Rice’s language shimmers with humanity.
— Hamilton Clancy, Artistic Director, The Drilling Company (NYC)
All Shorts are 1 to 15 minutes long.
All Shorts call for a bare stage (sometimes with a simple set piece)
or unit set (sometimes with flexible space).
A DIFFERENT DAY. Drama. 2F; 1M/F. (under 10 min.) A lyrical play without words. On a small planet, a young person’s daily ritual is watering a plant. They bring each other joy. When a sprout appears by the plant, the young person’s world is turned upside down. Room for music, sound and light effects.
ADAPT OR DIE. Comedy. 1F; 1M. (10 min.) In Australia, two Bower Birds are seeking a mate.
AND THEN THE ELEMENTS SPOKE. Drama. 1M; 1F; 1M/F. (10 min.) A young African calls on environmental elements to protect the Kalahari Desert from an American prospector looking for oil.
BEFORE YESTERDAY WAS BETTER. Drama. 1F; 1M. (10-15 min.) In a state with liberal gun-regulation laws (Vermont), a man and his granddaughter must make a moral decision. Should they protect each other and a friend who committed murder, or should they follow the law?
BETWEEN DOLLYWOOD AND DISNEY. Comedy/drama. 1F; 1M. (10 -12 min.) The longtime marriage of an elderly couple is strengthened when they face growing memory problems together.
BIGGER THAN PRETEND. Dark comedy. 2M/F. (10 min.) A bond is formed between homeless lovers.
BITTER CHERRIES. Drama. 1F; 1M. (5 min.) Teens on the brink of sex.
THE BOWER BOYS. Comedy. 3M; 1F. (10 min.) Sir David Attenborough narrates accurate science in this wacky, sexy story. Two Great Bowerbirds build very different bowers to attract a female, but their mating dance turns her off. Written for Conservation Theatre by Michael Birch, Robin Rice, Maureen Van Trease.
BRIDAL WREATH. Comedy/drama. 1F Caucasian; 1M African-American. (10 min.) An interracial couple is due to get married in an hour, but her fears intervene.
BRONCO BUSTER. Comedy. 2M; 1F. (10-12 min.) 1885 – The Arizona Territory. Sculptor Frederic Remington sends hung-over cowboy Gabby to find a horse for a model. Gabby offers his own old horse, Betty. Remington is aghast. Gabby doesn’t live up to his prettified vision of the Old West and neither does Betty. (“I fell out of my chair laughing.” “Smart, funny, fantastic language, distinct characters – all with dramatic arcs, historic and yet contemporary – not to mention I learned a bit of art history.”– audience members at NJ Rep.)
BUDFUD129ZK. Comedy. 2F; 2M. (10 min.) A scientist must assure that a female panda is impregnated. A friend tries to stop her, but she must choose between love of country and love for an old flame.
BURYING ELEPHANTS. Drama. 2F. (15 min.) Two women have been having an affair unbeknownst to one woman’s husband. She is pregnant — the very big elephant in the room. What will get buried?
COUNTING CHICKENS. Comedy. 2M; 1F. (10 min.) A takeoff on “The Emperor’s New Clothes” takes a jab at the 45th U.S. President.
DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN. Comedy. 1F; 1M. (10 min.) The Oracle of the Yankees tries to find the answer to Yogi Berra’s slump.
A DIFFERENT DAY. Drama. 3F. (~10 min.) A play without words. A young girl loses her only friend, a lily plant, on a very small planet way out in space.
EDNA MAE AND SALLY SERIOUSLY CONTEMPLATE SAN DIEGO. Comedy. 2F. (10 min.) Two middle-aged Midwestern ladies have ventured from their sheltered lives for a trip to California. Their eyes have been opened to the world, and they don’t want to go home. But … (Developed into full-length EVERYDAY EDNA MAE.)
ESCAPE IN A WHITE TOYOTA. Drama. 2F; 1M. (10 min.) Essentially a one-woman monologue (the elderly woman has only one line). As an elderly woman painstakingly makes her way across a parking lot, escaping from a hospital, her thoughts are voiced by a younger version of herself. Visions of her husband (increasingly young) block her progress. She finally realizes she’ll never escape unless she deals with him. Absurdist but frighteningly real.
FIRE AND ICE. Comedy. 2M/F. (~7 min.) An ice cube and a candle flame: Incompatible lovers.
GLOOM, DOOM, AND SOUL-CRUSHING MISERY. Comedy. 1M; 1F; 1M/F. (10 min.) A depressed Russian couple yearns to be even more depressed, but a cheery travel agent offers to make their dreams come true. The play is in 2008: The Best Ten-Minute Plays 3 or More Actors.
GLUE AND FLEA. Dark comedy. 2F. (10 min.) A mildly-retarded young girl and an elderly woman with aphasia find common ground.
