perfnotes1

AUTHORS: Retold by Elaine Lindy & Adapted by Lindsay Parker
COUNTRY: Bolivia
GENRE: AdventureFairytalesMagical Creatures




magi-meSusu & the Magic Mirror-Reader's Theater Play Script for Kids

 

CHARACTERS

• NARRATOR
• MANO servant
• SUSU
• FATHER
• STEPMOTHER
• OWL #1
• OWL #2
• FALCON
• CHICO
• JUAN

 

Scene 1 – Susu and her Father's house

[Stage Set: The stage is set with three areas:

  • At one end, the interior of Susu's FATHER’s house is shown.  If you have a backdrop, paint that section to show the interior of a Spanish-style house.  Place two chairs in FATHER's house, one chair that is  upholstered and nicer looking, with a blanket draped over it, and one other chair that's plain. Next to the upholstered chair place an end table with a book on top.  From the ceiling, suspend a cutout of a window, separating this setting from the rest of the stage.  (See Performance Notes for suggestions on the backdrop and window cutout). 
  • In the middle of the stage is shown the garden outside of FATHER's house.  In the garden indicate a fountain.  The fountain may be painted into the backdrop, or it could be a freestanding prop. Place one chair beside the fountain.  Also place a grindstone is near the fountain, though the grindstone should fade into the background as its importance is revealed only at the end of the play.  (See Performance Notes for suggestions on the fountain and grindstone.)
  • The third area of the stage is a woodsy scene.  If you have a backdrop, paint that section to show a dark forest of trees and bushes.  One prominent tree needs to be shown for a scene later in the play.  If possible, create a prop for the "tree." Otherwise, paint the tree into the backdrop.  (See Performance Notes for suggestions on the prominent tree).  A crescent moon, which can be cut from paper, should hang in front of the backdrop.]

[When the play opens, FATHER sits, slumped, in the upholstered chair. SUSU sits beside him, flustered and anxiously tending to her father.]

[While NARRATOR speaks the opening lines below, servant MANO enters,.  MANO holds a tray with a teapot and two cups, sets the tray on the end table, and gives a cup of tea to FEATHER and SUSU.  SUSU sips the tea but FATHER does not.  MANO bows slightly, is dismissed by FATHER, and exits.

NARRATOR:
Hello, everyone.  This play is “Susu and the Magic Mirror,” a folk tale from South America. It is brought to you by Stories to Grow by.

[NARRATOR steps forward.]

NARRATOR:
Susu was the daughter of a very rich man and a very kind one, and he loved his daughter more than anything. The mother had died when Susu was but a child.  Still, for many years, there was happiness. Eventually the father married again and before long, well, (gestures to Susu who is anxiously looking at her father, who seems seak and sick) it was clear SOMETHING was going on.

SUSU:
Father, I can’t remember the last time you had a full meal. And you've gotten so pale.  Why no appetite?

FATHER:
(sadly) It’s true, I haven’t felt like myself lately.

[Quietly, NARRATOR exits.]

SUSU:
(stands) That's it!  I’m going to get a doctor.

FATHER:
Child, sit down. (to audience) How can I tell her? (to Susu) Susu, there is nothing a doctor can do for me. I can feel an illness growing inside me. Each day it grows stronger, and I know the truth - my days on this earth are coming to an end.

SUSU:
What?! Don’t talk that way! That’s what doctors and medicine are for. 

FATHER:
If only it were that simple! (leans forward) Child, one of my enemies must have cast a spell on me. Every day I get weaker (whispers) and weaker.

SUSU:
But who would cast a spell on you? No one would want to harm you.

FATHER:
Chiquita (sheh-KEE-dah), when I am gone, your stepmother will care for you tenderly.

SUSU:
Don’t talk like that!

FATHER:
You know she loves you as dearly as I do.

SUSU:
It’s not the same! (covers her ears) I won’t hear any more of this!

