20 characters. 6 pages long. Approximately 7 minutes running time. A short comedy by playwright, Barbara Henderson.
“Roll of the Dice” is a short comedy about a group of secret agents, Russian criminals, and a very dangerous game of dice. A criminal mastermind named Klonko has stolen nuclear weapons and is going to have a game of dice to see who wins the activator for all of them. Will the good guys win, or will their whole operation get blown to bits?
This short play lends itself to melodramatic acting or slapstick comedy. It offers an excellent opportunity for students to explore these genres and to make bold stylistic movement and character choices.
Barbara Henderson is a German-born novelist and playwright and has lived in Scotland since 1991. She acquired an MA in English Language and Literature, a husband, three children and a shaggy dog along the way. She now teaches drama, although if you dig deep in her past you will find that she has earned her crust as a puppeteer, relief librarian and receptionist among others. Barbara is the author of Fir for Luck and Crystal-Kite, shortlisted Punch, both historical novels for children, and children’s eco-thriller Wilderness Wars, all published by Cranachan. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and has won several national and international short story competitions. She lives in Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland.
Excerpt from the play:
CAST OF CHARACTERS
D – Head of Security
Lorena – His Secretary
4- 5 Whitecoats
3 Security Guards
(Desk with computer. Head of security D calls secretary)
Lorena, I need you to get me one of the agents, as quickly as possible. Something is going down with the Russians. (Sighs)
Sure, I’ll see who’s available, Sir. Did you have anyone specific in mind for the…
(yelling) Get a move on, you painted doll! I don’t have time for small talk. Get me someone! Anyone! Pronto! If the Prime Minister finds out that this caught us by surprise, we’re all finished. (phone rings he answers)
Oh, Prime Minister! Of course, I have been expecting your… Certainly… Aha… I can assure you that everything is completely under control, yes. Yes, yes. Of course…
(Motions in agent) thanks for your confidence, Sir. We won’t let you down. Hangs up. Hangs head in hands.
Ahem, Sir? You wanted to see me?
(raises head slowly) Have you ever played a Russian game of dice? Well, looks like you’re on your way. A criminal mastermind called Klonko has stolen Nuclear weapons, and he is going to have a game of dice to see who wins it. Russian criminals, all of them.
But I’m not a Russian criminal!
If you can’t fool them, the world will be a dangerous place. You must win that game! Do you hear me? It’s the only way.
But why don’t we storm the place? Arrest them all, take the weapons back?
(bringing in cups of tea) The Boss likes to make things complicated.
(irritated) No, Lorena – I like to make things happen. Go. Get out! Listen, buddy, believe me. They will be PREPARED for an ambush. They will NOT expect one of us to play. Just don’t get caught. Your preparation will begin immediately, and you leave this afternoon. Russian lessons start in five minutes.
(People in white coats come in to prepare him. Agent is dressed in suit, handed guns, a Russian dictionary, teacher writes Russian on board etc.)
(Russian music plays)
(Finally, Lead white-coat comes)
Take this earpiece. With it, the boss can speak to you and you can speak to him. Any questions?
Then good luck. The safety of the world depends on you.
(All leave. Agent looks uncertain.)
(to himself) Nice to know. No pressure then! (Takes suitcase and looks at watch)
(Taxi toots outside SFX. Agent leaves.)
(Freeze frame of three servants getting table ready. Klonko begins monologue. A Russian accent would be awesome!)
Money, that’s all that counts. Money, money, money. Chahahahah. I don’t care who blows up who. It’s all entertainment, isn’t it? Isn’t it? So soon the best criminals of this country are going to arrive and play (tosses dice)
Da, it’s going to be so much fun! Blood may be spilt, voices raised. Money and more money in my pocket. Much more fun than just selling it to rich and evil people. And me, the richest and evilest of them all. Chahahahaha!
Hurry up, you fools! They’ll be here soon!
(Servants straighten chairs)
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