Grade: Elementary

#3726. The American Revolution: A Play

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Tue May 16 20:40:38 PDT 2006 by Brian Beckenstein (

Igo Elementary School, Foxborough, MA USA
Materials Required: props, costumes
Activity Time: varies on how detailed you want to make it
Concepts Taught: Reader's Theater

A Play about the American Revolution:
From Colonies to Independence

Act 1: Great Britain Expands
Scene 1: The Start of Colonies

Scene 1: Great Britain

King: Look how big Britain is!

Jester: Yes, big, big!

King: No, no, big is not the word.
Look how strong Britain is.

Jester: Yes, strong, strong!

King: No, no strong is not the word.
Oh, what is the word I am looking for?

Jester (whispers) I think the word you're looking for is "great".

King: Yes! Great, great. . .it is Great Britain!

(Jester claps and shouts )Great Britain!

King: But I want more power!
Perhaps that new world over there. . .
oh, what do they call it?

Jester: The Americas.

King: Yes, yes the Americas.
Perhaps there is some gold to be found there.
Send a group down there and have them set up a colony.
Whatever they find will belong to me!
I will continue to make Britain big.

Jester: Um. . . I think you mean "great".

King: Yes, yes! Great Britain!

Scene 2: Jamestown

Sailor:It's been 2 months at sea!

Sailor:This ocean is gigantic!

Sailor: They call it the Atlantic!

John Smith: Land Ho!

Sailor: What should we call this colony?

Sailor: Let's name it after King James.

Everyone: Jamestown!

John Smith: Alright men, let's get to work.

Sailor: Captain, we've searched for days and days. There's no gold here!
But we did come across some Natives.

John Smith: I will try and talk with them and see if they can help us.

Pocahontas: Hi, my name is Pocahontas. I can help your people.
I will show them how to grow corn.

All the Sailors are napping.

John Smith: Why if this isn't the laziest group of men I've ever seen!
Get to work!
Those who don't work, don't eat!

Sailors: Yes sir! Sorry sir!

John Smith:Pocahontas has shown me how to grow corn and tobacco.
Perhaps King James will like these goods.
Back to work!
Back to work!

Scene 3: The Pilgrims

Pilgrim Woman: Boy, that King won't let us pray the way we want to.

Pilgrim Man: Let's go to the Americas and start our own colony.

Pilgrim Woman: We can have religious freedom!

Pilgrim Man: All aboard! The Mayflower is heading out!

Pilgrim Woman: Where to?

Pilgrim Man: I hear there is a place in Virginia.

(storm approaches)

Pilgrim Woman: Wow! This storm is strong!
We better head north!

Pilgrim Man: Land Ho!

Pilgrim Woman: Hey! Look out for that rock!

Pilgrim Man: Home, sweet home! Our Plymouth Colony!

Scene 4: The Puritans

Puritan Woman: Boy, that King won't let us pray the way we want to.

Puritan Man: I don't like the way he's running the church.

Puritan Woman: It needs to be more simple. . .more pure.

Puritan Man: That's right! Pure! We'll call ourselves Puritans!

Puritan Woman: I heard the Pilgrims set up their own colony in Plymouth.

Puritan Man: Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!

(They set sail and set up the Massachusetts Colony.)

Puritan Woman: We now can practice our Puritan religion!

Puritan Man: Let's make it a law that everyone has to go to Puritan churches.

Roger Williams: Um, excuse me, but I don't think religion should be a part of the government. Does it have to be a law?

Puritan Man: Hey, if you don't like it,
then we're sending you back to England.

Roger Williams: I'm outta here!

Roger runs away. Natives come and help Roger.

Thank you for helping me!
I've set up a new colony, the Rhode Island Colony, where people can have the freedom to worship anyway they want!

Act 2: Life in a Colonial Town
Scene 1: A Colonial Village

Sarah Morton: Hi, my name is Sarah Morton.
I live in Plymouth Colony.

