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
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
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
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
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.