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ONE ACT PLAYS

 

Derek Webb has written a great number of one act plays, many of which have been professionally performed and published. They vary in length from half an hour to one hour, making them ideal for festivals as well as part of a complete evening's entertainment.

The performing rights for most of the 1-act plays here are handled by New Theatre Publications. A link following each entry will take you straight to the relevant page of the NTP site where you can download a copy of the play for evaluation free of charge.

For plays which are not published, please email info@derekwebb.co.uk for details of performing rights.


"The master of festival ready plays" Amateur Stage Magazine


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You and Me Both (2M, 2F)

1-act comedy - running time approx 50 mins

Gareth and Daisy have been invited to stay for free in a holiday cottage – a renovated barn – by the affluent owners, David and Fleur, who live next door.

The trouble is Daisy knows David all too well: she used to be his wife, until he had an affair with Fleur.
Now they are expected round for dinner and Daisy is beginning to worry what her ex-husband might let slip.

While next door, in David and Fleur's house, they have just received some very worrying news from an unexpected quarter. And so the stage is set for an hilarious comedy of personal relationships.


Characters:
DAISY: Pleasant, undemanding and steers clear of controversy whenever possible, but perfectly capable of making her views clear if she wants. 30s-40s
GARETH: Daisy's husband. Normally very placid, part owner of company making solar panels. Believes in green values, doesn't suffer fools gladly. 30s-40s
FLEUR: Perfectly pleasant but pretentious woman who is always keen to impress. She probably has never had to work for a living. 30s-40s
DAVID: Fleur's seemingly long-suffering husband who works in stockbroking. Measures success in money, but basically wants an easy life. 30s-40s

The performance licence for this play is handled by Comedy Plays - go to www.comedyplays.co.uk


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Calling Time

Flexible from 2M, 2F to 12M, 12F



1-act play - running time variable from 30 mins to 60 mins

Calling Time offers any company great versatility. Not only does it have variable casting (from 2M, 2F to 12M, 12F) but it can vary in length from around 30 minutes to an hour. So it's ideal for festivals as well as a one-act evening.

'Calling Time' has already had dozens of performances including a New Zealand production at Little Theatre which was voted 'Best Production of 2013'!

Set in a pub, Calling Time is made up of five linked short plays that take place the same evening:

A woman shares a revelation with her friend about her recently deceased husband. A man meeting a woman on a blind date has unforeseen consequences. When an MP meets a journalist who will come out on top? Two apparent strangers meet in a pub, but appearances can be very deceptive, especially when one can't keep her thoughts to herself. And when a young man carrying a suspicious bag comes in, why do thoughts turn to terrorism?

They are all two-handers varying from straight comedies to more thought-provoking ones, together with a short intro and outro scene. And, by dropping one or more scenes, the running time can be easily reduced if necessary.

"Worthy of comparison with Alan Ayckbourne's Confusions"
That's what the review of Calling Time in Amateur Stage magazine said.

And press reviews of past productions have been equally effusive:

"A series of perfectly pitched dark-light comedies... this was quality from start to finish... a great show." Salisbury Journal

Calling Time by Derek Webb is available from New Theatre Publications, with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com


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Dirty Business (2F, 1M)

1-act comedy - running time approx 60 mins (a 50 mins version for festivals is also available)

'Dirty Business' is a great topical comedy about spending cuts, the cleaning business and a pair of lacy knickers!

Synopsis: Cuts are on their way big time at the local County Council as it struggles to find ways to meet Government spending targets. Josie and Angela are cleaning the office of one of the Council's Department Heads one evening when they come across a file which seems to show that their jobs are on the line too.

They also discover some incriminating evidence which seems to show the same Department Head is guilty of marital infidelity. Armed with this, they set out to try and persuade him to change his mind about some of the planned cuts. But not everything goes quite according to plan...

Characters:
JOSIE: Office cleaner 20s-40s
ANGELA: Office cleaner with a penchant for pub quizzes 20s-40s.
ROGER: Executive with the Council

Running time: 60 minutes, but can be cut to 50 mins for festivals if required.
email info@derekwebb.com uk and we'll send you the 50 minute cut down version.

