5 characters; 1F, 1M, 3 Either; 12 pages in length. Approximately 10-15 minutes running time. A drama for children and teens written by Starry Krueger.

He Who Speaks is the story of Omar, a young boy who witnesses violence in his home one very scary night.  In an effort to protect his mother, he calls the police.  When his mother is taken away, Omar blames himself and stops speaking.  The Voices bring Omar’s inner monologue to life, while Granny’s love and patience empower him to trust his voice again.

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

Omar: a young boy
Granny: Omar’s grandmother
Voices: A, B, C

GRANNY’S OPENING SONG:
Silence is golden
It’s what you say that hurts
Silence is golden
Be careful with your words
Silence is golden
Be still the whole day long
You tried to speak the truth
But it all turned out wrong

I remember whispers
Tender and kind
I remember whispers
Most of them lies
I remember whispers
No one thought I heard
I can’t forget the whispers
I recall every word

Children hear echoes
Etched into their souls
When they’re not sure what they’re hearing
They fill in the holes
Silence is golden
But it can go wrong
Know your words’ power
Child, sing your own song

SCENE ONE

(Omar sits alone in a room. The voices stand behind him.)

Voice A
Omar’s mom is arguing with someone.

Voice B
Their voices keep getting louder.

Voice A
Omar can’t sleep.  He hears crashing plates and yelling.

Voice C
Many words are said that he knows he is not allowed to say.

Voice A
Omar is scared.

Voice B
At school, Omar remembers a teacher saying that if there is an emergency he should call 911.

Voice A
Is this an emergency?

Voice C
This feels like an emergency.  Omar’s heart is racing. 

Voice A
He hears his mom shout, “Stop!”

Voice B
Omar calls.

OMAR
Hello?

Voice A
The police come. 

Voice C
The crashing and yelling stops.

Voice A
The police find some things that are not allowed in houses.  The police take Omar’s mom away.

OMAR
I need her!

Voice B
Pleads Omar.

Voice A
But no one listens. 

(The voices overlap along with the sounds of sirens.  This cacophony crescendos and then abruptly stops.)

OMAR
This is my fault.

Voice A
Omar believes it was his words that made his mom get taken away.

Voice B
So Omar is silent.

Voice C
He stops speaking.

End of scene one.

SCENE TWO

(OMAR is sitting in a car with his grandmother.  The VOICES sit in the backseat.)

GRANNY
So…your mother got herself into some trouble.

Voice A
Omar is going to live with his grandmother.

Voice B
He does not remember her.

Voice A
She says she held him once when he was a baby.

GRANNY
I was worried she wasn’t ready to be a mother…but I suppose perhaps you’re never really ready.  Does she take good care of you?

(OMAR nods his head.)

Good.  Good.  Well, it’s a pleasure to see you again, Omar.  I’m sorry it’s been so long.  I know we don’t know each other yet but I’ve thought about you every day since you were born.   Are you hungry?

(OMAR nods his head.)

Not much of a talker, are you?

(OMAR shrugs.)

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