THE PLAY’S THE THING – ONE ACT CRIME SCRIPT ABOUT THE PERFECT MURDER
It was the perfect murder. And the perfect accident. Or so Greta thought. Deeply infatuated by her good looking actor boyfriend, her husband Charles appears to be nothing more than an impediment to their happiness. She plans the perfect way to get rid of Charles, and make it look like it was all an accident. When Larry, her lover, gives Charles (who is a well known actor) a script to read, she decides to ask Charles to ‘act out’ the script with them, and supplies him with a loaded gun for the suicide scene… But she’ll have to learn the hard way that there’s no such thing as the perfect murder in this one act crime script.
THE LADY OF THE LAKE MURDER – A MURDER MYSTERY SCRIPT
It is the annual meeting of the Shadow Council, a group of powerful immortals headed by Merlin. Among the chartered members of the Council are Morgan le Fay, Queen Guinevere, Sir Lancelot and Niniane, the infamous Lady of the Lake. Also in attendance are three young Wardens assigned to protect an immortal charge. Unfortunately, The Lady of the Lake had been murdered in this Arthurian murder mystery script.
It was (almost) a perfect murder. The tracks were (mostly) covered up. The Lady of the Lake, Nianine had not been seen a while(ish) and the council of Immortals; his serene magicness Merlin, her royal, dark highness Queen Guinevere, her royal lover Sir Lancelot and a beautiful Morgan Le Fay; would (most likely) be certainly happy to hear of Nianine’s death. The happiness amongst the Immortals would (probably) be ten-fold as they are forbidden from killing one another and so none could be charged with the crime. So who did it then? The Inquisitor is about to find out and he’s happy to have us in on the inquisition as the investigation unfolds and a certain Warden may become a ward of the fates.
As the time for the meeting draws near and the immortals begin to gather it comes to light that each of the immortals has a grudge against Niniane, including her own Warden. When it is learned Niniane has been murdered, beheaded with Excalibur, an artifact entrusted to her Warden accusations begin to fly and it becomes the responsibility of the Councils Chief Inquisitor, a stereotypical police investigator, to learn the truth and bring the murderer to justice. The penalty for this crime is death.
The Lady of the Lake Murder is a mystery steeped in Arthurian Lore drawn from the works of Mallory and the Vulgate Cycle.
Cast: 4M, 4F but the inquisitor can also be played by a F instead of a M.
Ages of the actors: Adult – young adults to older
Suitable for: All ages
Length: 45 – 60 minutes
Set: The secret chamber of the Shadow Council. UP LEFT CENTER is a large stone fireplace. Heavy wooden doors on each side of the fireplace lead into and out of the chamber. CENTER is a small, round table draped with a purple and black table cloth that goes to the ground. In the center of the table is a clawed plinth with a crystal ball on top of it. Behind the table, set in a semi-circle, are four throne-like chairs. The center two chairs are larger than the two that flank them. A fire appears to be glowing in the fireplace.
Level of difficulty: 7/10 – a lovely mix of a typical hard-boiled whodunit detective story and mythical characters
KILLERS WITH BENEFITS – FUNNY CRIME SCRIPT (OR – WHO IS ABOUT TO DO IT)
It’s a dark and stormy night, and the young, attractive, married Mandy is all alone at home (except for her security guard and live in maid, of course) sipping a long island iced tea when the announcement comes over the radio. A dangerous convict has escaped and is at large in the area. A moment later, the lights go out and somebody unknown takes her hostage. He’s armed, soaking wet and … well not quite as dangerous looking as you’d expect.
Featuring everything you’d expect from a funny crime script. A body in the bathtub! An escaped convict! A philandering husband! A cheating wife and her lover! A nefarious plot by more than one party to get rid of the other and by the end of the play, utter chaos.
Suitable for: To view – all ages. To perform – adult but could be done by older teens
Set: Living room of an upper-middle class family. Furniture reminds one of IKEA –functional, minimalist, and characterless. Two watercolor paintings on the wall are an ostentatious attempt at emulating “The Water Lilies” – A failed attempt at best. Stage right, an over-sized, frosted glass door, is the main entrance door to the house. Three other doors upstage open into the kitchen, the master bedroom, and a guests’ bathroom. Two big windows, one close to the entry door reveals a fichus hedge in the distance, and the second window between two doors shows a street lamppost and a part of the hedge. Floor-length curtains hang on each side of the windows.
