"The Bully Plays": The first 8 plays in the collection

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Middle School actors in "A Bunch of Clowns," one of "The Bully Plays". R.M. Flynn

The Bully Plays is a collection of 24 ten-minute plays compiled and edited by Linda Habjan, Submissions Editor at Dramatic Publishing.  As the title suggests, each play is about an instance of bullying, the effect of being a bully or being bullied, or an artistic expression of how bullying looks and feels.  The plays are especially suitable for performance by mature middle school students, high school students, and young adults.

 

The Bully Plays provide excellent scripts for actors to explore a prevalent and controversial topic while delving into character development.  This collection of short plays is also useful for classroom scene work and the exploration of theatre as a form of activism.

The intent of the collection is not that all 24 plays be performed in order in one production. Directors (and cast) can choose from among the plays according to their content, characters, and the messages that they communicate. Here is an example of a selection of eleven plays as they appeared in one program.

Many of the plays do not specify a specific gender per role and many allow for expansion of the cast. Overall, the gender breakdown of the entire collection of plays is:

Female Roles: 53

Male Roles: 43

Characters that can be played by either males or females: 41

Ensemble Roles: Multiple, depending upon the play

Content Issues? Some (but not all) of the plays deal frankly with homosexuality, nudity, and suicide.

Some use explicit language and include talk of violence.

The first eight plays and available roles are summarized below.

The second eight plays and available roles are summarized in this article.

The final eight plays and available roles are summarized in this article.

1. Alex (a conversation about nothing) by José Casas

Alex is a thirteen-year-old boy who recounts an incidence of violence brought on by bullying at his school.

Cast size: 1

Female Characters: 0

Male Characters: 1

Setting: Anywhere, but playwright recommends a place that suggests home.

Time: Modern day, afternoon.

Content Issues: Body size and appearance. Boys harass an overweight boy about having boobs.

2. Beasts by Ernie Nolan

In the labyrinth, as per the ancient myth, Theseus meets several “beasts.” The characters talk about what that label “beast” means and what action to take when one meets a “beast.”

Cast size: This play can accommodate 8 actors.

Female Characters: 2

Male Characters: 5

Characters that can be played by either males or females: 1    

Setting: A labyrinth in Ancient Greece

Content Issues? Negligible; talk of “destroying you.”

3. BLU by Gloria Bond Clunie

Blu (a role that may be played by either a male or female) is the ghost of an eighth grader who committed suicide. His or her brother is searching for a poem to be read at the funeral.

Cast size: This play can accommodate 6 actors.

Female Characters: 2

Male Characters: 2

Characters that could be played by either males or females: 2

Setting: Blu’s bedroom (or the suggestion of a bedroom) in the present

Content Issues? Suicide, homosexual slurs

4. Bully-Bully by Cherie Bennett

A cheerleader, her prior non-cheerleader alter-ego, her mother, and her over-dramatic dog discuss peer pressure and the relative importance of education, commitments at home, social commitments, and friendship. 

Cast size: This play can accommodate 4 actors

Male Characters: 0

Female Characters: 3

Characters that may be played by either males or females: 1

Setting: “Girly girl” bedroom in the present

Content Issues? Only the mention of a cheer that almost ends in a curse word

5. The Bully Pulpit by Dwayne Hartford

Barbara is running for class president on an anti-bullying platform, yet she bullies her campaign committee and her best friend through the entire process using condescension, pressure, and disdain.

Cast size: This play can accommodate 5 actors.

Male Characters:     2

Female Characters: 3

Characters that can be played by either males or females: 0

Setting: High school auditorium and Katie’s living room in the present

Content Issues? None

6. A Bully There Be by Lisa Dillman

This play’s dialogue is written completely in rhyme.  A serving wench, a jester, and a prince use exaggerated language and action to illustrate the dynamics between a bully, the bullied, and the mediator. The play ends with a “life is good and love is strange” moral.

Cast size: This play can accommodate 3 actors.

Male Characters: 2

Female Characters: 1

Characters that can be played by either males or females: 0

Setting: “Once upon a time” in a royal palace

Content Issues? Bruises that are evidence of a fight

7. A Bunch of Clowns by Sandra Fenichel Asher

A ringmaster leads a bunch of clowns through a series of tableaux that demonstrating instances of bullying complete with bystanders. The Ringmaster demands that the New Kid must decide which sort of clown he’d like to be: a bully, the bullied, or a bystander.

Cast size: This play can accommodate at the least 5 actors. The playwright recommends a cast of 8 with the option of a larger cast, depending on the number of clowns a director chooses to include.

Male Characters: 2

Characters that could be played by either males or females: 6+

Setting: The circus, a school, or both—your choice—in the present

Content Issues: The Ringmaster uses a whip and there are images of violence.

8. Bystander Blues by Trish Lindberg

In this play, the bystanders do most of the talking.

They are witnesses to an act of bullying who express their regret in asides to the audience. They share their misgivings both over what they did and didn’t do when they saw a girl being bullied. This play illustrates the power a bystander has to minimize the damage a bully can perpetrate on a victim.

Cast size: This play can accommodate 10 actors.

Male Characters: 3

Female Characters: 7

Characters that could be played by either males or females: 0

Setting: Bare stage in the present

Content Issues? None

The Bully Plays is a collection of 24 ten-minute plays. Read about the other plays in these articles:

The Bully Plays: The second 8 plays in the collection

The Bully Plays: The final 8 plays in the collection

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Flynn, Rosalind. ""The Bully Plays": The first 8 plays in the collection." ThoughtCo, Jan. 20, 2015, thoughtco.com/the-bully-plays-the-first-8-plays-in-the-collection-2713575. Flynn, Rosalind. (2015, January 20). "The Bully Plays": The first 8 plays in the collection. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-bully-plays-the-first-8-plays-in-the-collection-2713575 Flynn, Rosalind. ""The Bully Plays": The first 8 plays in the collection." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-bully-plays-the-first-8-plays-in-the-collection-2713575 (accessed November 20, 2017).