48 Mini Plays by Cenarth Fox


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      #1 The Auction

      Cast - auctioneer, 6 bidders, onlookers

      (Large cast. Use as many as you like. Most are members of the public
      standing in front of a property which is being auctioned. The cast are
      in motley groups facing front, most speaking quietly in their groups.
      The auctioneer stands on a box or similar about centre and just behind
      the on-lookers. Everyone faces front)

      Auctioneer
      Well ladies and gentlemen, what am I bid for this marvellous property?
      Who’ll start me off?
      Bidder 1
      Two hundred thousand.
      Auctioneer
      Thank you madam (or sir). Two hundred thousand. (Bidder 2 scratches
      her/his nose. Auctioneer points at 2) Two hundred and ten.
      Bidder 2
      (Distressed) No. I didn’t bid. I was scratching my nose.
      Auctioneer
      (Indicating 2) Against you over here. (Bidder 3 yawns, covers mouth
      and Auctioneer points at 3) Two twenty. Thank you madam (or sir).
      Bidder 3
      (Distressed) Hang on! I was yawning!
      (2 is relieved. Bidder 4 coughs, covers mouth. Auctioneer points at
      4)
      Auctioneer
      Over here. Two hundred and thirty.
      Bidder 4
      (Most upset) That wasn’t a bid. I only coughed.
      (Bidder 3 relieved. Buzz/hubbub from the onlookers. Who is this
      auctioneer?)
      Auctioneer
      (To Bidder 4) The bid’s with you, madam (or sir). (Bidder 5 sneezes)
      Ah. Over here. (Points at 5) Two hundred and forty.
      Bidder 5
      (Incredulous) Don’t be ridiculous. I only sneezed!
      (Auctioneer now into stride. S/He points at anything that speaks or
      moves. A lowered head, a brushing away of an insect, a whisper to a
      friend, anything)
      Auctioneer
      (Pointing at someone different each time) Two fifty. Against you. Two
      sixty. Over here. Two seventy. Two eighty. Two ninety. Three hundred.
      Going once. Going twice. (Slaps rolled paper into hand) Sold for three
      hundred thousand.
      (Crowd mutter/exit. Bidder 6 is successful. Auctioneer approaches 6)
      Auctioneer
      Congratulations madam (or sir). A brilliant bid right at the very
      last.
      Bidder 6
      (Angry) Bozo.
      Auctioneer
      A snip at three hundred.
      Bidder 6
      (Furious) I was wiping my nose.
      Auctioneer
      (Slightly less enthusiastic) Say, you look familiar. Have we met
      before?
      Bidder 6
      (Furious) This morning Twit-Features. I’m the $#@!^&* owner!
      (Storms off leaving the auctioneer with a look of amazement and
      horror)
      Auctioneer
      (Exits after 6) Oh, really. Well what about next Saturday? Hello?

      (Curtain falls as despairing owner pursues furious estate agent)

      Discussion Points & Activities

      1. Auctions. How do people make bids? Could an auctioneer misread-read
      a bid? What would happen if that took place?
      2. Be an auctioneer. Pretend you are selling your school. The
      auctioneer must prepare a short speech extolling the virtues of the
      property being sold.
      3. Actors and auctioneers have something in common - voice projection.
      Discuss. How can you project your voice?
      4. Bidders often use very slight movements to catch the auctioneer’s
      eye. Play the murder game where one student is sent outside to be the
      detective. The teacher then selects the murderer without the others
      knowing who it is. The detective returns to the room. Everyone moves
      around in various directions. The murderer gives a subtle wink to a
      student who falls down dead. After say three murders, the detective
      has to pick the murderer.
      5. Sometimes a dummy bid is made. What does this mean and how does it
      work?

 

 

      #2 Pig Out

      Cast - Marshall, 6 diners, onlookers

      (The diners are seated at a long table facing front. They are
      competitors in a spaghetti-eating race. Each diner wears a huge
      serviette around their neck or tucked into their clothing. The
      onlookers are at either side and/or behind the diners. The Marshall
      stands to one side. NOTE: You can have actual props or mime the whole
      thing. Actual props i.e. bowls of steaming spaghetti, forks, etc are
      costly and time-consuming but also add a touch of realism and a fair
      bit of fun. The Marshall addresses everyone)

