5 Character Plays

ANGEL’S MICE AND MEN by Cindi Sansone-Braff

Cast Size: 2M 3W
Running Time: 90+ minutes
Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

This romantic comedy, set in the summer of 1992, features four lonely Long Islanders, each with their own distinct viewpoints about life and love. Angel Ventura, or the Widow Ventura, as her younger sister, Gina, liked to call her, thought true love was like lightning, it never struck twice. As for Gina, she swore that finding true love was as simple as getting a new business partner – a well-placed classified ad ought to do the trick.  Steele La Chance, a house painter and would-be-novelist, believed true love was a great hoax: the stuff of fairytales, fiction, and fantasy; whereas Mrs. Rose Bloom, a seventy-five-year-old bubbie, felt true love was a match made in heaven before you were born, and if it was meant to be, nothing on this earth can stand in its way. For Angel and Steele, it took one red-hot July, a surprise summer storm of the century, two celestial pests, and a little help from Gina and Rose, two down-to-earth matchmakers, to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt: All things are possible for those who believe. 

AUNT ZELDA’S PAINTING by Emily McClain

Cast Size: 3M 2W

Running Time: Under an Hour

Royalty Rate: $40 per performance

In this contemporary one-act farce, Olive finds herself saddled with more than she bargained for when she is named executor of her Aunt Zelda’s estate. To deal with the clean-out of her aunt’s cluttered home, she enlists the help of her ne’er-do-well brother Max, who brings along his less-than-helpful girlfriend Diana, who hires a somewhat-shady pawn shop owner Anthony, who brings his spacey son Zeke. But Aunt Zelda’s house proves to be full of more than just doilies and faux antique furniture. When their cleanout uncovers a priceless piece of art, their true natures are revealed…. And somewhere, in all the clutter, lurks a very cranky, very hungry, and VERY scary cat. 

BANSHEE by Brian C. Petti

Cast Size:2M 2W
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance

Banshee follows Jerry Sullivan (Junior) as he tries to reestablish himself after time spent in a psychiatric hospital. Despite his domineering Irish-born mother Kit, Junior’s policeman brother Neil sets him up with a new job and eventually with a new girlfriend. Kit, however, is convinced the newcomer is a “banshee”, the mystical wailing Irish creature that foretells imminent death. Junior tries desperately to cling to his sanity while he questions his mother’s motives, his new relationship and the possibility of truth behind the myth. Banshee is part psychological thriller, part family drama/ comedy and part ghost story. With humor and pathos, the play explores the nature of familial relationships and the struggle to overcome one’s personal demons.

CALL MY DEAD WIFE by Hilary Bluestein-Lyons

Cast Size: 3M 2W

Running Time: 90+ minutes

Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

It’s nearing Christmas,1890. Recently widowed Almon Strowger purchases a mortuary, which is under the care of a witty spinster, Susan Simmons. A sudden decline in his undertaking business leads Almon to discover that calls are being directed to his rival. How? His rival’s wife is the town telephone operator. With the help of Almon’s nephew (Walter), a conniving accountant (Joseph Harris) and his eccentric wife (Macey Harris), Almon invents the Automatic Telephone Exchange, the device that makes telephone operators obsolete. However, Almon’s addiction to Blue Mass, his obsession with his wife’s death, and the mysterious disappearance of several of his other inventions, challenges the Telephone Exchange’s success. 

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU by Philip Middleton Williams

Donny is a successful writer of romance novels living in the Florida Keys with his girlfriend, Anna, a successful realtor.  Both have what they think is their dream life.  To make things even better, Donny’s agent Barbara arrives to offer him more money by turning his bodice-rippers into made-for-TV movies.  But then, Bobby Cramer appears.  He is the main character in the novel that Donny abandoned to write romance novels.  Bobby asks Donny: “Why have you left me in the bottom of your desk drawer?  I’d like to know what happened to me.”  This leads to a series of confrontations between the author and his fictional character who is, in many ways, the guy Donny wishes he could be.  Meanwhile, Anna begins to look at her life and wonders if just selling real estate is all there is for her.  She’d like to start a family.  Donny must choose between Anna and their comfortable life or Bobby and the unknown.

  • Cast Size: 3M 2W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

CIVIL by Rob Matsushita

Cast Size: 2M 2W 1M/W
Running Time: 90+ minutes
Royalty: $75 per performance

“Civil” is set in an unspecified future, where trials are held in a virtual environment, and can only be 40 minutes long. Five actors (2 men, 2 women, and one that can be played by either gender) play multiple roles, and the audience votes on the outcomes of both trials. Although it is science fiction, it’s not swimming in technobabble, but is about the people involved, and as such, contains wit, satire, and even a level of suspense. Also, this show is written with the idea that people of any race or age can play any of the roles, and with minor tech requirements.

