perfnotes1revplay

AUTHORS: Elaine Lindy & Simon Kaplan
COUNTRY: Zimbabwe
GENRE: AdventureAnimal TalesFairytalesMagical Creatures

chief-five-heads-play

Chief Five Heads-Reader’s Theater Script for Kids

CHARACTERS
  • NARRATOR
  • TAWONGA (father)
  • ARANI (elder sister)
  • NIKKI (younger sister)
  • MOUSE / TRIBESMAN #2
  • FROG / TRIBESMAN #3
  • BANGA (boy)BOY / TRIBESMAN #4
  • TAFARI (sister of Chief)
  • TRIBESMAN #1
  • CHIEF FIVE HEADS
  • BRIDAL PARTY #1 / TRIBESWOMAN #1
  • BRIDAL PARTY #2 / TRIBESWOMAN #2
  • BRIDAL PARTY #3 / TRIBESWOMAN #3

 

 Scene 1 – Outside the Chief’s village

[Stage Set: None.  This short scene can take place between the road and the Chief’s village, near the front of the stage, in front of the set pieces.]

[NARRATOR enters.]

NARRATOR:
Hello, everyone.  You are about to see “Chief Five Heads,” a story from Zimbabwe (pronounce: zim-BAB-way), in Africa. The story is brought to you by Stories to Grow by.

[NARRATOR steps forward.]

NARRATOR:
There was once a father of high rank and nobility who had two daughters who were the pride of his life. His name was Tawonga, and he was a curious man.  In those days, if you wanted to know the gossip from other villages and towns, you had to go to the Chief’s village.  (turns to where Father will enter) Ah!  Here is Tawonga now.

[TAWONGA enters from one side of the stage. TRIBESMAN #1 enters from the opposite side.]

TAWONGA:
(tries to catch the attention of Tribeman #1) Excuse me sir, if you don’t mind.

TRIBESMAN #1
What is it?  You look like a stranger, are you?

TAWONGA:
I came from a village far away. Back home, we hear absolutely no news of the land. Can you tell me what’s going on?

TRIBESMAN #1:
That’s easy. About a month ago, our Chief announced he is looking for a wife.

TAWONGA:
That’s big news!

TRIBESMAN #1:
You bet. As you can imagine, every eligible young maiden in the village has been presenting herself before the Chief.

TAWONGA:
And who did he chose?

TRIBESMAN #1:
That’s just it. None of them has met with his approval.

TAWONGA:
How can that be?  I see so many great beauties in your village.

TRIBESMAN #1:
It’s a puzzle, I can tell you that. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for him.

TAWONGA:
What else is he looking for?

TRIBESMAN #1:
(shrugs) Who knows? It’s all anyone can talk about.

[TRIBESWOMAN #1 and TRIBESWOMAN #2 enter.  They speak the next few lines as they continue to walk across the stage.]

TRIBESWOMAN #1:
So Johannah presented herself to the Chief.

TRIBESWOMAN #2:
Oh my gosh!  He must have been impressed with her!

TRIBESWOMAN #1:
You would think, right?  What IS it with this Chief, anyway?

TRIBESWOMAN #2:
Seriously, what IS his problem?

TRIBESWOMAN #1:
I wish I were young enough to try.

TRIBESWOMAN #2:
Me, too.  Those were the days.  But really, what difference would it make?  Nothing pleases this Chief!

[TRIBESWOMAN #1 and TRIBESWOMAN #2 exit.]

TAWONGA:
I see what you mean.  

TRIBESMAN #1:
There’s no shortage of maidens. They flock in from all over. Tell me, you don’t happen to have a daughter, do you?

TAWONGA:
As a matter of fact, I have two.  Both of marriagable age, actually.

TRIBESMAN #1:
Lucky you. I just have sons. (sighs) Five.

TAWONGA:
Five!  So… you think one of my daughters may have a chance?

TRIBESMAN #1:
You might as well encourage them.  Why not give it a shot?

