One-Acts by Stephen Bittrich

(10 Minute Plays and Longer One-Acts)

Duty Honor Country (published in Plays and Playwrights 2005, edited by Martin Denton, The New York Theatre Experience, 2005, An excerpt was published in The Best Men's Stage Monologues 2005, edited by D. L. Lepidus, Smith and Kraus, 2005.)

Brain Sucking (Finalist Actor's Theatre of Louisville Ten-Minute Play Contest, performed at Actors Theatre of Louisville in December, 1994, AND published in Dramatics Magazine, April, 1995. This is also the first scene of the full-length play, Home of the Great Pecan.)

La Mouche (Stephen's favorite of his one-acts. It's a 10 minute play great for high schools or colleges / universities.)

The Proposal (This Jane Austen Era play was published in 2006: The Best Ten-Minute Plays for 2 Actors.)

Hole (This 10-minute Appalachian mining cave-in play was published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2011.)

Mime in a Box (This one seems to be a favorite of a lot of high schools and colleges and is often performed.)

Two Eggs (Finalist in Actor's Theatre of Louisville Ten-Minute Play Contest, highly theatrical, fun piece with a lot of great physical comedy and a raucous ending.)

Bee (In a Kafka-esque world of the future a man is interrogated after the disappearance of his "companion.")

Corybungus (If you're like me, you might enjoy this ode to Monty Python.)

All About Biffo (New 10 minute play! Be the first to perform the premiere!)

Jubilation, Mississippi (Like a Twilight Zone episode.)

Baby Factory (Welcome to the intimidating world of the no-so-distant future where your baby can be made to exact specifications... hopefully nothing will go wrong. The play also needs a premiere.)

Some Words of Advice

The Queue (Comedy, an actor tries to throw off the competition.)

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (This one is for adults.)

The Way, The Truth, The Life (The acting class from hell.)

Bringing Up Lester (Avant-garde -- a woman finally returns to her husband after a long affair to discover a full grown baby -- the son she never remembered giving birth to.)

The Audit

The Sign

Tofu

Cowboy South of Houston (A cowboy from Texas meets a cute, East Village artist in a gallery of paintings he can't understand.)

On the Shelf for the Holidays

Duty Honor Country, © 2004 by Stephen Bittrich

3 men (1 African American, 1 Middle Eastern, 1 White), 10 pages long (though it plays close to 15 minutes), simple set. Drama.

Here's what Mark Denton from NYTheatre.com had to say about Duty Honor Country:

"Duty Honor Country...examines men in combat in general and American soldiers in Iraq in particular. Bobeck is a good ole boy from the American South who joined the army, he says, to avoid jail; he has no illusions about the war's meaning or value and cares little how he treats his newly acquired Iraqi 'prisoner' so long as he keeps himself alive. His comrade LaBonne is an African American who says he believes what this war is supposed to be about and holds firm to obeying orders and honoring his Commander-in-Chief. Who's right?-or perhaps the question is: Is anybody right? Their prisoner longs only for peace.

This is a stirring and obviously very timely drama that helps focus some of our thinking about the current Iraqi conflict."

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Brain Sucking, © 1992 by Stephen Bittrich (click title to read play)

2 men, 7 pages long (though it plays close to 13-14 minutes), simple set. Southern comedy.

Brain Sucking takes place on a back porch in South Texas. One man recounts his tale of alien abduction, while also relating some rather tasteless recent behavior toward his fiancée.

Brain Sucking was a finalist in the Actor's Theatre of Louisville's "10 Minute Play Contest" in 1994. It was one of the few ten minute plays (out of about 1800 submissions) to be chosen that year to be produced at their Victor Jory Theatre, December, 1994. It was directed by William McNulty with the following cast:

Greeley........Dustin Longstreth

Ed.............Eric Shephard

Brain Sucking was published in the April, 1995 issue of "Dramatics" magazine, a magazine geared toward theatre educators. It was expanded into a full-length play, called Home of the Great Pecan.

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La Mouche, © 2002 by Stephen Bittrich (click title to read play)

3 men (2 with outrageous French accents), 11 pages long, simple restaurant set--perhaps only a table and chair. Farce, comedy.

