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One-Act and Short Plays


A range of short plays, many award-winning; often featuring unconventional women and unconventional tales.

One-Act and Short Plays by Cynthia L. Cooper [Cindy Cooper]


The owner of a small luxury goods retail establishment finds a strange customer in her shop with an even stranger request. What do you do when someone needs to come in from the dark? Single set, 2 w., 15 min. Inferno Project, New Circle Theatre Company, Chain Theater, NYC, June 2019 directed by Emily Tetzlaff; Lunch Pail Theatre, Theater on the Lake, Yellowknife, Canada, 2014; Wings, NY, Playwrights One-Acts.


A woman sculptor interviews candidates for an unspecified job, but is only interested in a woman who can interpret poetry. Single set, 2 w, one mature; off-stage voice. 25 min.
Winner, Nantucket Short Play Festival; First Prize, Playwriting, Pen & Brush, NYC; Finalist, Drury One-Act Play Competition.
Actors' Theatre, Nantucket (dir. Jim Patrick); Alverno College Theatre Dept., Spring Coffeehouse Theater; 'Actress in Pieces' -- Sarah Noone, Jackie Cotter, UK; Seton Hall University, PA; Pen & Brush; Jefferson Market Library; Sam Schact Studios; Circle Rep Outreach; Wings Theatre; Bard High School, NYC; Firehall Theatre, Niagara Falls, ON, Canada, 2018. '...plum stage roles'-- Boston Globe. Read online at Cindy Cooper--Scripts.


A woman defense lawyer, longing for an alternative to the death penalty, turns to the victim's mother. Drama. Unit set, 2 w., 10 min. Winner, Summer Shorts, Theatre of Western Springs, IL; Wellsboro, PA, Warehouse Theatre, Hamilton-Gibson Productions, 2016; Matinee Theatre Players, Sand Lake Center for the Arts, Averill Park NY, 2016; Hampshire College, MA, 2014; Manchester College, IN, 2011; University of Delaware 2006; Camino Real Playhouse Show-Off 2005 Playwriting Festival, San Juan Capistrano, CA; Take Five, Kansas City; Georgia, college production, 2005; The Acting School of South Florida, Hollywood FL; Loyola University Forensics Team, 2009; Amnesty Fundraiser, Homer, Alaska, 2010; Lee Strasberg Institute, NYC, 2012; Metropolitan State University of Denver, Theatre Department, 2013; Women's Project and Productions at LaMama Galleria; Wings Theater, NY; The Artistic Home, NY; Amherst H.S., MA; University of Washington, WA; reading, Drama Book Shop, NY; Goucher College, Student One-Acts 2019; others; published Rowing to America and Other Short Plays from The Women's Project and Productions, Smith & Kraus, 2002. Read Online at Scripts


With Nazi soldiers all around, a Jewish-German underground worker summons an inner strength while awaiting a train that will take her to safety. [15 min, 2 w] Anne Frank Center USA; Resistance, Women and the Holocaust, Remember the Women Institute at the Center for Jewish History, directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser. Recognizing Yom HaShoah with Women, Theater and Resistance to the Holocaust; Untold Stories of Jewish Women, 2018, Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC.


A #MeToo office is set for the first ritual to heal the workplace. Three women create a spell to clean out a negative environment. Humor. Single set, 3 w., 10 min. [Feisty Women Festival, Riverside Goddard Center, NYC [2018]; Formerly titled ACCOUNTING, [Wings, NY 1 acts; Reading-Contrast and Juxtaposition, Planet One Workshop, NY.]


African American runner Wilma Rudolph keeps her eyes on the track -- and much more. [10 min., 1 w] 365Women-Charlotte, Prizes of Accident Theatre Company (PACT) at Upstage, Charlotte NC, March 2015; 365Women New York, April 2015, Sheen Center, Greenwich Village NY, performed by Paule Aboite, dir by Daphnie Sicre. Press Release; African-American Theatre, FIT, New York.


NEW -- A gay couple's relationship is challenged when they seek to order flowers to welcome their soon-to-be-adopted daughter, but encounter an unwilling florist. [40 min., 3 w, 1 optional voice (OS or on)] New Circle Theatre Company, Sandbox, directed by Lisa Pelikan, Mar 21-24 2019. Read on New Play Exchange.



Researchers try to pierce denials about sexual violence experienced by Jewish women in the Holocaust [20 min, 2 w][alt: 1 w, 3 w] Theatre, Women and the Holocaust, an event of Remember the Women at the Center for Jewish History, New York City, Spring 2016; The Actors Temple, NYC , Service and Commemoration of Kristallnacht. Mentioned in this Ms. Blog; Benefit, Remember The Women, October 2017. Untold Stories of Jewish Women, 2018, Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC; VIOLATED Art Show, 2018, Ronald Feldman Gallery, NYC.