"Derek Webb consistently produces funny and highly accessible comedies, and Dirty Business is perfect for a one act festival." Amateur Stage Magazine March 2012 - See the complete review on the 'Reviews' page

The performing rights for Dirty Business are handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com

See stills from the Fluellen Theatre production of this play in the 'Photo Gallery'

See a short video extract from 'Dirty Business' here: Dirty Business Video

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CCTV (3M, 1F)

1-act comedy - running time approx 40 mins

In the security control room of The Oaks shopping centre, Rich is coming on duty for the night shift, relieving Alex and Jane, two other guards. Alex is decidedly non-pc with a penchant for zooming in the CCTV cameras onto unsuspecting women shoppers.

Rich is far more conformist and rather pedantic in his attitudes, but he has obviously learnt to put up with Alex's childish behaviour. Jane has a penchant for shopping with a capital S and is a bright, rather feisty addition to the security team.

It is, it seems, an ordinary evening at The Oaks – until the arrival of Keith, a robber of quite breathtaking incompetence, intent on robbing the shopping centre...

Characters:
ALEX: 20-40, security guard – treats most things as a bit of a joke
RICH: 30-50, security guard – treats things far more seriously
JANE: 20-40 security guard – treats shopping with reverence
KEITH: 20-40 would-be robber – treats himself to whatever he can lay his hands on

"CCTV is a well written, very funny one act play that is sure to please." Amateur Stage Magazine - Review,

"This is undoubtedly Derek Webb's finest and most focused offering to date. A real gem." South Wales Evening Post

"Webb's strength is his sharply observed character studies which present the protagonists as recognisable people with all their foibles." Western Telegraph

The performance rights for CCTV are handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com


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Losing It (1M, 1F)

1-act comedy - running time approx 45 mins

Jack is an actor who's lost for words. Now he's also lost his leading lady – and the way things are going, he's also losing the plot and he feels he might be on the verge of losing his mind too.

Things start off well enough until it's clear that Jack's other actor has not turned up. His attempt to keep the play going soon gets too much for one member of the audience who begins remonstrating with him, then gets sucked into appearing in the play herself...

Characters:
JACK: a very earnest young actor
WOMAN: a self-assured woman

"Fluellen Theatre Company's new Lunchtime Theatre season got off to a flying start with this nicely observed two-handed comedy from the pen of Derek Webb"
South Wales Evening Post

"This is a very fine comedy with some wonderful moments. Derek Webb consistently produces first class scripts for the stage and I would urge readers to consider this or one of his other excellent plays." Amateur Stage magazine, January 2013

The performing rights to Losing It are handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com


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Waiting for Gordon (5F or 4F 1M)

1-act comedy - running time approx 45 mins

Three women are attending a DIY class at their local college, when they are joined by a fourth, Helen. They are all, in their different ways, wanting to assert their independence and not rely on men.

Jo doesn't like men full stop and her motivation is clear-cut: she simply prefers a man-free zone to live in. Linda has recently discovered that her husband has been having an affair with a woman twenty years her junior, and sees the DIY class (together with other similar interests) as being a diversion, something to keep her functioning. She also views it as a way of putting two fingers up to her wayward husband Gordon. She's just waiting for him to return to her, so she might have the pleasure of rejecting him, like he has rejected her.

Helen has recently been widowed and views the class as a necessary thing to do. She feels at a total loss without John, her husband. Tracy has had a history of problems with men and is just waiting for the right man to come along...

Characters:
JO: A feisty woman in her mid 30's - early 40's, most definitely not interested in men.
LINDA: Somewhat blousy middle-age woman. Looks after herself and cares about her appearance.
TRACY: Young, mid 20's woman with a slightly diffident nature, generally unsure about herself, but knows more than she sometimes lets on.
HELEN: Mid 50's woman, recently widowed, feeling at a loss and trying to come to terms with life and herself.
ADMINISTRATOR: The college administrator, an efficient, friendly woman or man in her/his mid thirties.

The performance licence for this play is handled by Comedy Plays - go to www.comedyplays.co.uk

See stills from the South Woodham Amateur Theatre production of this play in the 'Photo Gallery'

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Celebulite (3F, 1M)

1-act comedy - running time approx 45 mins

We live in a celebrity-obsessed society. So, when minor-celebrities measure their success on how many times they have appeared on a reality TV show and how often they are recognised in the street, what must it be like for them to lose their looks overnight?

In Celebulite, we meet Victoria Ingram-Brown - who wakes up one morning to discover she has aged 20 years - and Russell, who has put on five stone. Both turn up at their agents, Hobson Associates, to discover that he has moved offices and the cleaner, Katherine, can't (or won't) provide any information.