COMES A FAERY by James McLindon

Cast Size: 2M 3W

Running Time: 90+ minutes

Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Comes A Faery is a drama with a lot of comedy in which a single mother has been unexpectedly deployed overseas. Her little girl, Siobhan, left with her less-than-willing aunt, has one friend: an irritable Irish fairy, Seaneen, who may have escaped from the little girl’s favorite storybook … or who may be there to steal her soul. Over the course of the play, Siobhan slowly deteriorates: fighting in school, stealing, engaging in pyromania. Seaneen eggs her on, convincing her that if she is truly wicked, the army will have to send her mother home to deal with her. Terrified of parenthood’s relentless responsibilities and unsure when her sister will return, Katie asks her mother to take Siobhan. Seaneen asks Siobhan to run away to live in the land of Faery. But whether he plans to save her or steal her soul, and whether Katie will give Siobhan up to Katie’s mother, are only revealed in the final terrifying moments.

DEAD MEN GRINNING AT THE MOON AND OTHER PLAYS by Don Nigro

Running Time: Variable

Royalty Rate: $75 per performance (Contact for individual plays)

Dead Men Grinning At The Moon. Long one act/short full length. (1f , 2m). Unit set. Darkly comic drama. Late in his career, William Shakespeare, chief playwright at the Globe Theatre in London, is spending more and more time drinking at the Inn of George Wilkins, a fairly disreputable and lecherous scoundrel who has aspirations to be a great playwright. Wilkins is convinced that the only reason Shakespeare comes to drink at his Inn is that he’s in love with the young married waitress, Mary, and finds a way to use this insight to blackmail Shakespeare into collaborating with him on a not very promising play called Pericles, Prince Of Tyre. Shakespeare is decidedly not interested, hates collaborating, and doesn’t like Wilkins at all, but when Wilkins threatens to fire Mary and throw her and her husband out on the street for non-payment of rent, Shakespeare reluctantly agrees to read Wilkins’ first draft, and ultimately to collaborate with him on the revision. To Shakespeare’s surprise, he actually begins to get interested in the play, and gradually takes over the project, turning a rather dull and clumsy script into something rather haunting, and not unrelated to the actual relationship between himself and Mary. In the course of their stormy collaboration, Wilkins becomes more and more frustrated and resentful that Shakespeare is really so much better at this than he is, and one drunken night has a chance to take out his anger on Mary, with consequences that surprise even him. A darkly funny play about talent confronted with genius, the horrors of collaboration, and the mysterious lost daughters who haunt Shakespeare’s last plays. Another in a series of Nigro’s Shakespeare plays, which includes Loves Labours Wonne, The Bohemian Seacoast, Boar’s Head, The Girlhood Of Shakespeare’s Heroines, and others. 

Inside. One act. Simple set. (1f,1m). Dark comedy. The first of a group of four short Alice and Bob plays (with Touched, Holes and Cleanliness) in which Alice and Bob, trapped inside in a plague lockdown, investigate the relative virtues of being inside as opposed to being outside, and which is more likely to drive one insane.

Touched. One minute play. Simple set. (1f, 1m). Dark comedy. The second of a group of four short Alice and Bob plays (with Inside, Holes and Cleanliness), in which Bob begins to drive Alice berserk, trapped in their apartment in a plague lockdown, by his complete inability to stop touching his nose. 

Holes. One act. Simple set. (1f, 1m). Dark comedy. The third of a group of four short Alice and Bob plays (with Inside, Touched and Cleanliness), in which Bob, beginning to lose his sense of reality while trapped in their apartment with Alice, becomes obsessed with a theory that there are portals in space all around them which are the entrances to other dimensions. 

Cleanliness. One act. Simple set. (1f, 1m). Dark comedy. The last of a group of four short Alice and Bob plays (with Inside, Touched, and Holes) in which Alice, who has pretty much reached her breaking point after being trapped with Bob in their apartment for what seems like centuries during a plague lockdown, attempts to clean everything in sight over and over again until nothing is left but a little pile of bones.  

