The Gatekeeper

by  Don Nigro

Short Play, Dark Comedy  /  2m

NOTICE: Please be advised, this title is being made available now in manuscript form prior to its publication.

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The Gatekeeper

by  Don Nigro

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

  • Duration


    10 minutes
  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

The great Taoist sage Lao Tzu comes to the wall at the end of the civilized world, and wants out the gate. He's had enough of civilization and wants to die in the wilderness beyond the wall. But the Gatekeeper, a great admirer of Lao Tzu's teachings, insists that he won't let him out the gate until he writes down his wisdom so it can be shared with generations to come. Lao Tzu refuses, on the grounds that once you write anything down it is inevitably misinterpreted, turned into rules, and used to oppress people, but the Gatekeeper won't take no for an answer, leading to an increasingly alarming confrontation, and when all else fails, he is forced to get out his trumpet and start blowing it in the old man's ear. A funny play about the disastrous consequences of having your life's work fall into the hands of zealous and incompetent disciples.

Published in Murder In The Red Barn & Other Plays.

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Aging, Betrayal, Religion


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance



  • Time Period: Not Applicable
  • Duration: 10 minutes
  • Additional Features: No intermission


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)


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Cast Attributes

  • All Male



Don Nigro

Don Nigro is among the most frequently published and widely produced playwrights in the world and has continued to build a deeply interrelated and diverse body of dramatic literature, employing a wide variety of dramatic conventions and styles of presentation. He has written monologues and epics, spare realistic dramas ...

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