Samuel Eaton: Hi my name is Samuel Eaton.
We're going to tell you what life is like living in a colony.

Sarah Morton: Colonial Villages have a Meetinghouse.
This is a place where we have church services.

Samuel Eaton: It can also be a place where children go to school.

Sarah Morton: Children of all ages would go to this one-room schoolhouse.

Samuel Eaton: Shhh. Let's go inside and take a look.

Teacher: Okay class, take out your Primers and let us read.
Who knows a rhyme?

____________ A dog will bite a thief at night!

Teacher: Very good! Does anyone know another rhyme?

____________ The idle fool is whipped at school.

Teacher: Oh let that not be the case today! Oh hi Sarah, hi Sam!

Sarah Morton: Hi , we're telling these fine people about life in a colonial town.

Teacher:Well, hello everyone!
Welcome to our village!
I see you look all so comfortable!
Well, don't dawdle around! There's work to do!
Class, we have all these helpers!
What shall we have them do?
Have them fetch water from the well!

Have them harvest the crops!

Have them milk the cows and feed the chickens!

Have them hunt for deer.

Have them help the Blacksmith make horseshoes!

Have them help the Cooper make barrels for wine!

Have them help the Miller make flour!

Have them clean out the outhouse!

Teacher:Oh children, let us be kind to our guests!
Perhaps you should take them to the tavern.
They look as though they could use a rest!

Scene 2: The 13 Colonies

: Well, the colonies grew and grew.
There are 13 English Colonies all across the east coast of
North America.

: The Northern Colonies are called New England.
They are Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Much of the land in New England is rocky and poor for farming.

But off the coast of New England, the ocean waters are filled with fish!
Many New Englanders made their living from the ocean.
Shipbuilding, fishing and hunting for whales are very important to the Northern Colonies.

The Middle Colonies are Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.
The middle colonies have rich farmlands.
They grow a lot of wheat!
They are called the "breadbasket of the empire".

: The Southern Colonies are Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
The southern colonies are the most rural.
There are many large farms called plantations.

: To own a plantation, you have to have a lot of workers.
Slaves were being shipped from Africa to America.
Slaves were not allowed to leave the plantations.
They were not allowed to learn to read or write.
They had no freedom. Some people were kind to their slaves.
Others were very cruel to them.

Though the 13 colonies traded goods with each other, they were mostly concerned about their own colony.
The colonies did not work well together.

Scene 3: The French and Indian War

French Woman: Bon jour!
Not only did people from England come to the New World,
but also people from France.

French Man: Hey, what's this!
The English colonists are building forts on our land!
This is our land and we'll defend it!

Washington: Hi, I am George Washington.
The King sent me here to talk with the French
about these land disputes.
Can't we settle this peacefully?

French: Get off our land! We don't want you here!

Washington: Oh well, . . .Attack!

French: Help us! Help us!

Native American:We will join you in the fight against the British.

The Native Americans joined the French.
They decided to help the French because they didn't want the British colonists moving west and taking over their land.
This became known as the French and Indian War.

Washington: Send word to our King that we need more troops!

_ King George did send more troops and they eventually won the war.
In 1763, France and Great Britain agreed to have peace.

_____________ In the beginning, the colonists liked having British help and protection.
Yet, as time went on, the colonists grew tired of following British rules.
Act 3: The Road to Revolution

Scene 1: Taxes

Jester: I present to you, King George III of Great Britain!

King George: Thank you! Thank you!
Oh jester! Bring me my gold!

Jester walks with his head down and hands over a bag of gold.

What! Just one bag of gold!
Where is all my money!

Jester: Oh, great King! The war with the French and Indians cost us a lot of money!
We are almost in debt!

King: What! This won't do! This won't do at all!
Oh what can we do!

Jester: How about we make the colonists pay taxes?

King: I know, we'll make the colonists pay taxes!

Jester: Brilliant idea, King!

King: Thank you! Thank you!
Now what shall we tax them on?