  • EMAIL 9/12 by Midge Guerrera
  • Cast Size: 2M 3W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

During one of the most horrific tragedies our nation has ever faced, our keyboards kept us connected.  Email: 9/12 demon-strates how sharing, grieving and even allowing a spark of humor to fly through cyberspace helped America get through the painful aftermath of 9/11.  Unnamed actors play all the characters that responded to Margaret’s e-mail rambling about her day. These responses provide a picture that probes into the hearts of the people that were there, had someone there and those of us who will always be able to tell you where we were when the first plane hit the North Tower at 8:46 AM on September 11, 2001.

THE EXHIBIT by Chantel Langlinais Carlson

Cast Size: 2M 3W
Running Time: 2M 3W
Royalty: $40 per performance

The Exhibit consists of numerous short scenes, each focusing on an individual piece of artwork featuring women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By dramatizing these paintings, the women once bound to traditional representations in paintings are allowed to “exist” outside of these frames. By taking place in an art gallery, both the characters and the audience members participate in the exhibit. Audience members should be allowed to view the exhibit actively, thereby giving them control of what they see and how they see it; they themselves must not be confined.

FASTENED TO THE MOON by Linda Kampley

Cast Size: 3M 2W

Running Time: 90+ minutes

Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

In the early 1970’s an innocent young woman has married a sociopathic drug dealer, who is very dangerous. There is a drug deal, he leaves. She is left, having seen something, and then in shock, remains, waiting as though he would return, as a husband should. Astronauts appear, and give her advice. Sheriffs arrive and prepare to take her to jail. Husband comes back and is ready to murder her.

FISHING by Leighza F. Walker

Cast Size:2M 3W
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance

Grant fears his two-year long emotionally charged friendship with Meg is a threat to his marriage. His wife, Dana, on the other hand, thinks it just might save it. Meg is caught between the two, wanting desperately to move to a new level of intimacy with Grant but terrified the friendship will end if she is the aggressor. Grant and Meg tightrope walk the fine line between friends and lovers until Dana’s plan to explore new territories of trust and commitment forces all three to reconsider what they really want.

FORTUNE TELLER by Coni Koepfinger

Cast Size: 3M 2W

Running Time: 90+ minutes

Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Why is that we never know what we’ve got till it’s gone? In “Fortune Teller” Madame Lily tries to teach her despondent nephew Matt that our true gifts can only be found in the here and now. While pining over losing the girl of his dreams, or so he thinks, Matt misses his unexpected present. Meanwhile, as soon as he puts his attention on the things that need it, his true desire will unfold.

GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD by Ted Westby and John D. Babcock III

Cast Size: 2M 3W

Running Time: 90+ minutes

Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

“Goodbye Cruel World” is a two-act dark comedy about Gilbert – a writer in his mid-thirties whose romantic life is at a dead end and career is going nowhere.  He is depressed, disillusioned, and suicidal. Making matters worse, he sees success and happiness thriving with those around him.  His younger sister Randi is a musician whose band is starting to get traction.  His neighbor Salvatore loves life and lives it with great gusto.  Even Simone, Gilbert’s ex-girlfriend, has moved on and is, in fact, dating again. But Gilbert’s biggest problem is, and always has been, himself.  If he can only step out of his own way to see the bigger picture outside of himself, he just may make real progress as a human being.  The cast also includes Meredith – one of Randi’s friends who may just understand exactly where Gilbert is coming from.When we meet Gilbert, he is at the end of his tether.  He is writing his suicide note but is struggling.  How does one write the last thing they’ll ever put down on paper and ensure it’s good? 

THE GREATER GOOD by Rebecca Gorman O’Neill

Cast Size: 3M 2W
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance

In the not-too-distant future, three men live in an internment camp for American intellectuals and political dissenters. Their lives are turned upside-down with the arrival of Stel, a woman whose presence could be their death sentence or their means to escape. The Greater Good is a sardonic look at might happen if we forget our past, or lose hope for our future.

HEROINES by Brian C. Petti

Cast Size: 2M 3W
Running Time: 1hr 45 minutes
Royalty: $60 per performance

Heroines follows Donna, a 33-year-old mother, waitress, and long-time heroin addict.  When she loses her daughter to Child Protective Services, she must navigate drug court, NA, and her own demons in an attempt to earn her back. Heroines is a complex, detailed exploration of the nature of addiction, familial love, and the limits of friendship in the face of turmoil.  

