The Best American Short Plays 2011-2012

 The Best American Short Plays


edited by William W. Demastes


MONTCLAIR, NJ—Applause Theatre and Cinema Books is proud to release the 2011-2012 edition of The Best American Short Plays (paperback $19.99, hardcover $32.99), representing the absolute best in American one-act plays. Since its inception over 70 years ago, this series has identified new, cutting-edge playwrights including Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, David Mamet, and Horton Foote. William W. Demastes returns to edit a second edition, and once again brings the reader on a trip through the different facets of the human condition.

This time around, each play deals with the deeper aspect of deception. In each play, the playwright seeks to throw the audience off balance, and nothing can be taken at face value. From the mundane to the ridiculous, these one-act plays challenge our perceptions and test our ability to look outside the box. Ghosts, post-Communist Bulgarian citizens yearning for a fictionalized ideal of America, and even Ichabod Crane all have something in common within these pages. Much like life, the truth is almost never where you expect it to be.

Self-deception, both intended and unintended, plays a big role in many of the 20 plays. The first play, a comedic piece featuring Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the subject of scrutiny for an unhelpful test audience, sets the bar for the rest of the entries. Humor isn’t the only device employed in The Best American Short Plays—Demastes includes a combination of comedy and pathos to illuminate the reasons for humanity’s fascination with illusion.

As Demastes says in his introduction, “Illusion, deception, self-delusion, and make-believe—for better and for worse—are the fabric of our lives and the life’s breath of the theater.”


Bill DemastesWilliam W. DeMastes (Baton Rouge, LA) is Alumni Professor of English at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He has published widely on modern theater and drama, including Comedy Matters, Spalding Gray’s America, Staging Consciousness, Theatre of Chaos, and the forthcoming Cambridge Introduction to Tom Stoppard.



August 20, 2013
384 pages
5.5” x 8.5”
Paperback: 9781476877334
Hardcover: 9781476877341

Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group

basp 00110618 

Plays included in 2011-2012

Play Development or If Hamlet Had Been a Reading by Jules Tasca

Elzbieta Erased by John Guare

Warner Bros. by Andrea Sloan Pink

Assumptions by Lynne Bolen

Starf*cker by Adam Pasen

Lillie Meant Murder by Claudia Barnett

Gift of an Orange by Charlene A. Donaghy

White or the Muskox Play by Jonathan Fitts

The Cowboy by Patrick Holland

A Little Haunting by A. K. Abeille and David Manos Morris

Ichabod Crane Tells All by Lawrence Thelen

Bulgarian Rhapsody by Rich Orloff

Change of Venue by Judd Lear Silverman

The Wager by Neil LaBute

A Waffle Doesn’t Cure Insomnia by Erica Bennett

Wife Shop by Angela C. Hall

The Interview by A. R. Gurney

Come Again, Another Day by Cary Pepper

Take My Land…Please by John F. Richardson

YouTopia by Chaney Kwak



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on June 21, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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