the secret

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5 characters, 1M, 1F, 3 any gender. Approximately 10 minutes running time. Funny short play about keeping secrets.

A child has a secret that he needs to keep. But on the way home, he encounters a troll, a fairy and a giant, and they are all DYING TO KNOW what it is. But when they finally find out, they are sorry they ever asked!

This script includes discussion questions and director’s notes on casting and 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.

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Excerpt from the play:


CHILD — (M/F) confident and sure about keeping a secret
TROLL — (M/F) tries to use riddles to get answers
FAIRY — (M/F) uses a tiny, kind voice when it benefits him/her – but voice is fake
GIANT— (M) used to using force and strength to get answers
MOTHER — (F) loving and kind

(The action takes place in fairytale times in a forest and at a cottage.)

(Lights come up a classic fairy tale mother sitting in a rocking chair – facing the audience. She is quietly folding laundry from a wicker basket. She notices the audience and begins to address them.)


Well, it sure has been a very busy day around the house. The value of a secret was learned. Did you hear about what happened today? (pause) You didn’t? Oh my, you just have to hear this story. It all happened on the way home from school. My dear child always takes the road through the forest, and today was no different… well… it may have been a little bit different.

(lights out)

(The scene opens on a village child walking with a school bag through the forest. A forest troll can be seen watching the child walking through the forest. The troll jumps out to scare the child.)

HA! I’ve got you!

Mr. Troll, today is not the day you want to grab me.

Oh yeah? What makes today any different?

Today is different, because today, I have a secret I need to tell my mother.

A secret, huh? I love secrets. What is it?

You don’t want to know.

Of course, I want to know. Secrets are the best!

This one is pretty good, but I’m not telling you.

Listen, trolls are known for tricking people with riddles, answer me this. When you have me – you should share me – but once you share me – you no longer have me. What am I?

(confidently) You are the secret I am not telling you.

Darn it. That normally works. I’ll tell you what, you are now my captive. I’m going to keep you until you tell me your secret. We trolls have a way of tricking villagers into telling us things they don’t want to tell.

This is a bad idea, but if you insist, at least walk me toward my mother’s house, so I can tell my mother my secret.

Deal. I’m sure I can make you talk on the walk there.

(The Forest Troll and the Child continue through the forest. Along the way, a Forest Fairy jumps out to surprise the two.)

Look what we have here. Mr. Troll and… a… human. What a strange combination. What could the two of you possibly be up to?

I have a secret.


Listen, Fairy, if this kid is going to tell the BIG secret, then it’s going to be to me. I’m a troll. I trick people into answering my riddles all the time.

Well, Troll, that is sweet, but fairies have been listening to secrets for years. Humans love to tell us things. Watch this.

(to the village child – very sweetly)

(Light and beautiful fairy sound effects begin.)

Hello, precious human. I’m a forest fairy. I hear you have a secret. Fairies are the best secret keepers. Won’t you share your secret with me?

(confidently) You don’t want this secret.

(Fairy sound effects stop.)

Told you. That’s why the kid is my captive.

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