Audun & the Bear Reader’s Theater Play Script ~ Sample

CHARACTERS

AUDUN
• AUDUN’S MOTHER
• NARRATOR
• MERCHANT
• VILLAGER #1 – no speaking lines
• VILLAGER #2 – no speaking line
• VILLAGER #3 – no speaking lines
• VILLAGER #4 – no speaking lines
• POLAR BEAR  animal sounds 
• POLAR BEAR OWNER 
• GUARD #1 
KING HARALD
• GUARD #2 
• KING SVEN
• SERVANT 

Scene 1 – Audun’s farm in Iceland

[Stage Set: The play is set in Iceland about a thousand years ago. In a backdrop, the foreground should show a kind of farmhouse called a “longhouse” from old Nordic farms. The longhouse is as long as three or four homes. The backdrop should picture towering gray mountains and the sea beyond. Show one long narrow inlet of water stretching into the land (such inlets are called fjords (pronounce: feh-YORDZ). (See Performance Notes.) In front of the longhouse, AUDUN is untangling fishing netting, and AUDUN’S MOTHER is churning butter.]

NARRATOR:
Hello, everyone.  Welcome to “Audun (pronounce: ah-DUN) and the Bear.”  It’s a story from Iceland from over a thousand years old. That’s an island in the Atlantic Ocean between the U.S. and England.  The story is brought to you by Stories to Grow by.

[A white-tailed eagle, signified by a cut-out picture attached to a stick, swoops by and screeches. The screeching sound can come from offstage by an actor or from a recording. AUDUN looks at the eagle in flight and sighs.]

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
(while she speaks, looks down at the butter she is churning)  Audun (pronounce: aw-DUN), what’s wrong, son?

AUDUN:
Nothing. I’m fine.

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
(stops churning and looks up, squarely, at Audun)  No, really.  What’s on your mind?

AUDUN:
(sighs) Ah, Mother. Look at that white-tailed eagle in the sky! It flies where it pleases. It’s completely free.

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
Aren’t you free, too? We have hired hands on this farm. You may work in the fields, or go wherever you want.

AUDUN:
Where is there to go? Our farm is fenced in. There is nothing to do here.

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
Your Uncle Rorig (pronounce: roar-RIG) said there’s a new baby pig in the barn. Want to go see it?

AUDUN:
We had a baby pig last month.  And the month before.  It’s all the same! What I’d really like to do is to go see other farms – farms all over Iceland!

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
My goodness, as if their pigs are any different! You would leave the safety of your home, only to run into elves and trolls? We already have everything we need right here. Cream and berries with porridge in the morning. Salted beef for dinner. And speaking of dinner, I’d best get it prepared!

[AUDUN’S MOTHER stands up and exits, carrying her butter churn.]

AUDUN:
(to audience) She just doesn’t understand. (returns to untangling fishing netting, then looks offstage) Say, what’s that? Why would a ship be coming in so late in the season?

[From the side of the stage from a large boat emerges (a large cardboard/paper cut-out, carried by two people). MERCHANT stands behind it, in view of the audience.]

MERCHANT:
(shouts) Land hooooooo!

[The boat comes to a halt, and MERCHANT steps off.]

MERCHANT:
(looks around) Young man, could you tell me where I am?

AUDUN:
(to audience)  He doesn’t know?  (to Merchant) You’re in the western fjords (pronounce: feh-YORDZ) of Iceland, sir! You see? (points to backdrop that shows a fjord, described earlier) The fjords.  Where the water stretches into the land like little fingers.

MERCHANT:
(turns to look at backdrop) And so it does. Pretty, that.

[As MERCHANT is speaking, stage help enters and throws white ribbons over the boat, representing ice, or bath flakes.]

MERCHANT:
(shakes head) This boat is already icing up.

AUDUN:
It’s that time of year. Why are you at sea so late in the season, if you don’t mind my asking?

MERCHANT:
Well, I didn’t intend to be, I can tell you that.  But my journey was delayed. I feel lucky that at least I got my boat to shore in time. Look! (points to boat) By morning she will be completely stuck in the ice! At least my cargo is safe inside.

AUDUN:
What is your cargo?

MERCHANT:
Linen. Seeds. For trade. I intend to carry the goods up and down this fine coast. When spring comes and the ice melts, my crew and I will continue our journey to Greenland and do more trading. After that, we’ll head back to Norway.  Finally, sail back to Denmark. My home.

AUDUN:
(to audience) Greenland, Norway, Denmark! Such faraway lands!  And Denmark, the land my mother used to tell me stories about – I always dreamed of going there!  (to Merchant) Sir, let me help you carry the seed and linen this winter and be your assistant. If I work for you, when spring comes could I sail away with you on your travels?

MERCHANT:
Why not? I could use the help.  And you are a fine, strapping young fellow.

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
(offstage) I hear voices.

[AUDUN’S MOTHER enters.]

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
Oh! We have company.

MERCHANT:
(bows his head) A pleasure to meet you, my lady. I was just telling your lad I could use a hand in trading my cargo this winter. And it looks like I have found a helper! (slaps Audun’s back)

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
(looks warily at Audun) Oh does it, now? (to Merchant) For wages, no doubt?

MERCHANT:
(surprised, then nods) Uh, of course.  No doubt.

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
(nods approvingly to Audun) Well then, all right.

[AUDUN pumps his fist in the air as if to celebrate “Yes!” AUDUN’S MOTHER exits. NARRATOR enters. A chest containing various items and cloths is brought onstage.]

NARRATOR:
Winter rolled on. Audun helped the Merchant sell his wares up and down the coast of Iceland.

[As NARRATOR speaks, VILLAGER #1, VILLAGER #2, VILLAGER #3, and VILLAGER #4 enter and pretend to exchange skeins of wool, dried fish, and animal pelts for the MERCHANT’s linen and bottles of seed.]

