A Big Mess

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6 characters. 3M, 3F, flexible casting. Short play by Debra A. Cole about the importance of staying organized.

One very messy elephant simply cannot keep his room clean. His mother is furious! That’s bad enough, but then his friends start arriving for various pre-scheduled commitments, that he had forgotten all about. The friends help him clean his room, but also teach him a valuable lesson about the importance of staying organized.

Fun script for school performances and assemblies!

This play includes discussion questions, and director’s notes about casting, costumes, and simple set design.

Debra A. Cole is a celebrated humanities teacher, youth theatre director, and children’s playwright with degrees in journalism, art history, and elementary education. She understands the needs of young performers and their directors and creates pieces that encourage engaging discussion, creative thought, and quirky playfulness. Her goal is that young performers discover the power and delight that theatre brings to actors and audiences alike.

Visit her website:

Excerpt from the play:


ZANE — (M) extremely messy and forgetful elephant
UMA — (F) playful cheetah who loves soccer
IMANI — (F) studious rhinoceros not ready for a test
HAJI— (M) dramatic zebra who needs to practice his lines for a play
MAMA— (F) loving mother elephant who is tired of the mess
SOTHO — (M/F) a tall giraffe who loves playing the tuba

(The action takes place in current day in a messy boy’s bedroom.)

(Lights come up in a messy boy’s bedroom. A young elephant boy, Zane, is lounging on a pile of clean, folded laundry on his bed. Trash and toys are all over the floor of his room. Zane is reading a comic book. Mama enters stage right through the bedroom door.)


(frustrated) Zane! This room is a mess!

(casually without looking up from comic book) I know, Mama. I’ll get to it.

(sees clean laundry) Zane! I gave you that folded laundry to put away yesterday! Now, it needs folding again, AND it needs to be put away like I asked.

(still not looking up from comic book) Okay, Mama.

(Mama walks over to Zane and takes the comic book out of his hands.)

NOW, Zane!

(dejected) Okay, Mama.

And don’t you have things to do today? I could have sworn you had plans.

No plans that I can remember, and I’m an elephant. I ALWAYS remember important things.

(laughs) Okay, Zane. If you think your system of remembering works, then I will leave you to clean this disaster.

I like to think of my room as…(thinking) …a museum!

(Mama rolls her eyes.)

(CONT.) …or an obstacle course.

(Mama crosses her arms.)

…or an archeological dig ripe for exploration!

(firmly with a slight smile) Get to work, Zane.

(Mama kisses Zane on the forehead and exits back out the bedroom door stage right.)

(to himself) Who needs a clean room? I like a messy room. It helps me think. I know where everything is in my bedroom. Need a fork? (grabs from under his pillow) I’ve got one right here! Want a snack? (pulls old orange out from under the laundry pile) Voila!

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