A Reader’s Theater Script
One Wild Nature Hike
By Barrie Teague Alguire
Readers Theater is a dramatic presentation where actors stand and read the script without props, costumes, or scenery. The performance is created with the readers’ voices and facial expressions. Arrange the characters to make logical groupings. Have the narrators stand together at one side or split them to form “bookends” for the others.
It is permissible to use a certain amount of movement. Characters who do not have continuous dialog, such as Mrs. Ferguson, can sit in a chair until it is time for her/his “entrance.”
Staple the script pages together or put them in a folder so the pages will not get out of order if the script is dropped. Give each child a script with his/her lines highlighted in yellow. If you plan to have an audience, have the children read the script enough times to be familiar with the lines and develop some good vocal expression but not so many times as to be bored with it. If you are reading just for fun, let the children trade parts frequently. If you have more readers than parts, split the script in half so one cast reads the first part and a second cast reads the last part.
- Narrator 1
- Narrator 2
- Sue, fifth grade student
- Brian, fifth grade student
- Amy, fifth grade student
- Rufus, fifth grade student
- Mrs. Ferguson, teacher
NARRATOR 1: The McNally Elementary fifth graders are off to Lonesome Pine State Park for their annual nature study outing.
NARRATOR 2: Some are very excited about it.
NARRATOR 1: Some are not quite as eager.
NARRATOR 2: After a long bumpy ride, the bus pulls into the parking lot and the students pile out.
SUE: We’re here at last! Mmmmm! I love the smell of pine trees!
BRIAN: Me, too. And look at that lake over there! I can’t wait to check it out.
AMY: [not happy to be here] Oh, yeah, this is great. I just hope there isn’t any poison ivy around. I feel itchy all ready.
RUFUS: I know how to identify poison ivy. I read about it in a book on plants that I got from the library.
AMY: But what about bugs? Bugs give me the creeps!
BRIAN: My gosh, Amy. Bugs aren’t going to jump out and chase you. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.
SUE: Any way, it’s their woods, not ours.
MRS. FERGUSON: Okay, Sue, Brian, Amy, and Rufus, you are Group C. You have your assignment check lists and your map?
RUFUS: Yes, ma’am. I am the group navigator.
MRS. FERGUSON: Good. Amy, I heard what you said about bugs. Just stay on the path, like you are supposed to, and you won’t have any trouble. Happy hunting, Group C.
NARRATOR 1: With Rufus in the lead, Brian, Sue, and Amy head off into the woods.
NARRATOR 2: Their assignment is to identify trees and plants by their leaf shapes.
NARRATOR 1: To see how many different kinds of birds they can spot.
NARRATOR 2: And to look for tracks of local wildlife.
AMY: Hey, can we rest? We’ve been walking for hours.
BRIAN: Hardly “hours,” Amy.
SUE: We have been walking quite a while. Let’s stop for a minute.
RUFUS: Sounds good to me.
AMY: I’m thirsty. Anybody got any water?
BRIAN: We were all supposed to bring a bottle of water. Don’t you have one?
AMY: No, I just hate plain water. It’s so – plain! Mrs. Ferguson said we couldn’t bring sodas.
SUE: Here, you can have some of mine.
AMY: Thanks, Sue.
RUFUS: [reaches for water] Where’s mine? Oh, no! I left it on the kitchen counter. We were running late and I forgot to grab it.
BRIAN: Great! Okay, I’ll share mine with you.
RUFUS: Thanks, Brian.
AMY: Have we found everything yet? Isn’t it time to go back?
SUE: No, we’ve still got several items left on the list.
BRIAN: I don’t want to turn back yet. I’d like to reach that tall hill over there.
SUE: Me, too. I’ll bet there’s a great view from the top.
RUFUS: Well, I don’t know. I can’t find that hill on our map. But as long as we stay on the trail, I guess we’ll be okay.
NARRATOR 1: So the group set off again.
NARRATOR 2: With the hill as their goal, they didn’t notice the sun getting lower in the sky.
AMY: Hey, guys! My feet are killing me. Isn’t it time to go back now?
BRIAN: No, Amy. Just a little farther. We’re almost there.
AMY: We’re NOT almost there. No matter how long we walk, that dumb ol’ hill never gets closer.
RUFUS: We’ve checked off everything on our list. Maybe we should head back.
BRIAN: No! Come on! Please?
SUE: Well, let’s take a break anyway. Look at the sunset. Isn’t it beautiful?
AMY: Sunset? Sunset! We’re supposed to be back on the bus by now!
RUFUS: That’s right. The note told our parents we would be back by suppertime.
SUE: Oh, boy. Mrs. Ferguson is going to be furious. We’d better get going.
BRIAN: You’re right. Darn! I sure wanted to climb that hill.
AMY: Forget the stupid hill!
NARRATOR 1: The children started running back the way they had come.
NARRATOR 2: But the sun slipped behind the hill and night fell in the forest.
AMY: Ow! I just tripped on a rock. Hey, guys! Wait. I can’t keep up.
SUE: Brian, wait up.
AMY: It’s getting dark. Oh, no! Oh, no!
SUE: Stay calm, Amy. Rufus has the map and we just have to stay on the trail anyway.
RUFUS: But I can’t see the map.
BRIAN: And we can’t see the trail either.
