7+ characters. Flexible casting; 8 pages in length. Approximately 10 minutes running time. An African folktale about Anansi the Spider adapted by Jenifer King.

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock is an adaptation of an African folktale featuring the well-known spider, Anansi. Anansi the Spider is a beloved trickster. He is crafty, lazy, greedy, fun-loving, and his tricks never end well for him. But he keeps on trying. In this tale, Anansi comes upon a moss-covered rock while walking in the jungle. When he comments on what an unusual rock it is, he faints. Anansi quickly realizes that this rock could be used to his advantage. Will Anansi trick everyone in the jungle to get the things he wants or will his trick be used against him? A wonderful folktale for children to perform and discuss!

Jenifer King has been teaching, directing, choreographing and stage managing youth theatre since 1985, in New York City, Seattle and Las Vegas. She has been writing a little longer than that. In addition to plays, she is the author of a blog for teen actors. She currently teaches 5th grade (and drama, of course!) in Las Vegas, and lives there with her wife and their very dumb cat.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Narrators:  Any gender, any age. Written for two, can be expanded

NARRATOR 1
NARRATOR 2

ANANSI:  The Spider, a trickster, lazy and greedy. Can be played by any gender, adjust pronouns as needed

LITTLE BUSH DEERSweet and shy. Can be played by any gender, adjust pronouns as needed

Animals in the Jungle:
NOTE: These can be any animals found in the African jungle. Adjust the dialogue to reflect whatever animals are being played. You can also add up to one more animal/group for a larger cast- repeat the same dialogue pattern, inserting the new animal.

LION  (can be a group of lions)

MONKEY (Can be a group of monkeys)

SNAKE (can be a group of snakes)

NARRATOR 1
One bright African dawn, Anansi the Spider woke up in his web. (Anansi yawns and stretches)

NARRATOR 2
And Anansi was HUNGRY!

ANANSI
I am HUNGRY!

NARRATOR 1
But Anansi was also lazy.

ANANSI
I’m also lazy.

NARRATOR 2
So, as usual, Anansi had to think of a trick.

NARRATOR 1
He thought he might think better after a walk.

ANANSI
I might think better after a walk. (Anansi leaves the web, moves to the Rock)

NARRATOR 2
So, Anansi went walking, walking, until he come to a clearing in the middle of the jungle.

NARRATOR 1
And he saw the most unusual thing.

ANANSI
Oh my goodness, I’ve never seen anything like this! What a strange-looking moss-covered rock! (Anansi faints)

NARRATORS
Anansi was OUT COLD! For a WHOLE HOUR!

NARRATOR 1
He awoke, saying,

ANANSI
Oh, my head!  (Looking at the rock) Oh, yes! What a strange-looking moss-covered rock! (faints again)

NARRATORS
Anansi was OUT COLD! For a WHOLE HOUR!

NARRATOR 1
He awoke, saying,

ANANSI
Oh, my head!  (Looking at the rock) Oh, yes! What a—

NARRATORS
STOP!

ANANSI
Oh ho, I see! Whenever I say, “What a hm-hm-hm hm-hm-hm-hm,” I’m out cold for an hour. Ah ha!

NARRATOR 1
Anansi had his trick.

ANANSI
I have my trick!

NARRATOR 2
And so he went to find someone to try it on. The first animal he found was the Lion.

ANANSI
Good morning, Lion!

LION
Good morning, Anansi.

ANANSI
Isn’t it a lovely morning?

LION
Yes it is, Anansi.

ANANSI
Would you like to take a walk through the jungle with me?

LION
That sounds wonderful. Let’s go!

NARRATOR 1
So Anansi went walking, walking,

NARRATOR 2
And the Lion went padding, padding,

NARRATOR 1
Until they came to the clearing in the middle of the jungle.

ANANSI
Oh, Lion! Do you see what I see?

LION
I certainly do, Anansi! What a strange-looking moss-covered rock! (Lion faints)

NARRATORS
Lion was OUT COLD! For a WHOLE HOUR!

NARRATOR 2
Anansi scurried back to Lion’s den, took all the food he found there, and stored it in his web.

NARRATOR 1
Lion awoke, saying,

LION
Oh, my head!

NARRATOR 2
Lion looked around, but Anansi was nowhere to be found. Lion stumbled home, to find all the food gone.

LION
(shaking fists) ANANSI!

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