MALE/MALE SCENES - The Ultimate Scene and Monologue Sourcebook: An Actor's Guide to over 1000 Monologues and Dialogues from More Than 300 Contemporary Plays - Ed Hooks

The Ultimate Scene and Monologue Sourcebook: An Actor's Guide to over 1000 Monologues and Dialogues from More Than 300 Contemporary Plays - Ed Hooks (2007)



by James Baldwin (Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, pp. 49-54, Luke (40-50) and David (18)

David hasn’t seen his father, Luke, for ten years, ever since the day his mother took him and walked out on the man. But like his father, David is born to be a musician. It is in his blood, and he has identified with his father from afar. Until last week, however, David always thought his father had left his mother, not the other way around. It makes a difference. Luke is dying, and the father/son relationship is more important than ever. In this wonderful scene, Luke tells David that it is possible to be a good musician without screwing up your life the way he has. Both characters have good monologues. Start, Luke: “Hello there.” End, Luke: “Oh yes.”


by David Mamet (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, pp. 5-10, Don (late 40s) and Bob (30-40)

Bob’s job was to tail the man with the coin collection and not to let him out of sight. When the man went into a building, however, Bob lost him and came slinking back to the junk shop to report his failure to Don, the mastermind behind the coin heist. Don is worried that Bob’s failure to follow instructions to the letter might jeopardize the entire caper, so he tries to teach Bob the principles of successful street survival. Start, Don: “So?…So what, Bob?” End, Don: “Well, we’ll see.”

Drama: Act I, pp. 22-32, Don (late 40s) and Teach (35-45)

Teach presses Don for details of his plan to steal the coin collection. When Teach finds out that the heist might result in a great deal of money, he maneuvers to cut Bob out of the picture. Start, Teach: “So what is this thing with the kid?” End, Teach: “…you can take your 90 dollars for a nickel, shove it up your ass—the good it did you—and you want to know why? (And I’m not saying anything…) Because you didn’t take the time to go first class.”

Drama: Act II, pp. 54-60, Don (late 40s) and Teach (35-45)

Teach and Don make last-minute plans for pulling off the coin-collection robbery. Ultimately, however, they don’t go through with it. The entire scene between the men runs eighteen pages and is too long for most workshops. Try this excerpt, which begins after Bob’s exit. Start, Don: “Fuckin’ kid.” End, Teach: “Because I got the balls to face some facts? You scare me sometimes, Don.”


by Richard Greenberg (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 44-49, Nick (20s) and Gil (28-35)

When Gil kisses Nick briefly on the mouth in this scene, the moment shocks audience members because, up until this point, they thought both men were heterosexual. The truth is that Gil and Nick are lovers, and Gil has followed Nick to a Catskills resort in an effort to rekindle their romance. Complex characters, well-written scene. Start, Gil: “I sat at the bar through last call. This woman in a grey beehive kept ordering Brandy Alexanders.” End, Nick: “I’m a man who chooses moats.”


by Saul Levitt (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 47-49, Chipman (31) and Hosmer (30-45)

Two weeks into the trial of Confederate Army officer Henry Wirz, Colonel Chipman still isn’t sure whether he made a good case for the charge of conspiracy. More to the point, he wants to find a way to get the court to address the broader question of moral responsibility. In this scene, Chipman and Hosmer, the assistant judge advocate, consider whether or not to call a witness both men suspect is lying. His testimony will help convict Wirz, but the men wonder if they’ll be compromising their principles by calling him. Start, Hosmer: “Don’t you see what he’s trying to do? Provoke you into playing the idealist here?” End, Hosmer: “Sometimes, you make me feel so old.”


by Tony Kushner (Theatre Communications Group)

Drama: Act I, Scene 4, Louis (about 30) and Prior (30)

Louis and Prior are longtime lovers. After the funeral service for Louis’s grandmother, they sit on a bench and talk about being Jewish and being gay. Then Prior shows Louis a Kaposi’s sarcoma lesion on his arm, an irrefutable sign of the progression of AIDS. Start, Louis: “My grandmother actually saw Emma Goldman speak. In Yiddish. But all Grandma could remember was that she spoke well and wore a hat.” End, Louis: “Then I’ll come home.”

Drama: Act II, Scene 7, Joe (early 30s) and Louis (about 30)

Joe and Louis met by accident on the steps of the Hall of Justice. Louis is depressed because his longtime lover is dying of AIDS, and Joe is tormented by his shifting sexual preferences and crumbling marriage. As the men talk about values during the Reagan era, their conversation takes on increasingly erotic undertones. Start, Joe: “Can I…?” End, Louis: “You’re scared. So am I. Everybody is in the land of the free. God help us all.”


by Yasmina Reza (Faber and Faber)

Comedy: One-act play, pp. 1-5, Serge (30-40) and Marc (30-40)

Serge proudly shows Marc the new Antrios painting he has purchased. Instead of seeing a modern masterpiece, Marc sees only an outrageously expensive white-on-white waste of time. His reaction offends Serge. Start, Marc: “Expensive?” End, Marc:“…Obviously.”

Comedy: One-act play, pp. 5-11, Marc (30-40) and Yvan (30-40)

Marc goes to Yvan’s apartment to tell him about Serge’s new purchase. Yvan’s reaction frustrates Marc even more. Rather than express astonishment and disapproval with the purchase, Yvan says, “Well, if it makes him happy”—refusing to take an aesthetic position. Start with Marc’s entrance, when Yvan is on his hands and knees searching for the cap to the felt pen. Marc: “What are you doing?” End, Yvan: “He’ll laugh, you just wait.”


by Jane Anderson (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 50-56, Richard (30s) and Ron (30-50)

Richard and his wife, Rachel, have purchased the as-yet-unborn child of Wanda and Al, a dirt-poor Louisiana couple. Wanda has gone into labor, so Richard and Rachel have come to the hospital to witness the birth of “their” baby. Al shows up, however, and tries to ask for more money. Here, Richard and Ron, his lawyer, discuss tactics. Start, Richard: “Hello? Oh…yes, I’m trying to dial out.” End, Richard: “I agree, my friend, I agree.”


by Martin Sherman (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 4, pp. 36-43, Max (34) and Rudy (30)

Hiding from the Gestapo, Max and Rudy pitch a tent in a camp near Cologne. Although they’re broke and desperate, they still have their love. (At the very end of this scene, the offstage voice of a police officer orders Max and Rudy to surrender. It interrupts their song, riveting them. It would be effective to include that moment if possible.) Start, Rudy: “Cheese! Max!” End, Max and Rudy: “Will you forget me? Was I ever really there?”

Drama: Act I, Scene 6, pp. 51-57, Max (34) and Horst (30-40)

Max becomes friends with Horst in the camp. The audience learns that Max, a non-Jew, has managed to get a yellow star, which permits the wearer more camp privileges, instead of a pink star, which indicates he is a homosexual, by providing entertainment for the Nazi guards. Begin with Max’s entrance as he crawls up next to Horst. Start, Max: “Hi…Here.” Continue until the end of the scene. End, Max: “One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten.”

Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 68-77, Max (34) and Horst (30-40)

Max and Horst are assigned to rock detail, which consists of moving a pile of heavy rocks from one place to another. After they move the pile, they must move it back to its original position. Then they do it again—all day, every day, with a three-minute break every two hours, during which they must stand at attention. This scene begins with Max and Horst moving the rocks and continues into the break. While at attention, they verbally go through an entire act of lovemaking. Very graphic and sexual material. Start, Horst: “It’s so hot.” End, Max: “Do it in three minutes.”

Drama: Act II, Scene 3, pp. 78-84, Max (34) and Horst (30-40)

As the men move rocks from one place to another and back, Horst tells Max that he has fallen in love with him. Start, Horst: “I’m going crazy. I’m going crazy.” End, Horst: “Poor you, you don’t love anybody. It’s getting cold. Winter’s coming.”


by Harold Pinter (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: One-act play, Scene 2, pp. 12-16, Jerry (30s) and Robert (30s)

Jerry is guilt ridden because Emma, his longtime lover, informed her husband, Robert, who is also Jerry’s best friend, about their now-defunct affair. He asked Robert to drop by his home this evening for a private chat. During the scene, Robert discloses that he knew about the affair for years but opted to maintain a discreet silence. He tells Jerry that, at any rate, his marriage to Emma is on the rocks. Start, Jerry: “It’s good of you to come.” End, Jerry: “The Lake District.”


