‘Anansi’ is a spider character from African folklore. He is very small and very clever and is thought to be the God of all stories. Anansi is depicted in many different ways. Sometimes he looks like an ordinary spider, sometimes he is a spider wearing clothes or with a human face and sometimes he looks much more like a human with spider elements, such as eight legs. The small spider often uses his cleverness and intelligence to outwit much larger creatures.
In this story, Anansi discovers a magic rock and devises a way to trick the other animals out of their food. In the end, he is outsmarted by a Little Spotted Deer.
The story is repetitive, so it is simple for younger students to learn. It’s also easy to expand the cast by adding more animal characters to the play.
Excerpt from the play:
Little Spotted Deer
(Add more animals to expand the cast.)
Moss-covered rock; house location; food for each animal; rhythm instruments for the Narrator. Costumes: Narrator, Anansi the spider, lion, elephant, rhino, giraffe, little spotted deer. Costumes for the animals can be simple, black pants and turtle necks with face paint and ears made from construction paper and cardboard.
SETTING: Africa. A large, moss-covered rock is sitting on the ground.
(Anansi scuttles into the frame and observes the weird rock. The Narrator is playing bongo drums during his storytelling.)
Narrator: Once upon a time, Anansi the spider was walking, walking, walking through the forest when he saw something interesting. It was a strange, moss-covered rock!
Anansi: Wow! Isn’t that a strange moss-covered rock!
(Anansi falls down suddenly into a dead sleep.)
Narrator: All of a sudden, Anansi fell down and was sound asleep. When Anansi woke up, his head was spinning, and he didn’t know what had happened.
Anansi: Hmm! I was just walking along, minding my own business, when I stopped and said, ‘Isn’t that a strange moss-covered rock!’
(Anansi falls down suddenly into a deep sleep again.)
Narrator: Anansi fell suddenly asleep again! But now when he woke up he knew what was going on.
Anansi: I see…this rock is MAGIC! Whenever somebody sees the rock and says, ‘Isn’t this a strange hfrshmm-shmrmish fllurrrr,’ they fall asleep! This is good to know… and… aha!… now I have a great idea…
(Anansi heads to Lion’s house, where he is sitting with a pile of yams.)
Narrator: So, Anansi went walking, walking, walking through the forest until he came to Lion’s house. Lion always had great food! And Anansi loved food but was too lazy to get it himself. So, when Anansi saw the yams, he said to Lion…
Anansi: Hey Lion! Pretty hot today, huh?
Lion: Yeah, Anansi, it’s REALLY hot!
Anansi: I’m going to the forest where it’s cooler. Wanna come?
Narrator: So, Lion and Anansi went walking, walking, walking into the forest. Soon they came to the magic rock.
(Anansi and Lion come upon the moss-covered rock.)
Anansi: Lion! Do you see that??
Lion: WHOA! Isn’t that a strange moss-covered rock!
(Lion falls down, suddenly asleep.)