A woman in charge of a shelter for needy women embraces hope and spirituality amid chaos. Single set, 10 min., 2 w (one off-stage). She Plays Series, 29th Street Rep, DG Foundation Music Hall presentation, 2019. (Previously called 'The Dwelling Place.') Second Prize, Pen and Brush Playwriting Contest, New York; Winner, Malibu Second International One-Act Festival [Malibu Stage Company, dir. Stuart Cooper; 'Three Women' Guild Hall, NY, Episcopal Actors' Guild, dir. Yvonne Delet, featuring Claudia Schnieder; Pen & Brush, NY; Reading: Am Renaissance Th Workshop [Hell's Kitchen Project] NY.


A Jewish woman is denied an opportunity to complete in the Olympics in Germany, 1936 (part of "How She Played the Game") [8 min. , 1 w]: The Anne Frank Center USA; The Shed, Brooklyn, featuring Stacey Linnartz; Women, Theatre and the Holocaust, Center for Jewish History, Remember the Women Institute: Review. Untold Stories of Jewish Women, 2018, Museum of Jewish History, NYC.


The father of a firefighter and a woman artist connect through art when both suffer loss. [Clark Studio Theatre at Lincoln Center, NY, Starfish Productions, "Nothing You Can Say," featuring Alison Stair Neet; Northeastern University, Student Project, April 2004.] Uni-set with varied setting; 2 m., 2 w.; 25 min.


A woman in a DNA lab becomes suspicious about the intentions of fellow workers concerning a sample from Elvis. Comic drama. Simple unit set, 1 w., 15 min. [Portage Area Community Theatre, Wisconsin; Johnson City Theatre, Tenn. in The King Was Here; Cracked Actor, United Kingdom; High School: North Platte, Nebraska; Published, Elvis Monologues, Heinemann. View monologue on's 'Sample Pages' [click on Elvis Monologues link.] or view online at Scripts


Faced with a Catch-22 of rules, a woman in a welfare office gets lessons on how overcome the rules. Comic drama. Single set, 2 m., 2 w., 15 min. Winner, Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Double Image Theatre: Theatre Row; West Bank Cafe; Winner, One-Act Festival, Barn Theatre, NJ (featuring Jane Krajkowski); Winner, Playwriting Contest, White Bear Arts; Special Event, Canada, 2009; Art and Work Ensemble, NY; Wings, NY; Playwrights' Center, Pastiche, Mpls. "'Fox and Hounds' by Cynthia Cooper made the evening worthwhile. It works." Suzanne Simpson, critic, NJ. Also developed into short film script.


A tv reporter resorts to black humor when dealing with her own breast cancer. Flex. set; 2 w.; 10 min. Finalist, Louisville One-Act Play Festival; Cancer Survivors Day, Hope for Change Foundation, Rye Brook NY; University of Delaware; Wings Theatre (dir. Seth Gordon); Millikin College, Illinois.


Women baseball players, disguised as before-game entertainment, take over the field. Simple set, 1 w., 10 min. [Published, Baseball Monologues, Heinemann.]New Zealand, 2008.


A woman journalist is looking into a long-ago murder, when her subject, an older woman, turns the inquisitorial tables. Simple set; 2 w., 10 min. [Women's Project, Tandem Acts at LaMama Galleria, NY; Wings Th., One-Acts, NY; New Paltz, NY: NYSSA, July 2005.]


A man proves that being a panhandler is not the only way to qualify for bumdom. Comic drama. Flexible set, 1 m., 30 min. [Lakeshore Players, MN; Playwrights' Center, MN; Hutchinson Festival of New Plays (featuring Richard Pahl), KN.]Cynthia Cooper's 'How to be a Bum' is a funny lecture on the art of panhandling. Cooper definitely has a good ear for gags.


Outside a professional women's basketball game, two gay women debate the joys and stresses of alternative relationships, that is, marriage. Comic drama. Simple staging, 2 w., 10 min. [Madison WI, Stage Q Playfest June 2006; Miami, FL. Creative Arts Enterprise/Third Annual Lavendar Footlights, 2006; Manhattan Theatre Source (Donna Jean Fogel, dir.); Richmond VA, JERA Entertainment, 2004.]

Or In the Basement

A man and his sister-in-law, fleeing from Death Squads to a safe haven in the U.S., are visited by a man unknown to them. Political drama. Unit set, 3 m., 1 w. [Spanish/English language ability for 2 m and 1 w], 20 min. [Art & Work Ensemble, NYC; Reading, Primary Stages, Melanie Joseph, dir.]


Sheila's a chocoholic; her friends and family do their best to intervene, but Hershey's is tough competition. Light comedy. Single set, 3 w., 2 m., 15 min. [Primary Stages, One-Act Series, NY; Mitchell Community Theater, SD.]


Two women, roommates but not lovers, discover another kind of entanglement when the mother of one visits. Comic. [3w.] [WOW Cafe, NY, produced by Hear Us Out, Zenobia, dir., featuriing Connie Winston.]...comedy that takes you on a roller coaster ride of an unusual relationship, and an even more unusual date. The Villager.Finalist Out on the Edge Playwrighting Festival; planned production: Greece.


