Plays without scripts

  

I have done various plays with my primary school classes (average number of children: 25) over the last few years without using a script. This of course saves photocopying but it also allows you to adapt/make it up as you go along. Here are 4 simple steps to creating a play without needing a script.

Step 1:  Think of a story theme (Cowboys, aliens, knights and dragons etc). Lets try knights and dragons (St George and the dragon

Step 2: Think of a rough outline of the story. Think in terms of scenes: What happens in scene 1, what happens in scene 2, etc. I usually try to break down the story into 4 or 5 scenes. For example: A play with knights, princesses, witches - St George and the Dragon

Scene 1 - In the Forest: George and friends meet princess and friends. Lots of chatting, asking simple questions or making simple statement (Look, a bird is flying). The dialogue does need to tell the story. Then some witches turn up and tell him he can’t marry her. The witches decide to marry/kidnap the princess.

Scene 2 – In a restaurant. Some people are eating in a restaurant when a dragon turns up.

Scene 3 – In the castle:  The people from the restaurant run to the castle to tell the Queen about the dragon. The Queen decides to hold a competition to see who can kill the dragon.

Scene 4 – In the village: The dragon scares of some knights who read about the competition. The witches capture the dragon and use it to capture the princess and her friends and take them to their castle.

Scene 5 – In the witches´castle: The witches lock up the princess and her friends and everyone else in the play turns up, there is a big (choreographed) fight, and George saves the day.

or...

Scene 1 - In the Forest: George and friends meet princess and friends. Lots of chatting, asking simple questions or making simple statement (Look, a bird is flying).

Scene 2 – Witches come on, find a draogn, decide to kidnap princess.

Scene 3 – In the village:  princess goes shopping, meets lots of people selling things in shops. Witches come and kidnap princess.

Scene 4 – In the witches´castle: The witches lock up the princess and her friends and everyone else in the play turns up, there is a big (choreographed) fight, and George saves the day.


Step 3:  Now act out scene 1 and together with the children, think of simple things they can say. They can introduce themselves to the audience "Hello everyone, my name is Zog", they can ask each other questions - any questions "How old are you?"  "Do you like apples?" It doesn't matter. Most of the dialogue will be the simple language your students already know. You only need a few lines here and there to actually keep the story going. For example, someone says, looking at the computer, "Oh no, Bongo the bad has escaped from prison"  "Oh no, where is he?" "He is on a planet Earth" "Let's go to planet Earth" etc. Keep it simple!


  
Step 4: Repeat with the other scenes and practice them. Watch to see if anyone is not coping with their lines. If necessary, make them easier, or get another child to say the same thing  just before. For example, "Let's go to planet Earth"  "Yes, lets go to planet Earth"

Although you don't need a script, here are some more detailed notes about a play my class performed with a script. I wrote up the "script" after the performance to give a more detailed idea of how I built up the whole play from simple bits of dialogue.

              Return to How to write your own play
Some ideas for creating plays:

The sword of Wimble Bimble  I performed this play with a class of 27 withoit any script. The script here simply gives an idea of what happened. A very simple story withsimple dialogue. 

St George and the Dragon      

The Robbery and The Magic Book (2 simple plays)

Here are some simple outlines of plays. Just add a little dialogue, and off you go!

A play with aliens - The Space Detectives
Scene 1 - In space. We meet the alien Space detectives who are looking for the galactic criminal Bongo the Bad.
Scene 2 - In a village on planet Earth. Some people are shopping, chatting etc. A robber come on and robs them. They call the police. The police arrive, try to stop the robber but can't because he is too powerful - he is in fact Bongo the bad!
Scene 3 - The space detectives land and look around. Bongo sneaks on and steals their hats/guns/sandwiches while they aren't looking and runs off chased by detectives. 
Scene 4 - in the forest. Police look for Bongo. They find him. Bongo is about to shoot them when the Space detectives turn up and save the day.