Once upon a time, I was a middle school teacher in a very small and very rural school. Actually, to be perfectly accurate, I was the middle school. I taught all of our sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in one room, all day, for all subjects…and loved it!
One school year, I happened to be in need of a playscript. But not just any script. I needed a script that was appropriate to the tender and tough age of adolescence. I needed a script that was flexible. I needed a script that was a reasonable length and could be performed successfully on a modest budget. And above all, I needed a playscript that was really, truly fun. Fun for the kids to perform, fun for me to direct, and fun for the audience to watch. And since I couldn’t seem to find a script that I really loved and met all of those needs, I wrote one. And I’ve been happily writing playscripts ever since.
After my long, happy chapter of teaching middle school, I became a professional playwright and youth drama director. I’ve worked with casts who were small, focused, and confident. I’ve also directed groups who were large, rowdy, and on a wide spectrum of skill. I’ve written old-fashioned melodramas, mystery dinner shows, fractured fairy tales, Wild West comedies, Shakespearean spoofs, and a number of other custom pieces for middle school drama teachers. And I count myself lucky any time I can be a part of the magic that happens for kids on stage!
About the Playscripts
So, some things I’ll mention about the nature of my playscripts:
They’re designed for young adolescent performers.
My playscripts are designed for middle schoolers because that age group is my hands-down favorite as a teacher, playwright, and director. I am definitely drawn to working with kids in that crazy stage called adolescence. Maybe it’s because they understand sarcasm. Maybe it’s because they’re desperately trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world. Or perhaps I adore them because they can transition from serious to silly in the blink of an eye. This is good stuff for the stage! So my scripts are chock full of characters that are funny, ironic, sarcastic, over-the-top dramatic, or just plain goofy—roles that middle schoolers love.
Honestly, I have spent too much time as a teacher and play director facing a group that almost fit the script in my hand. So I intentionally wrote my playscripts with flexibility in mind. I am not so concerned that you act these scripts out exactly as written—I’m more concerned that you’re able to fit the script to your group and have fun with it! So with every playscript, there are options as to how to add or delete characters, change a role from female to male, etc. And not only do I give you permission to make these changes, but I offer specific suggestions as to how to do so in my production notes!
I’ve always believed a great script is the most important thing you need for a great play. A cast could be acting their little hearts out, but if the script is boring, they’re doomed. So I’m pleased to say that every one of my scripts has been successfully performed to great laughs and applause. I did not write these in a dark room and decide they were wonderful. They’ve definitely proven themselves to be hits, so you can be assured they’ll be successful for you, too!
Not only has every one of these scripts been successfully performed on stage, but they’ve been fine-tuned. Every time I finished a show, I found myself going back to the script and editing it just a bit further. This is because during rehearsals, there were plenty of moments when my enthusiastic actors and actresses came up with a much funnier line than what I had written. Or I would discover a particular line that looked good on the page was hard to articulate and needed to be tweaked. Or one of my cast members would simply catch an error in the script that I hadn’t spotted. Or something spontaneous and wonderful would happen during the show that I wanted to capture in the script. What I offer you here on the website is the ruthlessly-edited, after-the-show version of the playscript. The final-final draft, so to speak.
They set up every kid to shine.
A good script is one that offers variety. For any one group, there needs to be a lot of different-sized roles and a lot of different types of characters. There should be a part for the one who’s a natural ham and a part for the one who’s working on being brave. My scripts offer all of this. I’ve even gone so far as to create clumps of characters in many of my plays—a band of villains, a family of sisters, a group of elves, etc.—so that a shyer kid can be tucked in the middle and feed off the confidence of the group. (And have an easy cue, since oftentimes the actors in these groups speak in order.) Even the smallest roles have a chance at getting a laugh from the audience. Every kid has an opportunity to shine!
They’re clean comedy.
All of my scripts are family-friendly with a humor that appeals to all ages. They can be performed anywhere, for any audience. Middle schoolers can be perfect comedians given a great script. And I know that when kids learn how to deliver a funny line and get a laugh, their confidence rockets through the roof.
They come with extras.
I’ve included some extra perks with all of my playscripts:
To start, I’ve written extensive production notes that appear at the end of every script. These notes cover how to best cast your characters, information on staging and props, costume ideas, and even fun ideas for refreshments! As mentioned above, I also offer very specific suggestions as to how to adjust the play to your cast size, if needed.
Next, for every play, I’ve included an organizational grid that breaks down your costume and prop needs for every character. This should prove to be a handy tool for you as the director and/or your costume and prop manager. I’ve included this grid because it’s something I always ended up creating for myself to stay organized. I used it to keep track of who was playing which character. I wrote in who was responsible for which sign (applause, laugh, etc.) in the old-fashioned melodramas. It even helped me as a shopping list for props in my local thrift store. I am certain you will find it useful.
And finally, I offer suggestions right here on the website as to how to transform many of my plays into a fundraiser event, if you wish. For the Pie Palooza Plays, I’ve written up all the information you need to host your own Pie Palooza event. For the Cowgirl Cookie Shows, I’ve described how to transform them into dinner shows. For the Shakespearean Spoofs, I’ve suggested some supper show possibilities. You’ll be able to access this additional information any time you want to raise some funds in a very fun way. Feel free to check these suggestions out ahead of time!
My playscripts reflect my experience as a teacher and drama director—they are organized and user-friendly. On the first page, I’ve broken down the cast by large, medium, and small roles because I’ve always found this to be the easiest way to size up a cast. Male, female, and non-gender roles are clearly indicated, and a short description of every character is given. On the second page, there’s a quick summary of the plot, a break-down of the cast size, estimated playing time, and the general setting of the stage. Pages are numbered. Every scene starts on a fresh page not only for the sake of easy reading but also for easy copying of any single scene. And finally, any characters appearing in a scene are always listed at the top of that particular scene so you can easily call just those actors to the stage during rehearsal.
They’re successful on any budget.
All of my scripts have very simple staging, props, and costumes. Whether you have a large stage, lights, and full costume department or just one end of a cafeteria, cardboard, and some thrift shop clothing, your production has an equal chance at being terrific. Whatever the size of your theater budget, just add some middle schoolers and the script will sparkle!