Level of difficulty: 7/10 – chaos at the end of the script
Someone is dead. Stabbed in the back on the living room floor, the blood just missing the priceless Persian rug in this funny whodunit script. But who did it? Could it be Mr Who, called in investigate the murder of Mr Someone, the unfortunate victim found lying in the living room by Mr You the night before? Mr Me, who lives in the cupboard can definitely vouch for Someone’s whereabouts. He was in the cupboard with Mr Me the whole evening. Where? Oh, that’s also the name of the sister of the deceased, Mrs Where. So the investigation begins and continues with the appearance of the extremely suspicious Miss Hymn. So to sum it all up: Someone was killed by the suspect, who could be either Me, You or Hymn. When more bodies start to fall, it falls upon the shoulders of Mr Who to unravel it all.
If you think that’s confusing, imagine the confusion of the characters themselves in this funny whodunit.
This play has been performed at the Delbarton One Act Festival.
It’s another day at Saint Woden’s Asylum. Another day and another mysterious murder has occurred in this absurd whodunit script. The patients at the asylum are dying like flies and nobody has a clue as to who’s knocking them off. In fact, it’s driving Doctor Mario von Woden a little round the twist himself. Let me rephrase that – he’s just very, very, very stressed. He’s most stressed that even the simple task of dictating a memo for the police is a struggle. When a policeman arrives at the asylum and starts interviewing patients and staff, who then die in a number of weird and wonderful ways, Doctor von Woden’s suspicions are aroused….
The original version of Murder in the Asylum was presented Off-off Broadway in New York City at Stagelights II in
1971, with Ray Hagen, Penny Pettis, Fran Berzanski and Saul Fredricks and directed by Jim Carroll.
Set: The office of MARIO VAN WODEN, MD, Phd, Saint Woden’s Asylum. The office is furnished with baby furniture. A little white table and a little white chair and little red telephone on the little white table. The room is white, with two revolving doors, SL and SR.
Level of difficulty: 7/10 – being serious in the face of absurdity
In this whodunit comedy play, five theme park mascots arrive, (in costume, of course), as the guests of honor at a special dinner party hosted by an eccentric billionaire and his proud but temperamental butler. In order to share in the million dollar prize for attending this party, the theme party mascots must confess to their child-cruelty sins and beg forgiveness. However that becomes a moot point right after they “accidentally” kill their eccentric billionaire host. In Mascot Masquerade, a unique comedic whodunit by Mark aloysius Kenneally, secrets are revealed but complications arise and things immediately go from bad to terribly worse. Just because they’re mascots, doesn’t mean they’re always nice. Is there a motive underneath one of those masks?
This play is an homage and a tribute, not only to the wonderful murder mystery plays of Agatha Christie and other writers of that ilk, but to other classic spoofs on the genre, e.g. the movies Murder by Death and Clue. It should be staged with that in mind.
MASCOT MASQUERADE got an Honorable Mention in the McLaren Memorial Comedy Play Writing Competition in 2015.
Ages of the actors: Adult – one of the characters is an elderly man.
Suitable for: All ages
Set: This play was written with stage directions that indicate a two level set with an upstairs, downstairs and spiral staircase, however, these are not an integral part of the story and therefore a single level set can be used. The only real things necessary for this play are lots of doors for entrances and exits offstage.
Level of difficulty: 7/10 – achieving the feel of the murder mystery genre yet conveying the comedy overlying it
HUMAN RAT LAB – HIT COMEDY SCRIPT ABOUT AN UNCONVENTIONAL PRIVATE EYE
Extorting big business? Yes! Writing ‘them’ a damning blackmail letter? Of course!
Demanding hundreds of thousands from this ‘seedy’ corporation? Naturally, it should be easy. But that is not the case when Valerie Ann Bennett, head of said company, hires a
private detective to find the culprit before he brings her pharmaceutical empire down to its knees. Unconventional, unconvincing, and un- everything really, Charles Picket would not be
Ms. Bennett’s first choice for a P.I. were it not for the discretion he organically provides.
Throw in his cleaner, and a struggling stuttering actor as his associates and this case looks like it could very well implode in Ms. Bennett’s face. In fact it does indeed implode. But not
in a way she ever suspected in this hilarious hit comedy script.
Human Rat Lab has had a successful run and received rave reviews in France. This is a burlesque comedy in the lines of Lucille Ball and Jerry Lewis in their best days.
“You have a staggeringly good ear for dialogue. The words fairly crack along. And you have a good eye/mind for the “memorable scene” – I mean things like the marvellous Spanish nurse scene, and the crazy Viagra fuelled scene.” – Robert Jarman, Co-founder and director of Hobart’s highly successful Blue Cow Theatre and recipiendary of the Federation Medal for his services to Performing Arts in 2002.
Set: A private detective’s office. On the garden side (stage left), there is a door that opens into a kitchenette. The main entrance is in the middle. On the hallway side (stage right), there is a window, and a bathroom door.
