When a young boy discovers a play that his aunt had been writing, he decides to make the story more exciting. As he writes, the characters in the story appear, and begin acting out everything he writes down. But some of the characters have minds of their own!
Drama games to use as a scaffolding lesson with this piece include:
One player sits at a typewriter with her back to a small group of onstage players. A title is offered by the instructor or from the audience. The writer begins typing and telling a story while the players behind her proceed to act it out! (Use Bag of Titles for inspiration.)
Divide into teams of six-eight. One group takes the stage. One person is the storyteller, everyone else is part of the slide show. The storyteller begins telling a story about a recent vacation or adventure. “I’d like to show you a slide show of my trip through the jungle. Here we are on the plane, headed to the Amazon. It was a very bumpy flight! CLICK!” The players then form a picture of the group taking a bumpy plane ride, and they freeze in place. She continues, “When we got to the jungle, the first thing we saw was an enormous snake! CLICK!” The group forms a picture of seeing the snake…one person could even be the snake. “Pretty soon, we were deep in the jungle, and we ran into some natives! CLICK?” And so on. Each group gets four or five slides, and then a new group takes the stage. Coach students that they can be anything in each picture. If it’s an aquarium, some students can be the tourists, and while others can play the octopus or the eel.
Excerpt from the play:
CHARACTERS (In order of appearance)
At rise: the stage is bare, save for a wooden desk and chair in a corner, which is cluttered with notebooks and writing utensils. CARL enters shortly after the lights come up.
Huh. What is this place?
CARL walks closer to the desk and examines it.
Hey, I think I know what this is. It must be Aunt Phyllis’s writing desk.
CARL looks through some old manuscripts and first drafts.
Blegh. This stuff is garbage. The Nursing Home Romance? Gross. Life by the Lake? Boring. What’s this?
CARL holds up a small, leather-bound notebook, then studies it.
It’s titled “Lancelot.” Isn’t Lancelot a knight or something? That sounds semi-cool.
CARL opens the book and the KNIGHTS run into position, frozen. He begins to write and they start to move.
Chapter Three. In a deep, dark forest, the knights pranced further towards the dragon’s lair. A few held back nervous tears.
Uh, what are you talking about, Carl?!
Yeah Carl, what is THAT supposed to mean?
I’m just speaking the truth, that’s all.
None of us are holding back NERVOUS TEARS! Right, guys?
KNIGHT #1 brushes away teardrops subtly. The knights continue wandering through the forest.
I liked the old narrator better anyways.
Phyllis? Her stories are full of knitting and cats. Lame.
And you think this is better?!
The troupe sees something in the distance – a troll guarding a massive stone bridge. The knights can tell that the troll can’t be trusted.
I can tell that YOU can’t be trusted, Carl.