THE MANGO TREE
The setting is Rabbit's garden. Her house is on the left and a big mango tree is in the center. Mangoes are on the ground as well. A road runs alongside (downstage) where the neighbours stop to speak to her. Openings in the backdrop will allow smaller puppets to appear as if at a distance, for example when they see Lion catch Rabbit.
- A dozen birds attached to strings attached to poles. You can attach several birds along a pole at different levels. The children can either be hidden, or appear onstage dressed in the same color.
- A Sun, attached to a long stick on a short string. It can come on from above or from the side of the stage, doesn't matter as long as it comes out the moment the MC says, "The sun is shining", and right away disappears backstage, where it is stored in a safe spot.
- For the Epilogue, a coat rack on wheels covered with a "wall" with two windows. Puppet Mrs. Lion will look out one window and call for her husband; "Hen-ri!" who will eventually appear from the other window.
If this is too complex a simple alternative is two children - dressed the same - hold up a sheet with two openings. Mrs. Lion's head will first appear from one opening. It gives the impression it's late and she's already in bed. "Hen-ri!!"
- Mangoes scattered on the ground. Rabbit will just pretend to put them in the basket. I finally used real mangoes, shared by the group after the performance.
- Baskets or sacs which have newspaper in them.
- The mango tree is incorporated in the backdrop.
- Master of Ceremonies
You can have one or two MC, in white or dress jackets.
You can have one or several narrators, depending on the number of children.
The following animal roles are for actors either with masks and/or holding puppets. For example the actors can all wear white so the puppets stand out, or dress in a similar fashion as the puppet, as an extension.
Each of the characters has two puppets (or stuffed animals), one at least a foot wide, and one smaller to give the audience the impression of distance. For example when Rabbit tells Horse to go away we can see the horse either peering from an opening or walking in the background, while Sheep is in the foreground speaking with Rabbit.
Fox has, besides the two puppets, four stick puppets that pop up when he thinks "I'm hungry, too!" I'm tired, too!"...
- Lion's wife Ethel: We only see her head, once, at the very end. "Hen-ri!"
Birds fly around the stage (see template). Bird sounds: children can do this backstage, or taped.
Master of Ceremonies enters center stage
The Narrator enters on the opposite side with a book and stands next to a chair.
If there is more than one narrator, space them, with chairs, around the stage.
MC– Welcome, Friends. Welcome to our show! The sun is shining. The birds are flying high, high in the sky, and look. Rabbit, up early to pick her mangoes.
Rabbit walks onstage, checks her garden and her mango tree, and pulls out some bags to put the mangoes.
NARRATOR/s Sits down with his/her book closed, and looks at the MC.
MC– Good morning! What a beautiful day.
NAR– Yes, truly a beautiful day. Good morning to you.
MC– The birds are singing. Birds start to sing "Good Morning to You"
NAR– Yes, they are. Looks at the birds and shakes his/her head. The birds disappear in a flutter, offended.
Narrator opens the book. MC walks up to Rabbit.
MC– Good morning, Rabbit! What beautiful mangoes. Quite a crop this year.
Rabbit doesn’t answer and keeps piling mangoes in the bag.. MC looks at the audience, shrugs, and exits.
NAR– Rabbit had a big mango tree in her garden, loaded with fruit. Mangoes ripen quickly so she has to work fast if she wants to sell some. She could have sold more had she hired someone to help her, but she was greedy and would rather they rot on the ground than pay someone.
Horse's head appears from the side of the stage, she walks up to Rabbit.
NAR– Her neighbour Horse was passing and saw all the mangoes.
HORSE– Look at that!
NAR– She said.
HOR– Good morning Rabbit. I’m so hungry and those mangoes sure look good! May I have one?
RAB– Oh, no!
NAR– Said Rabbit.
RAB– They’re mine. Go away!
HOR– Very well, I don’t need to be told twice. Have a good day! Horse exits
NAR–. Rabbit was so busy she didn’t take the time to reply. All morning long she picked.
Puppet Fox appears and disappears.
FOX VOICE- I’m hungry, too!
Sheep appears from the side of the stage and walks up to Rabbit.
NAR– Her neighbour Sheep saw the mangoes.
SHE– Look at all the mangoes! Hey neighour!
NAR– Said Sheep.
SHE– You sure have a lot of mangoes and I’m so thirsty. Can you spare one?
RAB– Oh no!
NAR– Said Rabbit.
RAB– They’re mine, go away!
SHE– OK bro, I’m going, I get the message. You have a good one!
NAR– Rabbit didn’t bother to answer. She just kept picking and picking and picking.
Puppet Fox's head appears - and disappears.
FOX VOICE: I’m thirsty, too!
NAR– Later in the afternoon Cow stopped by to admire the tree.
Cow appears from the side of the stage, and walks up to Rabbit.
COW– Wow! Look at all the mangoes! Hello, Rabbit.
NAR– Said Cow.
COW– It sure is hot and those mangoes sure look good.
RAB– No! They’re mine! Go away!
COW– All right, I get the message. I’ll go. Have a nice day.
Puppet Fox's head appears - and disappears
FOX VOICE: I’m hot, too!
NAR– Her neighbour Donkey saw all the ripe mangoes.
Donkey appears from the side of the stage, and walks up to Rabbit.
DON– Look at all those mangoes! Please Mr. Rabbit. I’m so tired. Can I have one?
RAB– No, no, no! They’re mine! They’re mine!
DON– OK, I get the message. I’m going. Good bye.
Puppet Fox's head appears - and disappears.
FOX VOICE- I’m tired, too!
Rabbit yawns and falls asleep.