AMY: Oh, no! We’re lost! We’ll die out here. We’ll be eaten by a bear!
SUE: Amy, calm down. Don’t panic. Nothing like that is going to happen. Right, Brian?
BRIAN: That’s right. We’ll just keep walking slowly and feel our way. I’m not worried about bears. I’m worried about Mrs. Ferguson and Principal Stone.
SUE: Anybody got a flashlight?
BRIAN: They said we didn’t need to bring flashlights because we would be home before it got dark.
RUFUS: Wait! I have a little one attached to my house key chain. [acts like he’s trying it] But the batteries are dead.
BRIAN: How about matches?
AMY: You know they don’t allow us to have things like that at school. This is a school trip so the same rules apply.
RUFUS: Too bad we didn’t drop little white pebbles like Hansel and Gretel. They would shine in the dark.
BRIAN: This reminds me of that book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.
SUE: Yes, that boy…
BRIAN: Brian, just like me.
SUE: Yes, Brian. His plane crashed in the wilderness and he had nothing to help him survive except a hatchet.
AMY: Oh, that cheers me up! We don’t even have a hatchet.
BRIAN: No, but we can try to be smart and think our way home.
RUFUS: There was another book I read about a boy who lived in the woods a whole year. What was the name of that?
SUE: Yes, I read that book, too. It was…
BRIAN: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. That boy really knew his way around the woods.
RUFUS: He lived in a hollow tree, I think.
AMY: I don’t want to live in a tree! I want to go home!
SUE: We know, Amy. We all do.
AMY: I’m so thirsty. Is there any more water?
BRIAN: No, we finished it off before the sun went down.
RUFUS: We crossed a stream earlier in the day. If we listen, maybe we can hear it. We could fill our bottles there.
SUE: No, we shouldn’t drink the stream water. It may be polluted. We don’t have any purifying tablets with us.
BRIAN: And without any matches, we can’t build a fire and boil the water. But listening for the stream is a good idea.
RUFUS: That’s not going to work. It’s too dark. I can’t find the path. There’s no moon and the trees are so thick, we couldn’t see it even if there was one.
BRIAN: Good point, Ruf. If we try to travel in the dark, we might stray off the trail.
RUFUS: Or even walk off a cliff.
AMY: Oh, no!
SUE: [trying to reassure Amy] Or just step in a hole and twist an ankle. Yes, we’d better just stay where we are.
AMY: I’m getting cold. I didn’t bring a jacket with me. It was so hot today; I never thought I’d need one.
SUE: That’s true. Wait! I just remembered. I have a windbreaker in my backpack. My dad insisted I bring it. I guess he knows more about hiking than we do. Here, Amy.
AMY: Thanks, Sue. Yes, this helps a lot.
BRIAN: Okay. We can’t go anywhere. We don’t have any light.
AMY: Or water.
RUFUS: Or food
AMY: Or blankets.
BRIAN: We’ll just have to sit tight and wait for morning.
SUE: You know they are looking for us.
RUFUS: We’ll be in big trouble when they find us.
BRIAN: We’ll probably be grounded for the rest of the year.
AMY: I know we’ll flunk science class.
SUE: Hey! We got everything on our list! But since this is probably our last night of freedom for a while … How about a party? We can sing and dance and whoop it up.
BRIAN: Right! It will also help keep us warm.
AMY: Won’t it attract bears and things?
BRIAN: Are you kidding? We’ll make so much racket, there won’t be a wild animal within ten miles of us!
RUFUS: [getting into the spirit] That’ s right. They’ll say “get me away from those loonies!”
AMY: [cheering up] Okay. What shall we sing?
SUE: What about “The Ants Go Marching?”
BRIAN: No. I always forget the verses.
RUFUS: How about “Row, Row, Row Your Boat?”
AMY: And we can pretend we are rowing to keep us warm.
[All four sing one verse of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”]
SUE: That was great! How about “The Itsy Bitsy Spider?” That has motions to it.
AMY: [laughs] I haven’t sung that song since I was three years old.
BRIAN: Shh! Did you hear something?
AMY: Oh! A bear!
SUE: Quiet! Listen!
[The faint sound of a whistle is heard.]
RUFUS: It’s a whistle!
SUE: They’ve found us! [shouts] Here! Over here!
[Amy, Brian, and Rufus all join in calling “Here! Here we are! We’re over here!, etc.]
MRS. FERGUSON: Amy! Sue! Rufus! Brian! Oh, thank goodness! I’ve been worried sick.
BRIAN: We’re sorry. We lost track of time.
AMY: I thought we’d never get back.
RUFUS: I couldn’t see the map.
SUE: How did you find us?
MRS. FERGUSON: Your singing! I heard you singing and followed the sound.
BRIAN: That was Sue’s idea. She always likes to party.
SUE: [takes a bow] Thank you, thank you very much.
MRS. FERGUSON: Well, come on. There are blankets and food back at the park office. Let’s get you home.
RUFUS: Are we in really big trouble?
MRS. FERGUSON: Oh, goodness. Don’t worry about that. We are all just glad you are safe.
AMY: I hope I didn’t step in any poison ivy in the dark.
BRIAN: [looks mischievously at Sue] Hey, Amy! Is that a bug on your back?
AMY: Oh! Get it off! Get if off! I hate bugs!
SUE: [laughs] Good old Amy! [looks back at the path] Bye, woods.