An original Drama Notebook activity!
Abigail Van Buren (Abby) was a popular American advice columnist whose letters were published in major newspapers for decades. Here are 32 letters along with her replies. The letters are organized by ‘cast’ size, or the number of people it would take to act out the scenario—smallest cast to largest. The letters are laid out on the pages so that they are easy to print out, cut apart and assign to groups.
Included are basic instructions for the activity, plus four extension or alternative activities.
Here is an example of a letter and a reply:
Stressed Out Teen Taxi Driver
2 Females (friends)
DEAR ABBY: I’m a high school senior. At the beginning of the school year, I agreed to drive my best friend to school in the mornings, and for a while it was nice. Last month she started to refuse to talk while I was driving. If I tried talking to her, she wouldn’t respond. She recently told her boyfriend (who she texts constantly while riding with me) that she didn’t like my driving. I found out because of a post he made on Facebook. When I asked her about it, she said that morning I had slammed on the brakes and it scared her. This has made me tense and stressed out in the mornings, and I want to stop driving her. My grandmother says I should stick it out instead of causing friction. My mom thinks I should stop driving her, but only if she can find another ride. I tried to explain this to her, but she won’t listen and I’m still stuck with her. This has ruined our relationship. I feel like she hates me, but I don’t know what to do about any of it. Help! — DRIVEN CRAZY IN FLORIDA
DEAR DRIVEN CRAZY: Your former best friend may have stopped talking to you on the way to school because she was too busy texting her boyfriend. She is ignoring the fact that you have been doing her the favor of transporting her and is using you as a private taxi service. If she was frightened because you braked suddenly, the person she should have said it to was you. So stop “explaining” to her and tell her that if she wants to continue getting a free ride, she had better adjust her attitude or make other arrangements for transportation.
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