House Staff
by Alan David Perkins
Copyright © 1991


One-act comedy.


Brandon is an usher. He may have shown you to your seat. Your ticket could have been torn by Valerie, the Assistant House Manager. Jerome, the Stage Manager, operated the lights and set up the props. Charlotte managed the house. Rita dressed the actors. Rex dazzled you on stage. Forty five minutes ago, these members of the house staff were just getting ready for another show. But for them it's more than a job -- it's a dream of being in the theatre.

House Staff uses the concept of the immediate past to show the never-ending soap opera-type world of the people who run theatres. In this case there is a problem: Rex, the leading man, might not show and Jerome, the Stage Manager, has only a few minutes to convince Brandon, the usher, to take his place for tonight's show.


RITA, THE DRESSER - Female, 40-ish or older. Very eccentric.
BRANDON, THE USHER - Male, mid 20's.
CHARLOTTE, THE HOUSE MANAGER - Female, early 30's.
JEROME, THE STAGE MANAGER - Male, late 30's to early 40's.
VALERIE, THE ASSISTANT HOUSE MANAGER - Female, early 20's. Drop-dead knock-out.
REX, THE LEADING MAN - Male, mid 30's.


20 minutes


The play is environmental and should take place in literally all corners of the auditorium. The house lights should be up in the house during the play and go down at the end.

During the play, Jerome the Stage Manager sets up the stage. He can actually be setting up the stage for the next play to be performed. For that matter, Rex can be the actor featured in the next play to be performed (and he can go by his actual name instead of "Rex"). To enhance the effect even more, the actress playing Valerie should actually tear tickets before the show and the actor playing Brandon should usher people to their seats.


I will stand by my statement that this is a work of fiction, and any similarities to anyone alive or dead is merely coincidental. The truth is I used to work for an Off-Broadway show as an usher and this is where I pulled the information from. I won't reveal anything else.

Theatre on a Limb used this to frame a night of one-acts. I wrote extra scenes in order to link everything together. Scenes took place between each one-act, people would pop up as other characters and make light of it... we even had a scene take place during intermission in the lobby. It tied things together nicely.

Much credit goes to Powell Leonard, who played Brandon in the Theatre on a Limb production. We gave the poor boy a workout. We rehearsed the show in the director's apartment. When we finally got into the theater, it was significantly more huge than the tiny apartment and poor Powell was sprinting from corner to corner to do his assorted schtick. Prior to the show we taped up a seat. About ten minutes before curtain, Powell would come out with some tools, slide himself under the seat and start whacking away at it. The play opens with Rita turning on the lights, finding a chair, taking a seat in the middle of the stage and starts talking. We don't realize right away she's talking to Brandon until he answers. It's a nice little moment, and the audience finally got the joke.


The entire script of House Staff (with and without the extra scenes) is available upon request from the playwright. No production of this play can take place without permission from the playwright.