Their frustration and anger builds as they contemplate what their futures will be now that their appearance has so radically changed. For Victoria it is devastating, while Russell is slightly more philosophical. But everything changes again when Margery, Harry Hobson's PA, arrives on the scene. Is something altogether more sinister happening, or is this reality TV gone mad? Celebulite examines the cult of the celebrity in a witty yet thought-provoking way.

Characters:
VICTORIA - Appears to be middle-aged, yet still attractive woman who believes herself to be only 25.
RUSSELL - Late 20s to early 30s, looking overweight, but claims to be five stones lighter than he appears.
KATHERINE - 20s to 50s, woman cleaner - a 'job's worth' who won't stand any nonsense. Definitely working class, and proud of it.
MARGERY - 30s to 50s, PA to the owner of Hobson Associates. Calm, professional, a bit scary probably.

Celebulite was first performed on 25th April 2008 at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven. The cast was as follows: Victoria Ingram-Brown: Jackie McCoan; Katherine: Maggie Blumsen; Russell: Roger Leese; Margery: Julie Muckleston

"A thought-provoking and very funny piece of theatre." South Wales Evening Post - theatre review.

The performance licence for this play is handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com

See stills from this play performed by Talespinners Theatre Company in the 'Photo Gallery'

See a short video extract from 'Celebulite' here: Celebulite video extract

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Charles Dickens' The Chimes
8m 3f (4m 1f with doubling)

Adapted by Derek Webb from Charles Dickens' classic 'Christmas book' (70 mins approx running time)

'The Chimes' is the second of Charles Dickens' Christmas books, published in 1844, a year after 'A Christmas Carol'.

It is the story of humble Toby Veck, ticket porter, who spends his life running errands for other people, while trying to support his daughter Meg.

Toby seems to be one of society's victims, proceeding inevitably towards death with little hope of self-determination. But, on New Year's Eve, his outlook is converted from despair to hope by the spirits of the chimes.

In this new adaptation of the classic Dickens' tale, Toby learns the importance of love and hope in a most extraordinary way.

"Derek Webb has done well to capture the atmosphere of Dickens' London in this short adaptation. The characters are very well defined and the moral of the story comes across very strongly. The Chimes would be a good choice for anyone looking for a seasonal production that is a little different from the norm."
Amateur Stage review, September 2013

The performing rights for The Chimes are handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com


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A present from Santa (1M, 1F)

A one act play. Approx running time: 60 mins

Mark is a 24 year old website whiz-kids working for Surprising Gifts, an internet-based toy and gift company who is having to reorganise the database and website in time for the expected Christmas rush. While he’s working, he is interrupted by a young school girl who announces that she has hacked into their computer system and breached their firewall with a devastating virus, one that could potentially destroy their company.

Characters in order of appearance

MARK: A young webmaster, bright who enjoys business and pleasure in equal measure.

JESSICA: A twelve year old schoolgirl, pretty and perhaps quite slight, but with definite inner strength (can be played by an older girl, but must look young)

My Quiet Life (3M, 1F)

 

A youth play Running time approx 30 minutes - 3M, 2F

Synopsis: Megan has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She washes her hands – a lot. She also has a brother called Peter who writes poetry and watches seabirds. 'My Quiet Life' explores Megan's world and her relationship with her brother, her therapist, her mother and her life.

Characters:

Megan: about 16

Peter - her brother: about 19

Ian - therapist: early 20s

Megan's Mum - in the 1990s: about 16

Colin: about 16
Performing rights for 'My Quiet Life' are handled by comedy plays.co.uk - comedyplays.co.uk


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Roy Brown: Untitled (2M, 2F)

1-act comedy - running time approx 60 mins (Can be cut to 50 mins for festivals)

Roy Brown is a man always on the lookout for an easy way to make a living. And modern art looks just the ticket... Seeing how much money there is to be made, and seeing how easy it looks to him, Roy reckons turning out a few pieces himself will be rather a doddle. Needless to say, encouraged by his friend Jane (and ably hindered by his mate Rhys) things don't quite go to plan.

This is the second comedy to feature the eponymous Roy Brown. The first – 'Bringing Back the Bluestones' – achieved national notoriety when it was first performed! See full length plays to find out more.

Characters:
CORDELIA LANSBURY – 30 -50 Art gallery owner and performance artist
ROY BROWN – Carpenter, opportunist and wishful thinker
JANE – Roy's friend who's just a mate but we detect she might desire something more
RHYS – a drinking mate of Roy's and a useful sounding board for his ideas

'Roy Brown: Untitled' was first produced at the Grand Theatre, Swansea by Fluellen Theatre Company. The cast was as follows: Cordelia - Claire Novelli; Roy - James Scannell; Jane – Lauralee Nicole; Rhys – Huw Richards; Director: Peter Richards.