THE MAINE WOODS by Don Nigro

Cast Size: 2M 3W
Running Time: 120+ minutes
Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Elena, a celebrated poet, has brought her troubled daughter Juliet, her student Rosaline, and her lover, Morgan, up to her late father’s cabin, deep in the Maine woods, to clear it out before she sells it, having not yet worked up the courage to tell her daughter, who loves the place and associates it with her missing father, Jack, who has abandoned his family and disappeared. Juliet has had drug and alcohol abuse problems, but is straightening herself out with the help of her new friend Rosaline, her mother’s favorite student, to whom Juliet has become very attached. What Elena and Juliet don’t know is that Rosaline has had an affair with Morgan, followed by a nervous breakdown and a relentless determination to destroy him for ending their relationship. Morgan begs Rosaline not to tell them, but she is having a really good time torturing him. He is forever writing but not completing a book about the mythic power of the woods as an ancient symbol of mystery and chthonic power. He loves Elena but she doesn’t really believe in or trust him. She worries he’s really after her daughter. Juliet worships her mother but is angry at her, would do anything to get her mother’s attention, and has never felt that her mother really loved her. She has always had a serious crush on Morgan, who loves Juliet like a daughter and wants the relationship with Elena to work, but finds Rosaline more attractive than he’s willing to admit to himself. Elena loves her daughter but is emotionally unable to connect with her and was always jealous of her husband’s close relationship to her. She sees Rosaline as a second daughter, more like herself than Juliet is. Sexual tension grows as Rosaline plays with the affections and desires of all three of the others, while Elena,  still very angry at her dead novelist father, takes out more and more of her frustration on Morgan, who is drinking and increasingly feeling trapped. And Jack, the missing husband, moves through the play, in memory and imagination, as we begin to put the pieces of this complex puzzle together. A darkly funny and increasingly frightening webwork of explosive interrelationships that are veering towards some sort of catastrophe while something seems to be lurking in the woods all around them, waiting for them.

MORISOT RECLINING by William C. Kovacsik

Cast Size: 2M 3W with doubling
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance

Morisot Reclining tells the story of Berthe Morisot and Edouard Manet, whose contributions to painting in the nineteenth century shook the art world.  It is structured around five portraits Manet painted of Morisot, each of which documents a different stage in their relationship, moving from mentor/student to a deep connection between lovers whose feelings were never consummated. Their relationship reaches its apex as Manet creates “Berthe Morisot Reclining,” a work of unrivalled sensuality that brings forth the passionate connection between two diverse personalities who could never fully acknowledge — nor escape — the force that bound them together. 

NEW TRUCK FOR PAULIE by Sean O’Connor

Cast Size: 3M 2W
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance

1969. Paulie Parcells, MIA in VietNam, assumed to be dead, appears a year later at his family’s New Jersey home. Julie, his old girlfriend, who’s been involved with his brother Nicky, returns to Paulie. And his father, Gus, who recently refused to buy a new truck for the younger Nicky, buys one for Paulie and invites him into the family business. Nicky, devastated by these betrayals, discovers a secret about Paulie’s tour in VietNam. In a desperate attempt to win back his father and Julie’s love, he embarks on an action that will bring havoc to this family forever.

NO BLUES FOR THE CABMAN by Ken Crost

Cast Size: 3M 2W
Running Time: 1 hr
Royalty: $40 per performance

Comedic slice-of-life story about a happy-go-lucky Chicago cab driver, Earnest, who loves to sing “Bluebird on my Shoulder” to keep the blues from overtaking his life, and Howard, a hard-driving businessman, who jumps into Earnest’s cab for a life changing ride to O’Hare Airport. As the two slowly make their way to the airport for Howard’s big trip to St. Louis, Earnest’s good nature begins to take hold of Howard and soon he is apologizing for his less than appealing behavior. As Earnest drives, the relationship between the two unlikely friends begins to grow. Before long they are exchanging life stories – how easy Howard’s life has been, but he still finds it necessary to sing the blues and how hard Earnest life has been but, despite the hardships, he usually finds a way to look at the bright side. Ken Crost’s charming one-act weaves a tale that not only entertains, but reminds us to always looks on the bright side. 

THE SAME LIFE OVER by Mark Medoff

Cast Size: 3M 2W 1F toddler mannequin 
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $75 per performance

A child disappears and the detective investigating the disappearance, childless herself, assumes the father of the child is guilty. The father, bereft at having looked away from his child for a moment, is at first willing to take the blame for the loss of his child, guilty or not. But then, forming a strange duo with the detective, other possibilities drive father and detective into ever more dangerous personal waters, where both chance drowning. From this simple plot, “The Same Life Over” spins a complex web of deceit and compassion.

