One-act plays

Non-full length plays that last longer than 10 minutes (and may feel much longer than that)

Shaft (or, The Tortoisiad) (comedy, 3M,1F)

Zeno, famous inventor of paradoxes, is down to one student, a slacker; and Zeno’s wife is having an affair with that Bronze Age jock Achilles. But his real problem is dissonance: his philosophical theories tell him one thing, his eyes and ears another, and his desires something else again.  (Excerpt)

“ambitious … unusual … a lot of brain power in the script.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Production/Publication history
  • Staged reading, Kitchen Theatre, Aug. 2001
  • Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Sept. 2003

Moon Over Miletus (comedy, 3M,2F)

Legend credits Thales of Miletus with prodigies of invention—as engineer, prototype absentminded professor, and the first man to propose scientific explanations for natural phenomena. Displacing the gods is, of course, a risky business.  (Excerpt)

Production/Publication history
  • Staged reading, Kitchen Theatre, Oct. 2006
  • Staged reading, Gallery Players, March 2007

A Field Guide to the Extinct Birds (dark comedy, 2M)

Gavin Adams lives in a remote jungle hut, composing his scientific testament about an “extinct” species that he claims to have found alive: the Adams Alpine Booby. Kevin Reeve, who idolizes Gavin, tracks him down and refuses to believe that the Alpine Booby may not be quite the discovery he supposed.  (Excerpt)

Production/Publication history
  • Staged reading, Kitchen Theatre, Oct. 2006
  • Staged reading, Theatre Limina “Summer Shorts”, June 2008
  • Staged reading, Theatre du Mississippi “Original Shorts”, April 2017

New and Selected (dark comedy, 1F)

Melanie Palomar reads from New and Selected Poems of Melanie Palomar.  She demands your attention.  (Excerpt)  (An excerpt is included in “Monologues from the Last Frontier Theatre Conference: The Best of the 2009-2012 Monologue Workshop” from
Focus Publishing/R. Pullins.  Also available from amazon.)

Production/Publication history
  • Staged reading, Studio Roanoke Guerilla Playhouse, Oct. 2011
  • Ithaca Fringe Festival (part of Four Easy Pieces), April 2014
  • Published in Stone Canoe Number 12, Spring 2018.

Kaput (dark comedy, 2M, 2F)

It’s a Dark and Stormy Night.  When Rex and LuAndy stumble amorously into Rex’s apartment they find, perched on a coffee table, the Head of John the Baptist. (Excerpt)

Production/Publication history
  • Staged reading, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, May 2010

Hyp (comedy, 3M, 1F)

The philosopher/mathematician/mystic Pythagoras shares a prison cell with the layabout Coriander, and seems maddeningly indifferent to such mundane details as their impending executions. Coriander is infatuated with the local heart throb Lyra, whose day job is, unfortunately, Poisoner’s Assistant. She wants to be someone’s Muse. Pythagoras mustn’t let them keep him from wrestling with the birth of an idea, something about a hypotenuse. (Excerpt)

Production/Publication history
  • Staged reading at SpringWrites, the Ithaca Literary Festival, May 2011
  • EOS Festival (Second Strike Productions, Toronto) July 2016

‘S Wonderful (comedy, 2M, 2F)

A self-proclaimed alpha male and alpha female mentor a beta male and female in the arts of seduction.

Production/Publication history
  • Ithaca Fringe Festival, April 2017 (part of Important Nonsense)

Raging Opera, the one-act version (musical comedy, 2M, 2F)

The only known boxing musical comedy gets even better when it’s expanded to 40 minutes. Frank Sonata wants to change his luck by managing the comeback of a one-time heavyweight contender, Alegretto Grazioso. Complicating things, of course, is a dame.

Production/Publication history
  • Ithaca Fringe Festival, April 2017 (part of Important Nonsense)

Psychoanalysis and Its Discontents (comedy, 2M, 1F)

Mortimer Todd makes a theatrical appearance at the home of Sigmund Freud, claiming to be Death itself. Freud’s attempt to psychoanalyze his visitor is complicated by the entrance of his sister-in-law Minna to announce that her goldfish Cleopatra has committed suicide.

Production/Publication history
  • Zoom reading, Playwrights Roundtable Workshop, July 2020
  • Zoom reading, Proud Haddock, Feb 2021
  • Zoom reading, Armory Square Playwrights, March 2021
  • University of North Alabama one-act play festival, Nov. 20–22, 2021
  • Zoom reading, The Depot, Jan. 9, 2022

Louis and Clark (comedy, 2M)

Louis (who thinks of himself as a rugged adventurer) and Clark find that an annoying “team building” treasure hunt organized by their employer’s Human Resources department becomes steadily more sinister.

Production/Publication history
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