12 characters. 7M, 5F, Flexible Cast; 49 pages in length. Approximately 45-60 minutes running time. A dramedy for teens about identity written by Abbey Khan. (10 credits)

Paper Bags is a dramedy about a substitute teacher’s first day in an eleventh grade classroom.In an attempt to mess with their new teacher, the students replace the attendance sheet, become disruptive and refuse to reveal their identity. Worst of all, when Miss Cort arrives, she finds all of the students wearing paper bags over their heads! Instead of letting them defeat her, Miss Cort turns the tables on them. She has them participate in a unique exercise that teaches them that they are so much more than their labels. This powerful and timely play challenges who we think we are.

Abbey Khan is an award-winning playwright whose works include observational comedies and musical comedies. Outside of the theatre, she is a lifestyle and entertainment writer who has interviewed top celebrities including Morgan Freeman and Nicolas Cage, and has covered the latest trends in fashion and beauty.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

School Staff:
Miss Cort – New teacher. Late 20’s to early 30’s.
Principal Grouchio – late 50’s to early 60’s.

High School Students (11th grade):
Student Council President (1)
Athlete (2)
Female Brain (3)
Computer Geek (4)
Pretty Girl (5)
Unsure Girl (6)
Male Brain (7)
Teacher’s Pet (8)
Thief (9)
Class Clown (10)  

SETTING:
High school classroom.  

TIME:
The present. Morning.  

(The students are in 11th grade. They come marching in two at a time. Some are carrying their books and notebooks in their hands. Some have backpacks hanging from their shoulders while some of the girls have a purse and a book. They all have name tags on their tops with numbers written on them.)

FEMALE BRAIN (3) / MALE BRAIN (7)
Who are we?

FEMALE BRAIN (3)
I’m a brain.

MALE BRAIN (7)
I’m the same.

FEMALE BRAIN (3) / MALE BRAIN (7)
Together we’re number one and two in our class.  (They take the front two seats right next to each other.)

ATHLETE (2) / STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT (1)
Who are we?

ATHLETE (2)
(pretends he’s throwing a football) I’m a star athlete.

STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT (1)
I’m the one everyone looks up to. I’m the Student Council President.  (They take random seats close to each other and talk. We don’t hear them since we’re still being introduced to everyone else.)

PRETTY GIRL (5) / THIEF (9)
Who are we?

PRETTY GIRL (5)
I’m pretty. Just so very incredibly pretty.

THIEF (9)
And I’m a really good thief. (he looks at PRETTY GIRL) And I just might steal your heart.

(PRETTY GIRL looks at him appalled and lets out a little sigh. Grossed out, she walks away from him and takes a seat. She pulls out her smartphone from her designer handbag, taking selfies. THIEF grabs the teacher’s name plate and puts it on his desk.)

COMPUTER GEEK (4) / CLASS CLOWN (10)
Who are we?

COMPUTER GEEK (4)
I’m a computer geek.

CLASS CLOWN (10)
I’m the class clown.

(They take random seats away from each other. COMPUTER GEEK takes out his laptop and starts working on it. CLASS CLOWN puts his feet up on his desk, and just looks up at the ceiling while chewing and blowing up his bubble gum.)

TEACHER’S PET (8)/ UNSURE GIRL (6)
Who are we?

TEACHER’S PET (8)
(perky / smug) I’m always the teacher’s pet.

UNSURE GIRL (6)
And I’m not sure yet.

(They take random seats. There’s one empty seat. Now they rap the following.)

ALL
WHO ARE WE?
WHO ARE WE?
WE’RE NOT JUST THESE

THINGS WHO ARE WE?
WHO ARE WE?
WE’RE SO MANY THINGS

ATHLETE (2)
SOME OF US ARE MORE ATHLETICALLY INCLINED

MALE BRAIN (7)
SOME OF US ARE TOTAL BOOKWORMS

FEMALE BRAIN (3)
SOME OF US ARE BOTH OF THE ABOVE

CLASS CLOWN (10)
SOME OF US JUST LIKE TO TAKE IT EASY

PRETTY GIRL (5)
SOME OF US ARE REALLY, REALLY, PRETTY

THE OTHERS
SOME OF US ARE JUST HERE

ALL

WHO ARE WE?
WHO ARE WE?
WE’RE JUST SO MANY THINGS.

WHO ARE WE?
WHO ARE WE?
WE’RE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE IT OUT.

SO DON’T TRY TO TELL US WHO WE ARE
BECAUSE EVEN WE DON’T KNOW
WHO WE ARE
AT LEAST NOT YET.

STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT (1)
(sees the empty chair) Hey, who’s not here today?

(Everyone looks around at each other. CLASS CLOWN just keeps looking up at the ceiling, chewing and popping his gum. ATHLETE goes to the door to see if anyone’s coming. TEACHER’S PET finger counts everyone.)

TEACHER’S PET (8)
Looks like Carl’s not here yet.

STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT (1)
Did anyone see him today?

(Some people nod ‘no’ or shrug ‘I don’t know.’)

FEMALE BRAIN (3)
He wasn’t in homeroom.

ATHLETE (2)
(at the doorway) He just better get here before the teacher does.

STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT (1)
Well, if he’s doesn’t, then he’s on his own.

CLASS CLOWN (10)
But what if he tries to screw us over?

SOME STUDENTS
Yeah.

STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT (1)
Nah, he wouldn’t do that.

ATHLETE (2)
(runs back to his seat) Someone’s coming. I think it’s her.

THIEF (9)
(holds up the name plate) Her name is Miss Cort.

PRETTY GIRL (5)
(stern) You really need to put that away before you get us all in trouble.

THIEF (9)
Oh do I?

(PRETTY GIRL sighs and rolls her eyes at him.)

TEACHER’S PET (8)
(perky) Or you can just put it back on her desk!

STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT (1)
Forget about it for now. Just toss it in your backpack, so she doesn’t see it.

(THIEF puts the teacher’s name plate in his backpack and then places the backpack below his desk.)

STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT (1)
Okay, ready?

(They all nod ‘yes’ and then put brown paper bags over their heads. You can only see their eyes and mouths. MISS CORT is at the doorway talking to PRINCIPAL GROUCHIO. We can only see her from the back.)

MISS CORT
Yes, Mr. Grouchio. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here.

MR. GROUCHIO
Well, good luck. And let me know if you have any problems.

MISS CORT
I’m sure I’ll be fine. What can possibly happen on my first day here? (MISS CORT enters the room and walks straight to the chalkboard without looking at the students. She starts to write her name.)

Why Subscribe?

kk-question box coloredInside Drama Notebook, you will find a huge collection of well-organized lesson plans, scripts for kids, drama activities, 50 drama games on video and more! Membership is only $9.95 a month. Join today and dramatically reduce your planning time while delivering fresh, innovative drama lessons to your students!

If you are new to teaching drama, this site will be a Godsend!

You will immediately feel confident about teaching drama like an expert. The site guides you step-by-step and provides you with materials that you can use right away with your students.

If you have been teaching for years, Drama Notebook will inspire you with a fresh new approach and innovative ideas!

The site is packed with original, innovative lessons and activities that you will not find anywhere else—and new materials are added monthly.