One act play

One act play

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A one-act play is a play
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 that has only one act
Act (theater)
An act is a division or unit of a drama. The number of acts in a production can range from one to five or more, depending on how a writer structures the outline of the story...

, as distinct from plays that occur over several acts. One-act plays may consist of one or more scenes. In recent years the 10-minute play known as "flash drama
Flash drama
Flash drama is a type of theatrical play that does not exceed ten minutes in duration, hence the name Flash drama. Groups of four to six flash drama plays are popular with school, university and community drama companies since they offer a wide variety of roles and situations in a single...

" has emerged as a popular sub-genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

 of the one-act play, especially in writing competitions. The origin of the one-act play may be traced to the very beginning of drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

: in ancient Greece
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

, Cyclops
Cyclops (play)
The Cyclops is an Ancient Greek satyr play by Euripides, the only complete satyr play that has survived antiquity. It is a comical burlesque-like play on the same story depicted in book nine of Homer's Odyssey.-Background:...

, a satyr play
Satyr play
Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar in spirit to burlesque. They featured choruses of satyrs, were based on Greek mythology, and were rife with mock drunkenness, brazen sexuality , pranks, sight gags, and general merriment.Satyric drama was one of the three varieties of...

 by Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

, is an early example.

One-act plays by major dramatists

  • Anton Chekhov
    Anton Chekhov
    Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

     - A Marriage Proposal
    A Marriage Proposal
    A Marriage Proposal is a one-act farce by Anton Chekhov, written in 1888-1889 and first performed in 1890...

    (1890)
  • Arthur Miller
    Arthur Miller
    Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

     - A Memory of Two Mondays
    A Memory of Two Mondays
    A Memory of Two Mondays is a one-act play by Arthur Miller.Based on Miller's own experiences, the play focuses on a group of desperate workers earning their livings in a Brooklyn automobile parts warehouse during the Great Depression in the 1930s, a time of 25 percent unemployment in the United...

    (1955)
  • Israel Horovitz
    Israel Horovitz
    Israel Horovitz is an American playwright and screenwriter.-Theatre career:An American dramatist, Horovitz has written more than 70 produced plays, many of which have been translated and performed in more than 30 languages worldwide . The 70/70 Horovitz Project was created by NYC Barefoot Theatre...

     - Line
    Line (play)
    Line is a 1967 one-act play by Israel Horovitz, his first play produced. It is an absurdist drama about 5 people waiting in line for an event...

    (1974)
  • Eugene Ionesco
    Eugène Ionesco
    Eugène Ionesco was a Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, and one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd...

     - The Bald Soprano
    The Bald Soprano
    La Cantatrice Chauve — translated from French as The Bald Soprano or The Bald Prima Donna — is the first play written by Franco-Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco. Nicolas Bataille directed the premiere on May 11, 1950 at the Théâtre des Noctambules, Paris...

    (1950)
  • August Strindberg
    August Strindberg
    Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

     - Pariah (1888), Motherly Love (1892), and The First Warning (1892)
  • Thornton Wilder
    Thornton Wilder
    Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.-Early years:Wilder was born in Madison,...

     - The Long Christmas Dinner
    The Long Christmas Dinner
    The Long Christmas Dinner is a play in one act written by American novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder in 1931. In its first published form, it was included in the volume The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays in One Act.-Characters:...

    (1931)