TAWONGA:
Hmm..

[TAWONGA pantomimes conversing with TRIBESMAN #1. The two of them pantomime saying goodbye.]

NARRATOR:
News like this does not come every day. What will his daughters think?

[TAWONGA rushes offstage.]

Scene 2 – Tawonga’s Village

[Stage set:  The stage is divided into three sections.  Tawonga’s Village is on one side of the stage, The road is in the middle of the stage, and The chief’s Village is on the other side of the stage.] 

[This scene takes place in Tawonga’s village, and on stage sits Tawonga’s hut. (See Performance notes for suggestions on how to create a hut.)]

[TAWONGA enters.]

TAWONGA:
Arani!  Nikki! Come quickly! I have most exciting news!

[ARANI and NIKKI rush onstage.]

NIKKI:
Father!

ARANI:
What is it? What’s the word from the Chief’s village?

TAWONGA:
Wait till you hear this. (daughters come closer) You won’t believe it.

ARANI:
What? Tell us!

TAWONGA:
The Chief is looking to marry!

[DAUGHTERS clap hands and squeal with delight.]

NIKKI:
And has he found a bride?

TAWONGA:
Not yet. None of the young maidens in the village have suited him. Meaning…

[Again, DAUGHTERS clap hands and squeal with delight.]

TAWONGA:
(smiles) I see you are both catching my drift. Which one of you would like to travel to the village to present yourself to the Chief?

ARANI:
(speaks quickly before Nikki can answer) Yes, me. I will go. I’ll be the one to present myself to the Chief.

TAWONGA:
(to Nikki) And you, my daughter?

NIKKI:
It is fine that Arani goes. After all, she is older.

ARANI:
ELDER.

NIKKI:
Right. Elder.

TAWONGA:
Then it’s settled. (to Arani) You should prepare yourself with a bridal party.

NIKKI:
Father, I can help Arani get the bridal party ready.

ARANI:
Don’t trouble yourself. It is better if I go alone. (to audience) I know how to court a husband. (tosses hair) I will set off right away!

NIKKI:
Well, if that’s what you want. Good luck, sister!

TAWONGA:
Yes, good luck! 

[ARANI waves goodbye to TAWONGA and NIKKI. TAWONGA and NIKKI exit.]

[ARANI walks toward the road, in the middle of the stage.]

Scene 3 – Outside the Chief’s village

[Stage set: This Scene takes place in the middle of the stage, in between Tawonga’s Village and the Chief’s Village.  Cardboard trees, bushes, and rocks can be place on stage. (See Performance Notes for ideas on making these.)]

NARRATOR:
And so Arani, the elder sister, started on her journey. She was traveling by herself but she wasn’t alone for long.

[ARANI walks in a loop in the middle section of the stage.  On the return loop, MOUSE runs onstage.]

ARANI:
(jumps away) Eek, a mouse! Stay away from me.

MOUSE:
(in a squeaky voice) I’m just a mouse! Besides, maybe I came here to help you.

ARANI:
I highly doubt that YOU, a mouse, could help ME. I am to be the wife of the Chief!

MOUSE:
Aren’t you SPECIAL?  The way you talk, you can’t succeed.

ARANI:
Like I’d ever look to a MOUSE for advice on how to succeed.

MOUSE:
Whatever! Suit yourself.

[MOUSE scurries off.]

ARANI:
Stupid mouse.

[FROG hops on stage at the opposite side from where MOUSE exited.]

ARANI:
Ugh! Not my day. First a mouse, now this pimply frog.

FROG:
(in a croaking voice) Greetings!

ARANI:
“Greetings”? Apparently you don’t know know I am. I am going to be the wife of the Chief!

FROG:
Well, I can show you the way to the village. Just follow me.

ARANI:
You can’t be suggesting I would enter the village for the first time, behind a frog!

FROG:
Well, then.  Excuse me for croaking!

