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5 characters, flexible casting. Approximately 10 minutes running time. Short, modern play by Debra A. Cole based on a West African folk tale.

When a school principal encounters a student who claims to have never told a lie, he tries to trick him into telling not one, but three lies. But the clever student will not be outwitted…and there will be consequences.

This short play also includes discussion questions, and casting, costumes and set suggestions.

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.

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Excerpt from the play:


TRUMAN — (M) clever student who never tells a lie
MR./MRS. EVANSTON — (M/F) new principal who questions that a student never lies
CHEF BUTERMAN — (M/F) savvy and streetwise chef of the school cafeteria
MR./MRS. PACKARD — (M/F) cranky teacher who doesn’t really like kids
MR./MRS. MARSTON — (M/F) kind teacher who worries about tricking Truman

(The action takes place in modern times in a principal’s office and a school cafeteria.)

(Lights come up in a principal’s office. Evanston sits behind a large desk and looks very serious. Packard and Marston are standing on each side of the desk.)


Mr./Mrs. Evanston, we are thrilled you are our new principal here at George Washington Elementary School. As lead teacher of the 5th grade, I must say that you will have your hands full here.

Are you implying that we have difficult students?

Oh, nothing that you can’t handle, sir/ma’am. A cheater here. A bully there. Liars at every turn. Perhaps I am just too cynical to be in teaching anymore.

Don’t be so hard on them. We have great students and remember, not EVERY student lies here, Mr./Mrs. Packard.

Oh, that’s right. We do have one student in the 5th grade that (using fingers to do air quotes) “NEVER” lies.


Never, sir/ma’am. It’s a point of honor with him.

I don’t believe it. Every child tells some sort of fib here or there. It’s not the end of the world, but it certainly does happen. I’ve read it is a part of growing up. You know, I read that in teacher books. Teacher books are always correct.

Can you believe it? He NEVER lies! Personally, I find it a bit tough to swallow. I mean, we all have our faults.

(under the breath) …some more than others….

I’d like to meet this young man. Please send this student to me at once.

(Packard and Marston scurry out of the office, and Evanston begins to shuffle paper and look busy. A knock on the offstage door is heard.)

Come in.

(A small and very quiet looking boy enters. Truman is dressed like an average student and waits to be acknowledged by Evanston.)

You must be the student I have heard so much about.

My name is Truman, sir/ma’am.

(Evanston shakes hands with Truman.)

Nice to meet you Truman. (motioning to the chair next to the desk) Take a seat. (Evanston sits on the desk to face the audience) Truman, I am Mr./Mrs. Evanston, the new principal here at George Washington Elementary. I have heard a story that, quite frankly, I find very hard to believe.

What story is that, sir/ma’am?

My trusted educators tell me that you have NEVER told a lie.

That is correct.

(not believing him) Oh, come on, son. You can be honest with me. Surely there has been one occasion where you bent the truth just a wee bit.

No, sir/ma’am.

I mean… really… even teachers and principals have had to tell a little whopper of a white lie to not hurt someone’s feelings or to avoid conflict.

Maybe you have told lies before, but I never have, and I never will.

(offended) Slow down, kid. I get that maybe you never have told a lie up until now, but there is no way you can say without a doubt that you will never tell one in the future.

I won’t. It’s a code of conduct for me.

(A knock is once again heard on the off-stage door. Packard and Marston enter the office.)

(snarly) I see you have met Truman. (rolls eyes)

I have indeed. Truman here was just telling me that not only has he NEVER told a lie, but he NEVER will.

(laughs) Ha! That’s a lie in itself. NO ONE can be totally sure they will NEVER do something in the future. (looking at Evanston) I’m sorry, sir/ma’am, but this student is just trying to make a fool of you.

(awkwardly) Ease up, Mr./Mrs. Packard. Truman is a good kid.

Good kid or not. He thinks he’s better than us… sitting there with his high and mighty attitude. EVERYONE LIES. YOU are no exception.

(calmly) But, I am. I don’t lie and never will.

(Evanston rises from the desk and takes control of the tense situation.)

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