‘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. Anansi stories always carry a lesson or a moral, similar to those of Aesop’s fables.
The script also comes with facts about Africa, discussion questions, and extension activities! Great to use with an ‘Around the World in Stories’ unit!
Excerpt from the play:
Nyame (Sky God)
Mmoboro (Hornets as many as a dozen)
Mmoatia (Evil Fairy)
An African plain.
Narrator One: Once there were no stories in the world.
Narrator Two: That is because Nayme, the Sky God had them all. He kept them in a beautiful wooden box.
(NAYME, the Sky God enters and sits in a throne center stage.)
Narrator One: Anansi was a clever spider who wanted to entertain the people. So, he spun a silken thread long enough to reach all the way to the clouds and he scampered up to heaven to talk to Nyame.
(ANANSI enters and approaches NAYME.)
Anansi: Oh, Great Sky God Nyame. I wish to have your box of stories to take back to the people. What is your price?
Nyame: My stories cannot be bought with gold. Great princes and rich villages have tried to buy my box, but none has been able to pay the price.
Anansi: I will give you your price. Name it.
Nyame: Very well little one. My price is Onini, the python who can swallow a goat; Osebo, the leopard with teeth as sharp as spears; Mmoboro, the hornet whose sting is like red hot needles and Mmoatia, the bad-tempered fairy that no-one can see. Bring to me all of these and my box with all the stories shall be yours.
Anansi: That sounds impossible.
Nyame: That is my price.
(ANANSI bows and exits. NAYME exits.)
Narrator One: But like I said, Anansi was a very clever spider. He set about capturing these.
Narrator Two: First he went near the place where Python lived.
(ONINI enters and lies down. ANANSI enters carrying a palm stick.)
Anansi: (Speaking very loudly.) She’s wrong. I know she is. He’s not bigger and longer than this stick. I know I am right, and she is wrong.
Onini: What are you muttering about? You have disturbed my rest.
Anansi: Onini, I have heard your wife say that you are longer than a palm branch. But I don’t believe it!
Onini: Are you calling my wife a liar? I am longer than a palm branch. I’ll prove it!
(ONINI stands and compares his height to the stick.)
Narrator One: So Onini stretched himself out straight next to the palm branch and Anansi quickly tied him to it and carried him away.
Onini: What’s this? You’ve tricked me!