[SUSU runs offstage.]

Scene 2 – Outside father's house/Inside father's house.

[Stage set: The fountain area described in Scene 1 that's located in the middle of the stage.]

[SUSU enters and helps her father to walk to the fountain.  She helps him get settled in the chair. FATHER sits with some difficulty.]

SUSU:
You must be feeling better today, Father, to ask to go outside.

FATHER:
Sitting here by this fountain always makes me happy. And I'm with you, my dove.  What more could I want? I almost feel -

[STEPMOTHER enters and stands by the fountain.]

FATHER:
Oh, my love!  (clutches his heart in pain) Here it is again! (lays his other hand on Susu’s shoulder and leans on her for support) This is too much! I must go inside and rest.

STEPMOTHER:
(in a dead-pan voice) You do that, dear.

FATHER:
(leaned over) I'm sorry.

SUSU:
Don't apologize, my goodness!  Father, come on.  Lean on me. Take it easy, now.

[SUSU leads FATHER to the upholstered chair in the interior house area of the stage.  FATHER slowly sits on the upholstered chair, as if in pain. SUSU gathers the blanket draped on the back of the chair and sets it over his shoulders and legs.]

[While SUSU is taking FATHER inside, OWL #1 and OWL #2 enter and come to the front of the stage, where STEPMOTHER silently greets them.]

FATHER:
Susu, go back to your stepmother. She's waiting for you.

SUSU:
I won’t leave you!

FATHER:
(nods toward Stepmother) I’ll be able to see you through the window. Go to her, now. This has been as hard on my wife as it’s been on me.

SUSU:
(sighs) All right.  If that’s what you want. (pats the blanket, kisses her father on the head, and goes over to the fountain)

[FATHER picks up the book. He watches SUSU walk over to the fountain, then starts to read.]

[STEPMOTHER stands in front of the fountain, at the front of the stage, and is whispering to OWLS. (See Performance Notes, under Sets, for tips on placing OWL #1 "in" the tree.]]

STEPMOTHER:
(notices Susu at the fountain and calls out to her in an ultra-sweet voice) Come here, darling. Stand next to me.

SUSU:
Yes, Stepmother. (moves closer to Stepmother)

[STEPMOTHER looks up to see if her husband is watching. FATHER notices her, looks up from his reading and waves.]

STEPMOTHER:
(to Susu) Put your arm around my waist, Susu. (Susu does this) This way, your father will see us and think that I love you. (leans forward to Susu and hisses) But I hate you, hate you, HATE YOU!

OWL #1:
We hate you…

OWL #2:
Hate you…

OWL #1:
HATE YOU! Whoo..!

OWL #2:
..WHOO!

SUSU:
(shocked) What? Why?  (tries to pull away)

[STEPMOTHER grips SUSU.]

SUSU:
Ouch!

STEPMOTHER:
You know as well as I do that your father is getting sicker and sicker. Each day, he nears his own death. As for me, that day cannot happen soon enough. His land, this fine house and all these riches will be mine, MINE!

OWL #1:
Mine!

OWL #2:
MINE!

OWL #1: and OWL #2, together:
Whoo, WHOO!

[SUSU struggles to pull away from STEPMOTHER.]

SUSU:
You can’t mean that!

STEPMOTHER:
Don't be a fool! (lets go of Susu) If you breathe even one word of anything you saw or heard today, that very moment your father will drop dead! (laughs heartily)

[OWLS laugh heartily with STEPMOTHER.]

SUSU:
No!!

[SUSU runs offstage.]

[Stagehands remove the fountain (if it’s moveable) and the chair that was in front of the fountain. Stagehands move a large bush onstage. If the fountain is painted on the backdrop, the bush should be large enough to cover the fountain.]

Scene 3 – Pasture where Chico and Juan live

[Stage set: The pasture is indicated in the middle of the stage, where the fountain scene had taken place in the last scene.  As noted, a large bush is located where the fountain had been.  (See Performance Notes for the bush).]

