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Satirical Plays

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The Architecture of Desire by Brian Leahy Doyle (1 Act)

A young man struggles to write a monograph on Marcel Proust. His young wife is tired of hearing about it. They have a bitter argument that escalates. A couple’s therapist offers the audience a solution to these types of arguments and how to have a sensual relationship.

This play can be read in the preview of The Best New Ten Minute Plays, 2021. (18% in)

Everybody Black by Dave Harris

A man introduces himself as a Black Historian. He’s been offered a lot of money by a group of white historians to write a definitive account of The Black Experience™. They want to know everything. The Black Historian accepted the offer, but there are problems—he’s mad, doesn’t know history, and has never met another Black person.

Several scenes from this play can be read in the preview of Humana Festival 2019: The Complete Plays(56% in)

Noises Off  by Michael Frayn (3 Acts)

The cast of a play called Nothing On is running through a technical rehearsal. It’s a farce and satire about a house for rent and the shenanigans of the people involved. The second act shows the behind-the-scenes action during a performance of the play. The third act shows the audience’s perspective during a performance.

The beginning of this play can be read in the preview of Noises Off(40% in)

The Memorandum by Vaclav Havel (12 Scenes)

Josef Gross, an office manager, receives an unreadable memorandum. It’s not in English. It’s in Ptydepe, a new office language authorized by his deputy director, Ballas, that is supposed to be more efficient. Josef tries to get to the bottom of this change and get his memo translated.

Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet (3 Scenes)

Bobby Gould is the head of production at a movie studio. Charlie Fox comes to see him with a script and star actor attached. He wants Bobby to make the movie. Bobby is excited about the project and tries to get in touch with his boss.

Once in a Lifetime by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart (3 Acts)

Vaudeville performers George, May, and Jerry head for Los Angeles to get into the movies. With the movies now having sound, they figure actors who know how to use their voices will be in demand. They also plan to open a school of elocution. On the way, they meet Helen, a prominent film critic and Susan, an aspiring actress.

Ring Around the Moon (Invitation to the Castle) by Jean Anouilh (3 Acts)

Hugo is a confident, popular man. His identical twin brother, Frederic, is unsure of himself. Frederic fawns over Diana, his fiancee, but she really loves Hugo instead. Frederic is from new money while Diana is from new money, her father being a self-made businessman. Hugo plots to redirect his brother’s attentions.

Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw (3 Acts)

It’s November 1885, the time of the Serbo-Bulgarian War. Raina, a young Bulgarian woman, gets news that her fiancé is the hero of a battle. With fighting nearby, Raina and her mother secure the house. Despite this, a Serbian officer manages to get in through the shutters. Raina hides him and covers when soldiers question her.

This play satirizes the glorification of war and marrying for social reasons.

The Cocktail Party by T. S. Eliot

Guests are gathered at the Chamberlayne home for a cocktail party, but Mrs. Chamberlayne isn’t there. Her husband makes an excuse for her absence, but she has left him. He talks to a psychiatrist about his life.

The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux

Shortly after WWII, the President and the Baron meet in a Paris café. The President grew up in poverty, but worked his way up through counterfeiting and drugs, and now runs many businesses. The Baron is on the board of directors of one of these companies, although no one knows what the company does. They’re soon joined by the Prospector, who has a plan to drill for oil under Chaillot, even if that mean destroying the area.

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.

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