Eleven Short Plays - extracts
Martin Foreman’s writing ranges from absurd to drama, comedy to surreal, in a range of styles and for many different characters. These short plays are perfect material for students and amateur actors to stretch their talent. These short plays are between 10 and 20 minutes long.
PDFs of individual plays are available free on demand to drama courses and amateur / community organisations:
To purchase the volume complete with eleven plays (nine are excerpted here), follow that link at the foot of this page.
AGAIN AND AGAIN
One More Time
a large console in an anonymous building: 3 characters, age and gender irrelevant
It’s simply a matter of . . . G3 on . . . and making sure that . . . Check screen left. You’ll soon get used to it.
What exactly does it do?
Ah . . . Can you explain?
Basically, it monitors the input, records, calibrates and adjusts as necessary. Then it converts to the output, which varies, of course, according to demand, which you can see here . . . No, sorry, not there, that’s the equaliser – it’s on the blink but that doesn’t matter as long as . . . Excuse me. (adjusts something)
an office: 3 characters, age and gender irrelevant
Construction is complicated. Many organisations, hundreds of people, had input. We followed guidelines. If there was a problem, it should have been identified. We did our bit. Someone else should have drawn attention to it.
Their failure doesn’t absolve you of responsibility.
Responsibility should be shared.
Then accept your share. Your colleagues. Your studio. You. People died.
Do you think I don’t know? I told you, I heard the screams. People screaming. Screaming, screaming, screaming.
Jackson family home: parents Kate & Andrew; teenager Charlie (M/F/N), Courier (M/F/N)
What was the wrong size or wrong colour?
Ignore it. Forget the whole thing. Who needs to collect insurance on an empty parcel anyway?
Can’t do that. Down there in the small print it says that failure to return this form may result in all courier services being withdrawn from this address and all personnel registered therein, by this, associated, and all competing companies.
Sounds reasonable. Better fill it in. Here’s a pen.
SURREAL / FUTURISTIC
anonymous set: 2 characters early 20s, written as HE and SHE but gender irrelevant
SHE Tell me, what sounds do you like?
HE Like doorbells? Like traffic? People’s voices? Machines?
SHE Whatever. Anything.
HE I never thought about it; they’re just sounds.
SHE How about smells? Bleach? Coffee? Farts?
HE I don’t like farts. Does anyone?
SHE So what sounds don’t you like?
HE Loud, jarring.
SHE People talking?
HE It depends. Some people have nice voices. Like you.
SHE Nice? Give me another word.
HE I can’t think of one.
SHE Smooth, seductive, deep, authoritative, melodious . . .
HE Mel – what?
HE I don’t understand.
Nothing To Be Done
anonymous / changing set (see full script):
G (male), Mrs G (female), Old Lady, Young Man, Stranger (irrelevant), Potts & Lackey (probably male), Railway Official (irrelevant)
Good evening to you. But it isn’t evening now, here?
Of course not, sir, whatever gave you that impression? Look out at the sky, blue with clouds scuttering by, and over there – I advise you not to look directly, sir, to protect your eyes – shines Phoebus the Sun.
That is a relief.
A relief, sir? A relief from what?
From worry, concern. I have an appointment today that I don’t wish to miss.
What time would that be?
The time isn’t important but I promised them today.
The two gentlemen I have to meet.
SEX / VIOLENCE
Marlowe, Frizer, Poley, Skeres, Edwin (all male), Bull (female)
Leander’s looks, thy poem tells us “were all that men desire.” Men, not maidens.
That line, it seems, hath pierced thy heart. What be thy point?
That oft thy heroes turn from nature and against God’s law.
Against God’s law, for sooth? Which law might that be? There are so many.
That man should not lie with man.
Then do not lie with me but tell me true, how often, when a youth, didst thou lie with another’s wife? Or how oft dost thou, now married, lie with maid?
He has thee there, Nicholas Skeres. How oft hast thou broken God’s laws?
If I have sinned, I do repent.
And sin no more?
(laughs) Harken to his silence!
E, C, H, K
outside a nightclub:
Derek, Jackson, Tom (male), Brenda, Laura, Ophelia (female) all 20s-30s, Boy (14)
What’ve you got?
E, C, H, K.
You’re a fucking pharmacy.
Only the best.
Heard that before. Nah, you’re all right.
Sure? DJ tonight, you never heard anything like her grooves. Fucking fantastic. She’ll take you up, just need that little extra to send you into fucking orbit. You won’t come down for twenty-four hours. Only three quid for two Es. Get them now.
Might not be here later.
I’ll take that chance.
BRENDA lets him in to the club
Great sales patter.
You were no fucking use. You want your cut, get me the punters.
What do you want me to do? Push them up against the wall?
police interrogation room:
Detective, Freddie Beach (male, 40-60), Peter Oakes (male, at 17 and 28), Jack (male, 17)
For the record I am showing the suspect a picture of Peter Oakes.
When was this taken?
I couldn’t say.
I don’t recognise him.
Peter Oakes says that you spoke to him.
That’s possible. I speak to hundreds, thousands of people. You can’t expect me to remember each one. I’m a people person. That’s my job. That’s how I get talent, it’s how I sell talent, it’s how I make my money.
Mr Oakes says that he did not approach you; you approached him.
Don’t know what you mean by approach. I often ask the fans what they thought of the concert. Feedback, you need it.
Get A Licence!
Lecturer, Announcer, Actors, age and number irrelevant
In the beginning . . .
The beginning of what?
Whatever you like. The universe, the world, this play, event, scenario, happening . . . whatever you want to call it. In the beginning there was, there were . . .
(almost sotto voce) Two thousand years ago, one hundred and seventy million.
That isn’t a beginning.
Homo sapiens. There was a point at which homo sapiens evolved from homo heidelbergensis . . .
At some point in the last three hundred thousand years ago, homo sapiens, human beings as we know ourselves today, became, as far as we can tell, the most intelligent and self-aware animals on the planet.
Is that where we begin?
Eleven Short Plays for drama students & amateur theatre
by Martin Foreman
ISBN: 978-0-9933546-7-0 soft cover, 172 pages
UK post-free £10.99 other countries: contact us