit for this. Thanks, man. You are the funniest IM buddy EVAR.

"Convoluted"

A man is sitting on a bench in the park, reading a book. He is wearing very ordinary, dull clothes, and a watch.

Offstage, there is a metallic vwa-ZING noise and a flash of light.

Enter a woman, bouncy and enthusiastic, preferably wearing a brightly-coloured dress.

WOMAN: See? It works! I said it would work!

MAN: (looking up) I'm sorry, what?

WOMAN: My time machine works! Come and see!

MAN: (thinks she's a weirdo) Erm, no thanks.

WOMAN: What's the matter? Don't you believe me?

MAN: (trying to get rid of her) Oh yes, yeah... I'm just... busy. I've got this book I'm reading.

WOMAN: (cross) You don't believe me!

MAN: Well, no.

WOMAN: All right. I'll prove it to you. Wait right there. I'll go back in time thirty seconds.

She runs off stage the way she came. The man watches her go. There is another vwa-ZING and flash of light. He waits for a few seconds. Then he checks his watch. Then he opens his book again.

MAN: (to himself, while reading) Where'd she come from?

Then he thinks about it a bit more carefully, frowns and puts his book down.

MAN: Wait. Where did she come from?

"Countdown"

A villain - black clothes, eye patch - is standing with a woman not far from him. He is pointing a gun at her, and she has her hands up. While she stands there, he uses one hand to operate a console next to him. On the console, a large red timer begins to tick down from sixty seconds. (If this makes the play impossible to fit into the 60-second timeframe, best solution is to make the timer run faster than reality.)

VILLAIN: The countdown is set! In less than a minute, I'll have destroyed the world!

WOMAN: You'll never get away with this! Jack Hero will save me!

VILLAIN: I'd like to see him try.

Time passes. Nothing happens.

Forty-ish seconds to go:

WOMAN: He's usually here by now.

VILLAIN: Yeah, yeah. I, er... yeah.

The villain and the woman get increasingly bored. His gun arm wavers. Her arms get tired.

Twenty seconds to go:

VILLAIN: He's cutting it close.

WOMAN: He'll be here! Don't think he w--

VILLAIN: (interrupting her) Yeah, yeah, I know.

With five seconds to go, a hero - suit trousers, flowing white dress shirt open three buttons - bursts in from the side. The villain turns to shoot the hero, but the hero shoots the villain first. The hero presses a button on the console, stopping the countdown with one second to spare, grabs the woman by the hand and races off with her.

"Planet Of The Socks"

The scene is any combination of a washing machine, a blackboard with diagrams of socks and washing machines and equations on, and lots and lots of socks. A young professor is talking to an older general, with a big moustache. Both are standing.

PROFESSOR: Well, general, we've finally scientifically confirmed why socks disappear in the wash. By putting some sensors inside this washing machine, we found that if you spin a stainless metal drum at a few hundred RPM, then inject a flow of ions in the form of a stream of hot water, it's the ideal way to create a miniature wormhole. A wormhole which does indeed occasionally swallow up a sock. One sock every seven point four loads, to be exact.

GENERAL: This is fascinating work, professor.

PROFESSOR: I wouldn't start celebrating yet, sir. We've discovered something rather alarming. You see, on some of our test runs, our washing came back not with a missing sock, but an extra one.

GENERAL: Are you sure you didn't just lose one?

PROFESSOR: Yes, sir, we count extremely carefully.

GENERAL: Was it one of ours?

PROFESSOR: No, sir. We ran tests. They look exactly like human socks. And they're always disguised to look like whatever socks are nearby, so until now nobody has ever counted carefully enough to notice that they've gained a sock instead of losing one. We think this has been happening for years. All over the world. They've been infiltrating their way into our sock drawers and onto our feet. Waiting for the moment to strike together. They're aliens. Dormant alien larvae. It's an invasion, general. And it could already be too late to stop them.

During this, the general has turned away casually. Unseen by the professor, he slips a large red football sock over his arm.

GENERAL: That's a very interesting story, professor. How many people have you told?

PROFESSOR: Just you, sir.

GENERAL: Excellent.

He lunges for the professor's throat and chokes him with his sock-covered hand.

A Suite of Five Stabs at 60

by Audie McCall


Palindrome

EMMA: Think! Don’t sit there. What are you thinking?

BOB: Sorry?

EMMA: Are you really? Now? Here?

BOB: I am.

