• Drama


Fifth Graders Transform Tales into "Shows"

Teacher's comment: After looking at original Haitian metal cutout sculptures and reading Haitian folktales—noting recurring character-types and themes—fifth graders made shadow puppets and wrote scripts for shows. The girls had previously done the scripts for Aesop's Fables, which were simpler and therefore a good opportunity to focus on format. For the more involved Haitian tales, students could stay close to the original storyline, or they could be inventive. Since most of the tales had no (or minimum) dialogue, students had to create their own. The following fifth-grader's script (shown exactly as she created and formatted it) demonstrates the challenge of turning third-person narrative into first-person dialogue-and how well she succeeded!

A Haitian Folk Tale

Cast of characters


MAN (enters) Oh money, the love of my life. My animals, what should I do with them? Wait. . . wait. . . I have an idea! I shall throw a big party, a bash! And I'll invite all my friends. And I can't forget my animals, they must come: the Chicken, my Duck, the Penguin, and the big fat Turkey! I shall ask them to put on a show for my friends, and will name the best one of them Chief of all Birds. (exits)

DUCK (enters with Birds) I don't think this is such a good idea!

CHICKEN I can't leave my 10 children in the house all alone.

DUCK And I can't leave the yard unattended.

TURKEY I don't care, I'm going. (Birds exit)

MAN (enters with Turkey) I'm so glad you could make it. Come and sit down before the big show.

TURKEY Thank you for inviting me.

MAN You look so beautiful today Turkey. Come and take a tour of my luxurious house. We'll start with the kitchen.

TURKEY I'd be glad to. (Man and Turkey exit on one side and enter on the other)

MAN And this is the kitchen. (Two men walk in and snatch away Turkey and exit) What a lovely dinner I shall have tomorrow. (exits)

DUCKLING (enters with Duck) Mommy, what happened to Turkey?

DUCK Let's just say, you should listen to the advice of others and never show off that you know too much.