HAPPIWY EVER AFTER. Comedy. 2M. (10 min.) In a far-away kingdom a sleeping beauty with a speech impediment has been waiting for his handsome prince for eons. The prince, who has speech problems of his own, finally arrives, but is unwilling to commit. Will this fractured tale end with happiwy ever after? Wacky, gay version of PURITY AND THE PRINCE. (See below.)
IN THE BEGINNING… Comedy. 1F; 1M. (10 min.) Finally, the answer to who created the world. A showdown between an artist who creates and a research scientist who observes. Creationism vs evolution. A whirlwind trip that takes Earth from a dry, dead place to Adam and Eve.
IN TRANSIT. Drama. 2F. (10 Min.) Elderly women find friendship in a retirement home. Inspired by Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans” and trains. (“The standout play of the evening by far.” — reviewer, NYC production)
IT’S ALL IN THE BREAST. Comedy. 2M. (1 min.) Two male turkeys hang out on the corner watching all the girl turkeys go by. View Screaming Media Production.
JOSÉWULF. Blank verse. 3M/F. (10 min.) Updated BEOWULF. Mexican hero defeats American despot. (Winner, Santa Ana River Review Drama Prize (fall, 2016). The editors said: “JOSÉWULF is a poetical act of political resistance, a great modern homage piece, and a wonderful way to use the theatre for activism.”)
JUST ANOTHER GEORGIA MORNING. Absurdist/poetic. 2F; 1M. (10 min.) A cow gives birth and the bull loves the calf, but it takes an angst-ridden French frog to bring happiness to the meadow.
LAKEESHA CROSSES THE BORDER. Comedy/drama. 2M/F. (~10 min.) An elephant is stolen from Africa and finds him/herself in Mongolia. A camel is extremely unhappy about the illegal immigrant and refuses to offer water even as death faces the elephant.
LUST & LIES. Drama. 1M; 1F. (10 min.) Following a crime that really happened in 1831 in rural Pennsylvania, the wife of a murdered man and her lover are on trial. In a dramatic, rapid-fire recounting of their relationship and the tragedy, the two go head-to-head. (Excerpted from full-length drama LUST & LIES.)
MENAGERIE. A collection of nine short plays about animals. Each play has at least one animal character. May be performed as a complete evening. There are a few extra plays so you can pick and choose if you don’t want to perform all of the plays in the collection.
THE NEST. Comedy/drama. 3F. (15 min.) Mary Tyler Moore, a stage manager and Paula Zahn do battle over a hawk nest. Based on true events.
NOT STILL LIFE. Drama. 2F. (10 min.) Painter Vanessa Bell and her sister novelist Virginia Woolf try to work in the same room, but their ideas are so big the space can’t contain both of them. Inspired by the painting Still Life by Vanessa Bell.
OCCUPY. Drama with comedy. 3M; 1F. (10 min.) Theatrical activists in New York City’s Zuccotti Park stage a contemporary, political “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
THE OTHER SHOE. Comedy/drama. 1M; 1F. (8-10 min.) Macabre, funny and somehow also poetic look at getting rid of a body and the unpleasant memories that surround it.
PROBABILITY. Comedy. 2M/F. (10 min.) In the future civilization is evolving backwards. The humans in the play are turning into apes, though one of them refuses to see what is happening.
PURITY AND THE PRINCE. Comedy/fable. 1M; 1F; 1/MF. (10 min.) Same story as HAPPIWY EVER AFTER with the addition of an eighth dwarf, Horney. (See above.) A self-centered Sleeping Beauty finally meets her Prince, but all is not a bed of roses. (“The play sparkles!” – Jewel Seehaus-Fisher, Artistic Director, Teachers Theatre of NJ., “An incredible balance of humor and depth.” – Elisa Whiteman, actor in PURITY AND THE PRINCE.)
RELIANCE. Drama. 1F; 1M. (~9 min.) A young religious woman and an elderly atheist man are shipwrecked on a tiny island. The tide is coming in.
SAVE THE TURKEY! 2F; 2M. (10 min.) Political wackiness ensues when Farmer Brown, who bears a strong resemblance to a certain Republican President, wants young Tom Turkey to serve – or rather, wants to serve Tom for Thanksgiving. Tom’s mom and Martha Stewart take sides. It all turns out fine for the turkeys.
SECRETS ON A CHINESE BED. Comedy. 1M; 1F. (10 min.) A Russian couple is visiting China. To be truly Russian, they feel, they must be miserable and unfortunately everything in the Chinese hotel is very pleasant.
SEDUCING RAMONA. Comedy. 1M; 1F. (10-15 min.) A playwriting cavewoman prepares to send a script to a producer, but her husband wants her to cook the animal he just dragged home for supper. (You had the audience captivated right through to the very end. – Tracy Eccleston, director, She Speaks, Kitchener, Canada.)