Jester: Perhaps we could tax their sugar and their tea?

King: I know, we'll tax their sugar and their tea!

Jester: Brilliant idea, King!

King: Oh this will be wonderful!

Jester: Do you think the colonists will be upset?

King: Oh rubbish! They won't mind at all! (walks off stage)

Jester (to the crowd): I'm not too sure about that!

Scene 2: Taxation Without Representation

John Adams: Oh Patrick Henry, can you believe these taxes!

Patrick Henry: I know, John Adams, it is just unfair!

John Adams: Aren't we already paying taxes to our own colonies?
Now they want us to pay more taxes?
We are not represented in the British Parliament.

Patrick Henry: And taxation without representation is not fair!

John Adams: The King will not even let us make our own rules!

Patrick Henry: We must unite our colonies!
We must boycott buying any British goods!
Give me liberty or give me death!

Scene 3: The Boston Massacre 1770

Boy: Hey Redcoat! Hey Redcoat!
Look at the Lobsterback!
Look at the lobsterback!

Redcoat: Hey! Knock that off!

(He pushes the girl to the ground.
An angry crowd surround the soldier.)

Crispus : Hey! What do you think you're doing! He's just a boy!

Woman: You're a bad, bad man!

(The crowd begins to throw rocks at the soldier.)

Redcoat: Help! Help!
(Other redcoats come to help him.)

Crispus: You coward! You dare not fire!
You can't kill us all!

Redcoat: Fire!

Crispus Attucks and several others fall to the ground.

Woman: Crispus! Oh Crispus Attucks!
You killed him!
You killed him!

Girl: Oh, what a massacre!

Scene 4: Back in Britain:

Jester: Oh, King George!
The colonists seem a wee bit upset about those taxes of yours!

King: What did you say!

Jester: Umm. . .well. . .they think that if they're going to be taxed,
they should have a voice in our Parliament.

King: What! How dare they demand rights for themselves!
Their duty is to the King!
Well, how upset are they?

Jester: Well. . .umm. . .you see. . .there was this fight.
Well, actually they're calling it a "massacre".
British soldiers shot at an angry mob and 5 colonists died.

King: Oh my, well, that is bad.
Well, I don't want to seem like a bad guy.
We'll stop all their taxes, all except one --
the Tea Tax --
I do love my tea!

Jester: Tea Time!

King: Oh wonderful!
Scene 5: The Boston Tea Party --1773

Sam Adams: Welcome, Paul Revere!
Have you heard about the Tea Tax?

Paul Revere: Yes, Sam Adams.
We won't drink any of their tea!

Sam Adams: I have a better idea!
Let's get rid of it!
There's a ship that's coming in that's loaded with tea.
We'll sneak on the ship and dump the tea overboard!

Paul Revere: What if we get caught?

Sam Adams: We'll disguise ourselves.
We'll dress up as Mohawk Indians!
Are you in?

Paul Revere: Yes! Let's do it tonight!

(They walk off stage. The ship rolls in. They come out dressed as Mohawk Indians.)

Sam & Paul: "Rally Mohawks!
Bring out your axes
And tell King George
We don't want his taxes!

(They charge the ship and dump the crates of tea overboard.)

Sam Adams and Paul Revere: Oh, what a party!
Scene 6: The Party's Over!

Jester: Oh, great King!
There was a little problem with the tea.

King: What did you say?

Jester: Umm. . .well. . . you see. . .there was this party on board one of your ships and well, the craziest thing happened.

King: Yes! I'm waiting!

Jester: Well, apparently there were these, umm. . . Mohawks, I think,
and, uh, well they, kinda threw your tea overboard!

King: Mohawks indeed!
Those colonists over there in Boston have gone too far!
Well, they want to have a party?
I'll give them a party they'll never forget!

Jester: Oh a party! A party! I love parties!

King: Well the party's over for them!
Close their ports!
No ships will come in or out!
Send troops to live in their houses.
We'll make sure we put an end to those
rebel rousers!

