The Allergens

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5 characters, flexible casting. Approximately 5 minutes long. Short play by Debra A. Cole, in which allergy-causing foods bemoan their fate.

Peanut, Egg, Bread, and Cheese simply cannot believe some kid’s reaction to them! They outdo each other with their tales of woe, until along comes Bee. They are all afraid of Bee. Suddenly, the understand why kids get nervous. Bee has the final say in this adorable script about allergies.

Great for performing at a school assembly, to help students feel more empathy for kids with allergies.

This play includes discussion questions, and director’s notes about casting, costumes, and simple set design.

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.

Visit her website:
www.debraacole-playwright.com

Excerpt from the play:

CHARACTERS

PEANUT — (M/F) strong and confident – not a fan of old-fashioned traditions
EGG — (M/F) open to a new thought process
BREAD — (M/F) just wants to be loved and appreciated
CHEESE — (M/F) powerful and believer in tradition
BEER— (M/F) loves her husband but secretly is rooting for her daughter

(The action takes place on an outdoor park bench in modern day times.)

(Lights come up on sad looking PEANUT sitting outdoors on a large park bench. PEANUT is kicking his/her feet and looking down. Enter stage left EGG. EGG immediately notices PEANUT and approaches.)

EGG
(shocked) Peanut? Is that you?

PEANUT
Egg? Wow!

(Peanut jumps up and gives Egg a big, heartfelt hug followed by what looks like a handshake the two have known for years)

EGG/PEANUT
(in unison while creatively handshaking) “Muscles – Organs – Immune System too – Is there really anything – a protein can’t do?”

(Both break into joyful laughter.)

EGG
It’s been years! When was it last? The SHH convention?

PEANUT
Ah, SHH – the chemical compound for our Protein Society… It’s been at least two years!

EGG
Why so down, friend? You and I, we are powerful foods. We shouldn’t be sad.

PEANUT
Life has gotten pretty tough lately, old friend.

EGG
(pointing to bench) Sit. I want to hear what’s going on that could possibly be going so badly for you.

(PEANUT and EGG take a seat side by side on the bench.)

PEANUT
(takes a moment to breathe and finally spits it out) Allergies.

EGG
(understanding immediately) I hear you, old friend.

PEANUT
(upset) I never mean to hurt kids. (drops head in embarrassment) Since when did I become enemy number one in schools?

EGG
It’s tough, buddy. I’m in a similar boat, but YOU seem to be the one that EVERYONE really hates these days.

PEANUT
Look at me? What about me says “harmful?”

EGG
I know. Look at this shiny, white shell? It protects so much inner strength, but people are saying that I can cause kids to break out in hives. HIVES! Those little ugly red dots that cover the skin? I never wanted that either. But I hold my head up high, knowing that other kids find me a satisfying source of protein. Plus, (ribbing Peanut with elbow) I make a fabulous omelet! But, what can I do?

PEANUT
Hives? You think hives are bad? SOME KIDS CAN’T BREATHE when they eat me. CAN’T BREATHE! Breathing is pretty important, don’t you think?

EGG
You’re right. Breathing is pretty darn important. Imagine not being able to breathe. Come on….let’s try it.

(Both PEANUT and EGG both take a deep breath and try to hold it as long as they can. Both actors/actresses should have some fun with this.)

PEANUT
(once both done) NO. Not fun at all. How could I do such a thing to a kid? I’m a monster!

EGG
Ah, friend, you’ve got to be a little kinder to yourself. We can’t help it if we cause problems for kids with allergies. It’s just the way things are. Try to think about all the good we do for the other kids.

(Enter BREAD stage left. EGG notices and reacts.)

At least we’re not gluten. Look at that slice of bread. (trying to whisper but is heard by bread walking by) NOBODY likes gluten these days.

BREAD
Really? Really? The two of you have NO ROOM to call me out. Cheap shot, friends. Cheap shot.

PEANUT
Easy, Bread. Egg was just joking… or… YOKING in this case!

(EGG and PEANUT high-five in the air and break into laughter as BREAD does not find this whole thing funny at all.)

PEANUT
(joking back) You CRACK me up, Egg!

(EGG and PEANUT continue to laugh at BREAD’s expense.)

BREAD
Laugh all you want. Have you BEEN in a grocery store lately? Gluten-free this… gluten-free that. How can a delicious piece of bread like me catch a break?

EGG
Bread. You are a staple. It can’t be that bad. Why, (looking around) even ducks at this park like you.

BREAD
Right? That’s what I thought. Everyone should LOVE me. I’m squishy (poking costume), full of fiber, and I go with everything.

EGG
You and I HAVE made some delicious breakfast sandwiches.

BREAD
Oh yes, we have. Do you remember when we added mustard? She was a hoot! So sassy!

PEANUT
Don’t forget all the sandwiches we have made!

BREAD
(thinking and reminiscing) DELICIOUS! Jelly joined us. He was so sweet. (suddenly sad again) You see? How can I be THAT bad and taste SO good?

PEANUT
We were just talking about all of this. Egg was reminding me that even though some kiddos are allergic to us, we still fill the bellies of other kids and make them happy. We can be both.

BREAD
I just don’t understand allergies.

EGG
It’s confusing – but it’s life. Everybody is different, and       different is okay.

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