        [NARRATOR enters.]

NARRATOR:
Susu found herself wandering through the woods and up into the mountains, lost in her thoughts.  There she saw a big falcon flying with something in its mouth.  Curious, Susu chased after the bird.

[As NARRATOR exits, FALCON enters from the opposite side, “flying,” and holding a mirror under one wing. (See Performance Notes for the mirror. Tip: it shouldn’t be a real mirror.) SUSU enters after FALCON.]

SUSU:
Wait!

FALCON:
Follow me. Follow me!

SUSU:
I wish I knew what the falcon is carrying.  It's so shiny!

[FALCON swoops to behind the large bush and drops the mirror. A corner of the mirror is left visible to the audience from behind the bush. FALCON flies off.]

FALCON:
(in a low voice) Behind the bush! Behind the bush!

[FALCON exits.]

SUSU:
What did you say?

[SUSU starts to chase after the FALCON, then stops and turns back.  She notices the mirror sticking out from behind the bush and goes back to examine, then jumps up, holding the mirror.]

SUSU:
Why, it’s a mirror! And it wasn’t chipped from the fall. (traces her finger over the mirror) Hmm. There is something odd about this mirror. But what exactly? I can’t put my finger on it. Wait, my friend Chico lives near here. He might know. Or maybe that wise old fellow Juan (pronounce: WAN).  He herds llamas with Chico.  Juan would know, if anyone would.

[SUSU walks over from the large bush to the pasture area where CHICO sits on the chair. If the actor playing CHICO can play a recorder or flute, he should play a few notes on it now. Or, a recording of a flute or recorder music can be played offstage while CHICO pretends to play.]

CHICO:
Susu! It’s been awhile.

SUSU:
Good to see you, Chico. How are you doing?

CHICO:
Same old, same old. Herding the llamas. In the morning, I take them to the hills in the morning.  Then bring them back to their fence at the end of the day. The spring shearing season went well, I’ll say that. How’s everything with you?

SUSU:
I’m okay. But my father’s gotten sick.

CHICO:
(concerned) Really? I’m sorry to hear that. Do the doctors know what’s wrong?

SUSU:
He won’t see a doctor! It happened so quickly, Chico.  Now he's sick, and other odd things are happening, too.

CHICO:
Like what?SUSU:

Like how I found this mirror (holds up mirror). Just a little while ago a falcon flew by holding a mirror in its wing.

CHICO:
Birds can't hold a mirror.

SUSU:
I didn’t think so, either. But it did. Then the falcon swooped down behind a bush. And when it flew, it called out to me: “Behind the bush!”

CHICO:
Wait, the falcon called to you to go behind the bush? Did you?

SUSU:
Well, yes. That’s where I found this mirror.

CHICO:
Well, now. (points to mirror) May I look at it?

[SUSU hands CHICO the mirror. CHICO runs one finger around the frame.]

CHICO:
(wondering) What is it about this mirror? Something feels different.

SUSU:
I know, right? What do you make of it?

CHICO:
I can’t tell. (looks up) But there's someone who might know.

SUSU:
I think I know.

CHICO:
Yup. If Juan doesn’t know, no one will.

[JUAN enters. He is old and walks with a cane.]

JUAN:
If Juan doesn’t know about what?

CHICO:
There you are, just when we need you. Juan, Susu found this mirror. (hands mirror to Juan) Do you notice anything peculiar about it?

JUAN:
(considers the mirror) Where did you find this mirror, Susu? Is it yours?

SUSU:
A falcon left it behind a bush for me, I think. I guess that makes me the owner of the mirror.

JUAN:
Indeed. Susu, this is a very special mirror!

SUSU:
Why?

JUAN:
This is the magic mirror that once belonged to the wizard Paracaca (pronounce: pahr-uh-KAK-uh).

CHICO:
I’m sorry. Who?