Level of difficulty: 7/10 – character driven script
MURDER AND OTHER FUN THINGS – OFF THE WALL WHODUNIT PLAY SCRIPT
Murder is the mischief in this grand tale, when a burglar wanders into the Von Cash household but does not make it out alive (lucky for him if you ask me). The butler, the chef, the gardener, the maid,
the clairvoyant and even the madam of the house, Ms. Chattel Von Cash herself (an outrage if you ask her, darling), are all suspects when Detective Schenectady takes it upon himself (poor
unsuspecting sod) to investigate the case.
Old money meets new money madness as the detective discovers this will not be a routine examination of the events of this one day. From the body popping up in different locations within the house itself, to the chef insisting upon using it as his next main ingredient, Schenectady has to defy the amazing obstacles set before him by the extreme
personalities who run the Von Cash mansion. When the culprit is exposed, all hell not so muchbreaks loose, as explodes into something Von Cash would dread to see on her carpet, darling.
Truth will out! But don’t expect to love the consequences, darling.
Author: Geoffrey Stoddard
Genre: Off The Wall Whodunit play script, comedy
Type: Three act play
Cast: 4M 3F
Ages of the actors: Adult
Suitable for: All ages
Length: 3 hours
Set: Changes with the acts.
Act one: A living room. Center stage sits a couch with a coffee table before it. Right center is a small round table with two chairs on either side of it. Up right is a tall bar.
Act two: Operating Room. A table sits in the middle of the room horizontally with a body upon it, face up, the head on the right end.
Act three: Living room
Level of difficulty: 7/10 – the length of the play.
STRAIGHT TO THE TOP – SCREENPLAY SET IN THE PROHIBITION
It’s Chicago in the 1930’s during the prohibition. The time when the big gangs ruled the streets and to get anywhere, you had to have connections. Hazel is a dancer at the Queen of Sheba Nightclub. She’s recently been dumped by a gangster, Charlie and has fallen on hard times. She is rescued by a rich shipping magnate, Ray who installs her as his home as his mistress. She finds a friend in the magnate’s chauffeur, Wes. Unfortunately a jealous Ray begins to abuse Hazel because of Wes. When she meets and takes up with the Charlie the gangster again the abuse becomes worse. Together Hazel, Charlie and Wes devise an elaborate plan to frame Ray for drug smuggling.
However, a bad seed doesn’t become good again and Hazel is about to learn that trusting Charlie the gangster again can only lead down one road…
WHY SHOOT YOUR HUSBAND? – TEN MINUTE DRAMA SCRIPTS
In this ten minute surreal drama, which is divided into six acts or scenes, Marjorie Phillips is seemingly being interrogated for shooting her husband. We know that she writes plays, and that on the night in question she was submitting her taxes. We also know that he husband was shot through the windscreen of his car and there was a bullet hole in the kitchen window. But did she do it, or are things not what they seem to be…
You are cordially invited to a murder at Dr. Phil Fein’s early retirement party. There will be juicy gossip, backbiting insults, personal threats and a corpse.
In this comedic 3-act farce, five guests hide deadly secrets. One of them hides a murder weapon. Who is guilty? Could it be Joe, the social climbing public relations director or Sal Monella, director of food services? There’s Royalty too and she’s acting suspiciously. How about the nurse’s aid, who’s just a little too stupid? Or the cardiac surgeon who isn’t as clever as she thinks she is? A funny whodunit three act farce script for five people.
Murder and a Show is the story of Eric, who is married to Aubrey, who is dumb as bricks, and Tom, who is married to Trixie, who thinks she knows everything about everything. These two neighbors have devised a plan to have both wives killed at Aubrey’s birthday party. Eric has hired a theater troupe to come perform a murder mystery dinner theater at their apartment, only what Aubrey and Trixie don’t know is that one of the actors is really an assassin there to kill them. Everything goes south when one of the actors turns out to be Eric’s mistress and one of the other actors winds up dead instead of the two wives. While the actors try to figure out who killed Jay, Eric and Tom try to figure out who didn’t kill their wives and why. And to make matters worse a nervous police officer shows up because of report of gunfire in the area. Tensions mount as everyone at the party scrambles to find the murderer while trying to convince the police that nothing is wrong.
This whodunit comedy show was produced and performed at Theatre 29 in Twentynine Palms, California in 2001 and was presented as a dinner theater experience. Read more about best selling playwright Mike Maxwell.
Author: Mike Maxwell
Genre: Whodunit comedy
Type: One act play
Length: Sixty minutes
Number of Actors: Nine actors 9 (10) 5F, 4M
Ages of the actors: All adult, ages 20-60
Suitable for: All ages
Set: The William’s apartment. The front door is located stage left. There is a closet stage right. There are two bedrooms. One is upstage right and one is upstage left. There is a couch center stage. There is a counter and a mini-fridge located stage right, upstage of the closet. There is a phone on the counter.