ARANI:
Take your croaking somewhere else.

FROG:
Gladly.

[FROG turns around and hops off.]

ARANI:
Good riddance. What a day! (wipes brow) I have been walking since dawn. (looks upward) It’s high noon. It’s as good a time as any to rest and have my lunch. (walks over to the tree, sits in front of it, and reaches into a cloth bag) Mm, salted fish and pumpkin bread. My favorite!

[BANGA, a boy, enters, herding goats. He notices ARANI.]

BANGA:
Pardon me, young maiden. I was herding goats all day. But one of them made off with my lunch. Would you be so kind to share a bite of yours?

ARANI:
Am I never to have a moment’s peace?

BANGA:
Uh, sorry for disturbing you. Though about that bite?

ARANI:
A bite? And where does that lead? To the next one, no doubt. I need every morsel to nurture my naturally curly hair. (tosses hair) Curls like this don’t just HAPPEN, you know.

BANGA:
I guess.  So, that’s a “yes” on a bite of lunch?

ARANI:
Dream on! Go beg from someone else! (takes a big bite) Mmm… yum!

[BANGA sighs loudly. He exits.]

[TAFARI, the sister of the Chief, enters.]

TAFARI:
Hello, young lady.

ARANI:
(mouth full of food) ‘Ello.

TAFARI:
Looks like you’re traveling. If you don’t mind my asking, are you coming to the Chief’s village? Or just passing through?

ARANI:
You know. I’m missing something.

TAFARI:
(looks around) What?

ARANI:
The part where I said to you: “Hello. Let’s have a conversation.” Do you remember my saying that?

TAFARI:
Uh, no. Not really.

ARANI:
Right. Because I’m not remembering it, either. (pauses) Though if you MUST know. I am here because I intend to be the wife of the Chief.

TAFARI:
Oh! So you ARE going to the village. In that case, you would be interested to know that I am the sister of the Chief.

ARANI:
Uh… you are? I mean… (stands and wipes dress of crumbs) It’s nice to meet you.

TAFARI:
(skeptically) I’m sure. Well, since you have come this far, let me give you a bit of advice. It is better if you do not enter the village by this side. Go instead from THAT (pointing offstage) side.

ARANI:
Why does it even matter?

TAFARI:
Just saying.

ARANI:
Sure. Whatever.

[ARANI picks up her things and walks to front of stage while TAFARI takes a seat by the tree.]

ARANI:
(to audience) That’s just what I need, meddling in-laws. And she’s probably not even really the sister of the Chief. Everyone has a story. Well, no one is telling THIS (points to herself) future Chief’s wife how to make an entrance.

[ARANI exits in the opposite direction from where she was told to go. ]

Scene 4 – Inside the Chief’s village

[Stage Set: At the other end of the stage is the Chief’s Village.  There are three huts onstage.  (See Performance Notes for ideas on making the huts).]

[ARANI enters.  TRIBESPEOPLE meet her as she arrives in the village.]

TRIBESMAN #2:
Stop! Who are you and what are you doing here?

ARANI:
I have come to marry your Chief.

TRIBESMAN #3:
Where is your bridal party?

ARANI:
Who needs a bridal party?

TRIBESMAN #2:
And why did you enter the village this way, from the front?

ARANI:
Why not? It’s as good a way as any other.

TRIBESWOMAN #1:
How rude!

TRIBESMAN #2:
She doesn’t understand our ways.

TRIBESWOMAN #2:
She doesn’t want to even LEARN our ways.

ARANI:
Where is the Chief?

TRIBESWOMAN #3:
(steps forward to Arani) The Chief is not at home. But if you want to be his wife, you must first prepare supper for him. When he comes back in the evening he will taste what you prepared.

TRIBESMAN #2:
(hands Arani a cloth bag, tied at the top and something to grind with) Here is some millet to grind.

ARANI:
(not thrilled with the prospect of grinding millet) Great. (to audience) In the future THEY will grind millet for ME.

