Play Script for Schools-The Circus Still Comes To Town

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3 characters. 1M, 2F; 22 pages in length. Approximately 15-20 minutes running time. A drama for teens about romance and family written by Tom Cavanaugh.

The Circus Still Comes To Town is a one-act play about two sisters who have lost their parents. Dolores is the older, resentful sibling caring for her sister, Rachel, a stuttering teen that falls in love with Joe, a circus roust-a-bout. The romance is soon blocked when Dolores tries to steal him from her. This fantastic complex drama deals with issues of self-worth, family, and independence. These are rich characters that will stay with you and actors will love to perform!

Tom Cavanaugh received his M.F.A. in playwriting from the Actors Studio Drama School in 2000. Tom’s full length play, BEHOLD was a 2010 finalist New American Playwrights Program at Utah Shakespearean Festival and won a 2011 Pickering Award for Excellence in Playwriting. His full length, ADAM & YOSHI was a finalist in McKinney Repertory Play Competition, Texas, finalist 2013 New American Playwrights Program Utah Shakespearean Festival and won 2012 Make the House Roar Prize at Lionheart Theater, Georgia. 2014, INLAND EMPRESS, Tom’s full length play, World Premiered, The Lounge Theatre, Los Angeles. 2017 MISTER PICMAN, premiered at the Short & Sweet Play Festival, Hollywood, CA, & Theatre of Note’s Alternative Acts. THE FIELD by Cavanaugh premiered at The CTI Theatre Festival in Independence, MO. In 2018, Tom’s short play, COYOTE was listed by Theatre of Action in Los Angele’s Plays About Immigration.

Excerpt from the play:


DOLORES MUNDY – A woman in her forties. Her dreams were taken away when she was forced to raise her sister, after their parents died.

RACHEL MUNDY – A teen with a stutter. She is a dreamer that wants more out of life.

JOE – A handsome man in his twenties that works in a traveling Circus.

TIME – The Present
PLACE – Any small town, U.S.A.


Dolores Mundy enters as she looks at the mail. She flips through the letters as she speaks.

Bill, bill, junk, bill, junk… Uh-oh!

Dolores opens the envelope and reads.

I’ll kill her. Rachel Anne…

There is a loud elephant noise from the center aisle of the theater.

Ooooooh shit! Oh shit… oh… oh my… oh shit!

Dolores backs up slowly and when she hits the stairs, she runs up them. Dolores enters the house and grabs the phone. She slowly peeks her head out of the screen door with the phone to her ear.

Yes? This is Dolores Mundy. Send the police here immediately. There is an elephant in my backyard… No, not at this time of day! Look, I am serious! It’s an elephant! What the hell kind of description do you want? Excuse me, but how many calls do you get about elephants?… Really? That man? Fine! It’s big… it’s gray and… and… and… (To the elephant.) Hey Dumbo! Those are my tomato plants you are trampling on! (Back to the phone. Very calm, but very shocked.) He just winked at me. I’m telling you he winked. He just… the elephant is waving at me. It is! It’s waving at me with the nose… the trunk… yeah, the trunk. (She gives a small wave back.) Actually… he’s kinda cute! Listen, you better send somebody over just in case he…

Offstage yell from Joe.

TaTa! Damn you! TaTa!!!

Joe enters. He is a handsome man in his twenties. He wears jeans and a Led Zeppelin Tee-shirt. Elephant noise.

(Into the phone.) I’ll call you back.

TaTa! Come on baby!

He’s yours?

Yes, he likes to wander. He is… He’s the… you’re not the girl?

Excuse me?

You live here?

Dolores nods yes.

Maybe I have the wrong house?

Well… until you figure it out…

She stares and smiles at Joe.

You wanna get your elephant out of my garden? He’s eating my broccoli.

The elephant makes a very loud trumpeting noise. Joe and Dolores react at the same time. They look up at the elephant and then down to the ground. They make scowling faces.

That is disgusting. When you take the elephant, take that too.

I’ll need a shovel.

In the shed, that’s the building that’s smaller than the elephant.


Joe starts to walk away.


He is, isn’t he?

I meant your butt.

Oh! (Very embarrassed.) I never thought of it that way.

Sure you didn’t.

Dolores leans over and smiles.


Joe moves quickly to the shed. Dolores watches as Joe exits. She smiles. Rachel enters. Rachel is nineteen. She wears a white ribbon in her hair. Dolores moves so she can’t be seen. Rachel tries to “tip toe” into the house. Dolores surprises her.


Rachel screams.

(Speaks with a stutter.) You sc… sc… sc… scared me!

I meant to!

You shouldn’t d… d… d… do that to a p… p… person.

What’s with all the sneaking?

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