The Actor Games

Preview of new One Act Play

The Actor Games is a one-act play written by Wade Bradford. It is a parody of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, but it is also a skit that explores the different acting styles through the history of the theater. The following is a small excerpt from the play.  You can order a complete script at Eldridge Plays. 

"The Actor Games" by Wade Bradford (Copyright 2013)

The stage is dark. A somber narrator/host walks downstage.

HOST: In the not too distant future. In a world where everyone is starving... For attention. A place where each citizen desperately craves fame. Once in this dystopian society, everyone wanted to be in the spotlight. Everyone wanted to be the star. Humanity's obsession with all things drama became so distracting, that people left their jobs, their homes, and their families, just to audition for a bit part. In order to stem this mayhem, the Capitol put a stop to all auditions. The leader of the Capitol, a tyrannical dictator known as the Great Casting Director, divided the population into ten different districts, each one based upon the acting styles of the citizens. (Lights come up on nine ACTORS. Each one steps forward as his/her name is called.) Greek Tragedy.

GREEK: May Zeus look down upon you and smile.

HOST: Shakespearean Drama.

SHAKES: Good morrow to thee, kind sirs and gentlewomen.

HOST: Commedia dell'Arte.

(COMMEDIA steps forward and simply bursts into giggles.)

HOST: Melodrama.

MELODRAMA: Good day... Or is it??? (Optional: dramatic music cue.)

HOST: Silent Film.

(SILENT, a male or female dressed in the style of Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin moves as if in an old time movie. SILENT raises hat to audience.)

HOST: Musical Theatre.

MUSICAL: (Bursting into song.) Hello!!!!!!!

HOST: Avant Garde.

AVANT: I am a cactus. We are all cacti.

HOST: Just a simple greeting is all we need.

AVANT: (Moving close to the Host.) You are a cantaloupe.

HOST: Thank you. Now, stand back over there. The next district: Hollywood.

HOLLYWOOD: (Glamorous, incredibly shallow.) Hi there.

HOST: And how can we forget: Method Acting.

METHOD paces back and forth, not responding, still deep within the inner workings of his character.

HOST: Uh... Method Acting? Hello?

METHOD: (Intense.) Hello!!! Is that what you want me to say? Hello? There, I said it. Happy?

HOST: (To audience.) As you can tell, it's a wide assortment. Once a year, the Casting Call takes place. One hopeful actor from each district is chosen. They are brought together to a place called the Stage. It is there that an intense competition takes place. We call this terrifying event the Actor Games. Because only one person can win, there are many losers, each of whom suffers a terrible fate. But for the one victor who remains on stage, there is fame, fortune, and a long life in the most wonderful place in all the world: the Theatre.

The nine district representatives bow at the word "theatre."

HOST: Those are nine of the districts, but we haven't met the last one... In all the years of the Actor Games, this district has never won. It is known as the Land of High School Drama.... And that is where the story begins.

(Lights on a Mother, entering the scene where her two daughters sleep under blankets. The Mother and the first daughter are wonderfully horrible actors. They should sound very unnatural, sometimes monotone, sometimes just a lousy line reading. They should move very stiffly and uncomfortably. However, the second daughter, who goes by the name of Meryl, is very ambitious and quite talented as we shall soon see.)

MOTHER: Good morning, daughter, it is time to wake-up-and-start-your-day.

DAUGHTER: Please, mother, I am SO tired. I want to go back to... Uh... I want to go back to....

Uh... Line.

MOTHER: Sleep?

DAUGHTER: Yes! Sleep!

MOTHER: No, no. Wake up. You know what is happening today? (She says her stage directions out loud: ) Sits down.

DAUGHTER: No-I-do-not-what-is-happening.

MOTHER: Today is the Day of the Casting Call.

DAUGHTER: Oh no.

MOTHER: Do not cry, it is time to wake up your sister. Exit stage left. (She exits stage right.)

DAUGHTER: Mary, Mary, it is time to wake up.

(The other girl, Mary - who prefers the name Meryl - bounces up from underneath her blanket. )

MERYL: Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon!

DAUGHTER: Sister, what are you doing? Where did you get that book? That does not belong to our district. You should not have it, Mary, you will get in trouble.

MERYL: I've told you before, twerp, I don't go by Mary anymore. I'm changing my name to Meryl.

DAUGHTER: But Meryl, only the Hollywood People change their names. And only the Shakespeare people read that play.

MERYL: Well, I'm trying new things. During the last 75 years, no one from our district has ever won the Actor Games.

DAUGHTER: That is because we are bad actors. We will never win.

MERYL: And don't you want that to change?

DAUGHTER: Uh... (Pulls out a cue card from her pocket.) Yes, I most certainly do.

MERYL: Good, so don't tell mom. I want to learn all about the other districts, just in case I make call backs.

(The HOST enters. Mother, Daughter, and Mary line up. Other actors might line up too.)

HOST: Happy Actor Games, everyone!

MOTHER and DAUGHTER: (Glum.) Happy Actor Games.

End of "The Actor Games" excerpt.