Tag Archives: plays by author playwright James B. Campbell

Murder in the asylum – absurd whodunit script

absurd whodunit script


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.

Read about playwright James Campbell. Other plays (Jumping the league – comedy about a priest who doesn’t want to be) by James.

Author: James Campbell

Type: One act play

Genre: Absurd whodunit script

Cast: 3M, 2F

Ages of the actors: Adult

Suitable for: All ages

Length: Twenty minutes

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

Read a Sample of the Script

Cost is $6.50 for this previously produced digital script

Contact Off The Wall Plays with any queries about Murder in the Asylum

Like this play? Other absurd and dark comedies:

Murder and other fun things – off the wall whodunit
Ralph – film noir Whodunit
Mascot Masquerade – whodunit at a costume party

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Jumping the league – comedy about a priest

comedy about a priest


Mike isn’t your typical Catholic priest – he has his own gun, likes to hunt and, to be frank his language is a little on the foul side. His best friend, Pat is the total opposite. In fact, Pat acts very much more like a real priest than Mike does. When Pat comes round to visit Mike they end up having a few drinks. As they drink, the conversation veers very naturally onto the subject of sex (or the lack thereof) as both guys are celibate (and thus think about it a lot) –  one by choice of profession and the other because life has kind of gotten in the way. The lack of sex, however isn’t the only thing that isn’t all that satisfying.  It turns out that neither is completely satisfied in their jobs and wish to ‘jump the league,’ as it were. They only need that small push to make them go in this comedy about a priest and his best friend.

Read about playwright James Campbell. Other plays (Hossback – off the wall cowboy comedy) by James.

Author: James Campbell

Type: One act play

Genre: Comedy about priests

Cast: 3M (two young, one older)

Ages of the actors: Two young, one small part older

Length: Thirty to thirty five minutes

Suitable for: PG 16 (Language, Sexual innuendos)

Set: The study of a Catholic priest in the early 1960’s. The room is furnished with two easy chairs, bookcases, a desk and a portable TV
set. There is a passageway leading OFF RIGHT to other rooms in the apartment. There is a closet door, UP RIGHT. Another door, DOWN
LEFT, leads to a hallway and staircase leading to the lower floor of the building. The room is slovenly, the walls festooned with weapons and athletic gear. There are some religious artifacts. Dusty piles of
books and papers adorn the shelves and the desk. There is evidence of someone getting ready for a hunting trip

Level of difficulty: 7/10 – characterization

Read a Sample of the Script

Cost is $5 for this new digital script

Contact Off The Wall Plays with any queries about Jumping the League

Copyright © 2014 James Campbell and Off The Wall Play Publishers

Like this play? Other one act comedies for men

A Beatles Story – play about how the Beatles formed
The Call centre – one act wacky comedy about a Call Centre
Ralph – a whodunnit comedy about a private eye

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First to see the lights go on – drama script about post natal depression

script about post natal depression


Script about post natal depression: When Frank meets Arlene at a bus stop, they strike up a conversation. Frank is generally an affable guy and to pass the time he chats with the attractive young woman sitting waiting. What starts off as a very pass the time-chatty relationship between strangers evolves as they continue to wait. Frank soon realizes that Arlene’s behavior is erratic and she’s oversensitive, but he tries to win her over, even describing his favorite childhood game – ”First to see the lights go on.” Arlene is entranced and in turn tells him of her favourite childhood memories. As the two then play the game together, they form a connection, which allows her to reveal the truth to him – who she is and what she has done to her family in an effort to return to happiness.

A drama script about post natal depression, and how it can, when left untreated, have devastating consequences for the families of the women suffering from it.

FIRST TO SEE THE LIGHTS GO ON was first presented at
Thresholds Theatre in New York City in January, 1967 with
Bob Mastrant and Lois Yasgur in the cast and directed by
Don Signore. A second production was made by Thresholds
eight months later with Richard Nettum and Mary Lyon.
Other productions followed over the years at The WPA
Theatre, American Theatre of Actors and at many other
venues, off-off Broadway and regionally, including The
Minnesota Ensemble. I am ever grateful to all those
involved for their enthusiasm and good work.