EMMA: Wish I could believe you.

BOB: Do.

EMMA: I can’t.

BOB: Can’t you?

EMMA: But you love to want—

BOB: I—

EMMA: --Me.

BOB: Absolutely!

EMMA: Not love. You love not absolutely.

BOB: No, love.

EMMA: But me. I want to love you.

BOB: But you can’t.

EMMA: Can’t I?

BOB: Do you believe?

EMMA: Could I?

BOB: Wish. Just . . .

EMMA: I--

BOB: Am I here now?

EMMA: You are sorry thinking you are—

BOB: What?

EMMA: -- There.

BOB: Sit. Don’t think.

(End of play.)

Double Clock

KID: How long is now?

GROWNUP: Hmmm. Well. I don’t know. ‘Bout a minute?

KID: No. Now is longer than that.

GROWNUP: Or shorter.

KID: Now can be an afternoon.

GROWNUP: Or a breath.

KID: In or out?

GROWNUP: Both.

KID: Or an Elmo.

GROWNUP: Okay. But only one.

KID: I’m with you now.

GROWNUP: Me, too.

KID: You’re with me.

GROWNUP: Always and forever.

KID: Now.

GROWNUP: Yeah.

(End of play.)


Devotion

story by RangyJoeyHondo

(Lights upon a waiting room in a psychiatrist's office. A male and female patient sit reading magazines, preferably from the 60’s.)
FEMALE PATIENT: Waiting long?

MALE PATIENT: Seems like forever.

FEMALE PATIENT: Here to see Dr. Goodyear?

MALE PATIENT: Yes. I believe that’s correct.

FEMALE PATIENT: Me, too.

MALE PATIENT: I’m an amnesiac.

FEMALE PATIENT: Yes, me too. That’s his specialty.

MALE PATIENT: Yes. I think I knew that.

FEMALE PATIENT: I’m a special case. My husband and I were in an accident. Now we both suffer from amnesia.

MALE PATIENT: You know, I have a very similar case. A sort of tragedy struck my wife and I and we both have absolutely severe memory damage. Or so I recall. . . Dr. Goodyear. . . . saying something about . . . .

FEMALE PATIENT: Yes.

MALE PATIENT: Well, that’s quite—

FEMALE PATIENT: Fascinating.

MALE PATIENT: Yes.

(They turn and look each other in the eye.
Beat.
They turn back away.
Beat.)
FEMALE PATIENT: Oh my gosh, these doctors sure like to make you wait.

MALE PATIENT: They sure seem to, don’t they?

(They return to reading their magazines.
Fade to black.
End of play.)

Block Universe

(Lights up on two people kissing.)

PHYSICIST: Everything’s happening all at once.

LAY PERSON: Sure seems that way, doesn’t it?

PHYSICIST: No, no. It doesn’t seem that way. It is that way. It’s not my impressions of things. We live in a block universe.

LAY PERSON: We do? What is that?

PHYSICIST: Everything happens all at once. Time doesn’t pass; we just think it does. Light doesn’t radiate. Particles don’t move. Instead their tracks are world lines frozen everywhere in everywhen.

LAY PERSON: Hunh.

PHYSICIST: So . . .

LAY PERSON: And that makes this block thing you’re talking about?

PHYSICIST: Block universe, yeah.

LAY PERSON: So I’m always kissing you.

PHYSICIST: And you’re always pooping your diapers.

LAY PERSON: Right. Well . . .

PHYSICIST: So . . .

LAY PERSON: So I can live with that.

PHYSICIST: Oh, okay.

(They kiss again.
Fade to black.
End of play.)

Everything Butt

USR_god_VoicE: Greetings. Welcome to the Kitchen Sink. You have 60 seconds from login to post something useful and/or witty and/or scandalous and/or scandalously witty, i.e. useful.

NOOB: Hello?

USR_god_VoicE: Greetings. Welcome to the Kitchen Sink—

NOOB: Wait! What is this place?

Burning_Bush_911: It’s a place that’s not a place but still’s a place for words to accumulate. Would you like to post some?

USR_god_VoicE: You have 20 seconds.

NOOB: What’s the rush?

keeG_hceT: All our servers are on borrowed time. This is not a place that could disappear at any time.

NOOB: That blows.

Burning_Bush_911: And mightily.

NOOB: And it’s all so disconnected and impersonal. So . . . virtual.

