This Almost Joy

Professor Hart-Meadows upsets the other characters in his play when he decides to break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience.

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Friendly, rumpled Professor Hart-Meadows, an actor in what he believes is a rather dull play, decides to break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience, engaging them in a conversation about clouds and beauty and the nature of reality.  This causes great upset for the other characters in the play, Sylvia and Bradley, for whom the play is the real world.  The confrontation intensifies as Sylvia and Bradley’s desire to save Prof. Hart-Meadows from madness bumps up against the Professor’s quiet insistence on his own truth.

A psychological drama about how each person’s reality is that person’s truth.


  • Female: 2
  • Male: 2
  • Total roles: 4
Prof. Steven Hart-Meadows
Late 40’s or early 50’s. He is disheveled in appearance. Speaks with enthusiasm. An affable, gracious, sad man.
Sylvia Hart Johns
Prof. Hart-Meadows’ sister, 40’2-50’s. Basically a good woman, emotional and high strung. With changes to a few words, she can be Prof. Hart-Meadows’ daughter instead.
Bradley Johns
Sylvia’s husband, mid-50’s. An upstanding man, clear in his thinking, kind in his manly way. With a few word changes, he can instead be Prof. Hart-Meadows’ son-in-law.
Margaret Hart-Meadows
Prof. Hart-Meadows’ wife. A sad, dignified, beautiful woman, worn down by loss.

Setting & Set Requirements

The set is the backyard of Sylvia and Bradley’s suburban home, but is meant to look like a low budget stage set, plain and spare.


  • 2018 – Best Play, INKFest, 2Cents Theater, Hollywood, CA
  • 2015 – Most Outstanding Production, Mansfield One Act Play Festival, Australia
  • 2015 – Best Drama and Best Original Play, Dandenong Ranges One Act Play Festival, Australia
  • 2014 – Audience and Jury Awards, Playwrights Forum Festival, Spokane, WA


  • 2022 – Theater West, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2022 – Iowa State University, IA
  • 2021 – Seton Hill University, PA
  • 2020 – Staged reading, Millersville University, PA
  • 2020 – Zoom reading, Ophelia’s Jump, CA
  • 2018 – Hollywood Fringe Festival, CA
  • 2018 – INKFest, 2Cents Theater, CA
  • 2016 – Sala de Metodo, Madrid, Spain
  • 2016 – Shakespeare in the ‘Burg, VA
  • 2015 – Pop Culture Theater, Victoria, Australia
  • 2014 – Spokane Forum Festival, WA
  • 2013 – Montgomery Playhouse, MD
  • 2012 – Silver Springs Stage, MD
  • 2011 – Castaways, Sussex, England
  • 2011 – Drip Action Theater, West Sussex, England
  • 2011 – MadLab Theater Roulette, OH


Professor Hart-Meadows: Oh, I have been longing for you so.  I decided quite recently that the next audience we’ve got, I’m going to throw the script away, step across the lights, as it were, and speak right to you, face to face, heart to heart.  I’ve been doing this wretched play for so long, you see, my mouth, my tongue, all the parts of me are quite literally dying for a taste of the truth, any truth, anything real.  We don’t talk, you see, the other characters and I.  Oh, well, we talk, we drone and blither, but the script is just terrible.  Night after night, always the same nonsense. 

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