Author: James Campbell

Genre: Drama about post natal depression

Type: One act play

Length: 35 minutes

Cast: 1M 1F actor

Ages of the actors: Male middle aged to older, female young 20’s.

Suitable for: PG 12 – family issues

Set: A bus stop in a suburb of a large northeastern city. The time is the late fifties or early sixties. It is a summer morning, early. There is a bench, C, for passengers. LEFT, there is an overflowing litter basket.

Level of difficulty: 8/10 – a challenging play that seems initially simple but is complex with many underlying nuances

Read a sample of the Script

Read a Sample of the Screenplay of the same play, called Snow in July

Cost is $7.50 for this previously produced digital play

Cost is $30 for the digital screenplay, ”Snow in July” about PND.

Contact Off The Wall Play with any queries about First to see the lights go on

Copyright © March 2016 James Campbell and Off The Wall Play Publishers

Like this drama? Other dramas about touchy subjects:

Survivors include – drama about teen suicide
The bowl of soup – drama about the end of a marriage
Dislocations – drama about racism in modern day USA

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Hossback – off the wall comedy about cowboys

off the wall comedy


This satirical off the wall comedy rips off typical cowboys from the old west, or at least modern society’s idea of what cowboys actually were like by taking an over the top view of them. From the way they loved their hosses as if they were real women, to their predilection for hanging ‘criminals’ of an description to their manner of speaking – all those cowboy traits we are so fond of are chewed up and spat out again.

“HOSSBACK” was originally produced Off-off Broadway at the expanded Arts Theatre in 1991.

Read about playwright James Campbell. Other plays (The restaurants are screaming – a drama) by James Campbell.

Author: James B. Campbell

Genre: Off The Wall Comedy, satire

Type: Short one act play

Cast: 4M, 4F (non speaking)

Ages of the actors: Adult actors

Suitable for: All ages

Length: 10 minutes

Set: An empty stage – black box theatre. A rope is the only prop

Level of difficulty: 6/10 – keeping a straight face on stage. 

Read a sample of the script

Cost is $6 for this previously performed digital script.

Contact Off The Wall Plays with any queries about Hossback

Copyright © 2014 James Campbell

Like this play? Other any one act comedies and satires:

One act play – award winning offbeat British one act play
Insurance on the line – ten minute comedy scripts
The chicken or the egg – political satire script

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The Restaurants are Screaming – period drama

period drama


In this period drama set at the end of the second world war, Ludwig has been living with his daughter, Marcia and his son in law, Joe for the past three months. The play focuses on an abusive father, who now he is old, struggles to understand the consequences of his actions as well as the effect he has on other people. The play draws parallels between his two adult children freeing themselves from their abusive father, the death of the old way of life and the rebirth of the new way of life as the allies win the war in 1945.

Under the title “Draw Me a Picture”, this play was the subject of an National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1977.

Author: James B. Campbell

Genre: Period drama

Type: One act play

Cast: 4M 1F

Ages of the actors: 1 elderly, two middle aged, two adult M any age

Suitable for: All ages

Length: Twenty to twenty five minutes

Set: An industrial suburb of a large industrial city. The time is “V-J Day”, 1945, early evening. The kitchen of JOE and MARCIA’s apartment. There is a bedroom door, UR and a bathroom door UL. A door to the front part of the apartment and the outside is DL. There is a window, R. Besides the usual kitchen furnishings of the time, there is a stand-up radio console, a table and two chairs.

Level of difficulty: 7/10 – the play reads as a straight play, but there is a lot of hidden meaning which should be conveyed to the audience

Read a Sample of the Script

Cost is $10 for this digital play which was the subject of a National Endowment Fellowship

Contact Off The Wall Plays with any questions about The Restaurants are screaming

Copyright © 1977 2014 James B. Campbell

Like this play? Other period dramas that we stock:

Behind the Nets – one act period drama
Yvette – period drama romance set in Paris
A House Divided – civil war play in 4 acts

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