TRIBESMAN #3:
(to other Tribespeople, as they exit) We go through a lot of millet this way.

[All but ARANI exit. ARANI sits down and begins to grind millet (See Performance Notes for what to grind millet with).]

ARANI:
Ugh! Who needs this? Besides, the Chief will be too distracted by my charms to notice anything else. (strikes a pose)

NARRATOR:
And so the millet bread, such as it was, was baked.

[A strong blowing wind sound is heard.  (See Performance Notes for ideas on simulating the wind sound.)]

ARANI:
What is that?

[TRIBESMAN #2 and TRIBESWOMAN #1 enter.]

TRIBESMAN #2:
Our Chief approaches.

TRIBESWOMAN #1:
Is your bread ready?

[CHIEF FIVE HEADS comes on. He is wearing a mask that has five faces. (See Performance Notes for detail on the mask.)]

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
I am Chief Five Heads! Why have you come here!

ARANI:
I am presenting myself to become to be your wife.

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
I see you’ve made me dinner. Let me have a taste.

ARANI:
Yes, Chief.

[She hands him the bread. She strikes poses, trying to look alluring.]

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
(chews and is not pleased) Hmm. This bread is coarse. It was prepared by someone who does not want to put the time into doing a good job.

ARANI:
Chief, I have other attributes. (tosses hair)

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
You think a village can be managed without attention to detail? You shall not be my wife!

ARANI:
What?!?

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
Begone with you!

ARANI:
Well, I NEVER!

[ARANI turns around and rushes offstage.  Everyone else exits.]

Scene 5 – Tawonga’s Village

[Stage Set: As seen in Scene 2.]

[TAWONGA and NIKKI enter.  ARAINI rushed on stage.]

ARANI:
It was horrible, sister. Just horrible. Chief Five Heads is a monster. I would not marry him in a million years. (to her father) Why did you even send me there?

TAWONGA:
You chose to go, remember? You wanted to.

ARANI:
I’ll never make THAT mistake again.

NIKKI:
Father, if it’s all right, as my sister no longer is interested, may I present myself to the Chief?

ARANI:
Don’t be stupid. If he acted as crazy as he did with ME, he will eat you alive.

TAWONGA
(to Arani) If she chooses to go, she may. And I’m sure the Chief doesn’t actually eat anyone. (to Nikki) Shall I call for your bridal party?

NIKKI:
Yes please, Father.

TAWONGA:
Everyone! Come help escort my daughter to her new husband!

[BRIDAL PARTY #1, BRIDAL PARTY #2, and BRIDAL PARTY #3 enter.]

ARANI:
You’ll have to manage without me. Been there, done that.

NIKKI:
As you wish, Sister.  I’m taking a beauty nap.  I’m exhausted!

[ARANI exits.]

BRIDAL PARTY #1:
Are you ready to go?

BRIDAL PARTY #2:
I have peanut butter rice balls and pumpkin bread for the journey.

BRIDAL PARTY #3:
I have the combs and brushes.

BRIDAL PARTY #1:
And I have the papaya (pronounce: pah-PIE-yah) candy.

NIKKI:
Sounds like a party on the road! Well, we may as well get going.

[BRIDAL PARTY and NIKKI walk toward the road, in the middle of the stage.]

Scene 6 – The Road

[Stage Set: As in Scene 3.]

NARRATOR:
And so the younger sister started on her journey, too.

[BRIDAL PARTY and NIKKI walk in a loop.  MOUSE enters.]

MOUSE:
(in a squeaky voice) Greetings!

NIKKI:
A talking mouse, what an adventure!

MOUSE:
I can do more than that! I can tell you what road is best to take.

NIKKI:
All the better, thank you!

MOUSE:
(points) That’s the way to go.

NIKKI:
And I was going to go in the complete opposite direction.

MOUSE:
Glad to oblige.