TenMinJoe: Perhaps. But what if someone told you that could be someone some day could print your words and say them out loud in front of some others in a dark uncomfortable but actual room.

NOOB: That would be astonishing. That could happen for me, my words?

Burning_Bush_911: Sure. If you believe in such things.

NOOB: I’m in. I have something brilliant

USR_god_VoicE: Sorry.

NOOB: --to--

keeG_hceT: Times up.

NOOB: --say.

Burning_Bush_911: Consider it undone.

(Blackout.
Blank hum and sick clicking.)

The Window

*Scene: Two men stand by a large window. The window is open and the wind is whipping into their faces.*

Talkative Man (with a sigh of acceptance): So this is it?
Quiet Man (unemotional): Yep.
T: This is it. After all those years of scheming, running, hiding, fighting this is how my life is going to end- by jumping out of a window. There's nothing we can do?
Q: No.
T: Its funny- I expected to go out riddled with holes.

*There is a slight pause (about 5 seconds)- T is in a reflective mood.*

T: Doesn't it bother you?
Q: What?
T: That only now, near the end, has it occurred to us that we've pissed our lives down the drain. That it could have been different.
Q: No.

T (getting angry): Does anything bother you?

*Q just shrugs. T seems to get angry and gets looks across his face like he's going to yell something. But he stops, a look of defeat across his face. No point getting angry now.*

T: Suppose we should just do it. Should I go first?
*Q just shrugs again. T jumps out the open window. Q walks across to it and sticks his head out the window, looking down toward the ground. He smiles evilly and turns towards the audience.*
Q: I can't believe he fell for that.

*CURTAIN*

Ford, circa 2204AD

Two characters, REP and VICTOR. Really, the names are unimportant, but it is suggested that REP be female and VICTOR male. Setting is established in the first line of REP's dialogue. No props are required.

REP: And how are you today, sir? I understand that you've been interested in purchasing a fine new personal transport device from our fine company.

VICTOR: I'm just browsing.

REP: Now now now sir, people don't enter this fine dealership without wanting to purchase a fine new personal transport! How may I be of service to you?

VICTOR: Look, I'm just looking, like I said. ("Freaking sales reps" is mumbled)

REP: I'm sorry sir, but I don't understand. Are you certain that you are in the right place?

(VICTOR does his best to completely ignore REP)

REP: (Repeats, exactly the same each time, even continuing as s/he is being cut off until the line is finished) I'm sorry sir, but I don't understand. Are you certain that you are in the right place? I'm sorry sir, but I don't understand. Are you certain that you are in the right place? I'm sorry sir, but I don't understand. Are you cer--

VICTOR: (Shouted right in REP's face, with brief pauses at each ".") YES. I'M CERTAIN. JUST. SHUT. UP!

(Beat)

REP: Would you like to speak with a human about a purchase, sir?

Making the first date

(aside)
Him: Hi baby-girl!
Her: Damn, he's fine
(to one another)
Him: Hiya, how are you?
Her: Oh, i'm great, it's a wonderful day isn't It?
(aside)
Him: I bet she has a boyfriend
Her: No one like him could be single
(to one another)
Him: Oh yeah, absolutely. You heading out?
Her: Uh, yeah, I'm gonna go lie on the grass
(aside)
Him: I wish I could lie with her
Her: I hope he can come with me
(to one another)
Him: It's perfect weather for it
Her: Yeah. You got band practice?
(aside)
Him: I could spend all day laughing with her
Her: I could listen all day to him playing
(to one another)
Him: Yeah, we've gotta practise if we're gonna play at the weekend
Her: You've gotta get me tickets to that
(aside)
Him: Anything for her
Her: Pleeeese don't sound so whiney!
(to one another)
Him: Yeah, sure, no probs
Her: Thanks
(silence)
(to one another)
Together: Hey, listen
(pause, nervous laughter)
(to one another) Together: You first
(more nervous laughter)
(to one another)
Together: Do you want to get a coffee sometime?

The Wallflowers

The scene is a dimly lit stage (a couple of spots perhaps) with a man and a woman standing across a dancefloor from each other. They talk simultaneously to themselves. A slight time elapses between each spoken line.

MAN, WOMAN (TOGETHER): I see someone else over there waiting to dance.

MAN, WOMAN (TOGETHER): I wonder if they'll come over here and ask me.

MAN, WOMAN (TOGETHER): No, they're too shy.