"There is much to like about this new work from the master of festival ready plays, the wordplay around Grayson Perry and his 'alt-er-e-go' Claire, amused me most, but there is glorious silliness in almost every minute of this fairly substantial one act offering." Amateur Stage magazine, July 2013 - for the full review, see the 'Review' page

The performing rights to Roy Brown: Untitled are handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com


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Man's View (3F, 1M)

1-act comedy - running time approx 45 mins

Synopsis: Thanks to Friends Reunited, Three young women, Carol, Ann and Judy, are having a reunion in a wine bar one evening. It's the first time they've been together for fifteen years since leaving school.

The play opens as they arrive back, slightly the worse for drink, at Carol's flat - a very upmarket warehouse conversion. Carol is keen to impress the others. She is married to a successful publisher, Judy is married with a young child and Ann is still single, but happy working in a dress shop.

As their talk continues, and more drink is consumed, they begin to disclose more and more about their private lives. And when Carol suggests playing a kind of truth game, secrets they have kept hidden for years emerge with disastrous consequences.

Characters:
CAROL: Early 30s, enjoys spending money and the lifestyle she lives
JUDY: Early 30s, pleasant and more down to earth
ANN: Early 30s, happy with her lot
DAVE: Mid 30s, Carol's successful publisher husband.

Man's View premiered at the Grand Theatre, Swansea in September 2008. The cast was as follows: Ann - Charlotte Rogers; Judy - Liza Ludbrook; Carol- Eloise Howe; Dave - Nick Richards. The play was directed by Peter Richards for Fluellen Theatre Company.

"A neatly presented adult comedy with not just one twist in the tale, but two." South Wales Evening Post - theatre review.

The performance licence for this play is handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com

See stills from the Aldermaston Players production of this play in the 'Photo Gallery'

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Getting the Breaks (3M, 3F)

A ONE ACT PLAY FOR A YOUTH CAST: 3M (teens) 2F (teens) 1F (20s)

SYNOPSIS:

Jason and Zoe were going out together. Now Zoe claims she is pregnant – and tells her teacher Miss Priestly. Ben and Sarah are friends. He is unhappy that his mother won't let him out at night. Sarah thinks he should stand up for himself.

Berwyn dreams of getting the perfect break in snooker and beating the record.

We hear from all these teenagers, their hopes and fears. We begin to understand a little of what makes them who they are. When Zoe attempts suicide, lives converge, briefly touching, before going their own way again.

Characters:
JASON: about 17
ZOE: about 17
SARAH: 16 and a bit of a loud mouth
BEN: 16 - always feels put upon and not without reason
BERWYN: just turned 16 - a fanatical snooker player
MISS PRIESTLY: Young teacher in her early 20s

" This is a play that a young audience would enjoy and the author should be congratulated for creating an educational script that avoids preaching." Amateur Stage Magazine - Review, April 2010.

The performance licence for this play is handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com

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Needle Time (2M, 1F or M)

1-act play - running time approx 45 mins

SYNOPSIS: Rob is an ageing hippy DJ, warm but cynical. When Suzie, the new girl at the radio station, comes in he's not sure what to make of her, nor she of him.

She's trying to get him to play her brother's new record. He’s more concerned in scoring points and showing off. Is anything he says actually true? Or is it all meaningless banter?

Characters:
ROB PETERS: A disc jockey - early to mid fifties, warm but cynical
SUZIE HUGHES: Young, mid twenties, smart young woman who wants to work in radio
NIGHT MANAGER: 40's or 50's man or woman - obviously good at his/her job.

There are also a number of parts all of which can be played by members of the cast. These are as follows: Station Announcer Hare (a character part in a radio commercial) Tortoise (another character part in a radio commercial) Voice Over Announcer In addition, there is a sung station ident required and a recording of a local band

The performing rights for Needle Time are handled by New Theatre Publications with a free download review copy available here: plays4theatre.com

The sound effect referred to in the script is available as an mp3 free to companies performing the play. Right-click here to download your free FX!

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My Funny Valentine (1M, 2F)

1-act play - running time approx 45 mins

When Chris gives his wife Nicola a present of some saucy undies as well as a card on Valentine's Day, it's with the hope of spicing up their marriage. She is a successful advertising executive, whose career seems to be assuming more and more importance.

