Annie's Awful Aunt by Ken Methold


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


Three female adults and one male adult; lots and lots of children.

Except for the Annie's MOTHER, her AUNT, the LIBRARIAN, and PETE the
fisherman should ideally be played by adults

All of the other characters should be played by children

Annie's Mother
Annie's Aunt
Library children
Mrs Cruel/Ice Cream Woman
1st Mother
2nd Mother
3rd Mother
Ice Cream Children/ Zombies/Miners (Chorus)
Boy with scooter
Policeman or woman
Police Inspector
Children in Library
Scarecrows (Chorus)
Cafe lady
Old man
Rich woman
Orphans (Chorus)
Stage Mother
Producer's Assistant
Girl Dancer
Audition contestants


The stage is in darkness

A spotlight comes on and illuminates centre stage where ANNIE is either
lying on her tummy reading, or sitting cross-legged

The only furniture is a book case full of much used children's books

This can be either an actual bookcase or a painted cut-out

A cage with a pet white mouse in it is on the floor near the bookcase

The AUNT bursts in

AUNT: Just look at this room!

ANNIE: You didn't knock.

AUNT: I do not have to knock on doors in my own home.

ANNIE: This is my room, auntie.

AUNT: This is my house. Get this room cleaned up by this evening.
It's disgusting. (She sniffs). I smell mice. I'm not surprised. I
suppose you've left food lying about. Where is it?

She looks around the room and sees the cage with a white mouse in it.

AUNT: What on earth.! How dare you keep this?.

The Mouse squeaks

ANNIE: Leave him alone. He's my pet.

AUNT: You disgusting child. Take this cage into the bathroom. At
once. Fill the bath.

ANNIE: No! No! No, I won't. How can you be so

AUNT: If you won't. I will. Repulsive creature.

ANNIE: Mum won't let you.

AUNT: Your mother will do as she's told. Now take that cage into
the bathroom and..

ANNIE: No! No! Mum! Mum!

Annie hurries to stage right, followed by the spotlight

Her MOTHER is there


MUM: What's the matter, Annie?

ANNIE: Mum! You must stop her.

MUM: Stop her! What do you mean?

ANNIE: She's going to drown my mouse.

MUM What mouse? What are you talking about?

ANNIE: Oscar. My white mouse. She's going to drown him. Mum!
You've got to stop her.

MUM: Oh God! Stay here. Don't move. You'll only make things
worse if you do.


The spotlight leaves MOTHER and picks up the AUNT far stage right
where she is standing in front of a cut-out of a bath

She is holding the mouse's cage at arm's length

MOTHER approaches.

MUM: You can't do this.

AUNT: I most certainly can. I will not have mice in this house.
Filthy creatures. Full of disease.

MUM: Can't you see Annie's distraught? You can't do this to
her. It's her pet. You won't let her have a dog. You won't let her have a cat.
You won't

AUNT: I will not have animals in the house. Leave that creature
where it is, or both you, get out of this house within 24 hours. I will not be defied.

MUM: You cannot possibly mean that.

AUNT: Can't I? We'll see about that. You'll be surprised. Just
because, out of the goodness of my heart, I've given you and Annie
a home, it doesn't mean that I have to put up with her nonsense. Or

MUM: How can you be so cruel?

AUNT: Have you finished cleaning those containers?

MUM: Nearly, but

AUNT: Then you'd better finish them. I need them. Now get out.

MUM: ` My God forgive you.

The spotlight leaves the AUNT and follows MUM back to where ANNIE is
standing distraught.

MUM: Darling, I'm so sorry. She won't listen to me. I tried to.

ANNIE: I hate her! I hate her! She's evil, Mum. Evil. A monster!

MUM: You mustn't say that. It's kind of her to let us stay here. I mean,
it's not as if she's my own sister. She's just an in-law and.

ANNIE: You're her servant!

MUM: Don't be ridiculous, Annie. And you must have known she'd
find out you had a mouse. They smell. You've brought this on yourself. I'm really
sorry, darling. But there was no way I could stop her.

ANNIE: She needn't have killed it. I could have taken it away.

MUM: Where to, Annie? You couldn't let it go. It would have soon
been killed by a cat or something. It's not like a wild mouse. Anyway, let's not talk
about it any more.

ANNIE: I loved him.

MUM: He was just a mouse, Annie.

ANNIE: He liked to sit in my hand. He was so tame.

MUM: Yes, well. It's her house, Annie. We're really just guests
here. One day we'll have a place of our own again. Then you can
have a mouse. And a dog if you want one.

ANNIE: We've been here two years, Mum. Two years! How much

MUM: I honestly don't know. If I could get a full-time job, then
we could afford at least a small flat. But, oh, I don't know all I can seem
to get is part time supermarket work. I've got no skills.