Six Feet Apart by Chantel Langlinais Carlson

Six Feet Apart is a series of monologues focusing on the impacts of living during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The individual interviews were conducting via Zoom with five friends during February 2021-June 2021 focusing on the topics of: the beginning of the pandemic, life in quarantine, the impact on jobs, COVID hitting home, coping, COVID summer, and coming together.  This project reflects an intersection of those stories at a time we thought we had seen it through to the end.  

  • Cast Size: 1M 4W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

SLASHES OF LIGHT by Judy K. Tate

Cast Size: 3M 2W
Running Time: 120+ minutes
Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

1966. In an all-Black private middle school on Chicago’s south side, precocious young Sunny befriends the new White history teacher, but her best friend, a budding young radical, doesn’t approve, and the older boy she has a crush on, is mysteriously quiet. In this coming-of-age story, the characters confront their deepest secrets in a thorny struggle to understand themselves, each other and the changing world around them.

Sex, Secrets, Civil Rights and Surviving the Holocaust– how does a Black girl make it through junior high?

SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE by Scott Gibson

Cast Size: 3M 2W
Running Time: 2hrs
Royalty Rate: $60 per performance

Alan and Rose are a middle-aged couple in the midst of “empty nest syndrome” and trying to reconnect during a weekend getaway.  Matthew and Daniel are brothers staying in an adjacent room at the same small motel.  Into their midst wanders mysterious, aloof Amy, barefooted and wearing a bedraggled bridesmaid’s dress.  Over the course of the next two days, as Amy’s story comes to light, the lives of all five people become intertwined.   SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE demonstrates that sometimes, it’s easier to confide in a perfect stranger than it is to talk to someone who knows you well.  And no matter how content we may be, there are moments when each of us finds ourselves wishing that, even for a short while, we could live “someone else’s life.”

SYD by Craig Houk

Cast Size: 2M 3W
Running Time: 90+ minutes
Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

On the evening of Sunday, June 24th, 1973, thirty-two men perished in a fire at The Upstairs Lounge, a sanctuary bar for working-class homosexual men in New Orleans. On that same evening, several blocks north, nearly a dozen women, including a gifted young nursing student, Sydney (Syd) Trahan, were taken into custody and charged with lewd and lascivious conduct for dancing together at Brady’s, a notorious lesbian bar in the French Quarter. Hopeful that the deadly fire and the controversy surrounding its multiple victims might overshadow Syd’s arrest, Bud, a reputable blacksmith, and Helen, a God-fearing woman, do everything in their power to curtail the impact of their daughter’s transgression on their seemingly near perfect lives.

THREE LADIES OF ORPINGTON by Daniel Guyton

Cast Size: 2M 3W
Running Time: 90+ minutes
Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

In this dark comedy play, three high-borne women in Victorian Era England must face a brutal reality when the patriarch of the family passes away, leaving them with no money and with little hope for the future. When a strange man appears at the doorway, it seems that hope may be restored. Or will it only get worse from there?

TIME AND THE BEAST by Marina Shron

Cast Size: 1M 2W 1B
Running Time: 90+ minutes
Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Inspired partially by the biblical story of Jacob and the sisters Rachel and Leah, who become his wives, the play follows the changing dynamics between the three characters as their lives keep spinning in time. The story begins to unravel on a first, mythical isle where Jacob, Rachel, and Leah first meet and form their frail, yet long-lasting triangle. Coming to an abortive end, the story then picks up on a historical isle, Ukraine, 1918, then on another, Germany, 1943, and yet another – New York, the present day. Rachel, Leah, and Jacob mature in History — as History itself comes of age. 

WATERLESS PLACES by C. Denby Swanson

Cast Size: 1M 4W
Running Time: 90+ minutes
Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

A family drama set in the Piney Woods of East Texas. A fiesty elderly woman, Dottie, has ended her own life, but returns to help her daughter come to terms with her decision. She forms a magical connection with her young granddaughter and with the neighbor, whom the granddaughter calls Mrs. Alzheimer’s.

THE WOOD$TOCK TONTINE by Steffi Rubin

Cast Size: 5W
Running Time: 90+ minutes

Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Five women meet at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 and reunite 50 years later at the funeral of the group’s emotional pulse, the glue that has kept the diverse group connected over the years. Finding their bond in danger, they invest in their friendship—literally—by forming a tontine, each contributing a substantial amount of money to ensure that the last gal standing will be taken care of financially. It is a proposition both tantalizing and morbid. Conflicting worldviews clash as scene by scene, the group dwindles. But those who remain discover the lasting influence that friends can exert on each other.

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