A constructive and straightforward guide to writing for the theatre for aspiring playwrights.
You won't find a lot of pontificating over Aristotelian theory in this book. What you will find is straightforward, practical guidance to help aspiring and early-career playwrights hone their craft and steer their plays toward successful productions. While many playwriting books focus solely on stagecraft, this one also examines the nuts and bolts of getting your plays produced. After all, writing a play is one thing, but it won't have fulfilled its purpose until it's been brought to life on a stage.
Examining everything from structure, dialogue, subtext, and creating well-rounded characters, to formatting, writing synopses and preparing your plays for submission, this book offers a comprehensive explanation of the often challenging process of writing plays and getting them into the hands of producers.
Using knowledge and insight gained from more than two decades of writing for the stage and garnering successful productions, the award-winning playwright shares with you everything that he's learned - not from teaching or hypothesizing, but from actually doing.
A collection of short comedic plays that take theatrical conventions on a metaphysical joyride.
This unique compilation of wittily inventive short comedies can be performed by as few as 4 actors or as many as 18, all with minimal set and prop requirements.
Many of these plays have gone on to receive highly successful productions around the world, garnering awards and glowing reviews along the way. For actors and audiences alike, the eight uproarious plays included in this collection will surprise and delight as they defy expectations and turn theatrical tropes on their head.
Theatre will never be the same!
The best-selling monologue book that contains 80 (40 male, 40 female) fresh, engaging monologues taken from the playwright’s vast and immensely varied body of work that allow the actor to create memorable character portraits of depth and vitality for that all-important moment in the spotlight.
Divided into male and female comedic, dramatic, and seriocomic categories, this book also provides a useful guide on how to look beyond age and gender in many of these monologues in order to broaden your performance options. Additionally, each monologue is preceded by a concise summary of the plot, setting, and character profile.
Whether a professional or student actor, this book is an invaluable resource for landing that coveted role or winning that competition.
From the sublimely funny to the ridiculously inane, this unique compilation of some of the playwright’s most popular short plays runs the comedy gamut. Some have their roots in realism, while others willfully and wantonly upend theatrical customs and conventions. Some are playful and lighthearted, while others hew closer to the realm of dark comedy. But whatever their milieu, they all share one common goal: to entertain and amuse.
In this edition you’ll find the critically acclaimed ‘The Craft’ and the Heideman Award finalist ‘A Rebel Among the Wretched’ along with thirteen other wry and uproarious ten-minute plays.
With minimal staging requirements and a broad range of characters, these plays offer a wealth of production opportunities as well as providing an invaluable resource of scenes for acting class.
“If ever there was a poster boy for ‘write what you know’, it's Biss, because what he knows really does entertain us.” ~ Views from the Gods, London
A little biographical information and play production history:
From the Royal Court Theatre in London to the Playhouse Theatre in Tasmania, the works of playwright Andrew Biss have been performed across the globe, spanning five continents. His plays have won awards on both coasts of the U.S., critical acclaim in the U.K., and quickly became a perennial sight on Off and Off-Off Broadway stages.
In London his plays have been performed at The Royal Court Theatre, Theatre503, Riverside Studios, The Pleasance Theatre, The Union Theatre, The White Bear Theatre, The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, Fractured Lines Theatre & Film at COG ARTSpace, and Ghost Dog Productions at The Horse & Stables.
In New York his plays have been produced at Theatre Row Studios, The Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Festival, The Kraine Theater, The Red Room Theater, Times Square Arts Center, Manhattan Theatre Source, Mind The Gap Theatre, 3Graces Theatre Company, Emerging Artists Theatre, Curan Repertory Company, Pulse Ensemble Theatre, American Globe Theatre, The American Theater of Actors, and Chashama Theatres, among others.
‘A Flawed Character’ in Ohio
Ashland University’s Department of Theatre will be producing ‘A Flawed Character’ as part of its upcoming Ten-Minute Play Festival, taking place at the Hugo Young Theatre on April 16th and 17th, 2021.
New Play ‘The Audience’ a Semi-Finalist in Minnesota
‘The Audience’ has just been selected as a Semi-Finalist in Lakeshore Players Theatre's 17th Annual Ten-Minute Playwriting Contest. Winners will be announced in late March, 2021, to be streamed online in June, with the possibility of live performances dependent on public health conditions.