Adapted from the William Wharton novel by Naomi Wallace (Broadway Play Publishing)

Drama: Act I, Scene 8, pp. 32-35, Doctor White (50) and Sergeant Al (22)

Dr. White is an Army doctor/psychiatrist, a by-the-book sort of man that is short on patience and long on arrogance. Sergeant Al is a mentally troubled young man, first as a result of an abusive childhood and most recently from the battles of World War II. Sergeant Al has been sent to Dr. White’s Kentucky hospital for personal treatment and, not coincidentally, because Al’s lifelong friend, Birdy, is being treated there. Birdy’s case is a major frustration to Dr. White because Birdy will not communicate and has withdrawn into a mental space that White cannot fathom. The doctor hopes that Al might be able to help. In this scene, White presses Al to talk about the time he became violent with a fellow soldier; then he presses Al to talk about Birdy. During the scene, a character known as “Young Al” is also on stage. Cut him and eliminate his lines. Start, Dr. White: “Do you have any idea about the bizarre cringing positions he gets into?” End, Dr. White: “Just sit on the pot and shit. It’s as simple and straightforward as that.”


by Eric Bogosian (Love’s Fire—Seven New Plays Inspired by Seven Shakespearean Sonnets, William Morrow)

Comedy: One-act play, Herman (20s) and Red (20s)

Red has been carrying on a sex-only relationship with Herman’s fiancée, Rengin. He has arrived at her apartment intent on a pre-marriage roll in the hay with her since she is getting married tomorrow. Instead of Rengin, he encounters Herman, and so the two men have it out. Physically, Red is 100 percent Hell’s Angels biker, and Herman is more of the accountant type, so when Herman dispatches Red, it is through his wits, not his brawn. This is only a three-page scene, but it is a toot. Start with Red’s entrance. Red: “The fuck?” End, Herman: “You’re dead.”


by Garson Kanin (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 34-37, Harry Brock (40s) and Ed Devery (50s)

Self-made millionaire and con man Harry Brock is worried that his dumb-but-beautiful girlfriend will embarrass him as he tries to wine and dine the Washington, DC, elite in an attempt to get them to pass legislation that is in his own best interest. Against the advice of his alcoholic lawyer, Ed Devery, Harry decides to hire the serious-minded journalist who lives down the hall to tutor the woman, to show her the ropes in Washington. Start, Brock: “She’s gonna be in the way, that dame.” End, Brock: “I don’t believe in nothin’ on no friendly basis.”


by Hugh Whitemore (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 6, pp. 39-46, Turing (39) and Ron (20)

Turing picked up a young man, brought him home for a tryst and, this morning, discovers that he wants to be paid for his services. Start, Ron: “What’s the time?” End, Turing: “Down the road, turn left.”

Drama: Act I, Scene 8, pp. 55-60, Turing (39) and Ross (30-50)

Detective Sergeant Ross is investigating a minor burglary at Turing’s home. He has learned that the pieces of Turing’s story about the event don’t hold together and figures that Turing must be lying to protect someone. In this scene, Turing reluctantly admits he was trying to conceal a homosexual relationship. Ross immediately responds to this new information by telling Turing that he has committed a crime by having sex with another man. Start, Turing: “Sergeant Ross.” End, Turing: “Anyway…all right…Yes. I’ll make a statement. You’ll want me to go to the police station. I’d better get dressed.”


by Simon Gray (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 15-22, Ben (35-40) and Joey (mid-20s)

Ben’s jealousy plays close to the surface in this confrontation with his lover/student, Joey. The scene is quite long, but this excerpt captures the flavor and underlying tensions of their relationship. Start, Ben: “You’re in trouble, Joey.” End, Joey: “That’s right, he’s a butcher.”

Comedy-Drama: Act II, pp. 48-52, Ben (35-40) and Joey (mid-20s)

After a big argument with Anne, his estranged wife, Ben turns his hostility on his student/lover, Joey. Start, Ben: “If it’s Anne you were hiding from, she’s gone. If it’s Edna, she hasn’t arrived.” End, Joey: “It doesn’t matter. Let it go.”

Comedy-Drama: Act II, pp. 57-66, Ben (35-40) and Reg (mid-30s)

Reg, Joey’s new lover, has come to Ben’s office to explain that Joey will be moving out of Ben’s flat and in with him. What Reg doesn’t know is that Ben has just learned that his wife, Anne, has announced that she’s moving in with a new man, too. In fact, as Reg enters the scene, Ben is completing a mischief-making telephone call to Kent Vale Comprehensive, the school where his wife’s new lover works. The scene bristles with jealousy. Start, Ben: “Come.” End, Reg: “It’s worked out quite well though, hasn’t it?” For a shorter version of the dialogue, end the first time they toast each other. End, Reg: “Cheers.”


by George Bernard Shaw (Signet)

Comedy-Drama: Act III, Marchbanks (18) and Morell (40)

Morell’s wife, Candida, has just left the room. Marchbanks and Morell get into a full-tilt argument about which of them is the better man for her. Finally, Marchbanks proposes that Candida choose. This is a dynamic five-page scene. Start, Morell: “Well?” End, Marchbanks: “Send for her, Morell. Send for her and let her choose between us.”


by Tennessee Williams (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, pp. 47-59, Brick (27) and Big Daddy (65)

Brick tells Big Daddy why he drinks so much. For workshop purposes, try this excerpt from the act-long confrontation between the men. Eliminate the lines of the various family members who come and go. Start, Big Daddy: “What makes you so restless?” End, Brick: “I’m sorry, Big Daddy.”


by Neil Simon (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 9, pp. 59-68, George (42) and Leo (40)

George surprises Leo, his brother, with the news that he is marrying Jennie after a two-week courtship. Leo is very worried and tries to talk George into waiting. Update Leo’s reference to Jimmy Carter. Start, Leo: “George, will you let somebody else in New York use the phone?” End, Leo: “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing in publicity. I was born to be a Jewish mother.”


by Horton Foote (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 33-37, Sheriff Hawes (40-45) and Damon (40-45)

The outlaw everyone is hunting for broke into Damon’s store last night, ripping up clothes and trashing the place. Damon is scared and angry, and he accuses Sheriff Hawes of not properly protecting him. Hawes pleads for patience and says he’ll get the criminal. Using a Texas accent is helpful but not essential. Start, Damon: “Did you see my store?” End, Damon: “All right.”

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 38-40, Sheriff Hawes (40-45) and Edwin (early 30s)

Edwin Stewart, the nervous, high-strung son of the town banker, wants the sheriff to guard his house, but Hawes can’t spare anybody. Edwin threatens to reject Hawe’s loan application. Omit the reference to Ruby. Start, Edwin: “Hello…Hawes.” End, Edwin: “And my wife has a lot of friends, and every one of them is gonna hear of your treatment of us.”


by Patrick Marber (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, Scene 10, pp. 93-101, Dan (35) and Larry (mid-30s)

Note: Brief telephone/intercom sequences interrupts this scene twice. Simply eliminate them both. Dan shows up at Larry’s office, saying that he wants Anna back. By the end of the scene, Larry has convinced Dan that he actually loves Alice. Dan breaks down and cries, then he exits to go find Alice. This is a very strong and difficult scene with a good deal of subtext. It is absolutely essential that actors in workshop carefully study the entire play before attempting it. Start, Larry: “So?” End after Dan’s exit. Dan: “I’m just…not…big enough to forgive you.”


by David Henry Hwang (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Scene 3, pp. 23-29, Lone (20) and Ma (18)

To pass the time during a labor strike against the railroad, Lone, one of the Asian-American workers, has gone off by himself to practice opera dances. Ma, another worker, watches from the bushes for a while and then asks for instruction. In this scene, Lone tells Ma how much dedication being in the opera requires. Start, Ma: “How long will it be before I can play Gwan Gung?” End, Ma: “If you do, you’re crazy. Lone? Come back here.”


by Ariel Dorfman (Penguin)

Drama: Act II, Scene 2, Gerardo (45) and Roberto (50)

Gerardo feeds the captive Roberto, who is tied to a chair, and tells him that he is going to have to confess to the crimes Paulina is accusing him of if he wants his freedom. Roberto professes his innocence. Eliminate Paulina’s brief appearance in the scene. Start, Gerardo: “You’re not hungry, Doctor Miranda?” End, Gerardo: “I’m going to tell her that you need to piss.”


by Arthur Miller (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, pp. 12-18, Biff (34) and Happy (32)

Brothers Biff and Happy are in their bedroom, talking about their aspirations, their relationship with their father, and the past. Start, Happy: “He’s going to get his license taken away.” End, Biff: “I was the only one he’d let lock up the place.”


by Donald Margulies (Theatre Communications Group)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 37-42, Tom (40s) and Gabe (40s)

Gabe is dismayed to learn that his best friend, Tom, is leaving his wife after twelve years (and two kids) of marriage. He is encouraging Tom to see a therapist or family counselor and work things out. Tom is trying to get Gabe’s tacit approval for the divorce. Start after Karen exits. Gabe: Boy, if this is any indication of what it would be like if I ever…” End, Tom: “See ya.”

