REVIEWS ~~Short Plays for the Classroom ~~

Black vs. White vs. Brown ~~ D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review 

Black vs. White vs. Brown is a one-act play designed for classroom use, and joins a series of stand-alone 10-minute plays by Trisha Sugarek that require no props, costumes or sets; making them perfect choices for budget-stretched classrooms looking for short, affordable drama pieces.

This short work is #32 in the series and features nine characters, a ‘Greek Chorus’ of texters, and is introduced by production notes to the play director. These specific suggestions for crafting a successful result (“Texters should be assigned lines based on gender/sentiment of the line. Example: Text #3. I’d smash me some of that. This would be an A male African-American.  Text #2. Duh…Tyron of course. This would be a female.”) makes it easy to assign roles that make sense.

As for the content of this piece itself: expect conversations filled with acronyms, slang and local lingo and an attention to realistically depicting a high school scene that is spicy, interactive, and revealing. This approach offers students a satisfyingly realistic scenario of interpersonal interactions based on familiar high school culture.

A drama class’s interactions and objectives creates insights on the acting process, as well, as students encounter discrimination, experience school challenges, and explore the shake-up of a school prom turned into a lesson in prejudice and tolerance. The contemporary flavor of this one-act play will not only educate drama students on how to depict the scenes and emotions of characters, but teaches acting in the course of a drama that teens will easily relate to. Black vs. White vs. Brown is a wonderful blend of honest portrayal and useful drama student scripting!

bullying, bullies, middle school, high school, mean girls, suicideYou’re Fat, You’re Ugly, and You Dress Weird ~~ D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review 

Adding to the ‘Shortn’Small’ series of one-act classroom plays that require no special sets, props, or costumes is You’re Fat, You’re Ugly, and You Dress Weird: a play about a girl who faces bullying when a new girl affects her friendships at school.

Dakota’s reaction to Aanya is unkind and as her friends begin to follow in Dakota’s footsteps, Aanya suffers. Her major problem involves how to respond to Dakota’s prods; but a secondary problem is how readily those she thought were friends are following along in their new mentor’s footsteps, teasing Aanya about her weight, clothes, and appearance.When Dakota takes to social media to torture Aanya online, the cruelty gets even more vicious.

There are many good features to note about this play: its strong message about bullying and cyberbullying and its insights into daughter and mother relationships and emotions. There are only six characters in this short piece; but its impact is powerful, nonetheless.

As young actors read through emotional scenes and learn how to depict these strong forces, they also absorb lessons both about bullying and representing dramatic encounters. Tolerance and compassion are outlined as the maligned Aanya finds her life and reputation being systematically destroyed by cruel and nasty online postings attacking her character and ego.

You’re Fat, You’re Ugly, and You Dress Weird is more than just a one-act play for aspiring actors: it’s a lesson in choices, consequences, and school culture that’s a highly recommended pick for drama teachers seeking affordable lesson plans holding wider-ranging educational attributes. The result is a powerful and wonderfully wrenching story that will lend perfectly to drama classes.


No Means No! The Tale of Four Super Hero Girls ~~ D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review 

No Means No! The Tale of Four Super Hero Girls is a short one-act drama for classroom instruction, requires no sets, costumes, or props, and features characters ranging in age from 13 to 22 as it explores the dilemmas of Emilee and her girlfriends, who are facing pressure from their male peers to engage in sexual activities.

The ‘G’ rating of this play comes from its focus not on explicit sexual encounters, but in the emotional confrontations, choices, and social interactions between girls and boys in the early stages of adolescence, making for an appropriate and satisfyingly revealing piece that teachers and parents will find acceptably educational. The ‘G’ rating is reinforced by author notes in the beginning (“Scene 1: it should give the illusion of heavy necking and petting (at the director/educator’s discretion”), which help guide educators. As the story unfolds, emotions between teens are explored, from love and ‘proving it’ to girls caught between parental admonitions and romance’s promises and pitfalls.

Teens receive lessons in more than acting abilities as they explore a play that deftly outlines dilemmas, choices, consequences, and peer pressure. Teachers receive a wonderfully compelling story line paired with an attention to dramatic embellishments that teaches kids about acting, life and love, simultaneously.


Love Never Leaves Bruises~~ D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review 

Physical domestic violence is explored in Love Never Leaves Bruises, a one-act play designed for budget-minded classrooms interested in contemporary themes and productions that don’t require sets, props, or costumes. Megan knows her boyfriend loves her: so why does he lose his temper and hit her?

Three characters (the teen couple and Megan’s mother) interact in a short drama that explores a topic too many high school students may personally be familiar with: relationship violence among teens. Jealousy, anger, and a daughter’s fear of telling her mother exactly what’s going on with her boyfriend provide realistic encounters and outline the results of abuse and protecting one’s abuser.

Kids receive more than just a lesson in drama through an inviting, refreshingly true-to-life one-act play that provides fine keys to surviving typical life challenges. Very highly recommended as a strong addition to Trisha Sugarek’s excellent set of acting lessons!


32 ten minute plays for the teen classroom needing NO sets, costumes, or props. Most address real-time teen issues. Available at and all fine book Stores. Paperbacks and e-books

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