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American Annals of the Deaf

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Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays

Willy Conley

Playing Seriously
A Comedy-Drama for Kids Young and Old

Cast of Characters

This play demands that the actors be adept with physical comedy, improvisation, and movement.

BIG CHEESE: big and clunky; thickheaded; takes himself too seriously; likes to carry a huge poster of Shakespeare with him.

QUEEN BEE: sharp; confrontational; hard worker; thinks highly of herself; always carries a pocket dictionary.

SWEET CORN: sweet, good-hearted, charming, flirtatious

MIGHTY MOUSE: strong and tiny; laid-back; funny without trying to be; dreamy; flexible—physically and mentally; loves peanut butter and always carries a jar tied around the waist.

WATERCOLOR: an artist; shy; deep thinker; nonverbal; has liquid-like movements; always carries a paintbrush in her hand. Actor must be able to do live, artistic paintings on stage.

BLUE J: playful and sneaky; cocky; innocent-looking; quick; always eats sunflower seeds.

The Setting

Time: Present
Place: Act I Neighborhood backyard
          Act II Desert Southwest in the mind of WATERCOLOR

Act 1

[As the kids enter the auditorium, the company is in various stages of warm-ups—the types of warm-ups will depend on the skills of the cast. The following is an example: ballet stretches, dance and tap moves, vocal ranges, Shakespearean or dramatic monologues, sign-mime images, mime exercises, Tai Chi moves, and playing musical instruments, preferably flutes. Each actor focuses on one specific warm-up or may do a few. Everyone should move around the stage. There should be a feeling of camaraderie and play, all except for BIG CHEESE, who is always serious. The music should have a jazz quality that fits the tempo of the overall warm-up scene. The tap warm-up should add percussion to all of this. The entire scene should look like a visual orchestra beginning slowly and eventually merging and building to some type of crescendo as more and more kids file in. The high point should be when the audience is seated.]

BIG CHEESE: (Gestures to rest of the actors that the audience has arrived: “They’re all here!”)

[The actors quickly run downstage to introduce their names. It should be so fast that it looks and sounds like one name.]


[BIG CHEESE, the last to arrive in the “group portrait,” bumps into the group causing the rest of the actors to fall forward.]


[Disappointed at the group, he gestures to start over. Everyone gets up. He takes a deep breath. The actors misinterpret this as their cue and they step forward at once, like before, except this time BIG CHEESE restrains them.]

BIG CHEESE: (Serious and over-dramatic.) Good morning (Or whatever.), I am Big Cheese.
WATERCOLOR: (Gestural and Tai Chi-like; not voiced.) I’m Watercolor.

[The characters each produce a short dramatic movement that indicates their personality.]

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