A kind-hearted wanderer arrives in the town of Quixote and is dismayed at the local custom of always looking up in the sky. As the elders confide in the stranger, an adventurous origin story of fortunes won and lost unfolds in story, song, and classic vaudeville humor. The Polish folk tale, The Fortune of Chelm, is re –imagined in the form of an American tall tale in this heart-warming play with music about values, duty, and the strength of togetherness.
This play includes song lyrics that you and your students can set music to.
Terence Patrick Hughes writes plays for all ages. His children’s plays include adaptations for middle and high school of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest, and a comic spin on Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’. His shorter plays for grades K-4 offer a variety of adaptations from world history and mythology. His grown-up plays include LINES, Fake Plastic Love, A Harmony of Both, and Recess at Our Lady of the Bleeding Heart, Mind, and Spirit – Once Reformed. Other plays include Tea & Misery, Benched, Finding the Rooster, and Farewell Evenbrook. The New York Times noted that his work “…explores heavy subject matter with humorous dialogue and strong characters”. His plays have been developed and produced with the Lark, Horse Trade, Seven Collective, 13th St. Rep, Eden Prairie, Ovenbird, Playwrights Roundtable, and Boomerang theatres. He loves his wife, Danielle, and two kids, Harrison & Bb.
Excerpt from the play:
An empty stage. STRANGER enters carrying a pack and walking stick. STRANGER moves to center stage and rests for a moment before noticing the audience.
Oh! Howdy! I didn’t notice y’all sitting there. It’s that dang-blasted sun isn’t it? Melt the hide right off your back. Woo. Feels like I’ve been walking round this big country for years. And have I got some stories. Yes siree, that’s the way with most people. They get so they might not say two words to their neighbor but will spill the beans to a stranger. See a stranger hasn’t heard any of your so-so jokes and doesn’t mind hanging in for the disappointing punchline. Well…I can promise you one thing…if you settle in right now and listen real good to one of my stories…I will not disappoint.
STRANGER starts to walk the stage
But which one of my many tales do I tell…hmm. Biggest decision I’ve had to make since breakfast. Oh! You all need to hear about my time spent in the town of Quixote. Well, I was younger way back then…
STRANGER loses his stoop and fatigue as he becomes his younger self.
And I was out there looking for everybody and everything…and on the outskirts of Quixote…I found myself face to face with an officer of the law.
SHERIFF enters with his head up to the sky. STRANGER stares for a moment. SHERIFF remains looking up as they speak.
You’re a Stranger.
Yep. What are you doing?
Cause that’s what folks do round here.
Oh. What are you looking up for?
You ask a lot of questions.
That ain’t what folks do round here.
Don’t be. Go on into town. Strangers are welcome in Quixote.
So to be clear…everybody here…looks up.
STRANGER moves away from SHERIFF, SHERIFF exits.
Now I had been far and wide, up and down, I been to towns that only drank milk, boroughs that paid their wages in lumber, and burghs built entirely out of blankets but I never been to a place where all they did…was look up.
STRANGER almost bumps into AMIEL as he enters.
MAHALA enters, barely avoiding STRANGER.
BAZEL enters, same.
Look up. Look up!
The stage is then filled with the entire cast and the STRANGER moves in confusion about them. The cast sings ‘Look Up!’
Look up! Look up!
And with a little luck
Today’s the day that we’ve all been waiting for
Look up, Look up
From dawn until the dusk
We raise our chins and sing the hymn from days of yore
Look up, Look up
Look up, look up, look up
Up in the air, Up in the sky
Up over there, Up with those eyes
Look up, Look up
Look up, look up, look up,
Look up, Look up, look up, look up
Look up, look up, look up!