by Alan David Perkins
Copyright © 1990


One-act comedy.


It's the last football game of the season and all Randy Borden, the high school's band director, has to do is live through it and he can begin his coveted Concert Season. But, due to a bullying Principal, maniacal drummers, dangerous trombones and an enamored clarinet player, Randy Borden has to pull out all the stops just to make it through.


RANDY BORDEN - Male, late 20's. A nervous high school marching band director.
STEVE DUNN - Male, 18. The prim, proper and simple drum major.
PHOEBE - Female, 18. A plucky clarinet player.
MR. WOOD - Male, 40's and up. The unpleasant Principal.


45 minutes.


The play can be minimal in production, with the only set suggestion being a section of bleachers. If this is not available, it can be implied. Other requirements are to maintain authenticity. It is essential that the actor portraying Mr. Borden be able to conduct. Another is that the actor portraying Steve be able to march.

Props include a portable stereo, a conductor's baton, two whistles and band uniforms.

Sound requirements include cheering crowds, percussion hits, rain and "First Suite in E-Flat for Military Band" by Gustav Holst.


Back in 1990 while I was studying Playwriting, I saw a production of Aaron Sorkin's play "Hidden In This Picture" and was inspired beyond belief. Here was a simple little play about a bad situation that just got worse and worse until it was over. Being an old marching band jock, I always wanted an opportunity to use it in a play. Inspired by Mr. Sorkin's opus, I came up with the idea for "Half-Time."

The first scene I wrote was actually the middle scene. I was still trying to find my voice as a writer and, after many failed efforts, brought this scene into my playwriting class. Everyone was laughing so hard that they couldn't even read. Afterwards they all pleaded with me to continue it.

Once completed, I sent it around and won two competitions in a row with it. I tried to write many variations on it including a sequel, a full-length version and a screenplay. The one-act version is the only one that truly holds up.

The clever thing about "Half-Time" is that most of the comedy comes from what you DON'T see. The laughs come when you either find out about what just happened before the scene, or what's happening offstage. Steve is sent on many missions, and the comedy comes when he relates his stories.

As usual, there are a lot of Easter Eggs in this little comedy. My high school band director's name was Mr. Borden but he was nothing like the character. Our drum major's name was Steve Dunn, and he shares many similarities with the one in the play, except where as the fictional one is simple-minded, the real one was just very upright and virtuous. The offstage character of Keith who Steve is always yelling to (in the full-length and screenplay version, Keith is an actual character) is my best pal Keith, who played a mean tuba and could fix, modify or destroy anything electrical or mechanical.

I've seen "Half-Time" done with a bench, no set and four levels of bleachers. The bleacher set was nice and foldable. However, whereas the stage it was performed on had lots of clearance, the rehearsal hall did not, and the actor wound up bashing his head on the ceiling many, many times. Sorry, Jordan.


The entire script of Half-Time is available upon request from the playwright. No production of this play can take place without permission from the playwright.