One Act Plays

A suite of three linked one act plays. A thread runs through them, in that the first, ‘Encounters’ is set in a coffee shop; the second, ‘Nighthawks’ is set in a New York diner and is based on the subject depicted in a painting. The third, ‘The Art of Criticism’ is also themed around a painting.


Star performance award ‘Encounters’ was awarded third prize in the Oxfordshire Drama Network one act play competition, 2012.

‘Encounters’ is set in a coffee shop and takes the audience through a sequence of six linked scenarios, overhearing the conversations between the customers as they come and go with Alex, the waitress, providing the focus. Some of the scenarios are serious or confrontational, some humorous, each with their own payoff and all leading to an unexpected conclusion. The time is the present, so that the language and references are of today. The audience is presented with a chance meeting between a separated couple; a desperate salesperson’s conversation with his/her client, with apt comments from another customer; a university lecturer’s dilemma and the possible solution; the problems created by an expensive impulse purchase; a man asking for directions and getting some he didn’t want and finally some unwanted sibling rivalry.

Cast: 4M and 5F (Easily adaptable to 5M and 5F if desired.)

The running time is approximately 45 minutes and requires a simple set which can be embroidered if time allows.

View a performanceNighthawks

Star performance award ‘Nighthawks’ was awarded first prize in the Oxfordshire Drama Network One Act Play Competition 2013.’

Nighthawks‘Nighthawks’ takes Edward Hopper’s well-known painting of the same name as its starting point, setting out to provide the backstory of the characters depicted in the painting and their air of loneliness and isolation. The play is set in 1941, with some of the action set prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor and some in the aftermath. What has happened to the characters to leave them looking as they do? The audience is presented with a possible reason and are left to draw his or hers own conclusion. As far as possible the action and dialogue is true to the period, as are the facts on which the dialogue is based.

Please note: there are two versions the play as the latter part of the play can be seen from the different perspectives of the characters. Directors can choose whichever version they consider to be most effective.

Cast: 5M and 2F. Running time approximately 45 minutes; a relatively simple set which can be based on that used in ‘Encounters’.

The Art of Criticism

‘The Art of Criticism’ revolves around an art critic and a visitor to a gallery and their different interpretations of a famous painting, in this case a Mark Rothko abstract. The critic’s rather pompous take on the meaning of the painting is challenged by that of the down-to-earth visitor; one man’s interpretation is as good as another’s.

Very light in tone.

2M (or 1M and 1F if desired.) Running time approximately 10 minutes.

Very simple set.