One-act play

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A one-act play is a play that has only one act, as distinct from plays that occur over several acts. One-act plays may consist of one or more scenes.The 20-40 minute play has emerged as a popular subgenre of the one-act play, especially in writing competitions. One act plays make up the overwhelming majority of Fringe Festival shows including at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The origin of the one-act play may be traced to the very beginning of recorded Western drama: in ancient Greece, Cyclops, a satyr play by Euripides, is an early example. The satyr play was a farcical short work that came after a trilogy of multi-act serious drama plays. A few notable examples of one act plays emerged before the 19th century including various versions of the Everyman play and works by Moliere and Calderon.[1] One act plays became more common in the 19th century and are now a standard part of repertory theatre and fringe festivals.

One-act plays by major dramatists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Francis M. Dunn. Tragedy's End: Closure and Innovation in Euripidean Drama. Oxford University Press (1996).


  • Murray, Stephen. Taking Our Amusements Seriously. LAP, 2010. ISBN 978-3-8383-7608-0.

External links[edit]