Watch an Interview with Andrew
Ilana Lydia, the Artistic Director of Phoenix-based B3 Theater, recently sat down with Andrew over Zoom to discuss his play ‘The Craft’ ahead of its production at the company’s third annual Festival of Shorts. You can watch the interview here.
‘A Familiar Face’ Now Published in Iran
Translated into Persian by Ensiyeh Peyafarin and Omid Alagh, Andrew's one-act play ‘A Familiar Face’ has just been published in Iran by Tehran-based Afraz Publishers. Two additional titles from Andrew’s back catalogue are expected to be published in the coming weeks, further cementing the cross-cultural ties that bind us together as a global community, regardless of political or social distinctions. You can view the book on the publisher’s website here.
Watch the UK Production of ‘Organ Failure’
The online production of ‘Organ Failure’ by the UK’s Troubadour Theatre, performed by the very talented actor Ashley Laura, went live this fall and can be viewed here. The monologue centers on a woman who had been having a long-standing affair with a married man which recently came to an end due to his passing, the circumstances of which fall into something of a morally gray area. Here she addresses him as he lies in his open casket.
‘Ciao, Aleppo’ in London
The monologue ‘Ciao, Aleppo’ was produced by London’s Queen of Cups Productions for its digital new writing night ‘New Moon Monologues.’ ‘Ciao, Aleppo’ was performed by renowned actor Bhasker Patel, currently starring in the long-running British soap opera ‘Emmerdale.’ The event took place on Thursday, 17th of September, 2020, at 7.30pm (BST) and can be viewed here.
‘Organ Failure’ in the UK
The UK’s Troubadour Theatre has chosen ‘Organ Failure’ as part of it line-up for its upcoming ‘Dark Work Monologues’ production. Each monologue will be rehearsed and filmed, then shared on YouTube and various social media outlets during September 2020. More details coming soon on the company’swebsite.
‘The Craft’ in Phoenix
B3 Theater, in Phoenix, Arizona, has chosen ‘The Craft’ as a winner in their third Festival of Shorts. All five of the winning plays will have staged readings performed online in January of 2021. Further details will become available on the company’s website.
‘The Meta Plays’ in Illinois
For the first time, all eight of ‘The Meta Plays’ will be performed in their entirety in a single production. It will be staged by Western Illinois University's Department of Theatre and Dance and will take place September 23-27, 2020 at the Simpkins Theatre. A performance of the event will also be streamed. More details to follow.
‘An Embarrassing Odour,’ ‘A Familiar Face’ and ‘An Honest Mistake’ in Santa Cruz
NextStage Productions in Santa Cruz, California, will be streaming productions of ‘An Embarrassing Odour,’ ‘A Familiar Face’ and ‘An Honest Mistake’ to various senior facilities in the Monterey Bay Area this summer in order to entertain their residents during these isolating times. More information on this commendable organization can be found here.
‘The Craft’ in South Africa
‘The Craft’ is to be produced at two drama festivals in Cape Town, South Africa in the summer of 2020. Details to follow.
‘One Night Only’ in New Hampshire
‘One Night Only’ is to be produced as part of ‘A Night of One Acts,’ an evening of short plays to be performed at the Janice B. Streeter Theater in Nashua, New Hampshire. The dates of production are January 31st and February 1st, 2020 (and potentially February 2nd – TBC). More details to follow.
‘A Flawed Character’ in Missouri
‘A Flawed Character’ will be produced as part of the ‘Directors’ Showcase of One-Act Plays’ at the Truman State University, in Kirksville, Missouri. The performances will take place on December 6th, 2019, held at the Truman State University Ophelia Parrish Fine Arts Center in the James G. Severns Theatre.
Six Plays from ‘Ten-Minute Plays: The Comedy Collection’ in Wisconsin
Six plays taken from the anthology ‘Ten-Minute Plays: The Comedy Collection’ are to be produced as an evening of short plays at the Abundant Life Christian School in Madison, Wisconsin. Performances are November 15 and November 16, 2019.
