MAY I COME UP TO PLAY?
A Quick Skit on Differences
Children playing in a tree house refuse to play with someone.
This read-through skit is designed to engage players and an audience of youth or adults in thinking about what they consider to be differences or perhaps prejudices. The skit provides a focus for exploration then response, and should not be used without follow up discussion. Part of the humor of the skit is teens or adults acting and/or dressing as children.
Moderator for the play who also serves as the discussion leader.
Geraldine, Brett, Kate, Roman (a male). These are children who may be played by teenagers or adults.
Playing Time: 1 1/2 minutes.
Setting and Properties: The scene is a treehouse furnished with a low table and play dishes. Roman is out of sight offstage.
Costumes: Clothing appropriate for children.
MODERATOR: Our After Potluck Players bring us a scene from the tree house in Geraldine’s back yard.
GERALDINE: I get to be the mother.
BRETT: No, Geraldine, you were the mother yesterday.
GERALDINE: Well, I’m going to be the mother again today. And that’s final.
BRETT: Okay. But today the father decides what we eat.
GERALDINE: Well, this is already pretend steak.
BRETT: And this is pretend french fries. I hate baked potatoes with steak.
GERALDINE: Hi, Kate. You have to be baby brother.
KATE: I want to be mother.
GERALDINE: I’M Mother.
KATE : (Sits on floor) Then you have to feed me.
ROMAN: (Calling from offstage) Hey! Up there! May I come up and play?
GERALDINE and BRETT: Shh. It’s Roman.
ROMAN: Hey! I said may I come up and play?
GERALDINE: There’s no more room.
ROMAN: Yes there is.
GERALDINE: Wait a minute.
KATE: (In stage whisper) Why can’t he come up?
GERALDINE: (Not softly) He’s different.
KATE: (Softly) How?
GERALDINE: Well (Pause) you know, he’s . . .he’s . . . well, just different.
GERALDINE: Well (Pause) I don’t want to play with anyone who’s different.
GERALDINE: My mom said not to.
KATE: But we’re all different.
GERALDINE: Not that different.
KATE: I think we should let Roman come up. He could be Uncle George visiting.
GERALDINE: I said no! And it’s my tree house.
ROMAN: May I come up?
GERALDINE: No. There isn’t room.
ROMAN: (Despondent) Oh.
KATE: Wait a minute, Roman. I’ll come down.
MODERATOR leads applause. If your group is small, continue with discussion. Divide a large group into smaller sections for discussion, and provide a leader in each group with a set of the following questions.
1. What came to your mind when Geraldine said, “He’s different”? Why do you think that difference came to your mind.
2. Brett was a silent voice in the “He/s different” discussion. What did he say by his silence?
3. What kinds of differences do you encounter at school? In the workplace? On the bus? At church? If you do not notice any differences, it is possible that you have created an environment for yourself that is “my kind of people.” Or perhaps you are unconsciously screening out those who are different. Think again.
4. (This question is for an older group.) Prejudices are built into our culture by advertising myths and by the way we label things. For example, “flesh” colored crayons are pink and “nude” stockings are white. Name some ways these and other prejudices are built into our culture and programmed into our thinking.
5. Where did Geraldine learn her prejudice? Why do some parents keep their children away from children who are mentally challenged?
6. Why do we like to feel superior to someone or a group of persons?
7. How may we overcome our feelings that some persons are better and others are worse? (Suggestion: We may become more aware of differences, learn a person’s name and look for common experiences, values, likes and dislikes. We may also try to develop our own self esteem while noticing that other persons are doing the same thing perhaps in a different way. We can celebrate differences by learning about them without labeling them.)
From Abingdon’s Intergenerational Programs, Naomi Mitchum. Used by permission.