Pre-Matrimonial Conversation in a Sylvan Wood on a Warm, Sunny Romantic Afternoon

Short Play – Single Set – 1 Woman, 1 Man

Park_BenchDescription: A man and a woman meet on a park bench and test the romantic waters by exchanging one word dialogue.

Synopsis: Mac politely asks Jackie if he can sit next to her on a park bench. Mac is interested in Jackie, and tries chatting her up. Jackie is somewhat intrigued by him, but eventually Mac lays it on too thick and Jackie leaves in a huff.


Why It Was Written: One of my very first plays, I wrote this piece to explore just how much emotion and meaning I could convey using one word dialogue. The short play was staged three times during The Catatonic Muse, my Senior Thesis project at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. I worked with two other student directors on my project, Mark Hubbard and Anne Mead. The evening was a series of short plays, and this piece became the audience favorite. We staged the same script with three different casts – Mark, Anne, and I each directing a different cast. We ended up having the Mac from the first cast disgustedly carry off the bench after the third Mac got his rejection from the third Jackie. A fun moment.

When I applied for the MFA Playwriting program at UNLV, I sent this play along with a couple others in my application packet. I found out later professors Davey Marlin-Jones and Jerry Crawford accepted my application primarily because of this play. That same year the theatre department at the University of Virginia staged an outdoors production. Then while at UNLV Todd Espeland, a student director, staged the play by having me write the script while the actors performed the dialogue. Meanwhile Mark Hubbard went on to teach theatre at Rosemount High School, and he continues to use this play as an exercise in his acting classes. He eventually turned it into a short film as a project for his high school students.

To stage it, you just need a bag lunch, a newspaper, a park bench, and two actors. How and what you do is totally up to you.

Read the First 5 Pages: Script Sample