Actor Fox tiptoes out of hiding and grabs a bag of mangoes. On his way out he trips (noisily).
Rabbit wakes up but Fox is already far away (you can see his small puppet running in the distance).
RAB– Help! Help! A thief! Help! My mangoes, half my crop, gone! I’m so unfortunate, woe is me, woe is me!
Small Puppet Lion appears in the distance, looks around and disappears. Actor Lion comes out and faces the audience.
NAR– Lion was passing by and heard all the commotion.
LION– Rabbit! I LOVE rabbit! Let me ask for a mango, and see what happens. Good day, kind neighbour. It’s so hot, do you think you could spare a mango?
NAR– Asked Lion, politely.
RAB– No! No! They're mine They're mine! She weeps, her head in her arms.
NAR– Said Rabbit, not looking up.
RAB– Go away! Go away! Lion looks at the audience.
LION– Foolish Rabbit. Why eat a mango when I can eat you?
Actor Lion catches Actor Rabbit by the arm. Push and pull, Rabbit frees herself but Lion follows her backstage.
Backstage Rabbit still cries for help, while Lion growls.
Small Puppet Lion reappears in an opening (or in the distance) with Small Puppet Rabbit in his mouth: Help!
Voice of Rabbit crying: Help, Help and sounds of Lion growling.
Small Puppet Horse, Sheep, Cow and Donkey appear from openings looking around.
They disappear after the Narrator speaks.
Actors Horse, Sheep, Cow, Donkey lean out one at a time, from the side of the stage, to say his/her sentence.
NAR– The neighbors hear Rabbit’s cry for help.
HORSE– A lion! I would like to help, but I’m too hungry, I have no energy and I could get killed.
SHEEP– A lion! I’d like to help, but I’m too thirsty.
COW– A lion! I’d like to help, but I’m too hot.
DONKEY– A lion! I’d like to help, but I’m too tired.
Actor Fox runs onstage ( the puppet is already hidden in his cloak to pull out later )
FOX– We have to help Rabbit! We have to do something!
NAR– Fox thought and thought. Actor Fox paces back and forth.
FOX– I have an idea!
NAR– He said.
FOX– Lion hates loud noises, they drive him crazy. Let’s make lots of noise.
Actor Fox goes behind stage and prepares to tiptoe back on stage with Puppet Fox.
NAR– Everyone agreed to make as much noise as possible. Bravely, Fox tiptoed behind Lion.
Loud noise backstage, louder and louder. If possible have noises (clapping, pans...) behind the audience as well.
NAR– Lion couldn’t stand it any longer.
LION– Stop! Stop! I can’t stand it! All that noise! It's driving me crazy!
NAR– As soon as he speaks Rabbit falls, half dead with fear. Fox snatches her and runs as fast as he can until they're safe.
Puppet Fox grabs Puppet Rabbit and races backstage.
The noise stops suddenly.
The actors drop the puppets and walk back onstage as Actor Fox and Actor Rabbit.
RAB– Thank you Fox. That was very brave.
FOX– No problem. I’ve got to get going, I’ll be seeing you.
NAR– Said Fox, courteously.
Actor Fox turns to walk off but is pulled back by Actor Rabbit.
RAB– Wait a minute, not so fast. I think you have something that belongs to me.
NAR– Said Fox.
RAB– You took a bag of mangoes. I want it back.
FOX– A bag? What bag?
RAB– You know what I’m talking about.
FOX– Don’t know anything about a bag… You were asleep!
RAB– How can you know I was asleep if you weren’t there?
RAB– There! They walk offstage, arguing.
A screen rolls in from one side of the stage, as Lion's house, with two windows. It stays to the far side of the stage.
Mrs. Lion appears at one window calling for her husband. Lion runs up to the other window.
NAR– Lion’s wife Ethel is waiting for him at home, worried. She looks out the window.
WIFE– Henri! Hen-ri! It’s bedtime! Come home!
LION– Oh, my ears! My ears! Don’t yell, do something!
WIFE– I told you to stay away from that neighbourhood. Trouble is all they are.
LION– Good night, Ethel.
WIFE– Good night, Henri.
Voice of one child singing "You are my Sunshine".
Then another child begins to sing, and another, randomly until the sound is of the song overlapping.
Two Bird puppeteers enter with a screen, with the birds in front (see template)
Behind the screen are the actors Sheep, Horse, Donkey, Cow and Lion who sit on a bench or chairs, that they bring with them.
They stop and sit when they are center stage - still hidden.
The singing fades away.
The Puppeteers carry the screen off, and the five actors start their clapping routine.
When the Hand Clap is finished enter the Master of Ceremonies, who stands to the side of the actors.
Enter the Narrator. Enter Fox, who stands near the Narrator.
MC– And so, my friends the story ends, with Fox the unlikely hero. Fox bows to the MC.
SHEEP– He was brave to save Rabbit
HORSE– When her neighbours declined.
DONKEY– She was not very generous
COW– And not very kind.
MC– I ask myself: What would I have done? Would I risk my life to help someone I don’t really like?
NAR– Fox felt he had no choice. He may have taken the mangoes but in the end he did the right thing.
MC- Rabbit may, or may not have learned her lesson. However, if she doesn't change, the next time she needs her neighbours she may not be so lucky!
Narrator closes the book. Enter Rabbit. Narrator stands and they walk to the actors onstage.
NAR- Good night, and thank you.
Enter Mrs. Lion, looking for her husband; "Hen-ri! There you are, I've been out looking for you, you could have called"
Actors all move into a family portrait pose with MC in the center, and bow.
They exit one by one or in pairs, until only the MC is left.
Master of Ceremonies bows and exits.