JUAN:
(turns the mirror around in his hands) Paracaca. A wizard of great powers who lived many years ago. He created magical objects no wizard since has been able to repeat. Susu, Chico, I can tell you without a doubt that there is no mirror like this in the entire world.

SUSU:
What makes it so special?

JUAN:
Think of it this way. A normal mirror will show the reflection of the person who's looking into it.

[SUSU and CHICO shrug, as if to say: “Yes, that’s normal.”]

JUAN:
But if anyone looks into THIS mirror along with the owner of the mirror, the owner sees something very different in the reflection.

CHICO:
What does the owner see in the mirror's reflection?

JUAN:
The hidden spirit of the one who also is looking into the mirror. If someone is kind and trustworthy, the owner of the mirror will see kindness in the person’s reflection. But if he or she has the heart of a jaguar, then the owner will see the evil in that person’s heart.

CHICO:
Susu, let’s try this out. (to audience) I hope this goes all right. I'm going to take my chances.

[SUSU also moves to behind JUAN, where she can see the reflection of CHICO and JUAN in the mirror.]

SUSU:
I see your friendly faces.CHICO:

No jaguars – that’s a relief!

SUSU:
(teases) Were you worried? (to audience) If only I could tell them what my stepmother said. But I mustn’t breathe a word about THAT! (to Chico and Juan) If I’m really the owner of this magic mirror, maybe it can help me find out something about why my father is sick.

CHICO:
That's a good idea!

SUSU:
I must go home, right now.

CHICO:
Susu, can I come with you?

SUSU:
Sure, that would be nice.

CHICO:
Great! It’ll be good to see your father again. That is… (to Juan) if you don’t mind bringing in the herd today.

JUAN:
You two young people go on ahead. I’ll take in the llamas.

CHICO:
Thanks, Juan. I owe you.

JUAN:
Take care of that mirror.

[CHICO gathers his bow, arrows, and his recorder or flute.]

CHICO:
Ready?

SUSU:
Let’s go.

[SUSU and CHICO walk back and forth across the stage a couple of times. If you have a recording of Spanish music, especially flute music, it would be nice to play it now as background music. The music stops before SUSU says her next line.]

SUSU:
Let’s stop for a rest.

CHICO:
Sure. (both sit down on the floor and cross their legs) You know, talking about the magic mirror made me think about the strangest dream I had last night.

SUSU:
What happened in your dream?

CHICO:
Last night there was a thin new moon, remember?

[SUSU nods.]

CHICO:
I was having trouble sleeping because of all the frogs croaking.

SUSU:
They can be loud.

CHICO:
They were indeed. So I woke up, or at least in my dream I woke up. Then I realized it wasn’t only the frogs that were making noises. There were all kinds of other animals, too, were making weird sounds.

SUSU:
What other animals?

CHICO:
Bats, hundreds of them! And owls, bigger than you've ever seen!  All swooping around in the sky. (gestures using both arms as if swooping around in the sky)

SUSU:
Big owls? (to audience) There were two huge owls in the woods with my stepmother. (stands) Chico, let's get going!  You can tell me more as we walk.

CHICO:
Okay.

[SUSU and CHICO stand. They walk back and forth across the stage as they talk.]

CHICO:
So in my dream, I stepped outside to see what was going on. In addition to the owls and the bats, horrible creatures of all sorts — snakes, centipedes, and huge gray spiders — were crawling out from under rocks and holes.

SUSU:
That sounds awful!

CHICO:
All these miserable creatures gathered round in a circle. At the center of the circle was a giant white two-headed toad.

SUSU:
Two heads?!

CHICO:
Yes, two serpents were slithering around its neck.  Then the toad spoke.  It said this:
“Who knows where hides our queen? Hoo!”

First one creature and then another answered:
“The toad, our queen, lies hid unsought
Beneath the stone that men have wrought.”

SUSU:
“Beneath the stone that men have wrought.” What does that even mean?

