Dinner Lessons

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6 characters, 3M, 3F. Approximately 10 minutes running time. The class prankster gets a surprise when his teacher comes to his house for dinner.

Benjamin causes all kinds of trouble at school. When he learns that his teacher is coming over for dinner, he fears the worst. But Mrs. Barnett has another plan in mind!

This short play will appeal to rambunctious students in a delightful way. It offers a perfect way to teach unruly students to use their powers for good.

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.

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Excerpt from the play:


BENJAMIN — (M) 5th grade student – a bit of a prankster
CODY — (M) Benjamin’s best friend – knows his secrets
MADDIE — (F) sassy younger sister of Benjamin
MOM— (F) busy mom of Benjamin
DAD— (M) busy dad of Benjamin
MRS. BARNETT — (F) 5th grade teacher

(The action takes place in modern day inside a child’s bedroom and also at the family dining room table.)

(Lights come up in a 5th grade boy’s bedroom. Benjamin and Cody are sitting on the floor – relaxed and laughing. The room is a disaster with clothes scattered everywhere.)


…and then Regan burped, and everyone laughed!

(laughing) THAT is so embarrassing AND hysterical. I bet Mrs. Barnett was furious.

She just looked at him! You know that look.

I get that look ALL the time.

You deserve it ALL the time.

(A knock is heard on the bedroom door, and Mom enters the room.)

Hey, Cody. Glad your mom let you come over to hang out with Benjamin.

I’m not grounded anymore, Mrs. Douglas.

Good. (looking at Benjamin) Benjamin, we have a special guest coming for dinner tonight.

Please tell me it’s not Uncle Frank. He tells the cheesiest jokes and punches me in the arm on the punch lines.

No Uncle Frank. Actually, your father and I invited your teacher Mrs. Barnett for dinner.


Now none of that, Benjamin. Your dad and I work so much, we never get a chance to talk with your teacher, so we thought a nice dinner would be a great way to thank her for all that she does.

(Benjamin looks sick to his stomach.)

What a nice idea, Mrs. Douglas.

(suspiciously) Thanks, Cody. Okay, boys, I need to go finish a few things. Cody, would you like to stay for dinner?

I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Mrs. Douglas.

(Mom exits the room as the boys are silent. Cody is smiling, and Benjamin is frozen in fear.)

Dinner with Mrs. Barnett… Perfect.

(stunned) I. Am. Dead. My parents are literally going to kill me after this dinner.

You are SO dead. Do your parents have any idea what you are like at school?


Ha! (laughs)

(Suddenly, the bedroom doors bursts open as Maddie comes running in and plops on the bed.)

Maddie! GET OUT!

NO WAY! I just heard that Mrs. Barnett is coming for dinner. YOU ARE IN SUCH TROUBLE!

What do you know about anything?

I know that you are in trouble ALL the time at school.

You’re in 2nd grade. There is no way you have heard ANYTHING.

WRONG! The 2nd grade information pipeline is fast and accurate. We heard about Kaitlyn Weber breaking her arm on the zip line minutes after it happened. We heard about Martin Myers barfing in the cafeteria even before the janitor was there to clean it up, AND we always hear about Mrs. Barnett being frustrated with Benjamin. What was it Monday? Tying Hannah’s shoelaces together during silent reading?


Okay (gets up and heads to the door), but this dinner is going to be epic. (Maddie exits the room laughing as the two boys sit disgusted.)

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