The story of one lazy character taking advantage of others who work hard is a timeless one. In this short play based on a South African folk tale, a conniving schemer convinces an unsuspecting villager to partner with him on a business. Of course, he has no intention of doing any of the work, but is surprised to find that he is ultimately outwitted!
This short play teaches students the values of integrity and the feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with hard work.
Debra A. Cole is a celebrated humanities teacher, youth theatre director, and children’s playwright with degrees in journalism, art history, and elementary education. She understands the needs of young performers and their directors and creates pieces that encourage engaging discussion, creative thought, and quirky playfulness. Her goal is that young performers discover the power and delight that theatre brings to actors and audiences alike.
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Excerpt from the play:
SHAKA — (M/F) the cleverest of all – few know what is up her/his sleeve
THAYTO — (M/F) village baker
ZARI — (M/F) village tailor
BOKOMOSO — (M/F) lazy, thinks of himself/herself as clever
(The action takes place in a small village, wooded area, and seaside wharf.)
(Lights come up on a small village. Two villagers, Thayto and Zari, are simply dressed and sitting during a warm afternoon. They look quite excited about their discussion.)
(excited) Are you sure you heard correctly, Zari?
I am quite sure, Thayto. Word is that a traveling festival is coming to town! That means, as vendors, we will be able to sell our wares to many people and make great fortunes!
(dreaming) Think of it! People from other villages will come from miles around, just to spend money in our village. I will bake enough bread to feed them all!
And I will weave enough cloth to clothe them all too!
We have so much work before us.
(looks to stage right and sees Bokomoso off stage heading their way) Ha! Look who is coming just as you bring up hard work.
(looks as sees Bokomoso) Bokomoso? What a lazy person!
(Bokomoso enters stage right and plops on the ground to lay back and be at ease.)
Did you hear about the last of his/her scams that fooled a fellow villager?
Bokomoso asked the village carpenter to help him/her build a new shelter, but in the end, Bokomoso did not lift one finger in the project. The poor carpenter was tricked into doing the entire job.
(Bokomoso has noticed Zari and Thayto and moves toward them slyly.)
Hello, friends! I can only assume you’re talking about the traveling festival coming to town.
(nervously) Uh… yeah… sure… that was ONE of the things we were talking about…
(excited) Excellent! I have this idea…. I want to build new fishing traps and catch enough fish to feed everyone during the festival! Can you imagine the money I will make? But, I need someone who wants to be my partner to help me make it happen.
(disgusted) Why would anyone help you, Bokomoso? You never do any of the work.
EXACTLY! I need to find a real fool to help me out. That way, the fool does all the work, and I make all the money! Are you two interested?
(Zari and Thayto look at each other, rolling their eyes.)
(in unison) NO!