Roots and Wings – Award winning two-hander drama for men

two-hander drama


Two day laborers for a construction company dig a hole in the earth 13 feet deep. When the work crew leaves at the day’s end they are simply forgotten, abandoned, with no way out. Their struggle plays out beyond just learning to work together to escape, for both men are trapped by, and come to face, their own choices in life and what makes each of them feel powerless.

Joey, in his mid to late 20s, is angry at the world, but doesn’t know where to direct his rage. He wants nothing more than to prove his worth as a man, but in a much deeper philosophical sense, he feels the need to reason his existence but doesn’t understand his life beyond a primitive turmoil. Life has not taught him how to grapple with the meaning of his feelings.

Billy, in his 40s or 50s, wants only to be left alone. He was no different than Joey when he was younger, but life has brought him defeat, hopelessness, and the feeling of impotence against the world which holds a strong power over him. He has given up and knows each of his tomorrows will be no different than the day before. He fears and placates authority and hates this about himself.

As the story unfolds the men move through a series of personal crises. First, they come to accept that they are trapped. Then, blame heightens the tension as Joey becomes more and more frustrated and dangerous. Because he is primitive and inarticulate he knows no other way to solve his problems than using his fist. But as the two men begin to learn about one another, the tension eases. At this point Joey gains an understanding which opens a door for him to attempt to reason his existence.

The play reveals a single yet significant difference in their lives: one man had a father and one did not. Both characters gain a moral strength and attempt one possibility to escape which fails quickly. Billy gives up and begins digging furiously into the side of the pit. Since this would cause the earth to collapse on top of them and bury them alive Joey roughly stops him. Billy, emotionally broken, collapses and begins to weep. This enrages Joey and once again he reverts to using his fist. But his anger turns as he begins to understand his existence for the first time in his life; in order to survive, both physically and psychologically, it is vital that they each stand up for themselves.

Roots & Wings won 1st place in the 2012 Porter Fleming Literary Competition. Other dramas (The Associate) by Terry Roeuche. Read about playwright Terry Roueche.

Performance History:

Actors Theatre Workshop – Canada, 2016
North Hawaii Players, Hawaii, USA – 2018
Teaterverket – Netherlands – 2019
Silliman University Philippines – 2021
Surry County High School, VA – USA – 2023


Author: Terry Roueche

Genre: Two-hander drama, Award winning plays

Type: One act play

Cast: Cast of 2M

Ages of the actors: One younger, one older actor

Suitable for: Play suitable for all ages

Length: 20-30 minutes long

Set: The bottom of a thirteen foot hole the two men have dug. Shovels etc. lying round.

Level of difficulty: 8/10 – character driven play, award wining, nice play to get your teeth into

Read a Sample of the Script

Cost is $10 for this award winning digital script

Contact Off The Wall Plays with any queries about Roots and Wings

Copyright © September 2015 Terry Roeche and Off The Wall Play Publishers

Like this play? Other one act dramas to peruse:

Survivors include – one act teen drama about preventing a teen committing suicide
Behind the Nets – 1930’s period drama about homosexuality in a staid community
When summer dies of shame – one act drama for 2F 1M

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