These two hander plays, or two person plays, are for two actors. The plays written for one man and one woman have their own section at the bottom.
Two Hander or Two Person Plays
Blue Door by Tanya Barfield
Lewis can’t sleep. His wife has left him because he wouldn’t go to the Million Man March. She thinks he’s disconnected from his history. He has a vision of three generations of his ancestors.
This play can be read in the preview of Contemporary Plays by African American Women: Ten Complete Works. (25% in)
At Liberty by Tennessee Williams (1 Act)
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)
The Swan Song by Anton Chekhov
Vasili, sixty-eight years old, walks onto a theatre stage. It’s late and everyone is gone. He fell asleep in the dressing-room. Earlier, he gave his final performance. Vasili laments his life.
This play can be read in the preview of Delphi Complete Works of Anton Chekhov. (43% in)
Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams (1 Act)
Heather, a fifth-grade teacher, sits at her desk grading papers. The classroom is empty. There’s a knock at the door. It’s Corryn, a mother who has a parent/teacher conference. Heather directs her to the office to find the right room. Corryn comes back, saying this is the room. Heather doesn’t have anything scheduled. Corryn says it’s about her son, Gidion. Heather is shocked; she thought the appointment was off, even though it wasn’t actually canceled.
Some of this play can be read in the preview of Plays by Women from the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. (30% in)
Two Hander Plays, Two Person Plays, Cont’d
Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years by Emily Mann
Sadie and Bessie Delaney, elderly African-American sisters, have lived together most of their lives. They invite the audience into their home to talk about their lives. They aren’t rich, but they’ve managed their money well. They talk about their parents, work history, encounters with racism, the Great Depression, and other aspects of life.
The Stronger by August Strindberg
Two women, both actresses, meet in a coffeehouse. Mrs. X comments on Miss Y being alone on Christmas Eve, and on her failed marriage. Mrs. X’s monologue continues, revealing their history and rivalry.
Tea Party by Betty Keller (1 Scene)
Two elderly women, Alma and Hester, decide where they’re going to sit in their living room. They’re trying to arrange things for their unnamed expected guest. They discuss the refreshments they’ll offer and the story they’ll tell. (2 main roles & 1 cameo)
Trying to Find Chinatown by David Henry Hwang (1 Act)
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.
1 Man & 1 Woman Plays
Alfred and Lily and Their Marvelous Tank in the Forest by Tara Meddaugh (1 Act)
Alfred and Lily, frogs, are a married couple. They live in a forest, but in a tank rather than a pond. They notice there isn’t much water in their tank. Alfred thinks it’s been two days since they were moved from the pond. They see an eagle fly overhead with something in its beak. Alfred is alarmed.
This play can be read in the preview of The Best New Ten Minute Plays, 2020. (45% in)
Sure Thing by David Ives (1 Act)
Betty is reading at a café when Bill approaches, asking if the chair opposite her is taken. She shuts down any interaction. The scene proceeds with multiple iterations of their conversation, as it continually gets reset when they hit a sticking point.
This play can be read in the preview of All in the Timing: Fourteen Plays. (25% in)
The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams (2 Acts)
Felice and Clare, a brother and sister, are the only two from their acting troupe to arrive at their destination, a run-down little theater. They perform The Two-Character Play. There’s confusion around the audience, the story of the play, and between what’s real and what’s illusion.
Before Breakfast by Eugene O’Neill (1 Act)
The Rowlands live in a small apartment in New York. Mrs. Rowland comes out of the bedroom. She puts on an apron and starts the coffee. Making as little noise as possible, she gets a bottle of gin and has a drink. She goes through her husband’s vest and finds a letter. After reading it, she starts calling her husband to get up and berates him.
The role of the husband occurs almost entirely off-stage with little dialogue.
I’ll keep adding two hander plays or two person plays as I find more.