Level of Difficulty: 7/10 – a play with fun, over the top characters
Essalyn Tompkins has been hearing strange noises in her house ever since her husband mysteriously died in a car accident. Out of desperation, Essalyn has come to consult a psychic, bringing her friend Claude with her for moral support. But what will happen when the psychic reveals what actually happened?
Dragon Lady Players, Syracuse, NY (2009)
Blacktown City Community Theatre (Seven Hills, NSW, Australia) (2008)
Carrollwood Players, Tampa, FL (2006)
Panoply Arts Festival, Huntsville, AL (2005)
Colonial Playhouse, Aldan, PA (2004)
Lebanon (PA) Community Theatre (2003)
Winner, 2003 Lebanon (PA) Community Theatre Playwriting Competition
Winner, 2005 Panoply Arts Festival Competition
Author: Evan Guilford-Blake
Genre: Murder mystery
Type: Ten minute drama scripts
Number of Actors: Four 4
Ages of the actors: Late twenties and up
Suitable for: All ages
Set: Simple – a psychics lounge/living room with a table and a deck of cards.
Level of Difficulty: 6/10 – A nice piece for community theatre with an easy build of tension and a surprising twist at the end.
It is the 1940’s – the era of hard boiled detectives and gangsters. Nick Holliday, PI and his girl Friday Dora Chase are hired by a grieving widow to find the murderer of her husband, an art gallery owner named Peter DeLucci. But as Nick and Dora soon find out there is nothing routine about this case, as they run afoul of a Numbers Racketeer and a shadowy underworld figure calling themselves the Sicilian all leading to an ending that is sure to surprise.
Endless Mountains Theatre Company November production of Parlor City Noir has been nominated for nine awards including Best Drama, Best original Production and Best overall production.
Set: A 1940’s style detective’s office. A large wooden desk and swivel chair are CENTER. An old chair for clients sits in front of the desk. A sofa is set against the right wall of the office. A metal filing cabinet and a coat tree can be found in another corner. On the desk is a name plate that reads NICK HOLLIDAY, PI. A window with the reversed inscription SILVER SHIELD INVESTIGATIONS NICK HOLLIDAY PI painted on it looks out upon the city. A door connecting the outer office to the detective’s office bears a frosted glass pane with the reversed inscription NICK HOLLIDAY, PRIVATE DETECTIVE on it. A bottle of scotch and two glasses are set on one corner of the desk. A bulletin board cluttered with wanted posters and other papers hangs on one wall of the office.
Level of Difficulty: 7/10 – a great amdram play with fantastic audience reviews
In this whodunit play script, dozens of circus clowns pile out of a car. One doesn’t. Thus begins the new murder mystery comedy by Mark Aloysius Kenneally. Artie and Nick are two detectives who thought they had seen it all. But they find out that when you’re interrogating suspects like Chuckles, Pozo, and Backwards Bobo… clowns can turn out to not only make you laugh, but also… drive you crazy. Who killed Bubbles? And why? Join Artie, Nick and Doctor Amy Harris-Talmun, the police psychiatrist, as they try desperately to solve the most bizarre, challenging, surprising and humorous murder mystery they’ve ever investigated.
CLOWN CAR, under the previous title, SUFFER FOOLS GLADLY, received its first staged reading at The Players Theatre in in Sarasota, FL. July, 2007. Then had a staged reading at Ten Grand and a Burger in New York City, September, 2007. It had a staged reading at the DeLand Theatre Festival, DeLand, FL in January, 2008 and another Staged Reading in Midland, TX in August, 2009 (It was a finalist in the 2009 McClaren International Comedy Playwriting Contest). SUFFER FOOLS GLADLY received its World Premiere Production at Stetson University, DeLand, FL in September, 2009.
Author: Mark Aloysius Kenneally
Genre: Crime,Whodunit, Comedy
Type: Two act play
Number of Actors: 4M, 5F.
The roles of the clowns have been written with the intention that they all be played by one Actor and one Actress with minimal costume and wig changes to heighten the confusion and frustration as it builds throughout the play. However, it is recognized that individual producers, such as school and community theatre groups may wish to expand the cast size by having these roles be played by different actors and actresses, or have some of the roles played by actresses rather than actors or vice versa. This decision is entirely permitted by the author and is left up to the individual producers.
Ages of actors: One policeman in his thirties, and one male and female character each in their thirties. The clowns can be of any age.
Set: Various different rooms at a police station in any “small town U.S.A.” and at the big top circus. The sets should be suggested with as simple set pieces as possible. Many of the locales can simply be suggested with lighting changes and/or with as little as a table and a few chairs as set pieces. Level of Difficulty: 7/10 – especially if the same actor is playing multiple roles