5 characters. 1F, 4M. 15 pages in length. Approximately 10-20 minutes running time. A tale of adventure for children written by Graham Knapman.

Tony’s Chums is adapted from a book by May Wynne. Young Tony is being looked after by his aunt and uncle in a large house in Devon. He tells the story of his adventure the year previous. He was very lonely and longed desperately for playmates. When he accidently breaks a small figurine, he runs away to Alsbury Wood. There he makes friends with some children who are on holiday in the area and they have an adventure. One of the children is kidnapped and ends up in the care of an elderly doctor before returning home. This classic tale is a charming play for children!

Graham Knapman is a published poet. He has been writing for several years and has a keen interest in history. He has had a rehearsed reading of a play about Vaslav Nijinksky and his work has been performed at scratch nights in London. Tony’s Chums is his first adaptation of a children’s book.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Tony Lavington
Ginger, the terrier.
Derrick Bryan
Alec Bryan
Pam Bryan

SETTING: The gallery of Lavington Hall, North Devonshire

TIME: A Summer morning in 1912

(TONY is a grey-eyed little lad. He is looking out of the window. GINGER, his Irish terrier is by his side.)

TONY
Look at the woodland, the river, and the moor. Beyond that is the blue, boundless sea.

(GINGER barks.)

This time last year I was lonely. I wanted a playmate. Another boy. A girl. I didn’t mind.
We were alone with these paintings of the dead and gone. Sir Anthony Lavington. He wasn’t that much older than me when he died in battle two centuries ago.
My mother’s dead. And father’s abroad.
It was how we came to be playing together.
Do you remember?

(Ginger whines.)

And I broke the Dresden figurine.

(GINGER lies on the floor with his fore paws over his head.)

I hid the pieces and we went off to Alsbury Wood.

(Ginger looks up mournfully at his master.)

Alsbury Wood was wonderful. There was a babbling brook. We stood in the dappled shade and you heard laughter.

(Enter PAM, ALEC, and DERRICK downstage.)

(PAM is bending over to look in the brook. She steps onto a large stone in the brook.)

DERRICK
What are you doing?

PAM
There’s something strange in the water.

ALEC
It will be a fish.

PAM
It isn’t a fish. I’ll try and catch it. (PAM loses her balance and squeals.)

DERRICK
You goose! (DERRICK goes to pull her out of the water.) Just look at you.

PAM
I’m alright. All I am saying is that it wasn’t a fish. It was a worm.

ALEC
A worm?

DERRICK
Worms are in the soil.

TONY
It could have been an eel.

DERRICK
Sorry?

TONY
It could have been an eel. It’s like a big worm, but it lives in water.

PAM
That’s what I must have seen.

TONY
They are quite common.

DERRICK
They sell them in fishmongers.

TONY
In towns.

DERRICK
That’s right. Who are you anyway?

TONY
My name is Tony Lavington. (TONY holds out his hand in greeting.)

DERRICK
Derrick Bryan.

PAM
Pam. His sister.

ALEC
Alec, their brother.

TONY
And this is Ginger, my dog.

(GINGER barks.)

You must be staying up at the farm.

DERRICK
We’re there for the Summer.

TONY
Great.

DERRICK
Only this is a poor start.

PAM
I didn’t mean to fall in.

TONY
You had better come up to the Hall. Mrs. Bentham will dry your clothes for you.

DERRICK
It’s that big old house amongst the trees.

(Exit GINGER.)

TONY
I live there with my uncle and aunt. You can stay for tea.

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