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 3, pp. 70-79, Tom (40s) and Gabe (40s)

Gabe and Tom meet in a Manhattan bar five months after Tom has separated from his wife, Karen. During the conversation, it becomes clear that the men’s longtime friendship—going all the way back to college—is over. They have come to that fork in the road. Excellent scene, mainly for all that is left unsaid. Start, Tom: “Gabe!” End, Gabe: “Bye.”


by Steve Tesich (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 33-39, Chris (37) and Roger (mid-30s)

Roger, dressed as an old bum, complete with gray wig, shows up in Chris’s apartment. Full of guilt for selling out, Roger wants Chris to take up the 1960s leftwing banner again and lead a new revolution. Chris wants no part of it; he has gone straight and is no longer a radical. Start, Chris: “Who’s there? Who are you?” End, Roger: “You go right ahead, man…Dream on, man!”


by Don Petersen (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 43-51, Winters (35) and Bickham (20)

Of all the inmates, Bickham has the biggest chip on his shoulder and is the one most likely to start a fight. In this scene between Bickham and Pete Winters, the English teacher, the audience discovers that he is also remarkably sensitive and has the makings of a writer. Start, Bickham: “Gimme your wallet, lame, or I’ll break your back.” End, Bickham: “You know what I really want, Pete? I’ll tell ya what I want…I want…I can’t remember.”

Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 55-67, Werner (40s) and Bickham (20)

This scene is almost a one-act play in itself. Bickham tells Werner, the staff psychiatrist, how, after a long search, he found his father working in a barbershop and how he came to brutally beat up the man. This emotionally violent, sometimes physical scene definitely isn’t suited for novice actors. Start, Werner: “Well? Come in Bickham.” Continue through the end of Act II. End, Bickham: “Ayieeeee!! God! God!” For a shorter version, try this excerpt. Start, Bickham: “You ain’t the Great White Doctor you think you are!” Continue to the same end.


by Arthur Kopit (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 26-32, Trent (35-45) and Stone (60s)

Stone is trying to commission Trent to write a play about the imminent end of the world. Trent is convinced that Stone is crazy and, despite the offer of money, he wants no part of this. You’ll need a pistol for this scene, but you don’t have to fire it. Start, Stone: “Your agent informs me you have certain reservations about my scenario.” End, Stone: “I hope you take this job. Good day.”


by Henrik Ibsen (adapted by Arthur Miller, Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 28-32, Peter (30s) and Thomas (30s)

Peter is convinced that his brother’s discovery of local water pollution will lead their small city into financial ruin, carrying him and his political opportunities along with it. In this very excellent scene, Peter orders Thomas to publicly disavow the scientific reports. Thomas refuses, reacting first with surprise and then with fury to his brother’s request. Eliminate Catherine’s line at the beginning of the scene. Start, Peter: “I received your thesis about the condition of the Springs yesterday.” End, Peter: “I forbid you as your superior, and when I give orders you obey.”

Drama: Act III, pp. 65-68, Peter (30s) and Thomas (30s)

Peter has succeeded in turning the town against his brother, but he wants to ensure that Thomas doesn’t go somewhere else in Norway to publicize his charges of water pollution and corrupt local politics. Peter outlines possible criminal charges that can be brought against Thomas if he goes public anywhere at all. Start, Thomas: “Keep your hat on if you like, it’s a little draughty in here today.” End, Thomas: “Oh, we do, Peter!”


by Henry Denker (Samuel French)

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 43-51, Freud (37) and Breuer (35-45)

Freud is convinced there are significant similarities between his patient, Elizabeth, and one being treated by Dr. Breuer. Freud gets his reluctant friend to fill in the blanks that are missing from his final case report. Breuer is nervous that Freud, already controversial for his hypnotism experiments, will jump to conclusions, go public with them, and discredit both men. Breuer is full of guilt over this particular case because he fell in love with the patient. You’ll have to cut and paste a bit at the end, eliminating Martha. Start, Freud: “A Schnapps?” End, Freud: “Agreed.”


by August Wilson (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 33-40, Troy (53) and Cory (17)

Troy tells his son, Cory, why he doesn’t want him to go to college on a football scholarship, why it is better for him to stay away from sports. Cory, of course, disagrees. Start, Troy: “You just now coming in here from leaving this morning?” End, Troy: “Then get the hell out of my face, and get on down to that A&P.”


by Sam Shepard (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: One-act play, pp. 28-34, Eddie (late 30s) and Martin (mid-30s)

May goes into the bathroom to get dressed for her date with Martin, leaving Eddie and Martin alone. Eddie shocks Martin by telling him that May is his half-sister and that they’ve fooled around. Start, Martin: “She’s not made or anything, is she?” Eliminate all the Old Man’s lines. End, Eddie: “But the second we saw each other, that very second, we knew we’d never stop being in love.”


by Jonathan Reynolds (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 10-16, Jocko (33) and Bart (57)

Bart, the makeup man who is a dead ringer for Ernest Hemingway, pines for the long-gone simple days of movie-making, when men were men and the titles made sense. He thinks he could do a better job than Jocko, the screenwriter, is doing. Start, Jocko: “Started without us, I see.” End, Bart: “There’s your ending. How about this? He lives…but with a big wound.”

Comedy: Act III, pp. 61-67, Jocko (33) and Milo (32)

Milo tells Jocko, the screenwriter, about the frustrations of being a star movie director. You’ll have to cut and paste a bit. After Milo’s line, “Well, we have two choices. Talk her out of pressing charges, or kill her. Just kidding, Jocko.” Cut to Milo, continuing with: “God, I hate this picture.” Then start, Milo: “Now that’s what I like to see!” End, Milo: “Which is almost as much fun as making money.”


by David Mamet (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 7-15, Williamson (40s) and Levene (50s)

Levene’s sales are slumping, so he is trying to get Williamson to give him some hot leads. He offers a bribe, which Williamson takes. Start, Levene: “John…John…John. Okay, John. John.” End, Levene: “Good. Mmm…I, you know, I left my wallet back at the hotel.”

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 15-27, Moss (50s) and Aaronow (50s)

Moss tries to con Aaronow, another salesman, into robbing the company office. Long scene, but David Mamet’s dialogue moves quickly. Start, Moss: “Polacks and deadbeats.” End, Moss: “Because you listened.” For a shorter version, start, Moss: “Look at Jerry Graff. He’s clean.” Continue to the same ending.


by Edward Albee (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Scene 1, pp. 12-23, Martin (50) and Ross (50s)

The occasion is Martin’s fiftieth birthday. His friend Ross is a TV producer who decides to do an interview with Martin, not only because of his fiftieth birthday but because he recently won the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Martin is puzzlingly ill at ease during the interview. Finally he admits to Ross that he has fallen in love—with a goat. Start, Ross: “OK? Ready? Ready Martin; here we go; just…be yourself.” Go to the end of Scene 1.

Drama: Scene 3, pp. 44-50, Martin (50) and Billy (17)

Martin’s gay son, Billy, simply cannot come to grips with the news that his father is in love with—and having sex with—a goat. This is an extremely difficult scene for both actors but is particularly difficult for the actor playing the son because of the required emotional range—from outrage, fury, grief, crying, to full-tilt mouth-to-mouth kiss. It is definitely not a good choice for novice actors. Start at the top of Scene 3. Billy: “Wow!” Go through the kiss on page 50. End, Martin: “No; it’s all right. Here; let me hold you.”


by David Rabe (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, pp. 10-18, Goose (30s) and Tomtom (40s)

When Goose arrives, his friend Tomtom is happy to see him. They show each other their guns, tell each other their nightmares, and talk about Bingo’s sister. At this point, the audience doesn’t know that she is, in fact, being held captive in a back room. These characters are violent and dangerous, at times acting more like animals than humans. For experienced actors only. Start, Goose: “Hey.” End, Tomtom: “Hey! How you? ‘At’s what I been waitin’ for. I been onna edge a my chair.”

Drama: Act I, pp. 50-56, Goose (30s) and Tomtom (40s)

Lorraine has discovered that the jewels have been stolen, and she is very angry. In this scene, Goose and Tomtom develop a plan to steal some money and buy more jewels in order to make Lorraine happy again. Start, Tomtom: “We gonna make a plan!” End, Tomtom: “We thought it was ghosts stealin’ our secrets, but it was really Bingo stealin’ our treasure.”


by Ted Tally (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 7-12, Ricky (19) and Clint (19)

Clint is home from college on a break, so he and his old high-school buddy Ricky have come to Cape Cod for some hell-raising. In this scene, they’re settling into their motel room while they talk about hot babes in very graphic terms. Ricky is excited because he thinks he saw a “Ten” in the parking lot. Start, Ricky: “Did you see that?” End, Ricky: “An Ab-so-lute Ten.”