SIMON AND CARBUNCLE SPLIT. Comedy. 2M; 1F. (10 min.) In a subway car, two musicians from the Midwest who just arrived in New York City to make it big, find themselves in the midst of the zombie apocalypse.
SNUG HARBOR. Drama. 2F. (10 min.) A teenager, newly jobless and on the spectrum, is at risk of homelessness. A young girl from an earlier time meets her on the Staten Island ferry. Past and present collide.
SOMEWHERE DARK. Drama. 2M/F. (Est. 6 min.) In darkness, from beginning to end, two lights express new friendship, courtship, and loss through movement and changes in color.
SQUEEZING PAPAYAS. Comedy. 1M; 1F. (10 min.) Based on real people and events. Ex-President of Mexico, Jose Lopez Portillo, and his wife, Sasha Montenegro, former porn star, struggle over possession of his mansion and discover the love which has been buried beneath french fries, sex, and greed. At Senior Theatre Conference in Columbus, OH, noted for best use of a metaphorical fake breast. Don’t ask.
THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW. Absurdist. 2F; 1M/F. (10 min.) Lots of laughs but philosophical subtext. Two nuns are banished to an icy nowhere place, traveling on a single ski (with a personality of its own). They want to be redeemed, but a suspicious penguin appears and all hell breaks loose.
Funny, edgy, wild and sweet! From the first moment to the final icicle battle, you had me!
– Michael Oakes, NYC actor, writer
SYLVIA AND JACKIE. Drama. 3F; 1M. (10 min.) Two sisters wrestle with love, sibling rivalry, and life and death on a hospital rooftop one fateful and beautiful New England autumn.
TAKE A BITE OUT OF LIFE! Comedy. 2F; 1M. (10 min.) Middle-aged sisters and a charming Scottish crew member one evening on an ill-fated cruise ship in 1912.
TASTE THE BABA. Comedy. 2F. (1 min.) Better to live fully or cautiously? The end may be around the next bend. You never know.
TEA SHOULD BE HOT. Comedy/drama. 2F. (10 min.) A Jewish woman is unhappy that her son is marrying a Christian woman. Will she loosen her grip and open her arms?
THANK GOD YOU’RE WHITE! Comedy with bite. 1M;2F. (10 min.) Hotel personnel manager needs a new housekeeper, but balks at hiring an immigrant. Immigrant has the last word.
TOMORROW’S SOUP. Comedy. 4F. (10 min.) Serious spoof on a reality cooking show. Three witches brew up soups that will forecast the future for the world. Inspired by the painting Starry Starry Night.
TUGBOAT LOVE. Comedy. 1F; 2M. (15 min.) No depth of plot or subtle subtext in this one. Written to be performed in a swimming pool (works on dry land too). Li’l Toot, is in love with the Statue of Liberty, but is so tongue-tied he can barely “toot.” His lady love – fed up with immigration quotas , wants to return to France. Gull wants to go too to experience French cuisine. Will Toot get up his nerve to speak? Will he tow the Lady to France? Will Gull ever get a healthy meal? Will the Lady and Toot find true love? See one-act SPLASH! for a longer version. (“A scream!” – audience member, Texas.) For a preview or to purchase, go to Brooklyn Publishers.
TURN ME ON, BABUSHKA. Comedy. 1M; 1F. (10 min.) A newly-married couple love each other, but can’t figure out how to turn on passion and desire. Secret fetishes are revealed and all will be well.
VIRAL PIZZA. Comedy. 2M/F (actually, a male cat and a female mouse). (10 min.) Lady mouse sneaks into an apartment to grab a slice of pizza for her family. The cat who lives there, bored out of his skull, wants her to stay and play. Their bargaining becomes political. Finally she proposes a plan to provide him with entertainment and her with pizza. Together they’ll upstage Pizza Rat, the YouTube sensation.
WOODY AND THE LION KING. Comedy. 2M. (10 min.) Woody Allen is running to escape Mia Farrow’s wrath across the border into Mexico, but his way is blocked by a lion fleeing into the U.S. The lion wants to go on Broadway in THE LION KING. Eventually, the two strike a deal but not before Mia almost discovers Woody. Inspired by the painting The Sleeping Gypsy.
WRONG WAY, DUDE. Comedy. 2M; 1F. (10 min.) Geek vs football star. Who gets the girl this time? Nope, you’re wrong.
YOLO. Comedy. 1M; 2F. (10 min.) Unit set but good for an outside performance too. A sort-of dashing prince in a faraway kingdom that is sort-of Russia must find a bride. In an airport he meets Lucy Lou, a flexible gymnast with an unfortunately squeaky voice and Alice, a disgusting troll with a gorgeous singing voice. The women crave his palace, but… Don’t look for a serious moral.
…Robin Rice is a fine writer in the 10-minute play form.
– Lawrence Harbison, Senior Editor, Smith and Kraus, Inc., and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books
For inquiries, contact the playwright.