‘Tacked-On Ending' in Alabama
‘Tacked-On Ending’ will be staged as part of a 10-minute play festival at Troy University, in Alabama, produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance. The production will take place in late September, 2019.
World Premiere of New Play ‘The Butcher’ in Hong Kong
Newly completed play ‘The Butcher’ will receive its world premiere in Hong Kong in May when the Hong Kong Players will be producing it alongside four plays taken from The Meta Plays collection (‘A Flawed Character,’ ‘The Craft,’ ‘The Curious Art of Critique,’ and ‘Tacked-On Ending’) as well as locally written material. The production, entitled ‘From Page to Stage’ will take place at the Hong Kong Arts Centre on Wednesday, 15 May to Friday, 17 May, 8pm; Saturday, 18 May, 3:30pm and 8pm. More details can be found on the company’s website.
‘A Rebel Among The Wretched’ in Massachusetts
The Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, is to produce ‘A Rebel Among The Wretched’ as part of the Theatre and Dance Department’s Drama Lab. The production will take place on April 19th, 2019.
‘The Curious Art of Critique’ in California
‘The Curious Art of Critique’ will be produced by the Theatre Arts Department at California Lutheran University, in Thousand Oaks, California, as part of its upcoming 10-Minute Play Festival. Performances will take place at the Blackbox Theatre, April 25-28, 2019. More information will be available on their website.
‘A Flawed Character’ in New Jersey
‘A Flawed Character’ will be produced at Kean University as part of its upcoming Directors’ Showcase. The production runs from April 30th through May 2nd, 2019. More details will become available on the university’s website.
Three of ‘The Meta Plays’ to be Produced in New Hampshire
The Granite State Arts Academy is to produce three of ‘The Meta Plays’ in its upcoming spring play production. The plays included are ‘The Craft,’ ‘A Flawed Character,’ and ‘Tacked On Ending.’ The production will take place on May 9th, 10th, and 11th, 2019, in Salem, NH. Further details will become available on their website.
‘A Flawed Character’ and ‘The Curious Art of Critique’ in Hawai’i
SLATE Theatre of Hilo, Hawai’i, will be producing ‘A Flawed Character’ and ‘The Curious Art of Critique’ as part of its upcoming Short Play Festival. The festival takes place on October 19th & 20th, 2018, at the East Hawai’i Cultural Center-Kahua ʻElua in Hilo, HI. Further details will be available on their website.
‘What’s the Meta?’ in New York
The Encore Players Community Theatre will be producing ‘What’s the Meta?’ as part of its upcoming ‘Encore Shorts, One-Act Plays’ production, taking place in Interlaken, NY on October 19th, 20th and 21st, 2018. Details will be available soon on the company’s website, which can be found here.
‘The Craft’ Wins ‘Best of the Decade’ in Minnesota Festival
‘The Craft’ was announced the ‘Best of the Decade’ winner on September 6th, 2018 at the Minnesota Shorts Play Festival in Mankato, Minnesota, which celebrated their best reviewed shows from the last nine years of producing the festival. The play also garnered best actress and best actor awards for its talented cast of Callie Sonnek and Zach Bolland.
‘The End of the World’ in Sacramento
Capital Stage Company, Sacramento’s leader of bold, thought-provoking theatre, has chosen ‘The End of the World’ for inclusion in its upcoming Playwrights’ Revolution festival of new works. The staged reading of the play will take place at the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts on July 24th, 2018. More information will be available on the company’s website soon.
‘Public Relations’ to Receive London Production
Black Cat Theatre Co are producing ‘Public Relations’ as part of its upcoming new show ‘Millennials: #Disconnected’ taking place at London’s Pleasance Theatre on July 16th, 2018. More details can be found on the Pleasance Theatre’s website here.
‘A Practical Guide to Becoming a Playwright’ Now Available
Andrew’s latest book, ‘A Practical Guide to Becoming a Playwright: Real World Knowledge, Experience and Insight’ is now officially released and is available at all major booksellers. A straightforward, practical approach to the art and craft of playwriting, the book is a go-to guide for honing your writing skills and steering your plays toward successful productions. You can learn more here.