      Marshall
      Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to witness an attempt on the
      world’s fastest spaghetti eating record. Each competitor must consume
      all their spaghetti. Diners, are your forks in position?
      Diners
      Yes!
      Marshall
      (With flourish of a serviette) Then go!
      (Each diner except 6 attacks their food. Diner 6 sits motionless. S/He
      is hardly noticed as the others cause sauce and pasta to fly about and
      the onlookers point, cheer, laugh and enjoy themselves. The actual
      eating lasts for about 30 seconds. Time the finale as Diner 2 is the
      winner. Increase the onlookers’ “urging” as Diner 2 approaches an
      empty plate. Diner 2 stands and raises her/his hands in triumph. The
      others stop eating and the onlookers applaud)
      Diner 2
      (Triumphant) Me! It’s me! I’ve done it!
      Marshall
      (Checking stop-watch) And it’s a new world record!
      (Much clapping, cheering and congratulating)
      Diner 1
      (Exiting clutching stomach) I feel sick! (Onlookers cheer)
      Marshall
      An excellent serve of pigging-out.
      Diner 2
      Right, where’s me prize-money?
      Marshall
      (Produces envelope) Right here. One thousand dollars! Well done.
      (More applause as Diner 2 takes envelope and acknowledges plaudits of
      crowd)
      Diner 2
      Thank you. Thank you. (Silence) I’d just like to thank me Mum (Mom)
      for letting me practise on her cookin’ an’, phew, I couldn’t eat
      another thing!
      (Laughter, applause. Diner 2 waves and starts to leave. Diner 6 calls
      loudly)
      Diner 6
      Stop! (Everyone stops) S/He cheated!
      (Hubbub. Diner 2 furious)
      Diner 2
      Who are you callin’ a cheat?
      Marshall
      (Intervening) Just a minute. I timed the event and it was fair.
      Diner 6
      Did you measure the bowls?
      Marshall
      We used them last year.
      Diner 6
      They’re one millimetre short. The contest must be held again.
      (Big hubbub from crowd. Diner 2 fuming. Marshall measures a bowl)
      Diner 2
      Who cares. We all had the same bowl. I won fair ‘n square.
      (Onlookers agree)
      Marshall
      I’m sorry. The bowls are a fraction too small. No matter. Let’s do it
      again. Now, competitors, take your places!
      (Marshall takes envelope from Diner 2. Competitors shake heads and
      exit. No way. Diner 2 is mortified)
      Diner 2
      Again? Eat all that stuff again?
      Marshall
      They are the rules. I’ll get some new bowls.
      Diner 2
      (Storming off) Forget it. I’m bustin’!
      (Diner 2 exits as do most of onlookers. It’s a fizzer. Diner 6 is
      ready to eat)
      Diner 6
      I’m ready.
      Marshall
      Well, as you’re the only competitor, I have no option but to declare
      you the winner.
      (Marshall hands envelope to Diner 6. The last of the onlookers leave)
      Diner 6
      Thank you kindly. (Opens envelope and counts the money)
      Marshall
      Stroke of luck those bowls being the wrong size.
      Diner 6
      (Handing some money to Marshall) Luck of the draw, I guess. (Starts to
      exit) Same time next week?
      Marshall
      (Counting share) You bet. Two hundred ... three hundred ... four
      hundred ....
      (Curtain falls and/or lights come down)

      Discussion Points & Follow-up Activities

      1. Eating competitions. Are they safe? Are they sensible? What are the
      possible side-effects?
      2. What is a “sting”? How did this one work?
      3. What other records could your class attempt to break?
      4. Mime eating various foods e.g. very runny food, very hot and spicy
      food, very sticky hard to chew food, food you really hate, food you
      adore, etc
      5. You’re playing or watching a game. A trivial offence occurs i.e. a
      minor breaking of the rules e.g. as in this mini play. Should the
      rules always be followed to the letter of the law? Did Diner 2 win
      fair ‘n square? Would you have awarded the prize to Diner 2?

      #3 The Dentist’s Drill

      Cast - Nurse, Fang, patients

      (Several patients are seated in a hollow-square formation in a
      dentist’s waiting-room. Most are reading magazines from a pile of
      publications on a small table centre. Fang enters carrying small
      case/bag. There is only one empty chair. Fang surveys the patients)

