ONE-ACT PLAYWRITING

One-act plays was the topic for this week’s creative writing class. We read works by different playwrights and completed a task where we created an alternate ending to a play called ‘Read About It’ by Jean Blasier. I learnt that one-act plays have one act, have one or two scenes, are typically thirty minutes long, focuses on one main problem or action and generally have less than four characters. 

Prior to this class, I had little understanding or appreciation for the amount of work and creativity that was involved in producing a play. Sure I had been to plays (yawn!) and musicals (snore!) but I’m not really into them (yes, I am an uncultured spud). After attempting it for myself, I realise and respect the skills a playwright must have to create an engaging and creative story. Interesting dialogue is not easy to write!  

Here was my attempt (a tiny fraction of a one-act play).


Setting: Dinner table

Characters: Henry (3yo), Kathy (mum)

Scene: Family dinner

Henry – What’s for dinner Mummy?

Kathy (smiles) – Mini sausages, Mummy’s famous potatoes and veggies.

Henry (frowns) – These aren’t potatoes, they’re chips!

Kathy – Aren’t chips made of potatoes?

Henry – No! You’re so forgetful Mummy.

Kathy – Are they maybe potato chips?

Henry (pauses and nods) – Yes, they are potato chips. These are yummy!

(Henry eats everything except his greens)

Kathy (points at a broccoli) – You want to eat some of your veggies?

Henry (shakes head) – No way man! I’m not eating that.

Kathy – You have to eat your greens.

Henry – Mummy, I can help in emergencies.

Kathy – Okay… eat your greens please.

Henry – Like fire emergencies. To put out fire.

Kathy – Awesome Henry, please eat your broccoli.

Henry – Mummy, I love you.

Kathy – I love you too Henry. Hey, lets eat a broccoli?

Henry (grabs leg) – My leg hurts Mummy!

Kathy (lets out a big gigantic sigh) – Maybe eating a broccoli will fix your leg. Broccoli is a super vegetable.

Henry – I need to go poo!

(Henry goes to the toilet)

Henry – Mummy, I need to take my time.

Kathy – Hurry up Henry! Are you done yet?

Henry – No, I’m taking my time. You can’t rush me Mummy.

(Twenty minutes later, Henry and Kathy return to the dinner table)

Kathy – Ok, your veggies are now cold but you still have to eat them.

Henry – I want apple juice!

Kathy – We don’t have any. Here’s your water.

Henry – But I need juice or I’ll vomit.

Kathy – Henry, I am getting fed up with your procrastinating. Eat your veggies or you can go to bed right this minute!

Henry (reluctantly picks up a broccoli) – How much?

Kathy – All of it.

Henry (whimpers) – I only want the top. And I don’t like carrots or beans.

Kathy – Eat it!

Henry (takes a bite and pretends to dry retch) – It’s yucky. I don’t like it.

Kathy (glares) – One.

Henry (whimpers and puts broccoli to mouth) – You’re not my best friend. You’re rude to me.

Kathy – Two.

Henry (puts into his mouth)

Kathy – Swallow it…

Henry (swallows one bite of broccoli) – Finish! I’m a good boy Mummy.

Kathy (sighs) – Only another three broccoli tops, three carrots and two beans to go.


Links to the previous homework tasks: Week One – A Slice of Life, Week Two – My Faulty Character Descriptions, Week Three – Short Short Stories.

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