15+ characters. 3-6M, 12-14F; Flexible cast; 28 pages in length. Approximately 30-45 minutes running time. A supernatural comedy for teens by playwright, Elizabeth Rapoza.

Poulter Guise is a ghost hunting adventure for teens! Tempers flare at Poulter Middle School when random pranks start to happen. All privileges are suspended until the culprits are caught. Students will have to overcome their differences to team up and solve the mystery. Is the prankster the one who everyone suspects or is it someone or something more sinister and more frightening? This hilarious play deals with prejudice and stereotypes and how these might be overcome through understanding and cooperation.

Elizabeth Rapoza first began writing plays for and with children over 30 years ago. All of Liz Rapoza’s plays are kid and audience tested, some many times over. Her youth play, “Perstephanie Goes Underground” won the Boston Public Schools Short Play Development Award. Her adult radio comedy “The Amazing Adventures of Pajamazon” was a winner in Mae West Fest of Seattle’s search for the Ultimate Female Protagonist. Her plays have also been performed at such venues as SlamBoston and the Factory Theater Boston. In addition, Liz is also a professional actor, dancer, musician, vocalist, puppeteer/puppet constructor and costumer. She has taught college theater courses since 2003. Liz currently teaches at Cape Cod Community College and the Zeiterion Theater, New Bedford, Ma.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

LUCREZIA (f) Goth girl
TUESDAY (f) Another Goth girl
MELISSA (f) Drama queen
DANIELLE (f) Rich snob
MINERVA (f) Brainiac
SHANTAY (f) Hip hop girl
SHEENA (f) Another hip hop girl
KANDY (f) Class clown
PENNY (f) Shy girl
ESME (f) A recent immigrant
TANYA (f) An exchange student from Great Britain
JOSH (m) Skateboard dude
DEREK (m) Bully and a jock
WILLIAM (m) Technowizard brainiac
TEACHER (m or f)

SETS AND COSTUMES
This play is set in a school hallway and then classroom. In the original performance, we had a giant backdrop of a school hallway with lockers. Costumes are primarily normal kid’s clothes appropriate to their character stereotype. This is a good exercise for students as it shows how much we judge people by their appearance. Spirit Dancers need a loose fitting garment to cover their clothes. Props include: backpacks, books, a copy of The Hobbit, a skateboard, ruler, dictionary, cell phones and ghost hunter gadgets. One character has a coat that gets destroyed. I used a washable coat (my own) and a paint that washed out. The play includes a shamanic scene in which the actors wear animal masks. Our students created these themselves, however, there are inexpensive latex versions available if time is limited. There are also a variety of sound effects required. These can be prerecorded or performed live.

NOTES:
* In the first scene, all of the students except Lucrezia, Tuesday and Josh carry books or book bags. Josh carries on a skateboard.

* We made the immigrant student from a non-existent, Slavic sounding country. This can be changed to reflect the student actor playing the role or regional sensitivities.  

SCENE 1: THE HALLWAY

(A row of lockers in the school hallway at the start of the school day)
(MINERVA and KANDY enter and go to their lockers)

KANDY
Wow, thanks, (pointedly, intending insult) Minerva Nerva Nerve Nerve.

MINERVA
Don’t call me Nerve. (aside to audience) The nerve!

KANDY
Soorrrry. Thank you, Minerva, for letting me borrow your copy of The Hobbit. The stupid book report is due tomorrow.

MINERVA
(Rummaging in her locker, looking for the book) Nothing like waiting until the last minute, Kandy.

KANDY
It’s not my fault! Someone stole mine.

MINERVA
You sure you weren’t just careless and lost it? (Still rummaging) Drat! Where is it? It was here.

KANDY
Awww…were you careless and lost it? Tsk tsk. That’s like, four people in the class who’ve lost that book now. Penny lost hers and Danielle lost hers and Josh lost his. The teacher is gonna go ballistic tomorrow when she tries to collect the books and sees how many are missing.

MINERVA
(Gives up looking for the book) Sorry. I can’t find it. Try the library.

KANDY
Skip it. No biggie. I saw the movie.

(PENNY enters and goes straight to her locker without looking at or acknowledging the other 2 girls)

KANDY
Hey Penny. What’s up? (No response) Good morning?

(PENNY looks at KANDY apprehensively, turns back to her locker and takes out a copy of The Hobbit)
(KANDY and MINERVA look at one another and shrug)

KANDY
(In a stage whisper to MINERVA) I thought she lost her copy of the book.

MINERVA
(Sauntering over to PENNY, friendly) Oh! I see you found your copy of The Hobbit. Lucky you. Now mine is lost.

PENNY
(Clutching the book tightly to her chest) What do you mean? (Looks wildly at KANDY and MINERVA) You think I took yours, don’t you? You think I stole it!

MINERVA
No. Of course not…

PENNY
Well I didn’t! I bought a new one.

KANDY
(Taking the book from PENNY and holding it over her head as PENNY jumps up and down trying to catch it) Looks pretty beat up for new book.

PENNY
(Grabs the book back) I bought it used at the library for a quarter. (She turns and scurries down the hallway, exiting)

KANDY
(Looking after PENNY, shaking her head) Dude, that girl is so weird. What is with her?

MINERVA
Don’t call me “Dude”. I’m not a “dude”. (Pause) Penny’s okay. She’s just wicked shy.

KANDY
No, seriously! Like, where did she come from? Does anyone know anything about her? Do you think she would, like, steal your book?

MINERVA
I don’t think so. (Pause) You know, they do sell used books at the library for a quarter. I buy them all the time. I’ve even gotten a bunch of first edition hardcovers there. OMG! Last week a got a first edition of The Gulag Archipelago, you know, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn…

KANDY
(Backing away, exiting) Oh, really? That’s fascinating. (Aside to audience) Not! (Exits)

(MINERVA sighs and also exits)
(ESME and TANYA enter. ESME is obviously upset)

TANYA
(Comforting ESME) I just can’t believe somebody would do that! I mean, why on earth would they?

ESME
I don’t know. I think some Americans are bad people. They hate us.

TANYA
They don’t hate us. They’re just as nasty and unpleasant to each other.

ESME
They say they hate us because we are not Americans. For them, this is all the reason they need. (She turns to show the audience a giant ink stain or paint blotch on the back of her coat) Look! This is the only winter coat I brought to America, and now it is ruined.

TANYA
Me mum’s got some stain remover in the glove box. Pop round later and we’ll have that off in a tick.

ESME
Please Tanya, speak English.

TANYA
Are you daft? I am speaking English. I said me mum’ll clean it for you. She’s a dab hand at that sort of thing.

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