Comedy: Act I, Scene 4, pp. 28-31, Ricky (19) and Clint (19)

Clint and Ricky have hooked up with a couple of older women and have invited them out to dinner. Back in the motel room, the guys are working on a game plan to get the women into bed. Basically, the plan amounts to “surprise, beer, dirty talk, divide and conquer.” Start, Clint: “You piece of grunt.” End, Clint: “Which one of us is going to walk the dog?”


by David Rabe (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 9-19, Phil (mid-30s) and Eddie (mid-30s)

Phil arrives to tell a very hungover Eddie that he has had a terrible fight with his wife, during which he hit her with his fist. David Rabe has specific ideas about how this ten-page scene should be played: “It is important to note that there is an element of play in this whole scene…; on some level, it is a game, a riff.” Start, Phil: “Eddie.” End, Eddie: “I wouldn’t piss on her if the flames were about to engulf her goddamn, you know, central nervous system!”

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 27-33, Eddie (mid-30s) and Mickey (mid-30s)

Eddie is distressed because Mickey made an apparently successful play for his new girlfriend yesterday. Also, his ex-wife called again, which always puts him in a foul mood. Start, Mickey: “Do you realize, Eddie, that you are not toking up at eight fifty-eight in the morning on top of the shit you already put up your nose?” End, Eddie: “What do you want me to do, abandon my kid in her hands and with no other hope? Forget about it!”

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 61-69, Phil (mid-30s) and Eddie (mid-30s)

When he arrives at the house, Phil is full of manic energy. He tells Eddie that he is returning to his wife because he is lost without her. He also admits that he has been taking some kind of poison in order to sabotage his sperm count. Eddie is alternately sympathetic and shocked. Start, Phil: “So, guess what?” End, Phil: “I come here to tell you. I got to stay married. I’m lost without her.”


by Paul Rudnick (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 23-29, Andrew (27-33) and Barrymore (45-50)

Andrew’s temporary New York apartment turns out to be haunted by John Barrymore’s ghost, who moves in and out of the proceedings. The ghost tries to help Andrew prepare for the daunting task of playing the title role in Hamlet.In this scene, Barrymore gives Andrew some advice on acting and romance. Start, Barrymore: “Dear fellow…May I?” End, Barrymore: “You would prefer, perhaps, some form of therapy? Continued discussion? What is the present-day epithet—‘communication’?”


by Mark Harelik (Broadway Play Publishing)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 5, Haskell (20s) and Milton (30)

Haskell Harelik has lived in an upstairs room in Ida and Milton Perry’s house for six weeks, paying his way as a banana peddler. In this funny scene, Milton summons Haskell to his office at the bank and advises him on ways to expand his business, including the notion of buying a horse. Milton offers to finance the purchase for Haskell. The language barrier is what makes this dialogue funny. Haskell speaks, at best, broken English with a heavy Russian accent, and Milton is a nononsense Texan. The year is 1909. Start, Haskell: “Mr. Perry?” End, Haskell: “At home, yes. You draw very good!”


by Robert Anderson (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, pp. 55-62, Gene (40) and Tom (late 70s)

Gene has decided that he wants to remarry and move to California, where his soon-to-be wife already lives and has a medical practice. In doing so, however, he’ll be leaving his elderly father, Tom, alone in New York to fend for himself. In this climactic scene, the last one in a remarkable script, Gene tells his father about his decision and asks him to move to California, too. Tom won’t hear of it, accusing his son of abandoning him and of being ungrateful. Powerful, primal material. Start, Gene: “You ready to be tucked in?” End, Tom: “Go to hell!”


by Patrick Meyers (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: One-act play, pp. 17-23, Harold (mid-30s) and Taylor (38)

Two mountain climbers are trying to escape from an ice ledge on the side of one of the world’s highest mountains. Most of the time, Taylor is in the process of climbing up and down ropes, thereby rendering scenework impractical. In this excerpt, however, both men are at rest. It captures the basic relationship between them and also highlights their philosophical differences. Harold is a political liberal given to existential explorations, while Taylor is conservative and pragmatic. Start, Harold: “Taylor…I’ve got an idea.” End, Taylor: “Now if you have any helpful suggestions…just…fucking…say…so!”


by Tracy Letts (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 13-17, Chris (22) and Ansel (38)

Chris has gotten into debt because of his involvement in the drug scene and approaches his father, Ansel, for a loan. Ansel has no money at all and, in fact, lives in a run-down house trailer outside of Dallas. Chris then proposes to Ansel that the two of them hire an assassin to kill Chris’s mother (Ansel’s ex-wife) so that they can collect on her insurance policy. Start, Ansel: “Now look what you did. I’m in the doghouse.” End, Chris: “…they’ll be considered accomplices.”


by Václav Havel (translated by Tom Stoppard, Grove Weidenfeld)

Comedy-Drama: Scene 4, Bertram (35-45) and Leopold (45-50)

Bertram is an emissary for unnamed intellectuals. He has come to Leopold’s flat to see about his mental health and to encourage him to continue to defy the government. Cut Lucy’s offstage lines and Leopold’s responses. Start, Bertram: “How long is it since you went out?” End, Bertram: “So, I beg you—Be again that brilliant Leopold Nettles whom everybody held on high!”


by Arthur Miller (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: One-act play, pp. 5-14, Leroy (48) and Frick (60)

Two men meet for the first time in the waiting room of a New York state mental hospital where both of their wives are being treated for depression. Frick is upscale, has money, and is impressed by appearances. Leroy, though a direct descendant of Alexander Hamilton and the son of a lawyer, is a carpenter by trade and cares nothing about appearances. Frick’s pretentiousness makes Leroy angry, and this emotion confuses Frick. Do the entire play, which is only nine pages long.


by Sam Shepard (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 13-18, Jake (28-35) and Frankie (late 20s)

Jake has beaten up his wife again. This time, however, he thinks that he has killed her, so he heads south. In this scene, Jake is holed up in a shabby motel in southern California with Frankie, his younger brother, while he tries to clear his head and consider his options. Start, Jake: “I don’t want any goddamn ice! It’s cold!” End, Frankie: “I won’t.”


by Keith Reddin (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 8, pp. 27-31, Franklin (mid-to-late 20s) and Tod (mid-to-late 20s)

Franklin applies for a job at Tod Cartmell’s prosthetic-device factory. Tod is sadistic, and this very difficult material involves sexual humiliation and isn’t for novice actors. Start, Tod: “How you all doing?” End, Tod: “You got the job.”


by Terrence McNally (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 30-38, Mendy (35-45) and Stephen (25-35)

The entire act is a two-character scene between two gay men in which they discuss their love for opera and their various romantic involvements. You’ll need a telephone that rings. For scene-study purposes, begin about halfway through the act. Start, Mendy: “There is only one Tosca.” Continue to the end of the act.


by Lillian Hellman (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, pp. 31-34, Oscar (late 40s) and Leo (20)

Father and son test the waters to determine precisely how dishonest each is. When Oscar learns that Leo, his son, has been snooping in his employer’s safe-deposit box down at the bank, Oscar raises the prospect of “borrowing” the $80,000 worth of Union-Pacific bonds kept there. Start, Leo: “The boys in the bank don’t know a thing. They haven’t had any message.” End, Oscar: “People ought to help other people. But that’s not always the way it happens. And so sometimes you got to think of yourself.”


by Kenneth Lonergan (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 42-47, William (late 20s) and Jeff (27)

William’s younger brother is in deep trouble with the police, accused of participating in a group-rape and murder. In Act I, William told Jeff that he was considering whether to provide a false alibi for his brother, saying that he was leaning against it. He wouldn’t want to do anything dishonest. In this scene, Jeff asks how things are going with the brother and learns that William has shifted his position radically. He has gone to the police and provided the alibi. Jeff is stunned because he admires William and really did not expect him to do something unethical, even to help his own brother. This is a strong scene with a nice transition in the middle and plenty of negotiations. Start, Jeff: “Does it ever strike you as stupid that you’re ‘The Captain’?” End, William: “…I still need a little time to try to find him a decent lawyer, so at least he has a chance.”


by John Patrick Shanley (Welcome to the Moon and Other Plays, Dramatists Play Service; 13 by Shanley, Applause Books)

Comedy: One-act play, Dramatists Play Service pp. 35-37, Walter (25-35) and Jim (25-35)

Walter is in love with a mermaid who lives in New York City’s Central Park Reservoir, and he brings his friend Jim to see her. Jim, understandably, doesn’t think it is smart to be in Central Park in the middle of the night, especially since he was enjoying himself at a good party. Sally the Mermaid doesn’t appear, and Jim, who has run out of patience, leaves. Walter then sends some more secret signals out across the lake and Sally shows up. Or does she? An offstage actress will have to read one line at the very end. Start, Jim: “What are we doing out here, Walter?” End, Walter: “And I you. My solitary, unprovable, deepest only love.”


by Eugene O’Neill (Yale University Press)

Drama: Act I, James Tyrone (65) and Jamie (33)

Father and son thrust and parry. James accuses Jamie of spending all his money on whores and liquor and of being a bad influence on his brother, Edmund. Jamie accuses his father of being a miser. Both agree to keep wife/mother Mary calm, hoping she won’t start with morphine again—but knowing that she already has. Start, Tyrone: “You’re a fine lunkhead!” End, Jamie: “Well, if we’re going to cut the front hedge today, we’d better go to work.”

