Middle School Brain

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13 characters, flexible casting. Approximately 10 minutes running time. One teen character is split into many aspects of her personality in this entertaining short play by Debra A. Cole.

The middle school brain is a complicated thing. In this play, all different aspects of Megan’s personality are played by different actors. Together, they give an accurate description of the emotional highs and lows that kids experience at this age!

The play includes discussion questions, and casting, costume and set suggestions.

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:


APPEARANCE — (M/F) constantly questioning if everything is cool
FEAR — (M/F) frozen by the unknown
HAPPINESS — (M/F) sees the bright side of everything
WORRY — (M/F) always sees the bad side of “what if”
SADNESS — (M/F) cries about everything
BLAME — (M/F) everyone else makes the mistakes
PLEASER — (M/F) wants everyone to love her/him
LOGIC— (M/F) sees the truth in situations
CONFIDENCE — (M/F) never does anything wrong
MUSCLE— (M/F) cheesy – works out and is very strong
MRS. FINNEGAN — (F) principal – stern
ABBY — (F) actress – snotty and arrogant popular girl
JAX – (M) boy at school – really kind

(The action takes place in modern time on a middle school lunch table in the cafeteria.)

(Lights come up on a round middle school lunchroom table. Ambient cafeteria noise is playing as all parts of the brain are pulling out the exact same lunch boxes. Each character has a t-shirt with their name on it in clear lettering for the audience to read. Each t-shirt should be a different color. Each character also has the same pair of glasses on their faces, wearing “brain caps” on their heads. Suddenly, Mrs. Finnegan enters, stage right, with a bullhorn.)

Mrs. Finnegan:
(tensely) Okay, middle schoolers, your volume is WAY TOO HIGH at the lunch tables! We are on a LEVEL YELLOW WARNING! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

(Mrs. Finnegan exists stage right.)

(The ambient noise level of the cafeteria lowers.)

YELLOW WARNING? It’s us she is talking about! I just know it! What if she yells at us? I hate being yelled at.

Easy, Worry! We’re fine. WE are never the problem.

Speak for yourself, Confidence. Maybe Megan is the problem.

(panicked) BUT, WE ARE MEGAN! We’re ALL Megan. THAT is how a brain works. Each of us plays a part in MEGAN! I am really scared! If one of us messes up, we ALL are going to “get it.”

Are we at least the same volume as everybody else? I would hate to be quieter or louder.

(starting to cry) I’m feeling… I’m feeling… I’m feeling really blue about all of this.

(calmly with a smile) I kind of like a little noise at lunch. It makes me feel that I’m part of a team.

(sweetly) You are ALL making really good points.

(firmly) Enough! This has to stop. Mrs. Finnegan said clearly that the volume at the lunch TABLES was too high. It’s clear that Megan is not the problem, or at least not the only problem. Now, it’s time to eat our lunch and gather our strength for the afternoon of middle school. Okay?

(in unison each with their own emotion) FINE.

(Each character opens his/her matching lunch box in unison. The first thing each pulls out is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.)

(happily) Peanut butter and jelly! My favorite! I love the salty slash sweet combination. Megan usually makes tuna or egg salad for her school lunch, but this is so much better.

Megan does make a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich at home. I would even say she is the very best at it. She knows the perfect balance between the peanut butter and jelly. Go, Megan!

(looking around the room) Does anyone else in the lunchroom have peanut butter and jelly? Is it too babyish to have here in middle school?

(holding the sandwich and looking panicked) Wait a minute. Something feels wrong here.

(sternly while taking a bite) Nothing is wrong. It’s just a sandwich.

(yelling) Worry is right! We’re not allowed to have peanuts in the lunchroom! We are going to kill SOMEONE! I don’t know who… but SOMEONE!

(scared) Darn it, Megan! What did YOU do?

(crying) Oh no! I really like… SOMEONE. It will be so sad to see SOMEONE croak. (uses sandwich to wipe tears off of face)

(sees someone off stage right) Oh no! Mrs. Finnegan is coming over here!

(Everyone looks off stage right.)

She is going to see our peanut butter and send us to detention for killing SOMEONE!

(smiling) I really like her shoes. Do you think they would look good on me?

You deserve those shoes, Appearance.

They were made for you.

KNOCK IT OFF! She’s here!

(Everyone freezes as Mrs. Finnegan enters stage right.)

(speaking through megaphone) Good morning, Megan. Looks like you packed a beautiful lunch there.

(in unison) Thanks, Mrs. Finnegan.

(Everyone remains frozen for five seconds, time for Mrs. Finnegan to exit.)

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