CHICO:
No idea. But it went on like that. A mad and horrible concert! I couldn’t take another second of it. I had to run away from that place!

SUSU:
/is that when you woke up?

CHICO:
Yeah. But Susu, even thinking of it now, it still gives me the chills.

SUSU:
(points) Look, Chico – we're almost home!

CHICO:
Great! Right behind you.

Scene 4 – Susu'a father’s house

[Stage set: Similar as in Scene 2.  This time, there are three chairs set up around a table.  FATHER sits at the table.  There is a three-dimensional grindstone set up on the other side of the stage.  (See Performance Notes for the grindstone.)]]

[SUSU and CHICO enter.]

SUSU:
(sets down mirror by chair) Father, you look better!

FATHER:
Ah, I’m better now that YOU are home, my dear. And Chico! It's good to see you again!

CHICO:
I am glad to be able to visit with you, sir.

[CHICO shakes FATHER’S hand.]

FATHER:
The pleasure is all mine. (yells off stage) Mano, come here please!

[MANO enters.]

MANO:
What can I get for you, sir?

FATHER:
My daughter has returned with a guest. Would you bring us some coconut pudding and plantain juice?

MANO:
Yes, sir. Right away.

[MANO exits.]

SUSU:
Thanks, Father.  That sounds delicious.

FATHER:
Sit down, both of you.

[SUSU and CHICO sit.]

FATHER:
So, young man. Tell me about life in the hills. Are the llamas behaving?

CHICO:
As much as llamas ever do. They can be ornery.

FATHER:
Can’t they, though? And how is Juan?

CHICO:
He is well.

FATHER:
Juan is no doubt the wisest man in this land.

[SUSU and CHICO exchange a glance.]

[MANO re-enters with a tray with three cups and three small bowls.  He sets it down on the table.]

MANO:
Anything else, sir?

FATHER:
No, this is fine. Thank you, Mano.

MANO:
You’re welcome, sir.

[MANO exits.]

CHICO:
Did you know that Juan can tell magical objects?

FATHER:
So I’ve heard.

SUSU:
(picks up mirror) Father, he said this mirror I found today is magical.

[STEPMOTHER enters. As she enters, FATHER slumps back into his chair.]

STEPMOTHER:
Found something magical, did you?

SUSU:
Well, I never actually saw it do anything magical.  (to her father) Would you like to look in it?

FATHER:
Sure, I’ll take a look.

[SUSU passes it to FATHER and then stands behind him. She gives a “thumbs up” signal to CHICO when she sees her father’s reflection.]

STEPMOTHER:
(grabs the mirror) I’ll take that!

[STEPMOTHER takes the mirror and primps her hair as she smiles at her reflection. SUSU stands behind her. SUSU gasps, putting her hand across her mouth, when she sees STEPMOTHER’S reflection in the mirror.]

[CHICO takes SUSU to a side of the stage where they talk in loud whispers. While they are talking, STEPMOTHER continues to primp while looking in the mirror.]

CHICO:
(whispers loudly) What did you see?

SUSU:
(whispers loudly) It was horrible! In the mirror’s reflection was a giant white two-headed toad! With two serpents around its neck!

CHICO:
Susu, that’s the same toad I saw in my dream! You know what this means?  Your stepmother must be the two-headed toad. She's a WITCH!

SUSU:
Then SHE's the one who cast a spell on Father!

[SUSU looks outside the window. She notices the grindstone, near the fountain.]

SUSU:
(points outside the window to the grindstone) Look, Chico!

CHICO:
What? Where?

SUSU:
Outside — the grindstone! Remember? “The toad, our queen, lies hid unsought, beneath the stone that men have wrought”? A grindstone is a stone that men have wrought! The evil toad must be hiding under the grindstone.

CHICO:
Under it?

SUSU:
Quick, Chico! See if you can lift the stone. (to her father) Father, excuse us a moment, please.