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, Jamie (33) and Edmund (23)

After Jamie catches Edmund having a drink, the brothers have a heated discussion about their mother, Mary. This scene exposes the nature of Jamie and Edmund’s relationship. Start, Jamie: “Sneaking one, eh?” End, Jamie: “Damn! I wish I’d grabbed another drink.”


by Murray Schisgal (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 10-17, Milt (late 30s) and Harry (late 30s)

Milt discovers his old college chum Harry trying to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. Milt talks him out of it and then discovers that Harry is struggling with existential angst. They wind up dueling about who had the worst childhood. The dark humor in this seven-page scene is very funny stuff. Start, Milt: “Is it…No, Harry Berlin!” End, Harry: “They were cinnamon donuts!”


by Robert Bolt (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, pp. 45-50, Henry VIII (25-35) and Thomas More (late 40s)

Henry VIII is searching for a legal, Church-approved way to divorce his queen, Catherine, so he can marry Anne Boleyn, with whom he hopes to produce a male heir to the throne. In his effort to influence the Catholic hierarchy, he seeks the support of his Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More. More is a very respected and influential man, but so far has diplomatically resisted the king’s entreaties. In this scene, Henry tries once again. Start, Henry: “Listen to this, Thomas. Do you know it?” End, Henry: “I must catch the tide or I’ll not get back to Richmond till…No, don’t come. Tell Norfolk.”

Drama: Act I, pp. 60-65, Richard Rich (early 30s) and Thomas Cromwell (late 30s)

Thomas Cromwell, former secretary to the Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, lost his position of influence when Wolsey fell from favor and died (or was killed). Now working as an aide to the king, Cromwell is intent on increasing his influence by toppling Sir Thomas More, the new Lord Chancellor. In this scene, Cromwell bribes Richard Rich, Secretary/Librarian to the Duke of Norfolk and a confidante of More, trading a favored post for incriminating information. Start, Cromwell: “Come on. Yes, it may be that I am a little intoxicated.” End, Rich: “You enjoyed that! You enjoyed that! You enjoyed it!”


by Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 6-9, Roberts (25-32) and Doc (35-40)

While on watch last night, Roberts saw a convoy of American battleships heading for battle, and the sight made him long all the more to get into the action. In this scene, he shows Doc his latest request for a transfer, but Doc tells him that it is futile—that he is going to succeed only in making the captain angrier. Start, Doc: “That you, Doug?” End, Doc: “I wish you hadn’t seen that task force, Doug. Well, I’ve got to go down to my hypochondriacs.”

Drama: Act I, Scene 6, pp. 39-42, Roberts (25-32) and the Captain (40-50)

Roberts reluctantly strikes a deal with the Captain in which Roberts agrees to stop being a troublemaker in exchange for a shore leave for his crew. Start, Captain: “Come in, Mister Roberts.” End, Roberts: “Listen to those crazy bastards out there. Listen to them.”


by Dennis McIntyre (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 18-25, Modigliani (31) and Zborowski (30s)

Modigliani’s agent, Zborowski, tells Modigliani that he is going to show his work to a prominent gallery owner. Modigliani, however, has his mind on escaping the police who are after him for breaking a restaurant window. Start, Modigliani: “Zbo? Zborowski?…Zbo—be home.” End, Zborowski: “He’ll buy faces.”

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 36-43, Modigliani (31) and Utrillo (33)

Modigliani, on the run from the law, goes to Utrillo to see if he can borrow some money. He discovers that Utrillo, who is always drunk, has signed up to join the army and plans to leave the following morning. But this is an impossible plan because Utrillo is frail and physically unfit. Start, Modigliani: “Maumau?” End, Modigliani: “I won’t let you do it! I won’t let you ruin it! There’s nobody left after Cheron. I won’t let you ruin it!”


by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act II, pp. 46-54, Paul (40-45) and Mitchell (36)

Arlene has abandoned both Paul and Mitchell in favor of a relationship with her guru. The men are waiting in a room at the Howard Johnson’s Motel for her to arrive so that they can kill her. They plan to hang Arlene and have a scaffold built in the hotel room. You’ll have to be inventive to approximate this set piece. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be practical or workable. Start, Paul: “You know, I’ve got six towels from this place already. How are you doing?” End, Paul: “Oh, it’s going to be good with her out of the way.”


by Larry Shue (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 53-57, Willum (34) and Rick (30s)

Willum has tried to tell his unwelcome houseguest, Rick, that he should leave but has been unsuccessful. Begin the scene as Willum rehearses what he is going to say to Rick when he arrives. Start, Willum: “Now, Rick. Rick, sit down…Put down your tambourine.” End, Rick: “Sit there, now—and don’t move. I’ll be in here heating up the salt!”


by Caryl Churchill (Theatre Communications Group)

Drama: Scene 1, pp. 10-21, Salter (early 60s) and Bernard aka B2 (35)

Bernard has recently learned that he may well be the result of a cloning experiment. He confronts his father about it but receives very few satisfactory answers. Start, Bernard: “A number.” End, Bernard: “Probably.”

Drama: Scene 2, pp. 24-34, Salter (early 60s) and Bernard aka B1 (40)

This Bernard (B1) is the actual son from which the others were cloned. His temperament, due to childhood abuse, is quite different from the Bernard we met in Scene 1. He is more aggressive and has a lot more inner rage. Salter continues to be evasive and difficult, but we in the audience are gradually filling in the blanks of these complicated relationships. Start, Salter: “So they stole—don’t look at me—they stole your genetic material…” End, Bernard: “No, look in my eyes. No, keep looking. Look.”

Drama: Scene 3, pp. 36-46, Salter (early 60s) and Bernard aka B2 (35)

Bernard (B2) reports back to his father after an encounter with Bernard (B1). Salter finally admits that his wife did not die in a car crash. She committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. We learn more about Salter’s motives for agreeing to the cloning. Bernard (B2) says he is afraid of the other Bernard (B1) and intends to leave the country. Start, Bernard: “Not like me at all.” End, Bernard: “Also, I’m afraid he’ll kill me.”

Drama: Scene 5, pp. 54-62, Salter (early 60s) and Michael Black (35)

By this point in time, Bernard (B1) has murdered Bernard (B2) and subsequently committed suicide. Salter has made it a priority to go ahead and meet some of the other clones. Here he tries to get to know Michael Black. The interesting thing is that the apple/clone has evidently fallen a bit farther from the tree, and these two men have very little in common. Salter becomes quite frustrated when he can’t seem to learn anything significantly personal about this new “son” in his life. Start, Michael: “Have you met the others?” End, Michael: “I do yes, sorry.”


by Neil Simon (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 30-40, Oscar (43) and Felix (44)

In the name of friendship, Oscar invites Felix, his fastidious friend who is suffering over the breakup of his marriage, to move in with him. In this scene, the audience learns how very different the men are. Oscar and Felix’s interactions are quite funny, but there isn’t a great deal of overt conflict in this particular scene. It is simply good situational comedy. You’ll need a telephone that rings and as much room clutter as you can manage. Start, Oscar: “Ohh, Felix, Felix, Felix, Felix!” Continue to the end of Act I. End, Felix: “Good night, Frances.”

Comedy: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 47-55, Oscar (43) and Felix (44)

Felix and Oscar have been living together for two weeks, and already Felix is driving Oscar crazy with his fanatical and obsessive cleanliness. Here, Felix reluctantly agrees to a double date with the Pigeon sisters who live in an upstairs apartment. Start, Oscar: “I’d be immensely grateful to you, Felix, if you didn’t clean up just now.” End, Felix: “Frances. I want to get her recipe for London broil. The girls’ll be crazy about it.”