~THE BOX -- NEW -- A young Jewish girl (played by an adult) in Queens in 1948 helps her parents fill a care package for the man who hid them in Poland during the Holocaust, and now faces his own difficulties as a result. As those rescued reach back to aid their rescuer, the girl sorts through memories and finds caring amid the ugliness of the War and Holocaust. Inspired by a true story. [15 min, 1 w] May 2019: Remember the Women Institute, Women, Theatre and the Holocaust, Yom HaShoah recognition event. Read on New Play Exchange.


~STONEMAN -- NEW -- Margory Stoneman Douglas, a journalist and activist, appears from the past to bolster a distraught Parkland teenager after the tragic mass shooting at the school named after Douglas. [10 min, 2 w]


~TRU LUV -- A teen's parents aren't so happy to learn of their child's love affair with a stem cell; comic. [5 min, 3 actors, gender neutral] Venus Theater, Maryland; Words of Choice, touring; Brazen Harlots Theater, Buffalo; Published: 30 Short Plays on Reproductive Freedom

~A CONGOLESE REFUGEE LIVES TO SURVIVE -- A Congolese woman tries to rebuild her life in South Africa after suffering unspeakable violence in her homeland. Based on an interview by HIAS. [7 min. 1 w] In an Afternoon of Art and Theatre at VIOLATED!, Ronald Feldman Gallery, NYC, sponsore by Remember the Women Institute.

~BEND THE ARC -- Two women in a relationship engage in extensive negotiations about clothing, intersectionality and cross-issue alleyship before heading to a protest; comic. [5 min, 2 w] 3GT/Lez Rights, San Francisco, Portero Stage, 2017; UnAugeration, An Evening of American Playwrights, Riverside Goddard Center, 29th St Collective, 2018; Stonewall Event Reading, Michael Warren Powell Cntr, 2019.
~DISAPPEARING ACTS -- A Lebanese woman in Germany must change her life when her husband, mistakenly seized by the CIA, disappears physically and then returns a shell of himself, while American lawyer tries to get justice for them. [10 min, 2 w., 1 m.]
~HELL OF A TIME -- A stylized performance piece based on newspaper text about war and war games. 8 min., 3 m, 1w or more. [THAW: Theatre Against War, Manhattan, dir, Marcy Arlin]
~RULES OF ENGAGEMENT -- A community radio host interviews a former US soldier about saving bombed children, while heads of the military can only describe 'collateral damage.' 10 min., 1 w, 4 m.
~EXTRAPOLATION OF PASSION -- Two gay penguins split up, but a soldier finds his gay identity at the Central Park zoo. 10 min, 3 m. [Wings Theater, Instant Play.]
~EARTH MAGIC -- A circle of magic saves a tree in a national forest. Comic. Single set, 3 w., 10 min. [Primary Stages, short play series.]

~OVER THE LINE -- The only woman pitcher in pro baseball, Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson closes up a shop devoted to the Negro Leagues and shares her fastball wisdom. [1 w AA, 10 min.] The Future is Female NYC/29th St Rep, dir Jessica Bauman
~ODE -- In a serio-comic short play, a woman refuses to hear the murder confession of a friend who accompanies her to buy an urn for her deceased husband. Single set, 2 w, 10-15 min
~THINGS WE DON'T TALK ABOUT -- Co-written with Michael angel Johnson. Two women try to sort out the complexities of race, family and personal histories. Stylized. Multiple scenes, 2 w. [one Caucasian, one African-American], 1 gender-nonspecific, multiple roles, 20 min. [Women With Bite, Director's Theatre, NY]


~FOOL ME ONCE -- A Theramin-playing woman magician is approached by a girl who wants to learn the tricks of the trade. [1 w., 7 min.] Future Is Female/MultiStage, dir Lorca Peress 




~First Prize, Playwriting, Pen & Brush:Works of Art
~Winner, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival: Fox and Hounds
~Winner, Playwriting, White Bear Arts Council, MN: Fox and Hounds
~First Prize, Playwriting, Barn Theatre, NJ: Fox and Hounds
~Winner, Malibu's Second International Festival of One-Act Plays:Dwelling
~Winner, Nantucket Short Play Festival: Works of Art
~Winner, Camino Real Playhouse Show-Off! International Short Play Contest: Sentences and Words
~Winner, Theatre of Western Springs, IL, Summer Shorts: Sentences and Words
~Winner, New Works, 3GT/Lez Writes, San Franciscio: Bend the Arc
~Second Prize, Pen and Brush Playwriting Contest, New York: Dwelling
~Runner-up, Drury One-Act Contest: Works of Art
~Finalist, Louisville One-Act Contest: Mountain
~Finalist, Out on the Edge Playwrights Festival:A Date At Last


Cynthia L. Cooper -
446 W. 47th St. -
No.1B -
New York, NY 10036 --

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