This short play features the founding fathers of the United States describing how the US Constitution and the Republic came to be. It can be performed as a puppet show, or a traditional play onstage, and can even be performed online! Students of all ages will learn about American history while having fun playing various famous characters!
About the Author
Stephen B. Cefalu has a BFA in Drama-Communications from L.S.U.N.O and a Master of Fine arts degree in acting from U.N.O.. He has served on the board of directors for several area theatres. Over the past fifty years, he has performed at many of the area theatres. He has been awarded several Best Actor, Best Supporting, and Best Director awards from area theatre for his theatrical work. He is a former theatre critic for the area newspaper. He served on the St. Tammany Parish’s Commission on the Arts for over sixteen years. He was the recipient of the President’s Art Award for his involvement in the community. He has started summer theatre camps at several area churches that are geared to the area’s children and teen-agers. For over twenty years, he is the host of a local cable channel show that covers all of the local events. For over fifteen years, he was an adjunct college professor teaching theatre and speech. He is currently a Talented Theatre teacher at two area junior high schools.
Excerpt from the play
WILLIAM SHAKESPERARE: Hello students! I am William Shakespeare. I was a playwright way, way back when. Probably before many of you were born. You may be familiar with some of my plays- say “Romeo & Juliet” or what about “Julius Caesar?” Well one of my best-known lines is “To be or not to be that is the question!” Well for this play- the playwright has changed it to “To sign the constitution or not to sign the constitution- that is the question!” I hope you enjoy the show! By the way it will feature a lot of your favorite people from various time periods. ENJOY! (Shakespeare exits.)
BEN FRANKLIN: Hello students. My name is Benjamin Franklin. Today some of my fellow law makers who wrote the constitution are going to tell you how it came to be. Did you know that I was the oldest delegate? Most of the other leaders were kids compared to me. They were in their early thirties. I was eighty-one. Half of the delegates were lawyers. Yes- we even had lawyers. Back then lawyers existed.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: Wait a minute! Ben- if I had not sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and discovered America- you and the other guys would not be here and there would not be any show! Can I get a little credit! PLEASE! I never got any respect! I had to sail on the Santa Maria. It was bumpy and I got seasick, but that’s another story for another time. I guess since I mentioned my part in this puppet play, you can continue.
BEN FRANKLIN: Thanks Chris!
GEORGE WASHINGTON: Excuse me Benjamin!
BEN FRANKLIN: From the sound of his voice, it has to be Georgie Washington!
GEORGE WASHINGTON: That’s George to you-Bennie! Although I was 55 when we decided to meet and write the constitution- which is the basic law of our nation- I still presided over the entire process and was elected the first President of the United States. So there!!
BEN FRANKLIN: OH! Go soak your wooden teeth!
THOMAS JEFFERSON: It is like the rules for a game, only these rules are for government!
BEN FRANKLIN: Well- if it isn’t Thomas Jefferson!
GEORGE WASHINGTON: What is he doing here?
ALEXANDER HAMILTON: That’s right! He wasn’t even at the Constitutional Convention.
THOMAS JEFFERSON: Can I help it if I was America’s minister to France at the time of the Constitutional Convention- Mr. Alexander “Butt Inskie” Hamilton. Why don’t you go back to “The Big Apple” (to audiences) New York where you belong!
ALEXANDER HAMILTON: Not so fast! I can see into the future and one day they are going to write a larger than life musical about me and it will be a mega-hit on Broadway.
THOMAS EDISON: Broad who? I think his light bulb is a little short of wattage and he is a “dim wit!” Get it “Dim wit” and “short of wattage!!” Oh Boy! I should be a stand-up comedian. Can I shed a little light on the subject?
ALEXANDER HAMILTON: Oh! Let’s hear it for Thomas Alva Edison! Hey guy! Who has a middle name like “Alva?”? Don’t give up your day job!
THOMAS EDISON: Fine-be that way! I’ll leave you with this thought! Just remember: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” (Edison exits.)
ALEXANDER HAMILTON: Edison is always coming up with cute, little phrases! He’ll never amount to anything!
(Enter Sherlock Holmes.)
WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON FRANKLIN, & HAMILTON: Who are you?
SHERLOCK HOLMES: Sherlock Holmes.
WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON, FRANKLIN, AND HAMILTON: Sherlock who?
SHERLOCK HOLMES: Holmes- dear fellows and “The games’ a foot!”
WASHINGTON: Are you talking about my feet? Gee- first it’s my ivory teeth and now my feet. I tell you- I don’t get no respect!”
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE: WAIT! Sherlock! Hello gentlemen!
SHERLOCK HOLMES: Well Napoleon Bonaparte- what are you doing here? Are you lost?
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE: I could ask you the same question!
SHERLOCK HOLMES: Touche’ my good man!
THOMAS JEFFERSON: (clears throat) To continue our story. For over 100 years the 13 colonies belonged to England and ruled by the King. In 1763, King George III began to demand more taxes from the American colonies. People didn’t like having to pay a tax on every little thing-like on paper, glass, and tea- just to name a few.
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE: Hey guys! I don’t know if y’all remember, but cha’ (pronounced SHA.) in 1800 I pressured Spain to sign the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso, under which I received the Louisiana Territory and six warships. A treaty, dated April 30 and signed May 2, was then worked out that gave Louisiana to the United States in exchange for $11.25 million, plus the forgiveness of $3.75 million in French debt. Not too shabby huh??
SHERLOCK HOLMES: I hate a bragger. You have some ego Napoleon!