Early Colonial Times Class Play
What could be worse than working all day on your play scripts - and then up all night getting an earful from your characters - telling you what you should have written? Those early colonists certainly weren't reluctant to share their views - especially if that entailed telling their creator his lines were rubbish! The only way to shut these good folk up was to let them have their say - however long it took - even if their idea of setting the record straight was strictly off the record!
And so we have 5 sleepless nights -a mild form of torture for our poor playwright but great for us - learning all about:
1. Colonial homes
2. Weaving and spinning
3. Candle and soap making
5. Religion (including education and punishment)
This Reader's Theater Class Play can be read either as a class of 30 or 25, in groups of 6 speakers; or just by a group (of 6), keeping the same characters throughout.
Mother Mrs. Smith
Father Mr. Smith
Son Adam (10 years old)
Daughter Abigail (8 years old)
Mrs. Smith: (Sighing) Ah! It doesn't seem like yesterday that you were in those long petticoats!
Adam: (Hissing) Mother, please!
Granny: Oh let her be, Adam. Us mums always like reminiscing!
Mr. Smith: Though you seem to conveniently forget all that howling that came with having babies around!
Abigail: (Snorting) Just exercising our lungs!
Adam: That's right! Us babies weren't meant to feel any pain!
Granny: And so you got ignored! Quite right too!
Adam: (Sarcastically) Oh Granny, you're all heart!
Granny: Well, you had your ‘puddings'!
Playwright: (Yawning) I thought we'd covered meal times!
Mrs Smith: (Snorting) So much for thorough historical research! No, she means the padded caps babies wore to protect their heads. And they certainly needed protecting, the amount of falling over they did!
Playwright: So why did you dress them up in those ridiculous long gowns? How were they ever meant to crawl about in those things?
Mr. Smith: They weren't! That's just the point!
Granny: The very thought of it! My grandchildren crawling around on all fours, like the very beasts of the earth!
2.Weaving and Spinning
Mother Mrs. White
Father Mr. White
Son William (10 years old)
Daughter Mary (8 years old)
Mary: (Crying) He's not going to have us put in the stocks, is he?
Playwright: Calm down! Calm down! The lot of you! It's bad enough being woken in the middle of the night ... but then to have to lie here and listen to you making a drama out of nothing!
Mr. White: Huh! Coming from you! That's rich!
Playwright: Well, I'd like to think my drama was informative and educational!
Mrs. White: And that's why we're here! To make sure you got all your facts straight!
Playwright: So tell me ..... though I strongly suspect you're going to anyway .... Where did I slip up today?
3.Candle and Soap Making
Mother Mrs. Wilkins
Father Mr. Wilkins
Son Tom (10 years old)
Daughter Alice (8 years old)
Tom: Mine was "What did one candle say to the other candle?
Granny: But candles can't speak!
Tom: (Groaning) We know that, Gran! But it's just a joke .... Or was.
Mrs. Wilkins: Oh come on Tom! Don't sulk! Tell us - What did one candle say to the other candle?
Tom: Let's go out tonight!
Alice: (Laughing) Very good! Do you want to hear mine?
Mr. Wilkins: Go on then!
Alice: How long does it take to burn a candle down?
Granny: Ooh, now let's see ....
Alice: About a wick!
Granny: (Tutting) You didn't give me enough time to work out the answer!
Tom: (Aside) Which probably would have taken about a week!
Mother Mrs. Jones
Father Mr. Jones
Son Jacob (10 years old)
Daughter Gill (8 years old)
Playwright: And your problem this time?
Mrs. Jones: We were nothing like as miserable as you made us out to be!
Jacob: Yeah! What a bunch of losers!
Gill: Not! We had just as much fun as you guys today - if not more!
Granny: A little too much fun, if you ask me!
Playwright: And how do you work that one out? What about all that ‘Puritan stuff'? What about the ‘working from dawn ‘til dusk'? Fun? You lot wouldn't know the meaning of the word!
Mr. Jones: Boy! Have we got our work cut out tonight!
Mrs. Jones: He's really lost the plot on this one!
Mother Mrs. Hopkins
Father Mr. Hopkins
Son John (10 years old)
Daughter Rachel (8 years old)
Playwright: I fear there's not much hope for me then!
Mrs. Hopkins: Now, don't despair, young man. You can still redeem yourself.
Playwright: And if I don't want to?
Granny: Hell and damnation! That's what!
Mrs. Hopkins: I'm sure you wouldn't want that?
Playwright: Well, tell me about the alternative.
Mr. Hopkins: This is what you've got to do.
Mrs. Hopkins: Make sure every waking hour is filled with pure thoughts
Rachel: Say your prayers several times a day
John: Read your bible at least once a day, maybe in the evening
Granny: Don't go singing any songs - unless they're hymns
Mr. Hopkins: Observe the Lord's Day every Sunday
Mrs. Hopkins: That means going to church, morning and afternoon
John: Sitting for sometimes up to 5 hours at a time!
Playwrights: That's a long time! I wonder how many of the congregation managed to stay awake!
Rachel: Well, for starters those wooden pews were hardly comfortable -it's kind of difficult to doze off when you're sitting bolt upright!
Granny: And your feet often got so painfully cold - even with those foot warmers!
John: And then the tithing man always made it his business to flick a feather around your face if you looked like you might drop off
Rachel: Or rap you over the head with the other end of his rod if you'd actually gone to sleep!
Mrs. Hopkins: Luckily for you, we haven't brought him along with us tonight!