La Mouche takes place in a French restaurant in New York. The jumping point is the old cliché of a man finding a fly in his soup...with some new twists.

On a personal note, I think this may be my strongest one-act.

La Mouche is appropriate for a high school audience.

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The Proposal, © 2006 by Stephen Bittrich (Revised Draft/Sept. 2007)
(click title to read play)

1 woman, 1 man, 7 pages long, period costumes, representative set. Period drama.

The Proposal takes place in Regency Era England (the time of Jane Austen). Julia Hightower, a progressive, headstrong young woman is cornered in the garden by a rich, rakish suitor who has a secret about her.

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Hole, © 2010 by Stephen Bittrich (Revised Draft/Nov. 2010)
(click title to read play)

1 woman, 2 men, 10 pages long, simple set. Special lighting. Drama.

Hole is set in a mine cave-in in West Virginia. This piece was originally presented in an evening of one-acts on the theme of faith. The three characters have different types of faith. The young Millsap has faith that God will protect them, Brody has faith in herself to find a way out, and Murphy, the old timer, is devoid of faith. A fun thing about this piece is that it starts in the dark, and is lit only with the light that they find. There is music to the song. Contact me for an mp3 of the tune. (Royalty information.)

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Mime in a Box, © 2007 by Stephen Bittrich (click title to read play)

3 men, 14 pages long, simple set.

Mime in a Box takes place on the streets of the Village in New York City. Two friends test the bounds of what is real and what is imaginary with their friendly neighborhood street mime. (Royalty information.)

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Two Eggs, © 2000 by Stephen Bittrich (click title to read play)

4 men, 1 woman, 10 pages long, simple living room set.

Two Eggs takes place in an apartment building in New York City. While getting ready for a date, a woman has to contend with a pesky neighbor with a major personality disorder.

Two Eggs was a finalist in the Actor's Theatre of Louisville's 2002 Ten Minute Play Contest. (Royalty information.)

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Bee © 2005 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/June 2006) (click title to read play)

1 man, 2 women, 11 pages long, simple set--a chair and special lighting.

In this scary, Kafkaesque future, a man is called in for questioning when his companion disapears. (Royalty information.)

There is a version of Bee edited for a high school audience.

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Corybungus © 1991 by Stephen Bittrich (Revised Draft/Feb 1994)
(click title to read play)

2 men, 7 pages, simple set.

"Corybungus" is, according to a loony bookstore customer, a word mistakenly excluded from the voluminous Oxford English Dictionary. Chaos ensues when the customer tries to return a supposedly defective "OED." This fast moving skit is a nod to the "Bookshop" sketch done by Monty Python. (Royalty information.)

There is another version of Corybungus edited for a high school audience.

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All About Biffo © 2013 by Stephen Bittrich (Revised Draft/December 2013)
(click title to read play)

2 men (and 1 off-stage voice), 10 pages long, simple set.

All About Biffo is a little like the movie All About Eve. A young radical clown challenges the spotlight of a veteran clown. The fun thing about this play is the theatricality of putting on clown make-up during the piece. (Royalty information.)

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Jubilation, Mississippi © 2011 by Stephen Bittrich (Revised Draft/June 2011)
(click title to read play)

3 men, 1 woman, 15 pages, simple set.

"Jubilation, Mississippi" is an ode to the great tv series Twilight Zone by Rod Serling. A traveler's car breaks down in a small town where the entire population is preternaturally happy. (Royalty information.)

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Baby Factory © 1999 by Stephen Bittrich (Revised Draft/Oct 2000)
(click title to read play)

3 men, 2 women, 11 pages, simple set.

Welcome to DNA ALCHEMY, where your little bundle of joy can be scientifically engineered to exact specifications. Just working out a few kinks.
(Royalty information.)

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Some Words of Advice © 1993 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/Feb 1994)
(click title to read play)

2 men, 1 woman (the woman's part is silent), 10 pages long (plays really fast), simple set.

Some Words of Advice takes place on a subway platform in New York City. Joey tries to give some advice to his friend, Freddy, about a manipulative woman at work.

