20-34 parts. 60 pages, over one-hour running time. Adaptation of three Afro-Caribbean folk tales calls for a cast of 20 to 34 of mixed ages, by award-winning playwright, Evan Guilford-Blake. (10 credits)
Magic, the Moon and a Pig Named Dog is a free adaptation of three classic Afro-Caribbean folk tales and targeted to children ages eight through 13 and adults. The play includes movement sequences, rhymes (which may be spoken or set to music) and magical effects (created with sound and lights).
The play is in two acts. Running time is about 70 minutes or longer, depending on the director’s choice of type and duration of the movement/dance sequences. It can be performed with a cast as small as 20 or as large as 34 which may include adults and/or children. The characters include talking animals, a witch-like figure, and two narrators who both move the story along and interact with the characters at various points. Puppets may be used in lieu of people in several instances. Music can be used extensively if the production wishes. It may include extant compositions of the director’s choosing or created specifically for the production.
The stories center around the activities of JAMEL (who is loosely based on the folk character Anansi), a father of six oddly named but uniquely talented children, who conducts his day-to-day business in a small village. The three stories are about him; his brother AKILAH’s encounter with a conjuror and how, by using her magic, he manages to fulfill a task imposed on him by the King and Queen; and one that Jamel creates to tell his family, about a young woman’s quest to lead home a pig she has bought as a pet. The third is a framing device for the second: Jamel ventures to a nearby village. En route, he is swallowed by a huge fish and is ultimately rescued by the cleverness, and unusual skills, of his children — and which results in an explanation of how there came to be a moon.
Evan Guilford-Blake is an award-winning playwright who has graciously granted Drama Notebook a license to make a small collection of his plays available to teachers through the site. Your students will love performing his clever, imaginative pieces!
Excerpt from the play:
AT RISE: MUSIC: perhaps drumming, marimbas and a wooden flute. The NARRATORS and the ENSEMBLE appear.
Good evening [morning, afternoon]. My name is [NAME]
And mine is [NAME]
And we’re here
— all of us — to tell you a story.
Three stories, in fact. One about Magic;
One about the Moon;
And the third is about — a pig named Dog.
(ALL but the NARRATORS leave the stage.)
They all happened many years ago, on a small island in the Caribbean Sea, where there lived a man named Jamel
And his wife, named Dalia…
(To SECOND TOWNSPERSON, as TOWNSPEOPLE enter.)
Have you heard? Have you heard!?
No. I’ve just returned from our neighboring village. I had bushels and bushels of —
Never mind that! Have you heard about Jamel and Dalia?
I told you, I’ve just returned this very minute. How could I have heard?
Then I’ll tell you!
No, I’ll tell you.
I’ll tell you.
Why don’t you all tell me?
FIRST, THIRD, FOURTH TOWNSPERSONS
Well, you see…
(THEY huddle and mime discussion.)
Jamel was very famous, for he and his wife Dalia had five children.
(SOUND: A baby crying. JAMEL comes running on.)
(To FIRST NARRATOR)
Six! I have six children!
Excuse me — they had six children.
Which, I suppose, isn’t unusual — but the children? They were – well, a little unusual.
My friends! I have a child. I have another child!
You have another child?
You already had five children, Jamel.
And the names you have given them!
Indeed. I was at the birth of the first. [She/He] appeared and — do you think [she/he] cried? — no! [She/He] announced:
(Lights rise on SEE TROUBLE.)
My name is See Trouble.
And the second said, the moment [she/he] appeared:
(Lights rise on ROAD BUILDER.)
I am Road Builder.
(Lights rise on RIVER DRINKER.)
I’m River Drinker.
The next said
(Lights rise on STONE THROWER.)
My name is Stone Thrower.
And the last
(Lights rise on CUSHION.)
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