3 characters. 3F. 4 pages in length. Approximately 5 minutes running time. A short play for children about a very special birthday gift written by Phyllis J. Perry.

Never Empty Stew Pot is a short play for three children. It is Sasha’s birthday but she and her family do not have enough food to share with their neighbors in celebration. But Granny has a very special gift for her. Something magical occurs when she opens the gift to find a pot, an apron, and a very special packet of spices! A sweet play about magic and generosity!

This play is also included in Plays For You And A Friend Or Two, a compilation of twelve short plays, each with 2 or 3 characters, and simple staging. The plays are written for elementary school children and include: THREE STICKS; LOST AND FOUND; THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER; THE MAGIC HAT; PIRATE TREASURE; CALYPSO, THE ROYAL DRAGON; TWO FUSSY FROGS; IN THE CAVE; GLOOMY, RAINY DAY; NEVER EMPTY STEW POT; HICCUPS; and FOR YOU OR FOR ME?. These fun plays are full of friendship, humor, fantasy, and magic and children will love to perform them in class or on stage!

Phyllis J. Perry lives in Boulder, Colorado. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, holds a Masters Degree from San Francisco State, and a doctorate from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has been active in three community theaters. Phyllis is a retired teacher who writes for children and adults. She writes fiction and nonfiction books, poetry and plays. A list of her 92 books can be found on her web site, www.phyllisjperry.com.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

THE PLAYERS:
Sasha, Mother, and Granny.

SETTING:
Granny, wrapped in her shawl, has walked through her small village to the edge of town where there are three farm houses. Granny comes walking up to one of these farm homes where her granddaughter lives to give her a birthday present.

PROPS:
An apron, a recipe card, a small packet, a shawl, a pot, a ladle, two smaller pots or bowls, 3 paper fish, and some real or pretend vegetables.

AT RISE: Mother and Sasha are looking out the window of their small farm house and talking, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Granny.

MOTHER
Grandmother will be here at any moment now. She’s never late.

SASHA
I wonder what present she will bring me? Last year it was a beautiful doll, remember? It was dressed in a pink satin gown. It’s like magic. No matter how much I play with it, it always looks brand new.

MOTHER
Granny does give special presents. But don’t expect too much this year. It was not a good year for farming in our village. No one has any extra money. It will be all we can do to make it through this cold winter while we hope for a good growing season in the spring.

SASHA
I know, mother.

MOTHER
Even though it is your birthday, we cannot even invite the neighbors on either side of us to come celebrate with us. We haven’t enough food to go around.

SASHA
Look, mother. Here comes Granny.

(Granny is carrying packages and walking slowly.)

GRANNY
(Coming up to the door.) Happy birthday, Sasha.

SASHA
Granny, let me help you. (She takes the smaller package.)

MOTHER
(Takes the big package.) Let’s all go inside where it is warmer. Oh, this is heavy.       However did you carry it all the way here?

(The three move into the kitchen.)

GRANNY
(Sitting in a chair and pulling her shawl around her). I had to stop and rest several times on the way. But I made it! (Pointing out the big package.) Now, open your present, Sasha. Happy birthday!

SASHA
Whatever can it be? (She quickly unwraps the package and stares in puzzlement.) Why, it’s a big cooking pot. And there’s an apron inside. (Sadie ties on the apron.) Thank you, Granny! What a pretty apron, and there’s something in the pocket. Look. (She pulls out a packet of spices and a card.) What are these?

GRANNY
That’s an old recipe for stew from my mother and those are spices to add to the pot when it’s cooking to make it extra delicious. I decided this was the year to give it to you. We will feast tonight to celebrate your special day.

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