Some Words of Advice is the hardest thing you'll ever have to memorize as an actor. I did a workshop of it a few years back. It's very funny if you get the lines down cold and find the rhythm of the scene. One of the most "musical" things I've ever written.
(Royalty information.)

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The Queue © 1995 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/Feb 1999)
(click title to read play)

2 men, 1 woman (the woman's part is only 2 lines at the end), 10 pages long, simple set.

The Queue takes place in the waiting room of a New York casting director. One obnoxious actor does his best to ruffle his fellow actor before the audition. (Royalty information.)

There is a version of The Queue edited for a high school audience.

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The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, © 2002 by Stephen Bittrich
(click title to read play)

4 men, 1 woman, 10 pages long, simple Roman set.

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire takes place on a movie set in New York (although my Artie and Joey did it with Chicago accents to great effect). What starts off looking like a bad version of Quo Vadis turns into something surprising.

When we performed a workshop of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire I'd never had an audience laugh so hard at my stuff. I think we may have shocked a few people too. It's pretty bawdy. For adults. (Royalty information.)

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The Way, The Truth, The Life © 2003 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/January, 2003) (click title to read play)

2 men, 1 woman, 9 pages long (plays really fast), simple set.

The Way, The Truth, The Life takes place in an unorthodox acting class in New York City. Comedy. (Royalty information.)

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Bringing Up Lester © 2001 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/May 2001)
(click title to read play)

2 men, 1 woman, 11 pages long, simple living room set.

A woman returns to her husband after three months abroad with her lover and discovers that miraculously her husband has raised a grown son she never knew she had! Absurd comedy. (Royalty information.)

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The Audit © 2003 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/April 2003)
(click title to read play)

3 men, 1 woman, 13 pages long, simple office set.

A married man and woman with a wild streak turn the tables on their auditor.
(Royalty information.)

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The Sign © 2004 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/April, 2004)
(click title to read play)

2 men, 8 pages long, simple set.

Drama. Two old friends meet on the day of the funeral of the beloved sister of one of them. (Royalty information.)

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Tofu, © 1992 by Stephen Bittrich and Jeff P. Weiss
(click title to read play)

2 men, 14 pages long, simple set--need a raised girder or platform.

Tofu takes place on the fiftieth story of a building under construction. The archetypical construction guy," Charlie, befriends a mild mannered worker because of a debt of honor.

Tofu was a departure from my regular method of writing plays because it came from a series of improvs I did with my actor friend, Jeff P. Weiss. We kind of decided on a couple of "what ifs" about the characters and the story beforehand, and then we rolled the video tape while we improvised a "play." Some really great stuff came out of that spontaneous work. We wrote it all down and began rehearsing the play, cutting, adding, and rearranging as we worked.

I'm sure there are many, many construction workers working in New York City who don't make catcalls, but my ex-wife had on many occasions had to put up with salacious outbursts from construction workers, and it just seemed like the perfect starting off point to poke a little fun at those guys. (Royalty information.)

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Cowboy South of Houston © 1995 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/January 2003)
(click title to read play)

1 man, 1 woman, 9 pages long, simple set.

Cowboy South of Houston takes place in an avant garde art gallery in Soho (New York City). A cowboy tourist wonders into the gallery and gets more than he bargained for when he meets up with a Soho native. (Royalty information.)

There is a version of Cowboy South of Houston edited for a high school audience.

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On the Shelf for the Holidays © 2000 by Stephen Bittrich. (Revised Draft/February 2004) (click title to read play)

1 man, 1 woman, 8 pages long, set is two life-sized doll packaging boxes.

Silly comedy about two dolls passed over for Christmas--Activist Bambi and Cabbie Bob.
(Royalty information.)

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On this page you will find great 10-minute plays (short plays, one-acts) which have in most cases been produced in New York City and/or published or have been finalists in contests. Plays for all sorts of casting combinations, be it 1 man, 2 men, 3 men, 4 men, 1 woman, or 2 women. In many cases there is an edited version of the play which is appropriate for high schools.