NIKKI:
Bit of cheese? (takes some cheese out of her cloth bag and offers to Mouse)

MOUSE:
As I said, (takes the cheese) glad to oblige.

[MOUSE skitters offstage.]

NIKKI:
Wasn’t that something?

[FROG hops onstage.]

NIKKI:
Maybe this frog talks, too. Hello, Frog. How are you today?

FROG:
(“ribbet”) Greetings.

NIKKI:
It does!

FROG:
I can say more. (“ribbet”) I presume a young woman such as yourself is traveling to see our great Chief. Am I correct? (“ribbet”)

NIKKI:
Exactly right. How did you know?

FROG:
That bridal party is a dead give-away. (“ribbet”)

[BRIDAL PARTY giggles.]

FROG:
Listen to me. You know what direction to go, is that right?

NIKKI:
Uh-huh.

FROG:
The path will fork. When it does, take the path on the right. It’s safer.

NIKKI:
Okay, good to know. Thank you, Frog.

[FROG hops offstage.]

[BANGA enters, herding goats.]

NIKKI:
(to audience) My goodness, the way folks come and go around here.

[BANGA notices YOUNGER SISTER.]

BANGA:
Pardon me. I see you came with a bridal party.

[BRIDAL PARTY twitters and giggles, flirting with BANGA.]

BANGA:
I imagine you brought enough lunch for everyone. Have a bit extra, do you?

NIKKI:
We might.

BANGA:
You see, the goats keep eating my lunch. (to audience) Okay, maybe I’m not the best shepherd in the world, all right?

NIKKI:
Say no more. Come here, join us.  And you are–?

BANGA:
Banga.  And thank you kindly, Miss.

[They all sit. One of the BRIDAL PARTY offers BANGA some food. BANGA takes it and eats.]

NIKKI:
Tell me. How close are we to the village of Chief Five Heads?

BANGA:
Very close. When you reach the river after the fork, you will meet a girl by the river. You must speak nicely to her. She will give you millet to grind. You must grind it well. When you see the Chief, you must not be afraid.

NIKKI:
(worried) Why would I be afraid?

BANGA:
It’s the five heads.

NIKKI:
Five heads, really? My goodness!

BANGA:
Think nothing of it. Here’s what’s to remember. The river after the fork, meet the girl. Speak nicely. Grind the millet well. Don’t be afraid.

NIKKI:
Okay, got it. Thanks.

BANGA:
Back to the goats now, Miss.

NIKKI:
Better luck with keeping the lunches.

BANGA:
If only.

[BANGA exits.]

[NIKKI and BRIDAL PARTY walk to other side of the stage, into CHIEF’S village.]

Scene 7 – Inside the chief’s village

[Stage Set: As in Scene 4.]

[NIKKI with her BRIDAL PARTY enter the village.]

[TAFARI enters to greet them.]

TAFARI:
Greetings, stranger. I’ve never seen you around here before. I see you’ve come with a bridal party.

NIKKI:
Actually, yes. And this is the end of my journey.

TAFARI:
You must be here to meet the Chief.

NIKKI:
That’s right.

TAFARI:
Be aware. Many are afraid when they see the Chief.

NIKKI:
I heard about that.

TAFARI:
In fairness, the five heads can look scary when he’s not pleased. But my brother can be very wonderful, too.

NIKKI:
I’m sure that’s true, too. I only hope that I please him.

TAFARI:
That’s you and me both. (calls) Come!

[TRIBESWOMAN #1, TRIBESWOMAN #2, and TRIBESWOMAN #3 enter.]

TAFARI:
This young woman…? (turns to Nikki)

NIKKI:
Nikki.

TAFARI:
…Nikki, and her bridal party, have had a long journey. Give them food and a place to rest.

TRIBESWOMAN #1:
Come with us.

TRIBESWOMAN #2:
We have roasted butternut squash. Cornmeal cake. Beef stew, too.

BRIDAL PARTY, together:
Mmmh!

