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Readers Theater Script: The Drinking Gourd

This Readers Theater script for The Drinking Gourd, by F. N. Monjo, deals with Tommy discovering runaway slaves hidden in his father's barn. He helps them find their way to the Underground Railroad.
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The Drinking Gourd
F. N. Monjo

This suggested script comes from chapters 2, 3, and 4 when Tommy Fuller discovers runaway slaves hidden in his father's barn and accompanies them along the Underground Railroad.

SUGGESTED STAGING:
The narrator stands at a podium. Each of the other characters is seated on a chair.

NARRATOR'S OPENING LINES:

In this scene from F. N. Monjo's The Drinking Gourd, young Tommy Fuller is sent home from church by his father, Deacon Fuller, for misbehaving. Although Tommy has been told to go to his room, he goes instead to the barn. As he jumps from the hayloft to the haywagon, he hears a low groan and climbs back into the loft. There he discovers a family of runaway slaves hiding in the hay.
Tommy Fuller is read by ________; Deacon Fuller is read by ________; Big Jeff is read by ________; Little Jeff is read by ________; and the marshall is read by ________. I, ________, am the narrator.

SCRIPTING SUGGESTIONS:

    1. Begin as Tommy shouts to find out who is there.
    2. Continue with the dialogue as it is written in the text.
    3. After Little Jeff says he'll show Tommy the drinking gourd, let the narrator say: Little Jeff points to the Big Dipper in the winter sky.
    4. Then have Little Jeff continue with the lines of dialogue.
    5. After Father says to help hitch the horses, let the narrator say: The family are hidden in the hay, but they sit up to talk to Tommy.
    6. Continue the dialogue in chapter 3 as Big Jeff tells Tommy how he made the decision to escape from his home.
    7. Deacon Fuller does not leave his seat after his departure into the dark night in search of the boat. Let the narrator say: After Father leaves, Tommy hears hoofbeats and four men approach.
    8. Continue with the dialogue as written.
    9. End the scene as the Marshall tells Tommy to catch a turkey and some ducks.

NARRATOR'S CLOSING LINES:
Tommy and Deacon Fuller are successful in sending Big Jeff and his family farther along the Underground Railroad. Deacon Fuller helps Tommy understand a new meaning for bravery.

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