adapted by Jess Rudolph
This is a puppet play. The (normally) animate characters can be played by more complex puppets while the (normally) inanimate characters can be small props on sticks that are wiggled whenever they speak. Most of the scenery can be painted canvas backdrops that are scrolled through to the next scene.
CAST (more complex puppets):
TALKING PROPS (simple puppets):
Moat (off stage)
Scene 1: Garden
Scene 2: Forest
Scene 3: Castle Exterior / Gate Bridge Over Moat
Scene 4: Castle Interior / Throne Room
Garden with YAM, TREE, TREE BRANCH, STONE, and cow prop already in place.
(FARMER with DOG enters stage.)
Well, boy, looks like it’s finally time to start harvesting. Let’s see, radishes, onions, carrots… What do you say, boy?
(pauses and laughs)
Heh, you never had much of an opinion on crops or much of an opinion on anything.
(turns back to garden)
Ah, yes, the yams.
(FARMER reaches for YAM.)
Well, at last you’re here. You never weeded me but now you come around with your digging stick. Go away and leave me alone!
(FARMER spins around and looks at the cow.)
Cow… did you say something?
It wasn’t the cow who spoke to you. It was the yam. The yam says leave him alone.
(FARMER yelps as HE looks at DOG. FARMER backs into TREE and grabs BRANCH.)
(HE snaps BRANCH off TREE. FARMER holds BRANCH in front of HIM like a weapon.)
Owww! Hey, put that branch down!
(FARMER yelps again and backs away from TREE with BRANCH. FARMER almost backs into DOG
, notices, yelps, and stops between them.)
Hey, mister, the tree said put me down so put me down! Do it softly, I might add!
(FARMER holds out BRANCH farther away and slowly puts BRANCH down on STONE.)
Hey, take that thing off me!
(FARMER screams and runs off stage.)
Forest with FISHER and TRAP.
(FARMER runs in and nearly hits FISHER.)
Whoa there, farmer. What’s the hurry?
The yam said, “Leave me alone!” Then the dog said, “Listen to what the yam says!” Then I grabbed a branch off a tree to protect myself, the tree said, “Put that branch down!” Then the branch said, “Do is softly!” Then the stone said, “Take that thing off me!”
Is that all? Is that so frightening?
Well, did he take it off the stone?
(FISHER throws TRAP and HE and FARMER run. WEAVER with CLOTH enters stage and is nearly hit by FARMER and FISHER.)
Where are you going in such a rush?
My yam said, “Leave me alone!” The dog said, “Listen to what the yam says!” The tree said, “Put that branch down!” The branch said, “Do is softly!” And the stone said, “Take that thing off me!”
And then, the fish trap said, “Did he take it off the stone?”
That’s nothing to get excited about. No reason at all.
Oh, yes it is. If it happened to you, you’d run too!
(WEAVER throws CLOTH and HE, FARMER, and FISHER run off.)
Castle exterior. GUARD with SHIELD stands in front of a gate as if on a bridge over a moat.
(FARMER, FISHER, and WEAVER run up to GUARD.)
Halt! Why fore do you come storming these castle walls?
We need safety!
We need sanctuary!
Forgot that, we just need someplace safe to hide!
(A silent pause as EVERYONE looks at FARMER.)
Calm down, tell me what the cause is for all this commotion?
My yam talked at me, and it said “Leave me alone!” And my dog said, “Listen to your yam!” And when I broke off a branch the tree said, “Put that branch down!” And the branch said, “Do it softly!” And the stone said, “Take that thing off me!”
And my trap said, “Did he?”
And my bundle of cloth said, “You’d run too!”
Such nonsense. Grown men believing these things could talk and running throw the town in terror.
I agree with the cloth. Wouldn’t you too run if you were in their position?
(GUARD throws SHIELD which disappears below the stage.)
Oh how nice. Give a little friendly piece of advice and you throw me into the muddy old moat.
(The SHIELD’S last words are followed by “glub-glub” sounds as IT sinks.)
Okay maybe there is something to your concerns after all.
Hey, you up there! Will quit throwing your rusted old junk into me?
(ALL FOUR scream and run off.)
Castle interior with KING sitting on THRONE.
(FARMER, FISHER, WEAVER, and GUARD, run in.)
What is the meaning of this intrusion?
I went out to my garden to dig yams ... Then everything began to talk! My yam said, “Leave me alone!” My dog said, “Pay attention to your yam!” The tree said, “Put that branch down!” The branch said, “Do it softly?” And the stone said, “Take it off me!”
And my fish trap said, “Well, did he take it off?”
And my cloth said, “You’d run too!”
And my shield said the same! And then the moat said not to throw stuff into it!
(standing up away from THRONE)
Now this is really a wild story. Such fantasy, such impossibility. You had all best be gone from my presence and back to your homes before I order you all into the dungeons for disturbing the peace of our fair land!
But… your majesty!
Let’s go, quickly! I don’t want to find out what’s talking in the dungeons!
(FARMER, FISHER, WEAVER, and GUARD all exit out the way they came.)
Honestly, the imaginations of some common folk. Such nonsense like that upsets the kingdom.
Fantastic, isn’t it? Imagine, a talking yam!