ANNIE: Why did Daddy have to leave?

MUM: I've told you, darling. He wanted a different kind of life.

ANNIE: He stopped loving us.

MUM: He never stopped loving you.

ANNIE: He forgot my birthday last year.

MUM: I'm sure he didn't mean to. Now I must iron your aunt's
white coat. She needs it.


The spotlight fades on them and picks up stage left. A large cut out
of an ice cream van is pushed on to the stage. There are the usual
chimes. A queue of children begins to form, with a small boy at the
front. They sing The Ice Cream Song.

CHILDREN; Ice cream for breakfast,
Ice cream for tea.
Ice cream for everyone,
Especially for me.
Choc ice, fruit ice,
Ice on a stick.
Big ones, small ones,
Just take your pick.

An opening is slid open in the centre of the van through which we can
see the AUNT in her white coat.

1st BOY Choc top please.

He hands the AUNT a $10 note. She takes it and give him a choc top.

AUNT: Next!

1ST BOY: I gave you a ten dollar note.

AUNT: Nonsense. Don't try that one on me. It was a five.

1ST BOY: It was a ten. My mum gave it to me just now.

AUNT: Be off with you. Next.

1ST BOY: Look at your money. I did give you a ten. I did. I did.

AUNT: I've just opened up. I know what cash I had.

ANNIE approaches.

AUNT: Well, what do you want?

ANNIE: You left your

AUNT: Can't you see I'm busy?

ANNIE: I just want to give you your

AUNT: Don't argue, child. Wait 'til I'm finished. Next.

ANNIE: Here's your driving licence. You left it on the kitchen table.


The spotlight fades on this scene and lights up stage right where PETE, an elderly, bearded
fisherman is coiling rope. SFX Harbour sounds. Sea gulls, etc.

ANNIE approaches carrying a bag

ANNIE: G'day, Pete. Going out?

PETE: For a couple of days, Annie. There are plenty of fish about at present.

ANNIE: I wish I could come with you.

PETE: Perhaps when you're older. I bet you a fish I know what's in your bag.

ANNIE: And what do I have to give you if you guess right?

PETE: A smile. It's your writing book.

ANNIE: How did you know?

PETE: There are some bets you can always win. As you'll learn as
you grow older. And, of course, there are many you can never win.

ANNIE: (mocking) Oh, you're so clever! Will I be clever like you
when I'm as old as you?

PETE Are you going to start a new story?

ANNIE: I might.

PETE: What will this one be about?

ANNIE: I'm not sure yet. The librarian at the library read a poem
to us last week. It was the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Do you know it?

PETE: Yeah. We read it in primary school. A bit scary, but good fun
in a way. Do you know someone like him?

ANNIE: Not really, but the poem's given me an idea.

PETE: That's great, Annie. How's your Mum?

ANNIE: Oh, you know, Pete. If only we had a place of our own. I know
it's not easy for her.

PETE: I'm sure it's not. Or for you, love. Ah, well, I'd better be off. Will
you cast off for me?

ANNIE: Sure.


The spotlight moves to the other side of the stage. The ice cream van
and the AUNT have gone. In their place is the LIBRARIAN. The children
from the ice cream van are sitting in a circle. ANNIE approaches.

LIBRARIAN: Hello, Annie. You're just in time. We're about to start.

ANNIE: I'm sorry I'm late. I've been writing.

LIBRARIAN: That's nice. Have you brought a book to read from?

ANNIE: I want to read something I'm writing.

LIBRARIAN: Oh. Well, I don't .

TONY: We don't want to hear anything she's writing.

LIBRARIAN: Perhaps if it's not too long

TONY: It'll be boring, boring.

1ST GIRL: Shut up, Tony.

LIBRARIAN Yes, that's enough, Tony. If you don't want to listen,
you can wait outside until Annie's finished. All right, Annie, you
can read a little of what you've written but you're supposed to
read from your favourite book. Sit here and begin your story.

ANNIE: Thank you. (She sits) Once upon a time

There are huge groans from the children.

TONY: Told you, told you. Boring, boring.

ANNIE: Just listen. A story has to have a beginning and if we don't
know exactly when it's O.K. to say 'Once upon a time', isn't it, miss?

LIBRARIAN: Perfectly. Lots of story-tellers do.

ANNIE: My story happened in a town just like ours and it wasn't
long ago. It could happen again if we're not careful. It could
happen to you. To any of us.

TONY: What's it called?

ANNIE: I don't have a title yet.

TONY: Every story has to have a title.

LIBRARIAN: He's right, Annie. I know! When we've heard Annie's
story, perhaps he'll let us suggest possible titles for it. Would you let us do that?

