One Act – Single Set – 2 Men


Description: Two gravediggers accidently dig up some bones in an old cemetery, and also dig up some long hidden secrets about themselves.



Synopsis: Oliver is doing the family a favor. His irresponsible nephew, Terry, has been floating from job to job, piling up unpaid bills, and getting drunk. So Oliver gives Terry a chance at the grave digging business. Now this is not the easy mechanical backhoe kind of grave digging. Oliver’s approach is the old fashioned method, using a shovel and the strength of your back. Oliver runs the last old fashioned grave digging business in a tri-county area.

Unfortunately Terry lives up to all of his predicted bad work habits, and has a difficult time. While they race to dig a grave before a looming rain storm, Terry hits what he thinks is a rock, and he tries to pry it loose. Suddenly the rock cracks and a pile of human bones tumble out. When these bones reveal a stinging piece of Oliver’s past, both men must confront what they most fear.

Why It Was Written: Since I grew up on a farm, I enjoy dramatizing situations that involve physical labor. The one act is one of my favorite plays in this mode, as both actors have to constantly shovel and speak at the same time. Plus the characters switch social positions during the piece – Oliver goes from an authority figure to miscreant while Terry becomes the reverse.

This play also has a reverse riff on the gravedigger’s scene in Hamlet. So the situation gave me a way to dramatize rural Minnesota through a classic theatre context. I got the idea for the piece from a news article about a couple men who actually performed this “hands on” grave digging service around the rural Wilmar area.

Read the First 5 Pages: Script Sample