A Ringing of Doorbells


A Ringing of Doorbells

Short Play, Drama  /  4w

When a mother-daughter team of con artists appear at the home of a wealthy, wheelchair-bound widow, their hostess – tipped off to their con by her clever housekeeper – allows their game to play out. 

A Ringing of Doorbells

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
  • Duration
    30 minutes
  • SubGenre
  • Suggested Use
    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience
    Target Audience
A Ringing of Doorbells



A mother-daughter team of con artists are putting the touch on the widows of military brass. Mrs. McCullem, housekeeper for the wonderfully regal but now wheelchair-bound window of General Beattie, recognizes them in the drug store – having witnessed the two pull their game on her previous employer – and overhears them asking directions to the Beattie home! The play begins as she rushes back to warn Mrs. Beattie of the impending danger. Sure enough, the doorbell rings and the charlatans appear with quite a story. But instead of throwing them out or turning them over to the police, the widow Beattie allows the game to be played.

Published in Thornton Wilder One-Act Series: The Seven Deadly Sins, representing "Envy."

MRS. BEATTIE – 65, crippled with arthritis; ill but proud, stoical and every inch the “General’s Widow”
MRS. MCCULLUM – her housekeeper
MRS. KINKAID – about 45, she was once very pretty, but is now pinched, tense and unhappy
DAPHNE – 18, dressed for 16; cool, arrogant and sullen
  • Time Period 1930s
  • Duration 30 minutes
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £40 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    Please submit a license request to determine availability.


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Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated at Yale and Princeton, was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience. The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one ...

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