Red-Handed Otter

by  Ethan Lipton

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3m, 2f

Not long ago, Paul had a girlfriend, a cat, and few complaints. Now? Well, at least he’s got his health. In between shifts at their security guard posts, Paul’s work buddies try to cheer him up. But you know what they say about the best intentions... In this quirky comedy, Paul’s friends’ awkward (and hilarious) attempts to console him prove that some comforts only come on four legs.

Read more +
  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 2f
  • Duration


    90 minutes
  • SubGenre


    Romantic Comedy
  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

After Paul, a security officer at a nondescript building, mourns the death of his cat, a fellow security guard, Donald, tries to cheer him up by throwing him a surprise party with all of the other security guards who work there. Over the course of scenes they all discuss previous stories of the pets that they've had. Through the stories about their pets, they mirror the personal relationships they have in their lives. Paul is upset that Don and his ex-girlfriend / co-worker Angela are now dating. Randy and Estelle are awkward in their advances toward each other, and Angela wants something more out of her life. By the end of the play, Angela has broken up with Donald and gone onto nursing school and is even set to get married. Paul and Donald end where they began the play, in the security guard post, fighting over their respective relationships with Angela.

Read more +


"Wonderfully quirky and surprisingly profound." - Chicago Sun Times

"Ethan Lipton is a magic maker who’s mastered the art of intertwining characters..They come together or fall apart as naturally as any rival representations from real life. The hilarious anecdotes they share, the love they can’t, their reflexive wariness and unforced kindness–these ring right in 90 credible minutes." - Stage and Cinema Chicago

"Red-Handed Otter has the feel of a slightly self-consciously quirky indie film." - The New York Times

"Wonderfully quirky and surprisingly profound." - Chicago Sun Times


  • Red-Handed Otter trailer at Playwrights Realm
  • Ethan Lipton and Director Dado on Red-Handed Otter at A Red Orchid Theatre
More videos +


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: The security guard's post in a big, cold building.
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


3m, 2f
DONALD - mid 20s
PAUL - early 40s
ESTELLE - early 40s
ANGELA - early 30s
RANDY - mid 40s
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast



Ethan Lipton

Ethan Lipton

Red-Handed Otter premiered with Playwright's Realm in New York City in September 2012 under the direction of Mike Donahue.

Now Playing

Community Experiences