Comedy: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 56-59, Oscar (43) and Felix (44)

In this hysterically funny scene, the men await the arrival of their dates. Felix becomes apoplectic because the gourmet meal he has prepared is ruined by Oscar’s cavalier attention to a dinner schedule. Start, Oscar: “I’m home, dear!” End, Oscar: “Then smile.”

Comedy: Act III, pp. 73-82, Oscar (43) and Felix (44)

This scene has the most head-to-head conflict and is, arguably, the most difficult one to play. It takes place the day after the disastrous date with the Pigeon sisters, and Oscar seems bent on getting Felix to move out. Felix is playing the part of the wounded bird. At the end, Felix takes his suitcase and leaves—and moves in with the Pigeon sisters upstairs. You’ll need a vacuum cleaner, a plate of pasta, and an offstage arrangement that will allow you to toss the pasta against the kitchen wall. Begin at the top of Act III. Start, Felix: “All right, how much longer is this gonna go on?” End, Felix: “Oh, come on, Oscar. You’re not really interested, are you?”


by John Steinbeck (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 7-16, George (30-40) and Lennie (30-40)

In this scene George and his mentally slow sidekick Lennie pitch camp by a river, and audience members get their first glimpse into the men’s relationship. We learn that they had to flee from northern California because Lennie was falsely accused of rape, that George is the smarter of the two, and that Lennie is physically powerful but mentally childlike. They talk about the farm they hope to have one day. This fifteen-minute scene can run half an hour if you aren’t careful. Start, George: “Lennie, for God’s sake, don’t drink so much.” End, Lennie: “I’m shutting up, George.”


by Ernest Thompson (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 39-46, Norman (79) and Bill (45)

Bill has his first encounter with Norman, his lover Chelsea’s crotchety dad. The two men discuss the generational morality of premarital sex and define the bottom line of their newly established relationship. Start, Bill: “So, you’re a baseball fan, huh?” End, Norman: “Yes! Please do! Just don’t let Ethel catch you.”


by Steve Tesich (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 4, pp. 23-29, Al (20-35) and Angel (20-35)

This very dark satire is set on the burned-out landscape of some future, post—civil war epoch. Angel and his mentor, Al, have been gathering art treasures from gutted museums and churches, hoping to barter their way into the Land of the Free. In this physical and emotionally demanding scene, they are in a church when Angel erupts, attacking Al. Angel demands that Al “open up” and behave in an intimate fashion. Al then pulls a knife, holding Angel at bay. They finally settle down and agree to resume their journey.

As written, Al actually cuts Angel with the knife, drawing blood. The threat will suffice for workshop presentation. You don’t have to fool around with fake blood. Also, the scene calls for Al to play the piano a little bit, but you can easily work around that. Start, Angel: “Do you think this was once a church?” End, Al: “You can love a man, a woman, a child or all of mankind in less than five minutes, and then have the rest of the day to do the things you really like to do. Shall we?”

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 46-50, Al (20-35) and Angel (20-35)

Al and Angel have been captured by soldiers of the provisional government and sentenced to die. Al is then led away for a conference, during which he strikes a deal with the captors: he and Angel will be given their freedom in exchange for carrying out a murder. They have to kill Jesus Christ, who is currently on earth during his Second Coming. In this remarkable scene, Al returns to Angel, cuts the ropes that restrain him, and explains the deal. Angel is horrified, but he agrees to join with Al because it is either that or face certain death. Start, Angel: “What’s going on?” End, Angel: “To the Land of the Free, right?” Al: “Right.” Angel: “Right.”


by Lyle Kessler (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 3, pp. 26-34, Phillip (early 20s) and Harold (40-50)

Phillip’s older brother, Treat, brought Harold home to their North Philadelphia row house last night after having met him in a bar. Deciding to hold the drunk man hostage, Treat tied Harold to a chair and gagged him. Now Phillip is alone with Harold who, after a fashion, frees himself and befriends the younger man. Begin at the top of Act I, Scene 3. Start, Phillip: “Here comes somebody! Here comes an old man with a cane, got a newspaper under this arm.…” End, Harold: “Ahhh, ya mutter! Little Dead End Kid!”

Drama: Act II, Scene 1, pp. 45-50, Harold (40-50) and Treat (late 20s)

Harold arrived as Treat’s hostage two weeks ago, but in the interim has befriended him and his younger brother, lavishly spending money on them. Now Treat has fancy clothes and is enjoying his new status; however, he still doesn’t understand where Harold comes from or how he makes so much money. Begin at the top of Act II, Scene 1. Harold enters singing. Start, Harold: “If I had the wings of an angel.…” End, Harold: “You know who you remind me of, Treat? Fred. He didn’t believe in moderation either.”


by Simon Gray (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 19-25, Simon (39) and Wood (40s)

Bernard Wood drops by Simon’s house to find out if Simon has, in fact, seduced his daughter. As the scene unfolds, Simon learns that Wood is really an old schoolmate from years ago, a fellow he slept with during his sexual-experimentation period, and the daughter in question is actually Wood’s fiancée. Simon’s visitor is a sad, rather desperate man, which gives the comedy a mean-spirited edge, particularly when the audience learns that Simon did indeed seduce the daughter. Written in the British vernacular. The entire scene runs about twenty minutes and covers an act break, so you may not want to do it in its entirety. For a shorter version, stop a couple of pages into Act II. End, Simon: “Is it worth my saying sorry over again, or will my earlier apologies serve?” You can also end, Wood: “I’d like to kill you, Hench. Yes—kill you!”


by Martin McDonagh (Faber and Faber)

Drama: pp. 14-23, Katurian (30s) and Tupolski (30s)

Tupolski interrogates Katurian, trying to link up the stories he has written to a series of what appear to be copycat crimes. Start after Ariel’s exit. Katurian: “My brother’s at school.” End, Katurian: “…It was the children he was after in the first place.”

Drama: pp. 37-43, Michal (30s) and Katurian (30s)

After being tortured, Katurian is tossed into the room with his dim-witted brother, Michal. In this scene, Katurian discovers that, contrary to what the interrogators told him, Michal has not been tortured. Katurian tries to get Michal to tell him precisely what it is he told the interrogators. Start, Michal: “Hiya. What are you doing?” End, Katurian: “…He was about nine feet tall.”

Drama: pp. 47-51, Michal (30s) and Katurian (30s)

Michal confesses to his brother that he did indeed commit some of the child murders. Start, Michal: “I like The Pillowman. He’s my favorite.” End, Michal: “Well, I know now.

Drama: pp. 51-58, Michal (30s) and Katurian (30s)

Michal expands on the details of the murders and what he has told the police. Start, Katurian: “What did you tell them?” End, Michael: “…I am never never going to speak to you ever again.”


by James Kirkwood (revised edition, Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 34-43, Jimmy (38) and Vito (27)

Jimmy has managed to overpower Vito, the prowler, and has tied him up. Vito is trying to figure out a way to get loose, and Jimmy is getting to know his unwanted guest. This excerpt includes the first time that Vito comes on to Jimmy sexually. Begin after Jimmy’s wild telephone conversation with Kate. Start, Jimmy: “Vito Antonucci. Hmmm, I never did trust Germans.” End, Jimmy: “I’m going to put on my thinkin’ cap!”


by Arthur Kopit (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Al (35-45) and Jerry (35-45)

This entire act is essentially one prolonged scene, about forty pages in length, between Al and Jerry. Al’s sexy partner/lover, Lou, makes occasional interruptions. Al has summoned his former partner Jerry, who is now producing educational films back East, to his Hollywood home. He wants to entice Jerry into a new partnership to produce the filmed autobiography of rock’s biggest female star, Nirvana.

Three excerpts are particularly good for scenework. The first option is to begin after Lou’s initial exit (pp. 15-22). Start, Al: “Lou’s got like enormous untapped talent.” End, Jerry: “To better times.” Another choice is the part of the act where Jerry is told about Nirvana’s involvement in the deal, and that her autobiography is an erotic version of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (pp. 48-57). Start, Al: You do want in?” End, Al: “Now you’re coming through.” The third option is to begin at the same place as the second excerpt and to continue to the end of Act I (pp. 48-63). Start, Al: “You do want in?” End, Al: “One spoon or you’re out.”


by Tom Stoppard (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act I, pp. 29-34, Rosencrantz (20-30) and Guildenstern (20-30)

Two minor players in Shakespeare’s Hamlet are the stars in this comedy. In this scene, Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude, and Claudius have just appeared on stage and exited, leaving Rosencrantz and Guildenstern more baffled than before. Rosencrantz has had enough and wants to turn back but, of course, they don’t know where they came from; they know only that they were “sent for.” Stylistically, this scene feels a great deal like those in Waiting for Godot.Start, Rosencrantz: “I want to go home.” Begin the dialogue at the point where Rosencrantz says this for the first time. End, Guildenstern: “What are the rules?”