Annie's MUM comes in and stands apart. She listens unobtrusively
throughout to ANNIE'S story, registering concern as she realises what ANNIE
is really telling a story about.

ANNIE: All right. So - once upon a time, not far outside of the town,
deep in the forest at the end of a farm track, there was an old
house. No one ever called there because a horrid old woman lived
there. She was cruel and did terrible things to people especially
children. (She sniffs) And mice.

ANNIE'S MUM realizes what this story is going to be about.

ANNIE: She lived alone in the farm house but she had two assistants.
They weren't very brave and were frightened of the old woman. They
did whatever she told them to do because she let them live in her hut
and she gave them food from time to time. It was their job to milk the
cows and help the old woman make ice cream.

1ST GIRL: I know your story. It's Hansel and Gretel. It's all
about a wicked witch.

TONY: I bet she didn't do anything real bad.

ANNIE: Oh, yes she did. If you'll shut up you'll find out.

LIBRARIAN: Give Annie a chance, Tony. She may have written a really
interesting story. Go on, Annie.

ANNIE: This woman kept cows because she needed a lot of milk. She made
all kinds of very special ice cream which she sold in the town. One
morning she came out of the farm house and walked to the shed where
she made the ice cream. She opened the door and went in.

TONY: What was her name?

ANNIE: Her name was . was Mrs Cruel. Inside the shed there was a
table with a large bowl on it and a huge wooden spoon. One of Mrs
Cruel's assistant was stirring a nasty looking mixture in a large
bowl. Smoke was coming from it.

TONY: What was his .?

ANNIE: His name was Timid. He was short and fat and very dirty. He
never washed or changed his clothes. He smelt terrible.

1ST GIRL: Ice cream doesn't smoke.

ANNIE: This wasn't ordinary ice cream. Mrs Cruel added a special
mixture to it.

Deeply concerned ANNIE'S MUM hurries away.


Cross fade from story group to where TIMID is stirring something in a
large bowl. Coloured smoke is coming from the bowl. MRS CRUEL enters.

She is a cartoon version of ANNIE'S AUNT.

MRS CRUEL: Leave that for now. I need you to load the van.

TIMID: Yes, Mrs Cruel.

MRS CRUEL: Have you injected the mixture into all the ice creams?

TIMID: Yes, Mrs Cruel.

MRS CRUEL: Including the choc tops? You forgot them yesterday.

TIMID: I ran out of minced cane toad. Some more arrived early this

MRS CRUEL: Good. The mixture doesn't work properly without minced
cane toad in it. (shouting) Quiver!

QUIVER (off): Coming, Mrs Cruel.

The ice cream cut out is pushed onto the stage. MRS CRUEL enters it
via the rear and it moves off, crossing the stage and exiting

The LIBRARIAN and THE CHILDREN have left the stage.


ANNIE walks to the side of the stage from where she will talk to the
audience from now on. If desired she can read from her exercise book.

ANNIE: Mrs Cruel hadn't gone far when she came to a field.

The SECOND CHORUS files on. They are dressed as scarecrows and move
like automatons. They sing the SCARECROW SONG.

As everyone knows
We scare the crows.
Legs astride, arms spread wide.
Day after day,
In the same old way
We scare the crows.

Fly, fly, fly away crow,
Fly away and the corn will grow.
Day after day
In the same old way,
We wave our arms
Till our work is done.

The ice cream van cut out arrives. MRS CRUEL comes out from behind

MRS CRUEL Faster! Faster! Wave your arms That's better. Don't
you dare stop and let the birds eat my crop.


ANNIE telling her story.

ANNIE: Now it so happened that there was a boy who lived in the nearby
town who was always in trouble.

JOSH'S MOTHER enters stage right. JOSH approaches. (It is TONY but a
cartoon version of him.)

JOSH'S MOTHER: Why aren't you at school?

JOSH: This is for you. From the principal.

He gives her a letter which she opens and reads aloud.

JOSH'S MOTHER: "Dear Mrs Baxter, Please come and see me at the
school. Do not delay this is important, Your son is always in trouble.
Yours sincerely, Francis West, Principal. Oh, Josh, not again. Why?

JOSH: School's boring! It's boring!

JOSH'S MOTHER: I don't know what we're going to do with you,
really I don't. Unless you pull yourself together, my boy, you'll
end up in real trouble. I never thought I'd have a son I was ashamed
of. Go back to school, Josh. Tell Mr West I'll try to get in to see him
next week.


As before

ANNIE: Josh didn't go back to school that day. He felt like running
away. He hated his life. Everything seemed so pointless and boring. He
did not know it, but his life was about to change.

[end of extract]


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