This collection of plays in one act first appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Evangelization & Culture, the quarterly journal of the Word on Fire Institute. Learn more and become a member today to read more pieces like this.

Years ago, radio personality Art Linkletter hosted a show known as House Party. Thriving at first as an award-winning radio show, it turned into an equally successful television program, running for a combined total of twenty-five years. Arguably, the most popular segments of the show involved the straight man Linkletter asking questions of children only to find himself in stitches from what would come out of their mouths. The great acclaim these rib-tickling conversations generated led to a 1957 bestselling book, Kids Say the Darndest Things. Years after he had retired from television, Linkletter would smile and say, “Everywhere I go I hear, ‘Why don’t you interview the kids again?’” 

For the last fourteen years, my home and car has taken over Linkletter’s spirited work. For years, when my two daughters were quite small, they would say something wickedly funny or strikingly insightful and I would reach for my journal (dedicated to the preservation of these comments) and furiously pen whatever genius wit or observation just spilled out. As I grew older, the material was so good that I couldn’t help but preserve dozens of them as one-act plays. And so, please enjoy some choice samplings from the Worner Performing Arts Center. 

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The Moth

A Play in One Act.

Act I, Scene I

Tonight at dinnertime. My nine-year-old daughter, Vivian, is brooding over the mandate that she drinks milk with her dinner. I chew my food. My wife and twelve-year-old daughter, Annabel, eat as well.

Vivian (grimacing and recoiling at some suddenly flying little thing): EEEEEWWWWW! What is that???

Me: It’s a moth. Just shoo it away.

Vivian: Eww, gross. Yuck. LAND IN MY MILK! LAND IN MY MILK!!!

Me: (Silence)

The End

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The Conundrum

A Play in One Act.

Act I, Scene I

It is Monday night, two nights after First Holy Communion. Bedtime for the girls, and I am lying next to Annabel (my eight-year-old daughter) finishing a story.

Annabel (groaning with eyes rolling): Aaaauuuuuugggghhh!!!  I can’t sleep.

Me (concerned): What’s wrong?

Annabel: I just don’t know who to pick for my saint! Do I pick St. Martha or St. Hedwig? Who do I choose?

Me (less concerned): For Confirmation?

Annabel (sighing): Yes!

Me: Uh, that’s not a decision you need to finalize quite yet.

Annabel: I only have eight years, Dad.

The End

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Diarrhea

A Play in One Act

Act I, Scene I

Eating dinner at the table with my eight-year-old daughter Vivian, eleven-year-old daughter Annabel, and my wife, Cari.

Me: I’m going to be teaching tomorrow.

Vivian: What do you teach the medical students, Dad?

Me: Well, tomorrow I’m teaching about diarrhea.

Annabel (grimacing grandly): Eeewwwww! Gross. That’s one knock against being a doctor.

Cari: Well, patients get sick with diarrhea and doctors need to learn how to help them.

Vivian: I know how to treat diarrhea!

Me: You do? How?

Vivian: Just sit on the toilet with an iPad.

Annabel: Yep, just sit there for a loooooong time.

Me & Cari: (Silent. Shaking with laughter)

The End

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Riddle Me This

A Play In One Act

Act I, Scene I

At Robert’s restaurant in Medina having Saturday night dinner with my nine-year-old daughter Annabel, seven-year-old daughter Vivian, and my wife, Cari. 

Vivian: Tell us a riddle, Daddy! Make one up, please!

Me (proudly and paternally chuckling): Okay, okay. Let me think . . . Okay, here we go. Sometimes I’m white, sometimes I’m gray, I look really soft, you see. But if you reach your hands to touch, you’ll find there’s not much of me. What am I?

Annabel: Can you say it again?

Vivian: Hmmmm . . .

Cari: Now think about this one . . . 

Me: Yep, think about it.

Annabel: Oh, I know!!! I know!

Vivian: Don’t TELL me yet!

Annabel (beaming): Okay, Dad! I got it! Dad! Let me whisper it to you!

Me: Okay (leaning in) . . .

Annabel (leaning in & whispering): . . . Your hair.

Me: (Silent)

The End