TRIBESWOMAN #3:
The guest hut is big enough for all of you to take a nap before dinner, if you like.

BRIDAL PARTY #1:
I could use a nap.

BRIDAL PARTY #2:
I’m half asleep already.

BRIDAL PARTY #1:
There will be food left over for our mistress, is that right?

TRIBESWOMAN #1:
Of course.

BRIDAL PARTY #3:
Did they say cornmeal cake?

[TRIBESWOMEN and BRIDAL PARTY exit.]

TAFARI:
You must prepare some food for the chief. He is not here now, but he will come back soon. (hands millet to Nikki) Grind this and turn it into the best bread you can possibly make.

NIKKI:
All right.

[All exit but NIKKI.]

NIKKI:
(grinds the millet) The secret to soft bread is grinding the millet very fine. To a powder, even. (keeps grinding, with energy)

NARRATOR:
And so the Younger Sister baked the bread.

[A strong blowing wind sound is heard. (See Performance Notes for ideas on simulating the wind sound)  CHIEF FIVE HEADS enters once more with his entourage of spinning streamers.]

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
I am Chief Five Heads! I hear that you have come from faraway with a bridal party.

NIKKI:
(stands) Yes, I have.

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
And I see you’ve made me dinner. Bring it here.

NIKKI:
All right.

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
Mmm. Melts in my mouth! My goodness, it takes great care to make bread as fine as this.

NIKKI:
Thank you, Chief.

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
You care for what you do. What’s more, I also happen to know you are kind to those around you.

NIKKI:
Sir?

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
I know this because it was I who was the mouse, and the frog. I was even the boy, Banga.

NIKKI:
You were?

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
Indeed. That is how I know about you. In addition, you make an AWESOME millet bread.

[CHIEF FIVE HEADS takes off his mask.]

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
This is my true form. As you can see, I am not a monster.

NIKKI:
I did not think you were a monster.

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
Ah, there is no maiden like you in my village. There is no maiden like you from all who have come to call! (takes her hand) Will you be my wife?

NIKKI:
Chief, it would be my honor.

CHIEF FIVE HEADS:
My people, come forward. Witness the wedding of your chief and his chosen bride.

[All enter and make a semi-circle around the newlyweds. All bow to the couple.]

ALL:
All hail Chief Five Heads and his bride!

NARRATOR:
And so in the years to follow, the Chief and his wife ruled happily and well. Arani and her father moved to the Chief’s village.

[ARANI enters, followed by TAWONGA.]

ARANI:
What do I have to do to get a little service around this village? You would think the sister of a Chief’s wife would command a LITTLE respect!

TAWONGA:
My dear, ever since we moved here to the Chief’s village, you’ve seemed, well, discontent. Would you be happier if we returned back home?

ARANI:
THAT backwater town? Let’s not get carried away. (brushes her dress) I’ve gotten kind of used to this life. My sister is the wife of the Chief, after all.

NARRATOR:
As I was saying. The elder sister and her father lived, well, more or less happily.

ARANI:
(from offstage) Seriously! Do I need to wait all day?

NARRATOR:
And so our tale of Chief Five Heads is told.  The end.

[If you have a curtain, close it now. If you do not, fade the lights. If you have no stage lights, all actors come on stage and bow to the audience.]

end

CONTACT US:

info@storiestogrowby.org

1-855-WHOOTIE (946-6843)

REVIEWS

Rating Entries

No Reviews Posted.

print

Review Here






Similar Stories You Will Love




SOURCE
 The play script, "Chief Five Heads," was adapted by Simon Kaplan from a story of the same name found at https://www.storiestogrowby.org/story/chief-five-heads/  and further described at the end of the story.  ©2006 Elaine L. Lindy.  All rights reserved.

FOOTNOTE

The tale was collected from people living by the Zimbabwe ruins, a site that archaeologists now consider to have been a magnificent trade city built and occupied by indigenous Africans.