"The Absolute Most Cliched Elevator Play in the History of the Entire Universe"

A One-Act Play by Werner Trieschmann

The setting for this play. Buyenlarge

Setting a play in an elevator is a common playwriting scenario assigned to beginning playwrights. The characters have no exit from their confines and no choice but to interact with each other. This type of scenario allows for extreme characters to create conflict quickly and without much exposition.

In The Absolute Most Clichéd Elevator Play in the History of the Entire Universe, many extreme characters are trapped in an elevator with the twist that they are somewhat self aware that they are in a play.

The Instructor is the playwright’s teacher and also a target for the other characters’ aggression and angst. The Pregnant Woman (who is going into labor) teams up with The Instructor to find the character acting as the voice of the playwright and convince her to let them out of the elevator. The two of them question a new age woman, a violent biker, a group of spirited cheerleaders, a Goth kid, a clown, and a normal girl. The normal girl ends up being the unlikely playwright who is none too pleased with The Instructor’s evaluation of her play. She eventually lets everyone out of the elevator except for The Instructor, the violent biker, and the clown (who scares the instructor).

High schools and colleges could consider producing The Absolute Most Clichéd Elevator Play in the History of the Entire Universe. This play provides ample opportunities for young actors to explore developing character traits, committing to extreme moments, using expression, and practicing larger than life emotions.

There is no romantic storyline or lead characters, so, as an ensemble piece, this play provides each actor with memorable moments onstage. The lighting, costume, prop, and set needs are minimal. The script identifies the need for only a square of projected light that can grow larger or smaller to accommodate the number of characters present onstage at any time.

The characters only have one costume apiece, making this a cost effective play to produce in small or educational theaters.

Setting: An elevator

Time: Now

Cast Size: This play can accommodate 10-12 actors.

Male Characters: 2

Female Characters: 7

Characters that could be played by either males or females: 3


The Instructor is the incarnation of the playwright’s teacher. He or she is critical of the play and has strong opinions on the qualities of a good play.

The Pregnant Woman is going into labor. She is panicked and angry that she’ll have to give birth on an elevator surrounded by clichés.

The Biker is an angry man who is quick to choose violence except when it comes to the death penalty. He is on his way to protest it.

The New Age Woman stresses peace and serenity except when it comes to violent offenders of the law. She is on her way to protest in favor of the death penalty. Revenge is a natural desire and she is all about nature.

Misfit #1 is a clown who is not good at making balloon animals. Oh yeah, he’s also a doctor, how about that?

Misfit #2 is a Goth kid. He finds peace in the dark side of life and writes poems that he texts to his peers in his school. He found the Goth lifestyle after being rejected from the cheerleading squad.

Misfit #3 is a normal girl. She is not “eccentric or unusual in dress or manner.”

Stephanie is the lead cheerleader at the local high school. To her, spirit is life and there are far too many “downy frownies” on this elevator. She wants to see her squad have spirit and threatens to shoot them if they don’t stop frowning.

Bethany is a cheerleader who is looking for a deeper meaning in life like the Goth kid describes in his poems.

Brittney also likes the Goth kid. She also likes sitting glumly at home and eating two bags of Oreos.

Cheerleader #4 really has to go to the bathroom.

Cheerleader #5 is severely claustrophobic.

Content Issues: Gun (never fired)

The Absolute Most Clichéd Elevator Play in the History of the Entire Universe is available for purchase and licensing from Playscripts, Inc. It is also part of the collection in the book Random Acts of Comedy: 15 Hit One Act Plays for Student Actors.