Breathe

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8 characters, 1M, 1F, 6 flexible gender. Approximately 10 minutes running time.

Kirby is one stressed out kid. He’s worried about his grades, his friendships, and life in general. When he suffers a panic attack, a magic talking frog comes to his aid and teaches him some valuable techniques for quieting his anxious mind.

This script can help students learn to deal with pressure, and perceived pressure in healthy ways!

The play 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

KIRBY — (M/F) stressed kid who just needs peace
HALCYON — (M/F) Halcyon the Wise and Chill – frog who understands how to relax
DAD — (M) father who loves Kirby but pushy
MOM — (F) mother who loves Kirby but stressed herself
PARKER— (M/F) very nasty peer of Kirby
RYAN — (M/F) very competitive peer of Kirby
MR./MRS. SHAE — (M/F) social studies teacher of Kirby
MR./MRS. RILEY — (M/F) English teacher of Kirby

(The action takes place modern times in a bedroom and a classroom.)

(Lights come up on Kirby sitting in an average bedroom with Dad and Mom on each side of him/her. Riley is clearly stressed, and Dad and Mom are clearly not happy.)

SCENE 1

DAD
(irritated) You’ve got a C in math, Kirby? Are you serious? Math runs in our family.

MOM
Your dad and I are both engineers. There is NO reason for you to have a C in Math.

KIRBY
I know, but…

DAD
We’ve paid for tutors, and those don’t work.

KIRBY
(dejected) I know.

MOM
We’ve allowed you to stay after school in order to talk with your math teacher. What’s her name again?

KIRBY
Mrs. Bailly.

MOM
Right. Mrs. Bailly. She says you are capable of so much more, if you would just relax.

KIRBY
Relax?

DAD
He/She doesn’t need to relax, he/she needs to get to work.

KIRBY
But…

MOM
Listen, there are only so many hours in a day. You just need to use the hours you do have after school working harder, like I do. I run my own business, volunteer at local shelters, and make sure you both have nutritious meals.

DAD
Oh yeah? I run MY own business, volunteer at local food pantries, and keep us up to our elbows in clean laundry.

KIRBY
(drops head) Got it, guys.

MOM
Good. Make us proud, honey.

(Dad and Mom exit stage right leaving Kirby with his/her head down. Once they are gone, Kirby lifts his/her head and starts to talk to himself/herself.)

KIRBY
Why? Why do I feel so stressed inside? It’s just math. (starts to stand and pace) Math was easy for my parents, but it’s not easy for me. I just can’t do it. (starts to rub chest) Why is my chest so tight? It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. This isn’t right.

(Suddenly, magical noises and lights start to sound and flash.)

(worried) What is this? I’m not sure I like it.

(Lights go completely out, and when they come back up, Halcyon is sitting on the ground cross-legged next to Kirby. Halcyon is relaxed and at ease.)

HALCYON
You called?

KIRBY
(jumps back) Who are you, and why can you talk? You’re just a frog? (rubbing chest)

HALCYON
Just a frog? Chill, dude. Why do you have to hate on me?

KIRBY
Okay…this is just in my imagination. I’ve lost it. NONE of this is possible!

HALCYON
Oh, it’s not only possible…it’s happening. Let me introduce myself. I am known to many cultures by many names, but you can just call me Halcyon the Wise and Chill.

KIRBY
Okay, I’ll play along. Why are you here? (rubbing chest)

HALCYON
I’m here to help you, dude.

KIRBY
Uh…sorry to disappoint, but I don’t need any help. (rubbing chest)

HALCYON
Oh yeah? Chest a little tight?

KIRBY
(stops rubbing chest) NO….why?

HALCYON
Want to stop doing that?

KIRBY
What on Earth could a magical frog…

HALCYON
Halcyon the Wise and Chill…

KIRBY
…Okay, what on Earth could you, Halcyon the Wise and Chill, do for me?

HALCYON
Teach you.

KIRBY
Oh, no. I’m not good at learning. Have you seen my math grade? I’m sorry. There is nothing you can teach me. I’m fine just the way I am.

HALCYON
Okay. Call me when you are ready.

(Suddenly magical noises and lights start to sound and flash.)

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