In addition to the awful reality that One Act Plays are ruining the Modern Theatre,
one set plays are killing off any and all theatrical design aesthetic and that deathly trend cannot die soon enough.

The “in one” idea of play staging is, once again, a matter of convenience over substance.

A single set saves time and money and you don’t need to change scenery, so you need less stagehands behind the scene.

We are in favor of multiple set plays because that sort of spectacle is necessary to create a fulfilling and winsome dramatic experience.  A single set is static, dull, and compressing. 

Some might try to argue a smothering single set can be effective in suffocating the audience along with the actors, but that’s like wanting to bore an audience because a character on stage is bored, too.

If I am forced to use a single set — even though my play has many
settings — I prefer to have no set at all and use lighting alone to create
new places.  That always works well because the audience builds the set
in their imaginative minds — but it also cheats the set designer out of
creating an artistic impression that can substantially aid and abet the
entire production.

We must find a way to demand, and then employ, the idea of plays with
vast, various and multiple settings are a good and necessary thing — and our plot construction must
demand elaborate sets because every audience yearns for that magical experience — even if they rarely get
that human satisfaction in today’s modern theatre.


  1. I hear that, David. I wrote a two act play that has multiple scenes yet I specifically wrote it so that most of the props could be reconfigured and reused — and yet still be viewed as completely different scenes. I don’t see why more wouldn’t go with that option. 🙂

  2. I’d like to know of some single setting plays besides 12 angry men if anyone knows any, or if anyone know a way I can find out.

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