Cover photo by Pete Byron

Funny Shorts

Billy Aronson
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Licensing Note

BPPI does not handle performance rights for LIGHT YEARS, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, and THE NEWS. For performance rights, contact Playscripts, Inc.


This collection includes 15 comic one-acts: REUNIONS, THE NEWS, LITTLE DUCK, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, NIGHT RULES, LIGHT YEARS, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, NEGOTIATION, GUILT, BLEEP THIS BLEEP, OF TWO MINDS, BEATLES FOREVER, AT THE BEACH, FREE WILL, and COMPLETE UNKNOWNS. REUNIONS: Graduates return to show off the incredible things they’ve become. THE NEWS: Karen has some really weird news. As people realize what it is they start acting really weird. LITTLE DUCK: A children’s television company blends sweetness with sadism. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT: What begins as a romantic rendezvous between two college students turns into something else entirely when the boy’s mother visits, and a terrible truth is revealed. NIGHT RULES: Young parents battle the forces of darkness. LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD: The classic fairytale, thoroughly bastardized. NEGOTIATION: An employer and a freelancer try to settle on a fee, and a job, and a species. GUILT: Someone is guilty of something. BLEEP THIS BLEEP: Four people who seem to be in a reality show seem to share certain basic values until they seem to start strangling one another. OF TWO MINDS: A mother and her teenage daughter become involved with the same man. BEATLES FOREVER: Four female fans have a ticket to ride with The Beatles. AT THE BEACH: Mid-life love. FREE WILL: Eight iconic characters from different Shakespeare plays wind up on an island. Comedy/tragedy/romance ensues. COMPLETE UNKNOWNS: Ellen has written a play. Molly intends to produce it.

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Press Quotes

“Aronson has demonstrated he has a keen sense of what makes a good one act. Madcap mayhem worthy of the Marx Brothers without censorship. Bravo.” —CurtainUp


“The play takes a decidedly loopy turn, and the delight is all the more piquant for being a surprise. From then on, the alumni who show up (including a major celebrity whom you’ll know but never guess) have, suffice it to say, unusual résumés. That the reunion proceeds with every familiar emotional trapping nonetheless is funny and even touching.” —New York Times


“Touching and surreal. Depicts that strange period of time when one realizes the death of a loved one is inevitable and that knowledge makes time with the person change shape; even the cell phones take on a new, magical meaning.” —Variety


“Highly amusing look at the boiling sexual intrigue and artistic warfare behind the scenes of a children’s television program. These battles explode in a Bacchanalian conclusion that makes the murderous gunslingers of the Wild West look rather civilized.” —New York Times


“A mother’s surprise visit to her son at college reveals the shocking extent of his emotional instability.” —New York Times


“Takes its on-target premise to the horizon of absurdity. The denouement is a wicked reversal of rules about who sleeps in whose bed, and the logic is priceless. Aronson has nailed these parental holy wars and couples’ skirmishes with a keenly observant eye.” —Village Voice


“Deft shifts in the tone and meaning of Mr Aronson’s dialogue that you only catch when they trigger emotional explosions … the shock of totally unexpected passions … it all works perfectly.” —New York Times


“An adult re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood … has moments of real richness. Mr. Aronson clearly has a respect for words and uses them well, creating humor and depth …” —nytheatrereview


“Mordantly funny. The playwright finds a formula for family and love in an age of fractured marriages, lack of communication and yearning for union.” —New York Times

About the Author


  • Billy Aronson

    Billy Aronson’s one-act plays have been produced in 8 Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathons and published in 6 volumes of BEST AMERICAN SHORT PLAYS and Broadway Play Publishing’s FUNNY SHORTS. His full-length plays have premiered at Playwrights Horizons, the Woolly Mammoth, the SF Playhouse, and 1812 Productions. His writing for the musical theater includes the original concept and additional lyrics for the Broadway musical RENT, and the book for the Theatreworks musical CLICK CLACK MOO. With artist Jennifer Oxley he created PEG + CAT, an animated PBS show that won 3 Emmy Awards in its first season. With his wife Lisa Vogel he created Jake and Anna, their animated offspring.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/15/2014
Pages 296
ISBN 9780881456035