MAN, WOMAN (TOGETHER): No, I'm too shy.

(They both walk off opposite ends into the darkness.)

FINIT

Gone in sixty seconds 2006 - theatre quest and BrevityQuest 2006

Several Years On--a play in one act

Scene: An office in MI6 headquarters in London. On one wall is a window. On another, a map of Europe. A man, the Director of Operations (Europe), is seated behind a desk. A younger man, Agent K, blonde, in his late 30s or early 40s, sits on the other side. DOO(E): The intelligence is conclusive: we've been infiltrated. We think it's Moscow. AK: Moscow. But how? DOO(E): Dr Vanderbilt suggested we take a Motive Adjustment/Brain Penetration test, to determine whether we've been brainwashed. AK: Vanderbilt! He's a hardliner. But he might be right, MA/BP could be the only way to battle Moscow. They don't yet have our parapsychological capabilities. DOO(E): We don't know how deep the damage goes; the Director-General himself may have been compromised. AK: I once saw a defector being interrogated using MA/BP. [ He jumps up from his chair and goes to stare out the window ] DOO(E): [ Slowly ] Vanderbilt wants you to be tested first. He and the Director-General think your identity may be blown. AK: [ Turns around to him ] What are you saying? DOO(E): Moscow may have tracked you back to when you broke deep cover twelve years ago. AK: Impossible. DOO(E): The publicity at the time... AK: [ Interrupts emphatically ] Yes, the publicity. Remember the headlines? The mourners at my memorial service? The graveside vigil? DOO(E): I'm scheduling you for the MA/BP session immediately. AK: I gave up everything I had for MI6. Even my 'wife' and my 'daughter' still believe I died in that house in Seattle! DOO(E): [ Watches him ] It was deep cover, Agent. AK: It was, wasn't it. DOO(E): You're one of our most valuable operatives. That's why Vanderbilt will be administering the test himself. Even so, a medical team will be standing by in case of...adverse side-effects. [ Pause ] Ever have regrets, Kurt? AK: [ In an odd tone ] No. At least I've never had to hear Smells Like Teen Spirit again.

CURTAIN

Empire Maker

Act 0
Scene i


A play by James T. Western




Characters: Mark, Romeo, two mens' voices coming over a radio, a collection of car sounds
Setting: A mountainous area. The ground is rocky, but below the treeline such that there are fir trees or a suggestion of fir trees about. The era is modern, but not specified.


Stage Direction: Set up
Open on two men laying upon the ground facing away from the audience feet angled widely apart. A tree or shrub (real or artificially substitued artwork) is stage right of the men. Both are in military garb, wearing tight fitting caps of a similar fabric. The man on the left is the character Mark, he is carrying a backpack with a large phone/radio on it. The man on the right is the character Romeo, he is holding a rifle with a scope and pearing around the cover to his right. The radio buzzes audibly.




Mark: Go Team Leader, this is Mark.

Radio: Has the target been acquired?

Mark pulls a pair of binoculars from his left side to his face and looks off stage right, Romeo postures looking through his scope.

Romeo: Target has just appeared below us...

Mark: Team Leader, Romeo has sighted the target. slight pause, looks through binoculars again Confirm target acquisition. Target is in range. Over. to Romeo Take the shot.

Romeo: slight pause This doesn't seem fair. They wanted a revolution and we're going to kill the idea of it before they even start...

Mark: Are you joking? This is the best solution. For all parties involved. Take the shot, killer.

Romeo: We're talking about people who were born for this. Now, the first time they decide to stand we're going to have to be the ones to tell them they've won, without any effort. They won't like it. She won't like it.

Mark: You don't know the people we'll be helping; I don't think you appreciate the lives you're about to save...

Romeo: I don't. Tell me it's thousands; millions...

Mark: No; it'll just be the best. The people who care...

Radio: What is the status of the target!

Mark: Team Leader, target has been eliminated. Over.

Mark stares pointedly at Romeo.
Romeo hesitates only slightly

Radio: Excellent work...

There is the crack of a gunshot from Romeo.

Radio cuts out with the sound of broken glass coming over the radio. From stage right comes the sound of brakes squealing and an explosion.

Mark: Reaches inside jacket for a much smaller radio. Mission Control, this is Operator Condor; target has been eliminated.

Exeunt Mark and Romeo swiftly stage left.

