A-Golden-Peace-of-Mind

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4 characters, 1M, 1F, 2 any gender. Approximately 7 minutes running time. Short play that teaches the value of believing in yourself!

When a poor farmer and his wife find themselves without the basic needs, a chance meeting with a traveling stranger will change everything. Peace of mind comes when the stranger gives the couple a valuable gift.

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.

Visit her website:
www.debraacole-playwright.com

Excerpt from the play:

CHARACTERS

HUSBAND — (M) good, but does not believe in himself
WIFE — (F) strong and believes in husband
TRAVELER— (M/F) mysterious stranger who is kind and generous
THIEF — (M/F) sneaky and full of deceit

(The action takes place fairytale times in at a farmhouse and on a road.)

(Lights come up in a small farmhouse kitchen. Wife is at the stove putting the finishing touches on a pot of stew, and Husband is sitting at the kitchen table looking at a newspaper. A fireplace sits in the kitchen with no fire burning. The couple is dressed in winter clothes, and both are trying to stay warm in the cold kitchen.)

SCENE 1

WIFE
This stew isn’t much, but it is sure to fill our hungry bellies. I used the last of the onions.

HUSBAND
Last of the onions? Yesterday you used the last of our potatoes.

WIFE
Do not worry, husband. We will find a way to buy more.

HUSBAND
I wish I had the confidence you have, wife. No one has given me a job in months, and times are hard. I’m just not the type of worker anybody wants these days.

WIFE
I don’t believe that. You have many gifts. You are strong, smart, and hardworking. You just need to believe in yourself.

(Wife brings soup to the table and ladles out stew for both of them. Wife then joins Husband at the table.)

HUSBAND
(takes a big spoonful of soup) It is so cool in here. (looks to fireplace) Was that our last log of wood in yesterday’s fire?

WIFE
I’m afraid it was, but we mustn’t give up.

HUSBAND
(angrily) This is awful. We will freeze AND starve if I can’t find work.

WIFE
I hate seeing you so down. Have you not been sleeping?

HUSBAND
Sleeping? Who can sleep with all of these worries? Every time I shut my eyes, I think more about what we don’t have. Without a job, we have no food. Without a job, we have no warmth. Without a job…

WIFE
(interrupted) One step at a time, husband. First, we enjoy tonight’s simple stew, and then we work on YOU believing in yourself.

HUSBAND
(drops head) I’m just unlucky. You should have never married me.

WIFE
Nonsense. (takes a spoonful of stew) Perhaps you must hit the road and find your way again. Surely opportunities await you, if you just take the first steps.

HUSBAND
I don’t think it will work.

WIFE
Will you at least give it a try?

HUSBAND
(takes a spoonful of stew) I will try, wife. I owe you that at the very least.

(lights out)

SCENE 2:
(Lights come back up on a country road. Husband sits on the ground looking dejected with a knapsack next to him/her. Enter stage right a traveler.)

TRAVELER
(kindly) Greetings, fellow traveler!

HUSBAND
(dejectedly) Greetings.

TRAVELER
It’s been a long journey. Do you mind if I sit by you to enjoy a much-needed break?

HUSBAND
(dejectedly) You are welcome to join me.

(Traveler pulls out a full meal out of his/her knapsack. Husband looks longingly at the food and drink.)

May I offer you a bite? I could never eat all of this food by myself.

HUSBAND
(lights up) That would be so kind, stranger.

(Traveler hands Husband some food, and Husband starts to eat, as if famished.)

TRAVELER
Easy, friend. I have plenty, and what is mine is yours.

HUSBAND
(in between bites) My apologies, but I am hungry.

TRAVELER
How long have you been on the road?

HUSBAND
(thinks) Let’s see, I left on a Monday. What day is it now?

TRAVELER
It is Sunday, friend. That’s quite a long time. Have you been without food and drink this whole time?

HUSBAND
Yes, but it hasn’t mattered. My biggest problem is that I have not found what I need.

TRAVELER
And what is that?

HUSBAND
A job. No one wants a farmer who can’t provide for his family. My wife believes in me, but I don’t believe in myself anymore.

TRAVELER
Interesting. I was once like you, friend. I bet you don’t sleep much at night worrying about from where your next meal might come.

HUSBAND
There is no way you can imagine how much I worry. By the look of this spread, YOU have never been without.

TRAVELER
Oh, there you are wrong. Not long ago, I had nothing, but now, I have everything.

HUSBAND
How? How did things change for you?

TRAVELER
Gold.

HUSBAND
Gold? I could never earn enough to possess gold.

TRAVELER
Then let me be the one that helps. (reaches into the knapsack and pulls out a bar of gold)

HUSBAND
You have enough wealth to just carry a bar of gold around with you?

TRAVELER
I do, and THIS gold is for you. (hands the gold bar to Husband)

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