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One Act Plays

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At Liberty by Tennessee Williams

A middle-aged woman sits up at 2:30 in the morning. Her daughter, Gloria, comes home, escorted by an ungentlemanly man. Gloria and her mother argue about the people she sees and her health. Gloria is back at her childhood home after her career as an actress has taken a down turn.

This play can be read in the preview of Tennessee Williams: One Act Plays. (53% in)

Trifles by Susan Glaspell

A small group has gathered at the Wright farm. John Wright was found murdered in his bed. The county attorney, Henderson, has been called to investigate and get the story. Also present is Henry Peters, the sheriff and Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale. The neighbor who found the body, Lewis Hale, explains what happened. The men take the lead in the investigation. The women look over the kitchen and gather a few things to take to Mrs. Wright, who’s being held on suspicion of the murder.

This play can be read in the preview of Plays by Susan Glaspell(Go into “Paperback” preview first, then select “Kindle”, 5% in)

The Bear by Anton Chekhov

Popova is still mourning the death of her husband from seven months ago. Her elderly servant, Luka, urges her to go to a ball, or at least to go outside. Even though her husband wasn’t always good to her, Popova is determined to be faithful forever.

This play can be read in the preview of Delphi Complete Works of Anton Chekhov. (62% in)

The Proposal by Anton Chekhov

Lomov calls on Chubokov to make a request. He’s wearing formal dress and is excited. Lomov wants permission to marry Chubokov’s daughter, Natalya. Chubokov is very pleased. When Natalya enters, the conversation gets derailed.

This play can be read in the preview of Delphi Complete Works of Anton Chekhov. (65% in)

“Master Harold”…and the Boys by Athol Fugard

Willie and Sam, black men, are waiters in a tea room in South Africa. There are no customers, so they pass the time until the white owner’s son, Hally, joins them from school. They are on good terms. They start talking about Hally’s father.

Sizwe Bansi is Dead by Athol Fugard

Sizwe Bansi visits the photography studio of Styles. He wants a picture taken to send his wife, and says his name is Robert Zwelinzima. He writes a letter to his wife detailing his search for work and how he came to change his name.

Everyman by Anonymous

Everyman is being called before God for a reckoning. Everyman seeks others to accompany him on his journey such as Fellowship, Kindred and Goods.

Trying to Find Chinatown by David Henry Hwang

Ronnie, a Chinese American, is playing his violin on the street in the Lower East Side of New York. His clothing is from the 60s and he has piercings. Benjamin, a blond tourist from the Midwest, stops to listen for a while. Benjamin asks for directions to an address in Chinatown, which upsets Ronnie. They get into a discussion about ethnic identity.

‘Night, Mother by Marsha Norman

Jessie Cates takes out her father’s gun and starts cleaning it. She tells her mother that she is going to kill herself. Her mother tries to change her mind. They talk about their history and Jessie reveals why she feels hopeless.

Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy

Sarah, a young woman with a black father and white mother, lives in New York. She’s conflicted with her racial identity, with bad feelings toward her father and positive ones toward her mother. The play opens with a surreal sequence.

The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco

Mr. and Mrs. Smith spend the evening in their English home. They talk about their evening and some people they know. Mary, the maid, says she has been out with a man. She also announces the arrival of guests, the Martins.

The Purple Flower by Marita Bonner

The Us’s live in the valley while the White Devils live on the hill. The Flower-of-Life-at-Its-Fullest only grows on the hill. The Us’s want to get on the hill, and talk about whether they can do that. The White Devil’s try to prevent this from happening. The Us’s have differing opinions on how to improve their situation.

Los Vendidos by Luis Valdez

Honest Sancho is the owner of Honest Sancho’s Used Mexican Lot and Mexican Curio Shop. He has three models—the Farmworker, the Panchuco and the Revolucionario. A customer, Miss Jimenez, is looking for a “Mexican type” for some administrative work. Sancho describes the traits of his models.

The Cuban Swimmer by Milcha Sanchez-Scott

Marguerita Suarez, nineteen-years-old, swims in the Pacific Ocean while her family follows close by in a boat. She’s competing in a race from San Pedro to San Catalina Island. Reporters on a helicopter arrive on the scene and talk about the action and backstory.

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