In the midst of trying to learn to write my own one-act plays, I turned to the master of snappy, witty dialogue, Aaron Sorkin, and his one-act “Hidden in This Picture.” Sorkin is most known for his television work, including West Wing, and for the fact that his characters are constantly running at the mouth and fit more information into a quarter inch of script than most playwrights could dream about. This one-act is not an exception.
In it, the main characters are trying to film the final sequence of their war film: hundreds of tired and injured marines traipsing over the hillside in what is ostensibly not-America, timed to the setting sun. No retakes possible. But then a cow wanders into the frame.
They try desperately to do something about it, then give up, and eventually just pretend they always meant for it to happen that way and doesn’t just add a certain kind of commentary to the whole piece?
It is Sorkin at his finest, full of interpersonal problems, dry wit, and heavy on the banter. I was laughing my head off by the end of it, and will definitely be taking some lessons away to work with some of my own play projects down the line. I’d love to see this one staged at some point, so drop me a line if you’re doing it!