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Grade: all
Subject: Literature

#2942. Sarah Plain and Tall Readers Theatre

Literature, level: all
Posted Wed Sep 24 11:18:08 PDT 2003 by Deidre Travis (
Rock Hill Elementary , Ironton, USA
Materials Required: script
Activity Time: 15-20 minutes plus practice time

Sarah Plain and Tall Chapter 1
Readers Theatre

Characters: Anna, a girl of about 10
Caleb, Annas brother of about 5
Jacob, Anna and Calebs father
Sarah, a young woman from Maine
Narrators 1, 2 and 3

Narrator 1: The story takes place in the kitchen of a farmhouse in Kansas during the westward expansion. Anna is stirring stew and watching her younger brother, Caleb.

Caleb: Did Mama sing every day? Every single day?

Anna: (wearily) Every single day.

Caleb: And did Papa sing too?

Anna: Yes, Papa sang too. (with authority) Dont get so close, Caleb. Youll heat up.

Caleb: (softly and sadly) Well, Papa doesnt sing anymore.

Caleb: What did I look like when I was born?

Anna: (giggling) You didnt have any clothes on.

Caleb: I know that!

Anna: You looked like a round ball of dough.

Caleb: (disgusted) I had hair!

Anna: Not enough to talk about!

Caleb: (dramatically) And she named me Caleb.

Anna: (laughing) I would have named you troublesome!

Caleb: And Mama handed me to you in the yellow blanket and said?(waiting).And said..?

Anna: (sighing) Isnt he beautiful, Anna?

Caleb: AND I WAS!

Narrator 2: Caleb doesnt know what Anna really thinks. Anna remembers that Mama died the morning after Caleb was born. She didnt even say good night to Mama. She didnt think Caleb was beautiful. She didnt even love Caleb for three whole days after Mama died until she saw him smile for the first time. Anna misses Mama.

Caleb: Can you remember her songs? Mamas songs?

Anna: (thoughtfully)No. Only that she sang about flowers and birds. Sometimes about the moon and nighttime.

Caleb: (softly) Maybe if you remember the songs, then I might remember her too.

Narrator 3: Anna has tears in her eyes.

Narrator 1: Papa comes in and hugs Anna.

Papa: Nice soapy smell, that stew.

Anna: (Laughing) Thats my hair!

Papa: Cold in town. And Jack was feisty..(smiling) Rascal!

Caleb: (harshly) You dont sing anymore. (gently) Why?

Papa: (quietly) Ive forgotten the old songs. But maybe theres a way to remember them.

Caleb: (eagerly) How?
Papa: Ive place an advertisement in the newspaper. For Help.

Anna: (surprised)You mean a housekeeper?

Caleb and Anna: burst out laughing

Papa: Nonot a housekeeper. A wife.

Caleb: A wife? You mean a mother?

Papa: That Maggie.

Narrator 2: Maggie had come to be a wife their neighbor, Matthew, and to be a mother for his children.

Papa: And I have received an answer.

Sarah: (in the background) Dear Mr. Jacob Witting, I am Sarah Wheaton from Maine as you will see from my letter. I am answering your advertisement. I have never been married, though I have been asked. I have lived with an older brother William, who is about to be married. His wife-to-be is young and energetic. I have always loved to live by the sea, but at this time I feel a move is necessary. And the truth is, the sea is as far east as I can go. My choice, as you can see, is limited. This should not be taken as an insult. I am strong and I work hard and I am willing to travel. But I am not mild-mannered. If you should care to write, I would be interested in your children and about where you live. And you.
Very truly yours, Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton. P.S. Do you have opinions on cats? I have one.

Narrator 3: Caleb and Anna smile.

Anna: One thing, Papa.

Papa: whats that?

Anna: Ask her if she sings.