10+ characters; 6F, 3M, 1+ Either; 28 pages in length. Approximately 30-45 minutes running time. A drama for teens written by Starry Krueger.

Dream Train is a thought provoking musical play that can be described as The Polar Express meets A Christmas Carol, with a modern twist.  Scout lives in the City and dreams of catching fireflies in the Forest.  Honor lives in the Forest and dreams of seeing the City lights up close.  The City and the Forest are divided by railroad tracks.  The trains no longer run and Honor and Scout have never met. One night the girls are called aboard the Dream Train where they discover they have more in common than they thought. 

Starry Krueger is a playwright, teacher and director from New Haven, Connecticut.  She is the founder of Imaginary Theater Company, a children’s theater committed to producing original plays that empower children to be the heroes of their own stories.  Her plays also include The Boat, Mama Threw Me So High, and Dream Train.  Starry has worked as a teaching artist and director with the Missoula Children’s Theater, Drama Kids and San Diego Junior Theater.  Starry currently spends the summer in New Haven and the school year in San Diego, where she teaches theater to kindergarten through fifth grade students at High Tech Elementary.

Excerpt from the play:

CHARACTERS

HONOR: a girl from the Forest
SCOUT: a girl from the City
EZRA: Scout’s father, Mayor of the City (in the Past Ezra is portrayed as a child)
DAWN: Honor’s mother, Mayor of the Forest (in the Past Dawn is portrayed as a child)
CHORUS: the spirits of the Dream Train
TREE: a singing woman, the spirit of the Forest
MAN 1: Ezra’s advisor (also plays Mayor Stonington)
MAYOR STONINGTON: Ezra’s father, Scout’s grandfather
WOMAN 1: Dawn’s advisor (also plays Rosalie)
ROSALIE: Dawn’s mother, Honor’s grandmother

SETTING
A place where two very different, or perhaps not so different, communities live side by side.

TIME
The Past, the Present and the Future

Scene 1: Independence Eve

Scout sits upstage left outside of her house in the City. Honor sits upstage right outside of her house in the Forest. Ezra, Scout’s father, addresses the audience from a podium downstage left. Dawn, Honor’s mother, addresses the audience from a podium downstage right. Railroad tracks run between their two neighborhoods. The tracks are visible to the audience but are hidden from the girls by trees.

Chorus 1
There is a ticking clock within each of us.

Chorus 2
The rate of the ticking has many factors

Chorus 3
The history of your parents and ancestors.

Chorus 4
How many seconds you brush your teeth every morning.

Chorus 1
Whether or not your parents kissed you goodnight.

Chorus 2
The color of your bedroom wall.

Chorus 3
How often you run to the point of being breathless.

Chorus 4
It is the history of your soul.

Chorus 1
The more closely another person’s internal ticking resembles your own, the more likely it is that you will become their friend.

Chorus 2
And if you think you don’t have anything in common with someone…

Chorus 3
You just don’t know them well enough

Chorus 4
Yet.

Tree
Our roots grow down
Deeper than foundations
Our roots grow down
Deep below the city
Our roots grow down
Grown from seeds who no one planted
Before you were born
The Forest was beginning

Dawn
Your buildings grow high
They rise above our branches

Dawn and Tree
Your buildings grow high
Above the leaves a changin’

Dawn, Tree and Chorus
Your buildings grow high
You laid your own foundation
On stolen soil
The City started rising

Ezra
Good evening citizens of the City. We have always been a vibrant community. A hub of industry and growth. We must protect that legacy.

Dawn
Let us not forget where the wooden beams of the City’s fine buildings came from.

Crowd
The Forest!

Dawn
And who built those buildings?

Crowd
The Forest!

Dawn
The words of the City’s leaders may sting but let us not forget they are words of ignorance and fear. The City needs us. The City needs our resources and our talents.

Ezra
I am here to tell you on this Independence Eve, there is hope. I am proud to announce that tomorrow marks the dawning of a new era. Tomorrow, on Independence Day, we will begin construction on four walls that will enclose the City. The jobs within the City walls will be reserved for residents of the City. The spaces in the City’s schools will be reserved for the children of the City. We will preserve the City’s values and our way of life. 

Dawn
They want to put up walls? 

Crowd
Boo!

Dawn
We’ll see how far they get without us to help build them! 

Crowd
Here here!

Dawn
Starting tomorrow, I am placing an embargo on all trade and service between the City and the Forest. If the City’s Mayor wants to negotiate an end to the embargo, he will need to stop construction on the wall.

Ezra and Dawn
Get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is an important day.

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