One Person Plays | Best Plays For One Performer

10 mins read

One person plays offer a unique intimate theater experience. With just a single actor holding the stage, these productions allow the performer to connect with the audience on a deep level. This focused format also presents challenges for the actor, who must command the stage alone. Let’s explore some of the most impactful and noteworthy one person plays.



Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s original edgy comedy play became the basis for her hit TV series. Fleabag introduces us to a complex female protagonist who owns a guinea pig cafe while navigating dysfunctional relationships and sexuality. Waller-Bridge’s wit and human portrayal struck a chord.

Fleabag Monologue

prima facie

Prima Facie

“Prima Facie” is a compelling one-woman show crafted by Suzie Miller, centering on Tessa, a dedicated criminal defense barrister. Tessa’s expertise lies in defending men accused of sexual crimes until she experiences sexual assault herself. This pivotal event shifts her perspective on the justice system dramatically. The narrative delves into the stringent demands placed on sexual assault victims to present unequivocal evidence for a conviction. The play has garnered critical acclaim, securing nominations for five Laurence Olivier Awards and clinching the titles for Best New Play and Best Actress, awarded to Jodie Comer. Comer’s exceptional portrayal also earned her a Tony Award when the play was staged on Broadway.

one person plays

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit provides a unique theatrical experiment. Each night a different actor performs the play cold, reading the script for the first time on stage. The play offers insight into the life of a young Iranian artist, exploring the contemporary experience in a country battered by war.

In an act of creative defiance, Nassim Soleimanpour, a playwright confined within his own nation’s borders, captures the essence of his peers through the groundbreaking play “White Rabbit Red Rabbit.” This narrative delves into the lives of those who came of age during the tumultuous times of the Iran-Iraq conflict. It portrays a cohort that, despite growing up under the shadow of the Islamic Republic, has managed to stay abreast of technological advancements and global knowledge. Soleimanpour’s work stands as a testament to a resilient generation that navigates the complexities of modern Iran with insight and adaptability.

solo perfromer

Krapp’s Last Tape

Samuel Beckett’s classic absurdist play focuses on Krapp, an aging man who reviews tapes made decades earlier on his birthday. As the younger Krapp describes hopes and dreams, we witness the older man’s profound regret. Beckett uses innovative theatrical techniques to convey the melancholy despair.

Plays For One Performer

Death Of England

Roy Williams’ powerful play examines issues of race, class and identity in contemporary Britain. A young man eulogizes his abusive father while confronting how their relationship shaped his life. Performed by black British actor Rafe Spall, the script interrogates notions of Englishness with poetic intensity.

a room of ones own

A Room of One’s Own

In “A Room of One’s Own,” Virginia Woolf is tasked with discussing Women and Fiction, presenting a compelling argument that financial independence and personal space are crucial for women to create fiction. This essay unfolds through a semi-fictional narrative, exploring Woolf’s journey to this conclusion. Starting her exploration at Oxbridge College, Woolf contemplates the distinct educational paths and life circumstances faced by men and women. Her quest for understanding further leads her to the British Library, where she examines male-authored academic works on women, noting the pervasive tone of hostility. This reflective journey forms the backbone of her thesis, advocating for the essential conditions women need to flourish as writers.

fires in the mirror

Fires In The Mirror

Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities,” crafted in 1992 by the esteemed African-American creative force Anna Deavere Smith, delves into the intricate tapestry of the Crown Heights riot and its ripple effects. This singular performance piece, set against the backdrop of a 1991 upheaval in Brooklyn, New York, weaves together the narratives of both African-American and Jewish communities entwined in the event’s fallout. Smith, wearing multiple hats as a playwright, author, actress, and academic, brings to life the diverse perspectives of those touched by the turmoil through a series of monologues. These narratives are not fictional creations but are drawn from the real words of over a hundred people Smith personally interviewed, marking “Fires in the Mirror” as a seminal work in the realm of verbatim theatre. This innovative approach to storytelling not only earned the play critical acclaim but also secured it the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show, cementing its place in theatrical history.

SANDRA by David Cale

In this gripping solo performance, “Sandra” embarks on a quest to unravel the enigma surrounding her dearest friend’s vanishing. This friend, a talented young musician known for his piano and composition skills, embarked on a journey to Mexico from which he never returned. As Sandra digs deeper for answers, she finds herself entangled in a passionate romance and ventures into perilous realms, making the narrative a compelling mix of mystery and emotional turmoil.

Harry Clarke

Harry Clarke unfolds the tale of a reserved man from the Midwest who discovers his true essence under the guise of the bold and brash Londoner, Harry Clarke. Relocating to New York, he assumes the identity of a British gentleman, weaving himself into the fabric of a rich family’s existence. His allure and daring charm lead him to entangle romantically with two members of the family, showcasing Harry’s complex and audacious nature, far beyond mere romantic pursuits. Crafted with captivating and deeply emotional narrative flair by Cale, this story delves into the thrilling escapades of a man living a daringly dual existence.

Sea Wall by Simon Stephens

Sea Wall is a delicate monologue, completely devastating and beautifully powerful.

Alex’s story, spoken directly to the audience, begins full of clear light and smiles, as he speaks about his wife, visiting her father in the South of France, having a daughter, photography, and the bottom of the sea. His tone is natural, happy and engaging, with flickers of questions about belief and religion glimpsed under the surface. But his contentment falls away into deep and heart-breaking grief, crumbling to pieces with a vividness that is incredibly moving.

Thom Pain (based on nothing)

Thom Pain (based on nothing),” crafted by Will Eno in 2004, unfolds as a solo performance. This narrative is a sprawling soliloquy delivered by a character who has endured significant hardship. Within this monologue, he shares a collection of poignant vignettes from his life, including an encounter with a bee sting, the tale of a young boy whose dog has passed away, and reflections on a relationship with a woman. This piece is characterized by its meandering exploration of life’s trials and tribulations, offering a unique window into the protagonist’s soul.

Additional Noteworthy One Person Plays

From comedic satire like Thom Pain to global hits like The Vagina Monologues, one-person shows continue to thrive. Some works like Shirley Valentine (Willy Russell) follow a woman’s journey of self-discovery. Others like Grounded (George Brant) provide a haunting look at the effects of war. The focused storytelling of this format allows for uniquely impactful theater.

We hope this list of on person plays helps you find something to work on in acting class or produce on your own!

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