Untitled

The stage is blank. Two people walk onto stage from stage right, a male, then a female following. It doesn't seem like they know each other. Suddenly the female runs ahead and grasps the hand of the male in front of her; she whirls him around, until they are standing at stage center, face to face, perpendicular to the audience.

Male: (in mid-turn, not angrily) Hey!

Female: Excuse me! I HAVE AN IDEA!

Male: What?

Female: This is kind of weird, but...

Male: What is it?

Female: (shyly) Will you be my --

Male: --no!

Female: (dejected) ......Okay. (She thinks, then suddenly gives him a light hug and runs off stage right, at full speed.)

Male: Hey! (quietly)

(He looks around himself, at the audience, unsure. He starts to walk back towards stage left. In a few seconds, she enters back from stage right, and grabs his hand, whirls him around, much like their original position.)

Male: --You know, you shouldn't do that to a stranger --

(She suddenly gives him a tighter, longer hug this time. Male trails off when she hugs him; then she suddenly runs off stage right, at full speed.)

Male: Hey... (more quietly.)

(He looks around again, unsure, but waiting. In a few seconds, she enters back from stage right, stands back in her original position.)

(They pause, looking at each other.)

(She gives him a tight, long, intimate hug. It's anticipated by both of them, this time, and they both close their eyes during it. They release each other, and stand apart gently.)

Male: I missed you.

Female: I missed you too.

(The male takes the female's hand, and together they walk off stage left.)


(It's of absolute utmost importance that all the embraces in the above play are completely non-sexual and platonic.)


Untitled 2

(A male and female enter from stage left, shoulder to shoulder. They stop at stage center, and turn so that they're both facing the audience. They speak, act, and express themselves, however, as if they're looking at each other.)

Female: Hey..

Male: Yes?

Female: (stomps her foot on the ground) It's such a nice night.

Male: Yeah. (clucks with his tongue)

(pause)

Male: Will you date me?

Female: Only if we're honest.

Male: (clucks) I promise we will be honest.

Female: (stomps) Okay.

(Pause. They both smile blissfully, and then walk off stage right, shoulder to shoulder.)

(A new male and a new female enter from stage right, shoulder to shoulder. They are different people. It makes no difference whether they are dressed differently or not. They stop at stage center, and take up the previous couple's positions, the male where the previous male was, etc.)

Male: Hey..

Female: Yes?

Male: Look how much we've changed. (clucks)

Female: It's been good, the past minutes and centuries. (stomps)

Male: It has, honey.

Female: It has... (stomps)

(pause)

Male: To be honest, I never liked your stomping.

Female: I never liked your clicking.

Male: It's clucking.

Female: Okay, clucking then. To be honest, It's annoying as all hell.

Male: Your heavy stomping is annoying, too.

Female: Heavy? I hate you.

Male: I hate you too. (clucks)

Female: Look! You're the exact same person, with the exact same faults. Why don't you ever change? (stomps)

Male: Speak for yourself! I fixed the TRIANGLE yesterday, and all you could do was to say 'thanks'?

Female: At least I made BLUE in time for dinner!

Male: Who are you? I don't know you anymore.

Female: I'd like to think we weren't married.

Male: We aren't.

Female: All right, then.

(They glare at each other.)

Male: (clucks)

Female: (stomps)

(They walk off stage left, shoulder to shoulder.)

Behind Closed Doors

HARRY sits at a table, head in his hands. Occasionally he bangs his head against the table. CHRISTOPHER, his close friend, walks in.

CHRISTOPHER: Hey, Harry, what's up? Why the long face?

HARRY (despondent): ...I lost all my funding for my project.

CHRISTOPHER (goes over to take a seat): Wait... what? For your mind-reading machine? What happened?

HARRY (drops his hands to the table to bang against the table): It was horrible... horrible, Chris! I was there, the machine was working, the head of the department Dr. Adam Voskin was there... I had everything going for me, it was great, it was perfect, yadda yadda... and then... oh god.

CHRISTOPHER: What? And then what?

HARRY: ... and then I used Peter as my test subject.

CHRISTOPHER (sudden realization): Oh god, Harry. Please say you knew--

HARRY: --I didn't.

CHRISTOPHER: --that Peter thinks that Dr. Voskin is the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe...

Harry: I didn't. And for the love of all that is holy, I didn't know you could do that with eggplants. I've lost my funding, Chris, but even worse, I've LOST MY INNOCENCE.

CHRISTOPHER: I'm so sorry, Harry.

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