Comedy: Act II, pp. 43-47, Rosencrantz (20-30) and Guildenstern (20-30)

By now, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are at the castle and still don’t understand the purpose of their visit. Rosencrantz would still very much like to return home, but Guildenstern feels they have a duty to perform as requested—that is, if they could figure out precisely what is being requested of them. Start, Guildenstern: “Hm?” End, Rosencrantz: “No. Double bluff!”


by David Mamet (Samuel French)

Comedy: One-act play, pp. 7-14, Danny (28) and Bernard (30-35)

While sitting in a singles bar, Bernard tells Danny about his night of outrageous sexual adventure with a young woman he picked up in a pancake restaurant. Start, Danny: “So how’d you do last night?” End, Bernard: “Well, alright, then. I’ll tell you one thing…she knew all the pro moves.”

Comedy: One-act play, pp. 49-55, Danny (28) and Bernard (30-35)

In this scene, Danny and Bernard sit on the beach, eyeing the women and discussing them in a vulgar way. Start, Bernard: “Lookit this.” End, Bernard: “…with tits like that…who needs anything?”


by Neil Labute (Faber and Faber)

Drama: “A Lawn,” pp. 72-89, Adam (early 20s) and Phillip (early 20s)

Adam and Phillip are good friends who have not talked for a while. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since they last met. Adam has fallen under the influence of Evelyn and is being made over by her—unbeknownst to either Adam or Phillip. Adam has lost some weight, is working out, and has had a nose job. Also since the last time Adam and Phillip met, Adam has had a romantic moment with Phillip’s fiancée, Jenny. In this scene, Phillip tells Adam he knows about the thing with Jenny because she told him. He also expresses amazement and disapproval about the way Adam is changing. Start, Phillip: “I’m serious, it looks good…” End, Phillip: “So long, matey.” For a shorter version, end on page 85. Adam: “You got it.”


by Donald Margulies (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 20-24, Jonathan (35-45) and Nick (40s)

Nick’s wife, Patricia, has gone outside to get vegetables for dinner, leaving him alone with her former lover and current houseguest, Jonathan Waxman. Nick doesn’t like this man at all, neither personally nor professionally. Furthermore, Nick is jealous of Jonathan’s relationship with Patricia. Nick is English and, though an educated man, he comes from a rural blue-collar background, and his accent should reflect those origins. This scene is a tense one, the kind that causes nervous laughter in the audience. Start, Nick: “Oops. You’ve spotted your painting.” End, Nick: “Here we hold on to our overcoats.”


by Peter Parnell (Samuel French)

Comedy: Act II, Scene 3, pp. 61-66, William (mid-20s) and Stephen (mid-20s)

William is convinced that his fiancée is having an affair, but he never suspects that it is with his best friend, Stephen. That is why he turns to Stephen for advice about what to do. The scene takes place in a restaurant. Eliminate the waitress’s lines. Start, William: “I think she’s having an affair.” End, Stephen: “Yes.”


by David Mamet (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 17-26, Fox (40s) and Gould (40s)

Fox pitches a movie project to his friend, Gould, a high-powered Hollywood studio executive. This project will star Doug Brown and is guaranteed to make a great deal of money. Fox is almost beside himself as he smells success. Start, Gould: “I know what you wanted to say, and you’re right. I know what you’re going to ask.” End, Gould: “But it ain’t crowded.”

Comedy-Drama: Act III, pp. 59-67, Fox (40s) and Gould (40s)

Gould slept with his sexy temp, Karen, last night and has decided, on her recommendation, to give the green light to a movie project based on a gloomy book about the perils of radiation. Fox enters the scene thinking that the Doug Brown project is still a “go” and is shocked to learn that Gould is putting it on the back burner in favor of the new project. Fox and Gould end up having a fistfight in the office. For scene-study purposes, start, Fox: “I’m not upset with you…Alright.” End, Gould: “Alright—ask it.”


by William Inge (adapted from the screenplay by F. Andrew Leslie, Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 51-54, Bud (18) and Ace (50)

The stock market is crashing, people are jumping out of windows in New York City, and Ace’s son is flunking out of Yale. In this brief, multilayered scene, the overbearing, self-made father attempts to understand his drifting and increasingly defiant son, in order to justify all the meddling he has done in the young man’s life and affairs. But there is no understanding, and they end up further apart than when they began. Start, Ace: “Sell out! What do you mean, sell out?” End, Bud: “I’ve got to get back to school, Dad. I’ll…see you later.”


by Dennis McIntyre (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 7-16, Val (28-35) and Willis (25-35)

Willis, a white car thief, is captured and handcuffed by Val, an African-American New York City cop. When the prisoner begins to spew racial epithets, the officer loses his temper and shoots Willis right through the heart. Then, realizing what he has done, Val restages the crime scene to make it look like a case of self-defense. This is an extremely difficult scene involving violence and overt racism of the vilest nature. Definitely not for novice actors. The scene calls for a handgun that shoots blanks, so you’ll have to figure out some way to approximate the sound of a gunshot. Also, you’ll need a pair of handcuffs. Start, Val: “Freeze, motherfucker! Freeze it!” Continue through the end of Act I, Scene 1. End, Willis: “No difference, man! Get it?!”

Drama: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 17-28, Val (28-35) and Parker (35-45)

Parker interrogates Val about the killing that took place earlier in the evening. Val is lying about the true events, claiming he shot the criminal as an act of self-defense. Actually, Val killed Willis in cold blood. Parker smells a lie, but can’t prove it. To play the entire scene, start, Parker: “Nice. Real clean. I’d say just about textbook.” End, Parker: “I hope so, Johnson. Unless you get nicked in the line of duty, you’re gong to be around for a long time.” For a shorter version, cut from “wife, two kids and a Buick” to “You didn’t happen to shoot it out.” Continue to the same end.


by Steve Metcalfe (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 23-28, Megs (late 30s) and Dave (late 30s)

The deeply buried shame of cowardice under fire is made fresh for Dave when his old Vietnam War buddy Megs unexpectedly shows up. Dave is hungover and, at any rate, doesn’t seem too happy to see Megs. (Note: you can probably update this play by changing the war from Vietnam to one of the Gulf Wars. The situation could just as easily have happened there.) Start, Megs: “She’s great, your sister, I like her.” End, Dave: “Yeah, this trout fishing is a great time.”


by Frank D. Gilroy (Samuel French)

Drama: Act I, Scene 2, pp. 20-28, John (50) and Timmy (21)

Timmy is home from World War II, and his father has taken him to a baseball game. Back in their Bronx apartment, they share a few beers and try to get to know one another. This is the kind of relationship in which neither father nor son has ever expressed his love. Despite a surface appearance of closeness and camaraderie, there is a deep chasm between the two men. Start, John: “I haven’t told that one in years.” End, John: “My family called her The Lady. To their minds it was an insult. How did we get on this?”

Drama: Act II, Scene 2, pp. 52-59, John (50) and Timmy (21)

It is 10 P.M., and Nettie has mysteriously and uncharacteristically been gone all day. As John and Timmy wait for her and contemplate calling the police, their conversation turns into a session of truth-telling. Timmy recalls how, as a sickly child, he lay in bed at night and dreaded the fights that took place if his father came home. Start, Timmy: “I remember sitting here like this the night she went to have John.” End, Timmy: “You pig.”


by William Inge (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, pp. 22-25, Alan (early 20s) and Hal (early 20s)

Alan is surprised when Hal shows up looking for work. He hasn’t seen Hal since college, when Hal borrowed his car and took off for California. Now Hal reports that things didn’t go so well in Hollywood and, even though he managed to get a screen test, he has given up on becoming a movie star. What Hal wants is earnest work, preferably something in management. At first, Alan balks and wants as little contact as possible with Hal. But when Hal becomes emotional and asks for a chance to prove himself, Alan says that he’ll get Hal a job. Start, Alan: “Hal! Hal! Come on over.” End, Hal: “Yah. That’s something I gotta learn…patience!”


by Tennessee Williams (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, Scene 1, pp. 7-10, Chance (29) and Dr. Scudder (36)

Dr. Scudder, one of Boss Finley’s underlings, tells Chance to get out of town before he gets hurt. Chance is determined not to leave St. Cloud without taking Heavenly Finley with him. Start, Chance: “How did you know I was here?” End, Dr. Scudder: “Heavenly and I are going to be married next month.”


by Richard Greenberg (Dramatists Play Service)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 20-24, Mason (30-50) and Darren (20s)

Darren Lemming is one of the most highly paid young professional ballplayers, with a contract for $106 million. He has also recently announced to the public that he is gay. In this scene, he meets his new financial advisor for the first time. Mason is an emotionally constricted man, also gay but not very demonstrative about it. He has a little bit of hero worship for Darren even though he is not a big baseball fan. Start, Mason: “Mr. Lemming—Mason Marzac: a pleasure to meet you!” End, Darren: “Well, that’s got to be a sign, too, right?”