FATHER:
Certainly, children.

SUSU:
(to Chico) Hurry! Hand me your bow and arrow.

CHICO:
Here. (hands Susu his bow and arrows as they exit to the fountain)

[CHICO moves over to the grindstone. He grunts and groans as he lifts it. FATHER looks up, surprised, out the window.]

FATHER:
Chico, Susu! What are you both doing out there?

[CHICO lifts the grindstone. A giant white two-headed toad appears. (See Performance Notes for how the toad appears.)]

FATHER:
Susu! Look! It's the disgusting two-headed toad — the very same creature that haunts my dreams at night!

SUSU:
Now there is no doubt!

STEPMOTHER:
(runs out to fountain area) Stop! Stop, I command you!

[SUSU pretends to fire an arrow. STEPMOTHER clutches at her heart.  CHICO sets down the grindstone.]

CHICO:
Susu! The two serpents are loose!

[From offstage, two stuffed animal serpents are tossed onto the stage. SUSU pretends to fire two more arrows, and the two serpents fall.  STEPMOTHER is staggering.]

CHICO:
Good eye, Susu!  You got them all!

STEPMOTHER:
What have you done? (stumbles) AUGHH! I am dizzy, dizzy!

FATHER:
My… uh… dear?

STEPMOTHER:
Shut up! Your rotten daughter and that lowlife shepherd have ruined everything! I’ll have to take care of this myself! (lunges at Susu’s father)

[CHICO and SUSU stop STEPMOTHER from reaching FATHER. Remember, this is pretend. No one is really grabbing anyone.]

STEPMOTHER:
Unhand me! (shakes off Chico and Susu) I’m ruined, ruined!

[STEPMOTHER exits, stumbling and muttering bitterly.]

FATHER:
Why… I think I feel better. (stands) Yes, I KNOW I feel better!

SUSU:
Father, you know why you feel better now, don't you?

FATHER:

SUSU:
Yes, Father. I’m sorry to say.

FATHER:
(sighs) Yet it must be so. And I feel better and better, every second. (shakes his shoulders)

SUSU:
Your color is coming back, Father!

FATHER:
Everything is better now. I can think again. And concentrate.  Chico, let me ask you a question.

CHICO:
Of course, sir.  Anything!

FATHER:
I need people around here I can trust. Chico, would you and Juan consider coming to this house, to live with us? We have plenty of hills and fields for your llamas to graze. We could all live together.

CHICO:
What do you think, Susu?

SUSU:
(smiles) It could work.

CHICO:
So, then. (to Father) I would love to accept your invitation. And I have a feeling Juan will, too.

FATHER:
So! Now, where is that mirror? Mano?

[MANO enters.]

FATHER:
Hold the mirror, will you? Susu, Chico, come around.

[SUSU, CHICO and FATHER gather around and all look at the mirror that MANO is holding.]

FATHER:
In the future, there will be some kind of name for this kind of head shot, won’t there?

CHICO:
That’s WAY in the future, Sir.

SUSU:
Do you mean a "selfie," Father?

FATHER:
I suppose I do. Come closer. Everyone look in the mirror.

[SUSU, CHICO and FATHER gather closer in front of the mirror.]

FATHER, SUSU and CHICO, together:
(striking a pose) Selfie!

[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

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SOURCE


The play script, "Susu & the Magic Mirror," was adapted by Lindsay Parker from a story of the same name found at https://www.storiestogrowby.org/story/susu-the-magic-mirror/  and further described at the end of the story. ©2006 Elaine L. Lindy. All rights reserved.

 


FOOTNOTE


The evidence linking this story to Bolivia is limited. There's no country of origin cited alongside this story in the book source described below. However the name "Huathia" can be found on web sites associated with Bolivia. It appears to be a name associated with either the Quechuas (Incan descendants) or the Aymara (a subject people of the Incas and later the Spanish), between them constituting the largest native populations of the country.