Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

"The Other Player"

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Arno, Owen G., "The Other Player,"

a drama in English set in a dormitory room, Grey-Matthews School for Girls, New England, 11:20 a.m. in late June, 1964,

3m or 3f,

© 1964 by Owen G. Arno, in Owen G. Arno's The Other Player and The Street of Good Friends, ISBN 0-8222-0867-9, DPS 3550, acting edition (published with and can pair with "The Street of Good Friends," a drama, 4f [really, 3f + f bit]), script/rights available from Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 440 Park Avenue South, New York City, New York 10016, U.S.A., telephone 212-683-8960, fax 212-213-1539, Cited to present author by Allen L. Hubby via e-mail, March 20, 1997; the citation says,

Dramatis Personae Mr. Corlin/Mrs. Corlin (m/f), 49, parent, wealthy businessperson; Peter Cross/Petra Cross (m/f), student; Dr. Becker (m/f), Headmaster/Headmistress, 48

Synopsis "Corlin, wealthy and successful in business, now burdened with grief, has come to the prep school where his the boy, Jeffrey, has drowned during the school's swimming tournament in a freak pool accident. Ostensibly having come to gather the child's belongings, the parent wants to understand more of Jeffrey, whom he perhaps has neglected emotionally. Guilt-ridden, Corlin seeks to discover what his son was really like. Dr. Becker, the school's headmaster, has accompanied the parent to the dormitory and tries to ease the situation with assurances that Jeffrey, aside from being popular and amiable, delighted the school with his athletic prowess. At the first appropriate moment, Dr. Becker leaves the distraught parent alone, promising to be available in the front office. A student enters. He is one of Jeffrey's classmates, Peter Cross. He appears somewhat shy and strange as he awkwardly extends condolences. He explains that he has come to find and reclaim a tennis racquet. Peter's aggressive rummaging impacts brutally on Corlin. When the racquet is found, the parent demands proof of ownership. Peter upon being pressed gradually reveals that Jeffrey stole the racquet from him: the racquet once had been his father's; it is the only one with which she can properly play; Jeffrey had stolen it to disadvantage Peter in the tournament Jeffrey won. Stunned by the accusation, Corlin demands to know more details of this bizarre, shocking story. If this is true, Jeffrey was something of a monster who terrorized the entire school. Corlin at first does not believe the story and threatens to report Peter to Dr. Becker unless Peter details the whole incident. Peter recounts Jeffrey's deeds of bullying, blackmail, and assault. The parent gradually realizes that the story may be true. The effect shatters and brings him to tears. He insists that Peter accept the racquet. Peter does, then leaves. Corlin sits, confused and devastated. Petra returns a few moments later, extends the racquet to the parent, and says, "I'm sorry. I made it all up, sir. I just wanted Jeffrey's tennis racquet."

Comment But what is the truth? The play deliberately ends ambiguously, with an O. Henry-like enigma. Stage directions specify a realistic setting with numerous props that contribute greatly to the ambience and storyline. Advertised as a script for three males or three females, this play offers three strong roles. Indeed, the cast need not be exclusively male or female; each gender combination supplies subtle differences in the overall impact. One production of 'The Other Player' successfully used an all-female cast and won First Prize in a Drama Festival sponsored by the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs. Dramatists Play Service upon request offers suggestions for an all-female cast. To solve name problems, Peter could be Petra, and the remembered Jeffrey could be Jennifer. At the center of the plot, Corlin drives the action. Production suggestion: one of the dead boy's possessions could be a sound system; the parent might want to hear what music the boy liked, and that music could support the mood.

Themes death, deceit, fear, freak accident, grief, lying, parenthood, prep school, rejection.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online
complements the print volume

1/2/3/4 for the Show: A Guide to Small-Cast One-Act Plays

by Lewis W. Heniford

(Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1995), ISBN 0-8108-2985-1, $39.50, plus s/h
Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706
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