NARRATOR:
Finally, spring and warmer weather came. The ice along the shoreline began to crack. Soon the seawater started to flow again along the coast. And the MERCHANT’s boat floated once more.

[NARRATOR and VILLAGERS exit. VILLAGERS pull the blue ribbons off the boat as they go. AUDUN’S MOTHER enters.]

AUDUN:
(to Audun’s Mother) Mother, the boat will leave soon. You remember what that means?

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
(gasps) What? Oh, I was afraid of this! It wasn’t enough for you to travel weeks at a time, to farms who-knows-where. Running into elves and trolls–

AUDUN:
Mother, I didn’t run into any elves or trolls–

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
So you were lucky!  And now it’s storms and sea monsters I have to worry about! Why must you sail across that wide ocean all the way to Denmark? What if something happens? I have no other children. (sits down in despair)

AUDUN:
Mother, please! I have to go. I just have to. Look, your own brother and the hired help will keep the farm going until I get back. And here. (hands her an envelope) These are my wages from the winter. This should help you manage until I return.

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
(accepts the envelope and sighs) I suppose.  And when will you come back, my son?

AUDUN:
Three years from now. I promise, Mother.

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
Three years is a long time! Well I am not happy about this turn of events, not happy at all. (sighs) But I see you are set on doing this. Oh, very well. Go if you must. But be safe, my son.

AUDUN:
I will be, Mother.

AUDUN’S MOTHER:
I’ll be waiting for you.

AUDUN:
I’ll come back, Mother.

[AUDUN and AUDUN’S MOTHER hug. AUDUN and MERCHANT exit.]

Scene 2 – An open market

[Stage Set: Under a different backdrop, MERCHANT and AUDUN sell their wares to VILLAGERS #1-#4. The boat has been moved to the other side of the set to reflect that they have traveled. NARRATOR enters.]

NARRATOR:
After a journey at sea from Iceland to Greenland and a few bouts of seasickness on the part of Audun–

AUDUN:
(to audience) I can’t help it. I’ve never sailed this far before!

NARRATOR:
He sailed west with the merchant to Greenland.

[NARRATOR points to Greenland on an enlarged map of Scandinavia. (See Performance Notes for further detail.)]

NARRATOR:
In Greenland, the merchant wanted to do some more trading before he returned to Europe – first to Norway, then home to Denmark.

[NARRATOR exits.]

AUDUN:
(to Merchant) Brr, it’s cold! They may call this “Greenland,” but this place has more ice and snow than home in Iceland! Everything is white.  (points offstage) Even those super-huge bears are white.

[POLAR BEAR enters from where AUDUN pointed. POLAR BEAR stays close to the edge of the stage, sniffing around. A rope around POLAR BEAR’s wrist leads offstage.]

MERCHANT:
Audun, are you talking about that polar bear?

AUDUN:
That’s what you call it! What a magnificent creature. Like nothing else I’ve ever seen! What I wouldn’t give to buy one!

POLAR BEAR OWNER:
(from offstage) As it happens, this one’s for sale!

[POLAR BEAR OWNER enters, and POLAR BEAR follows. POLAR BEAR OWNER is holding the other end of the rope.]

AUDUN:
(to audience) My lucky day! (to Polar Bear Owner) How much, may I ask?

POLAR BEAR OWNER:
Hmm. What do you have to offer?

AUDUN:
Five hundred rigsdaler (pronounce: RIGS-daler)?

[AUDUN pulls a pouch of coins from his pocket.]

AUDUN:
Is that enough?

POLAR BEAR OWNER:
It’s a start.

[AUDUN hands over the pouch.]

AUDUN:
(thinks a moment) How about this necklace?

[AUDUN takes off a necklace he was wearing and hands it to POLAR BEAR OWNER.]

POLAR BEAR OWNER:
Better. What else?

[AUDUN removes his jacket and hands it over to POLAR BEAR OWNER.]

POLAR BEAR OWNER:
Hmm, yes. That will do. Very well then. The POLAR BEAR is yours!

[POLAR BEAR OWNER hands the end of the rope to AUDUN. POLAR BEAR OWNER exits. POLAR BEAR walks up to AUDUN and growls in greeting.]

MERCHANT:
You just gave away your jacket!

AUDUN:
It was worth it.

MERCHANT:
This is Greenland, what were you thinking!  Ah, the young. What do they know? (reaches into the chest and takes out a jacket) Here.  It’s a good thing we have an extra one.

AUDUN:
Oh, thanks. (puts on jacket) What a fine gift this polar bear will make! I will offer it to none other but the king of Denmark himself, King Sven.

MERCHANT:
Let me get this straight.  You just paid 500 rigsdaler and your jacket for this polar bear?

AUDUN:
And a necklace.  What a treasure this is!

MERCHANT:
All for the king of Denmark?

AUDUN:
None other.

MERCHANT:
That will be at the very end of our journey.

AUDUN:
Perfect!

SUPPORT OUR MISSION & JOIN OUR COMMUNITY WITH A YEARLY MEMBERSHIP TO GET ACCESS TO THIS & OVER 40 FUN TO PERFORM READER’S THEATER SCRIPTS, ALL  OF OUR AWARD-WINNING STORIES (OVER 100!), 12 STORY SETS INCLUDING PERFORMANCE NOTES & POSTER, PLUS OUR TEACHER RESOURCE GUIDES (OVER 30 PAGES EACH!), AS WELL AS OUR JUST FOR TEACHERS RESOURCES, AUDIO STORIES AND OUR FORUM!  OUR STORIES & SCRIPTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE KID-TESTED AND ALL CONTAIN POSITIVE MESSAGES!