      Fang
      Excuse me. (Patients look up) Are you all here for an appointment?
      (Patients nod, murmur “Yes” then resume reading) It’s just that I’m in
      a terrible hurry.
      Patient 1
      Take a seat.
      Fang
      I’m going overseas in two hours and my appointment’s in ten minutes.
      Patient 2
      Ha! You’ll be lucky.
      Patient 3
      I’ve been here an hour and I’m before you.
      Patient 4
      We’re all before you.
      Fang
      So would anyone mind if I went next?
      (Patients raise magazine to hide their face. They ignore Fang. Pause)
      Please?
      (Still no response. Fang moves to empty chair and sits)
      Right. Thank you very much. Nice to see charity’s still alive and
      well.
      (Fang sits and fumes. Magazines cover the other faces. Pause. Suddenly
      the sound of a dentist’s drill is heard. The sound grows louder. The
      patients shift in their seats. Suddenly a scream of pain is heard.
      Magazines come down and worried faces appear)
      Did you know the dentist drinks? (Mimes a tipple or two) Not a lot,
      mind.
      (Another scream is heard. Patient 1 rises, drops magazine on table and
      beats a hasty retreat. Patient 2 looks at others and does likewise.
      Pause. Remaining patients look uneasy)
      You can sue your dentist today. Did you know that? Lacerated gums,
      copious bleeding, severed nerves, cracked fillings ...
      (Sound of drill heard again. Patient 3 clasps hand to mouth and exits.
      Fang is alone with one other patient)
      Patient 4
      You can’t frighten me with all that nonsense. I come here all the
      time.
      Fang
      Ah so you’ll know about the operation?
      Patient 4
      What operation?
      Fang
      (Shocked) You mean you haven’t heard?
      Patient 4
      What are you talking about?
      Fang
      Far be it from me to spread malicious gossip but ...
      (Pause then moves to Patient 4 and whispers in her/his ear)
      Patient 4
      (Scoffing) Oh that’s ridiculous. I’ve never heard anything so
      far-fetched in all my life. (Sudden change of character. Looks at
      watch) Is that the time? Good heavens. (Rises and exiting) I’m late
      for a vital appointment.
      (Exits leaving Fang alone in the waiting-room. Nurse enters)
      Nurse
      Oh. Are you the only one?
      Fang
      Good morning.
      Nurse
      You’d better go right in.
      Fang
      (Rises and enters dentist’s room) Thank you.
      (Nurse follows Fang. Room is empty. A scream is heard. Nurse
      re-enters looking puzzled. Another drill sound and a scream. Nurse
      crosses to Fang’s bag and produces a portable tape deck/recorder which
      gives out an even more realistic sound of dental torture. Nurse stops
      the machine and replaces it in the bag. Going back to the surgery)
      Nurse
      Right. Smarty-Pants, I think this calls for a squirt of the
      laughing-gas!
      (End of mini play)

 


      Discussion Points & Follow-up Activities

      1. The only thing to be afraid of is fear. Discuss.
      2. Act out some mime scenes of a patient in a dentist’s chair.
      3. If you were a patient in this mini play, would you have allowed
      Fang to use your turn? Why?
      4. What does the expression, “It’s all in the mind” mean? How does it
      relate to this play?
      5. What happened to Fang once in the chair?

      Suggestions for the Teacher/Director

      1. Sit your actors in a semi-circle. Allocate the parts. “John, you’re X,
      Tracey you’re Y” and so on. “John you say these words. John repeats his
      line. Do the same for the next speaker until each character has said his or
      her line/s. Repeat two or three times. Place your actors in the performing
      space. Step them through their moves. Repeat the process. Then have
      them rehearse and, when ready, perform the play. Different plays can be
      rehearsed in different parts of the room. The actors may even wish to direct
      the play themselves.

      2. The plays should not be performed with the script. Because there
      are so few lines, it’s possible to learn one’s lines in one session.
      This is a major benefit of a Mini Play. It’s possible to see the
      script for the first time and 30 minutes later give a polished
      performance of the entire work. Some of the mini plays have only one
      page of dialogue. Because each play is so short, you can polish. You
      can perform each play several times making the performance better and
      better. This breeds confidence.

      3. One interesting idea is to give the same play to say three or four
      groups. If you have 20 students and a play has 5 characters, divide
      into four groups. Teach the lines as explained in point 1 above. Then
      send the groups to separate locations and have them rehearse. Each
      group then returns and performs for the others. The follow-up
      discussion can be very interesting.

      4. Encourage your students to write their own mini plays. Preferably
      use one idea or incident, build to some sort of climax and, if
      possible, have a good tag or final line (ending).

      5. In these 48 mini plays, the gender of most characters can be either
      female or male. Where a letter only is provided, the actor can invent
      a name starting with that letter or simply use the letter as their
      name.

      6. Most of the plays have suggestions for discussion and further
      activities. The actual play has more importance and longevity if there
      are activities before and after the performance. Mini plays are ideal
      for school camps. Chookas!

      7. Keep props and scenery (if any) to a minimum. Mime works well on
      most occasions for both the performer and the audience. Give the old
      imagination cells a workout!

      8. An excellent way for young actors to get started in drama is to
      perform in very short plays. Likewise, a budding director can gain
      skills and experience directing a mini play.

      9. There are plenty of puns in these Mini Plays. Encourage your actors
      to enjoy words.


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