Comedy-Drama: Act II, pp. 42-45, Mason (30-50) and Darren (20s)

Darren is demoralized by the reaction to his announcement about being gay. In this scene, he talks to his financial advisor about his options should he announce retirement from baseball tomorrow. Start, Mason: “…You nodded to me.” End, Darren: “Day after maybe.”

Comedy-Drama: Act III, pp. 54-56, Darren (20) and Davey (20)

Darren and Davey have been best friends, playing for opposing baseball teams. Davey is a family man, a religious type with conservative values. This scene is the first confrontation between the men after Darren publicly announces he is gay. It is the end of the friendship. Start, Darren: “I…uh…we haven’t talked…” End, Darren: “…so let me just put it this way, Davey: Drop dead.”


by Suzan-Lori Parks (Theatre Communications Group)

Comedy-Drama: Scene 1, pp. 9-21, Lincoln (mid-20s) and Booth (mid-20s)

Though there are other scenes for Lincoln and Booth in this play, this is my favorite. We get to see them together for the first time and to sense the tensions that exist in their brotherly rivalry. I’m suggesting that you start on page 9 because that is when Lincoln takes off his whiteface makeup. You can start at the top of the act if you want to work with the Lincoln costume and whiteface. And I’m suggesting that you stop on page 21 because that is when Lincoln picks up the guitar and starts singing. If you are an actor that can sing and play a guitar, then continue on to the end of the act. Start, Lincoln: “I was riding the bus. Really, I only had a minute to make my bus.…” End, Booth: “Good.”


by Bernard Slade (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, pp. 36-40, Scottie (51) and Jud (20)

Scottie, having been diagnosed with leukemia, is trying to establish a closer relationship with his son, Jud, who doesn’t yet know that his father is sick. As written, Scottie enters wearing a full-body chicken suit, in an attempt to make Jud laugh. Actors doing classwork will somehow have to approximate this or figure out a substitute costume. Start, Scottie: “Well, it’s good to see you can still laugh.” End, Scottie: “So do I, son. So do I.”


by Sam Shepard (Samuel French)

Comedy-Drama: Act I, Scene 4, pp. 25-33, Austin (early 30s) and Lee (early 40s)

Lee proudly dictates his movie scenario to his brother, Austin, who types it up. As a professional screenwriter, Austin can’t believe how outrageously bad Lee’s story is, but he has promised producer Saul Kimmer that he’ll help Austin prepare it. There is an underlying air of tension and competitiveness between the brothers. Start, Lee: “All right, now read it back to me.” End, Lee: “And the one who’s been chased doesn’t know where he’s going.”

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 5, pp. 34-39, Austin (early 30s) and Lee (early 40s)

Lee returns from his golf game with Saul Kimmer to report that the producer has given him an advance and made a firm commitment to produce his movie idea. Austin is flabbergasted by this turn of events, especially when he learns that Saul is putting everything—including his own movie project—on the back burner so that he can devote all his energy to selling Lee’s idea. You’ll need a golf club for this scene. Start, Austin: “He really liked it, huh?” End, Lee: “Relax. We’re partners now.”

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Scene 7, pp. 43-51, Austin (early 30s) and Lee (early 40s)

Austin, who is drunk and here waxing philosophical, watches Lee sitting at the kitchen table trying to type a screenplay, which he doesn’t know how to do. Lee asks for Austin’s professional help, but all Austin wants to do now is give it all up, wander in the desert, and perhaps engage in petty thievery—just like Lee does. Austin thinks that if Hollywood will buy a story as bad as Lee’s, nothing makes sense any more. After a while, the brothers start talking about their reclusive, drunken father, who also lives in the desert. Start, Austin: “Red sails in the sunset.” End, Austin: “Now that’s a true story. True to life.”


by Tennessee Williams (New Directions)

Drama: Part I, Scene 2, Writer (28) and Nightingale (50s)

This poignant scene begins with sobs and ends with a caress. Nightingale, a tubercular sketch artist, hears the younger man crying in his rooming-house cubicle and comes to comfort him. They speak of “the sound of loneliness,” human sorrow, death, and love. The writer tells Nightingale about a recent homosexual encounter, his first, and Nightingale begins to gently pull back the bed sheets. The entire scene runs ten pages and is appropriate for experienced actors. Start, Nightingale: “I want to ask you something.” End, Nightingale: “Shh, walls have ears! Lie back and imagine the paratrooper.”


by Arthur Miller (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, pp. 33-37, Eddie (40) and Alfieri (50s)

Eddie has come to Alfieri, a lawyer, hoping that something can be done to head off the developing romance between his niece Catherine and the illegal immigrant Rodolpho. Alfieri quickly recognizes that Eddie has more than parental interest in the young woman and advises him to let the lovers be. Start, Alfieri: “I don’t quite understand what I can do for you. Is there a question of law somewhere?” End, Eddie: “I’ll see you around.”


by Friedrich Durrenmatt (translated by Patrick Bowles, Grove Press)

Comedy-Drama: Act II, Alfred Ill (64) and Policeman (any age)

Claire Zachanassian, the richest woman in the world, has arrived in her poverty-stricken hometown after a forty-five-year absence. She then offers a million pounds to the residents if they’ll murder Alfred Ill, the man who done her wrong all those years ago. The offer alone causes a rise in prosperity because local citizens begin to purchase goods on credit. Of course, the only way they’ll be able to pay these bills when they come due is to commit murder. In this scene, Alfred Ill tries to have Zachanassian arrested for threatening his life, but the police officer won’t comply with his request. In fact, the cop is wearing a new pair of shoes. Omit Zachanassian’s interruptions. Also, you’ll need a rifle or pistol. Start, Policeman: “Ill. What can I do for you? Take a seat. You’re trembling.” End, Alfred: “It’s me you’re hunting down.”


by Edward Albee (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: Act I, pp. 17-22, George (46) and Nick (30)

George and Nick, who have been drinking heavily, get to know one another as Martha shows Honey where the bathroom is. Nick isn’t accustomed to George’s game-playing and becomes defensive as the older man talks about his relationship with his wife, Martha, as well as of politics at the college. At one point, Nick threatens to take his wife and leave. Begin after Martha and Honey exit. Start, George: “So, what’ll it be?” End, George: “You asked me if I knew women…Well, one of the things I do not know about them is what they talk about while the men are talking. I must find out some time.”

Drama: Act II, pp. 50-55, George (46) and Nick (30)

Martha is in the kitchen nursing Honey. George and Nick talk about how much money their wives had when they married them. George tells Nick that he’ll have to sleep with plenty of faculty wives if he wants to climb the ladder. This excerpt is ideal for workshop use. Begin as Martha leaves the room. Start, George: “No, Martha, I did not clean up the mess I made. I’ve been trying for years to clean up the mess I made.” End, George: “No, baby…you almost think you’re serious, and it scares the hell out of you.”


by Brian Clark (Dramatists Publishing Company)

Drama: Act II, Ken Harrison (35-45) and Dr. Travers (40-55)

After learning that Ken wants to commit suicide, Dr. Travers, the hospital psychiatrist, pays him a visit. The doctor, however, is already predisposed to diagnose Ken as irrational. In this scene, Ken pins Dr. Travers to the wall, philosophically speaking. Start, Dr. Travers: “Mr. Harrison?” End, Dr. Travers: “I’m sorry if I upset you, Mr. Harrison.”


by Edward Albee (Dramatists Play Service)

Drama: One-act play, pp. 5-15, Jerry (late 30s) and Peter (early 40s)

The Zoo Story is a medium-length, one-act play that is too long for most workshops. As such, you’ll have to decide whether to work on the first or second half. Keep in mind, however, that the second part is very physical and violent. The opening moments of the play contain a more interesting game of cat-and-mouse. In this scene, Peter is sitting on a bench in New York City’s Central Park, enjoying a free afternoon, when a strange man approaches and strikes up a conversation. Start, Jerry: “I’ve been to the zoo.” End, Jerry: “You do? Good.”