Perhaps the pressure of work is the reason that she has forgotten to get him anything. In the post, she also gets another card from someone called Stuart who she doesn't know. But he seems to know her and isn't content with just sending a card...

Characters:
CHRIS: Mid - late 30s, works in IT - competent, but not a high-flier
NICOLA: His wife mid 30s. Works as an executive in an advertising agency. Career-minded and successful, but very likeable.
DI: Assistant to Nicola at work - and also a good friend.

Youth (2M, 1F)

 

1 Act play. Approx 45 minutes


Who is the mysterious youth who turns up unannounced one day at Mr George's house and how come he seems to know the most intimate details about his life?

Characters:

Man: in his 50s

Youth: in his 20s

Woman: in her 40s/50s


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Firewall 2M (20's) 1F (20's) 1F (young )

SYNOPSIS: Mark and Jason are two 24 year old website whiz-kids working for Surprising Gifts, an internet-based toy and gift company. They are having to reorganise the database and website in time for the expected Christmas rush, but Jason isn't about to let that get in the way of taking out their assistant, Nicola.

So when a virus is discovered on the system, it's Mark who is left to try and eradicate it. While he's working, he is interrupted by a young school girl who announces that it was she who hacked into their computer system to give them the virus. The next day she reappears with an even more astonishing revelation, she has breached their firewall with an even more devastating virus, one that could potentially destroy their company.

CHARACTERS in order of appearance:

JASON: A young webmaster, bright and but never particularly serious and doesn't want work to get in the way of his leisure life.

MARK: The same age as Jason, but more senior and takes life a lot more seriously.

NICOLA: Their assistant, always willing to please.

JESSICA: A twelve year old schoolgirl, pretty and perhaps quite slight, but with definite inner strength (can be played by an older girl, but must look young)

Another Life (2M, 2F with doubling)

 

1-Act play: approx 45 mins

Mary has cancer and knows she only has a limited time to live. For her, travelling to Switzerland to end her life with dignity is the only way. Her husband and friends are as supportive as they can be, but Mary is pragmatic and realistic about her decision. With touches of wry humour, the play ultimately is a celebration of a life.

Characters

Mary: 50/60s – suffering from cancer, but outwardly quite fit.

Douglas: 50/60s – her husband

Jonathan: 20/30s –Young vicar

Joyce: 50/60s family friend

Counsellor 1: Can be doubled with Jonathan

Counsellor 2: Can be doubled with Joyce


Colon: Full Stop (2M, 3F)

 

A one-act play, runnning time aprox 45 minutes

‘Colon: full stop’ explores the thoughts and imaginings of someone who has just been told he has cancer of the colon. The action moves from a real life situation to inside his head where he realises fantasies, such as resurrecting an unrequited love affair, discussing his potential death with a CT Scanner, and thinking he is about to meet people he has idolised. We drift in and out of this other world first after receiving the news, prior to a scan and during his operation. Finally, we return to normality as he wakes up from his sedation.

In addition to Karen, Richard’s wife, the people that occupy his inner thoughts are played by the same actors who play the consultant and nurses. Having heard their voices in the intervening real-life sequences, their use to portray the characters in his head is intended to add to what should be a slightly surreal encounter each time.

Characters:

Richard Williams

Consultant/Surgeon/Operator/Jim

Nurse 1/CT Scanner

Ellen/Nurse 2

Karen – Richard’s wife


Welsh Lessons (5F, 2M)

 

1-act play - running time approx 60 mins

It's the beginning of an adult Welsh learners' class as the new students get to grips with Welsh for the first time. We overhear their thoughts as they try to wrap their tongues round the language, with smaller or greater degrees of success.

But for one of them there is a surprising outcome. He not only discovers the language coming naturally to his thoughts, but he also seems able to transmit those thoughts to a fellow student. Later he begins to 'remember' and understand ancient Welsh poetry; something which astounds the rest of the class.

CHARACTERS in order of appearance:

TUTOR (CERYS) Mid 30s, warm Welsh teacher. Attractive and friendly she easily puts her students at ease

JOHN Retired engineer, tends to be pedantic but can be funny at times

MARY 40-50s businesswoman, pragmatic, efficient

PAT Friendly 60-something housewife, straightforward and sensible

DAVE Early 30s young executive, has a laddish sense of humour, but actually quite thoughtful

MORFUDD Late 20s, very pretty blond girl, eager to learn but shy

JILL Mid-50s wife of a local farmer, opinionated


 
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