Jester: On second thought. . .I might skip this party!

Scene 7: The Intolerable Acts

Benjamin Franklin: Oh, hi John Adams.
(he's flying a kite) How are things in Boston?

John Adams: How are things!
The King closed our port.
No ships can come in or out!
We're running out of supplies.
And British soldiers are staying in our quarters!
I tell you, I just can't take it!

Benjamin : Sounds pretty intolerable!

John: Intolerable indeed!
I tell you, Ben,
Um. . . Ben.
Oh for goodness sake!
Can't you put that kite away for one minute!

Ben: Oh sorry, John, you were saying?

John: I think we need to get all the representatives from all of the 13 colonies together and discuss what can be done about this
King of ours!

Ben: Yes! I agree.
We can have the Continental Congress meet right here in Philadelphia.

Scene 8: Paul Revere's Midnight Ride -April 1775

Paul Revere: William Dawes, what news have you heard about the British soldiers?

William Dawes: Paul Revere, I here that they are heading to Concord to take away our gunpowder.

Paul: How will they come? By land or by sea?

William Dawes: I am not sure.
They will light a lantern in the North Church.
One if by land,
Two if by sea.

Paul: Is our militia ready?

William: Yes, they can be ready in a minute's notice!
They're the Minutemen!

Paul" Look! Two lanterns!
They are coming by sea!
Spread the word!
The British are coming!
The British are coming!

William Dawes: We made it to Lexington. Oh no! Redcoats!

Redcoat: Stop them!

Samuel Prescott:I can help you!

Paul: Oh, Samuel Prescott, spread news to the people in Concord that the British are coming!
Tell them to hide the gunpowder!

Redcoat: I've got you now! (captures Paul and William)

Paul: Go Sam! Go!
Scene 9: The Battle at Lexington and Concord -April 1775

Redcoats: Let's cross this bridge.

Minutemen #1: We've got you! Attack!

(a great battle unfolds)

Minuteman #2: Did you hear that shot?

Minuteman #3: Yes! It was so loud. I think everybody could hear it!

Minuteman #4: Yeah! It's the shot heard round the world!

Redcoats: Let's move men!
Let's march onto Concord!

Minutemen: Follow them!

Redcoats: Where is the gunpowder?
(Sees the Minutemen)
Oh no, they're back!

Minutemen: Let's get them!

Redcoats retreat.

Act 4: The War for Independence
Scene 1: Continental Congress: June 1775

Thomas Jefferson: Hello good people!
My name is Thomas Jefferson.
The war has begun!

John Adams: But do we have an army?
Who will fight?

George Washington:The Minutemen are brave fighters!

John Adams: Yes, I agree with you, George Washington!
But they are not trained!
Who will lead them into battle?

Thomas Jefferson:I nominate George Washington to be our Commander-in-Chief.

John Adams: I second it!

George Washington:Thank you! Thank you!
I will accept this position,
but I do not think myself equal to the Command.

Thomas Jefferson:Oh, come, come George.
You'll do a great job!

Scene 2: Battle at Bunker Hill: June 1775

William Prescott:Come on men!
Up the hill we go!
We will surprise those Redcoats!
And remember men,
Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!

Redcoats: What is this! They have taken over the hill.

(Great battle unfolds. Many Redcoats die but eventually they take control of Bunker Hill.)

William Prescott:Ammunition! I need more ammunition!
Retreat! Retreat!

We may have lost the battle,
but we showed the American people
that we may be able to win the war!

Scene 3: Loyalists vs. Patriots

Girl: Father, why are so many people angry towards our King?

Father: They feel they are being treated unfairly.
Oh, they have no loyalty to our King!

Girl: Why are you loyal to the King?

Father: I believe King George has the right to rule the colonies.

Mother: And those British soldiers scare me!

Father: And what about our relatives living in England?
What would happen to them if we didn't support the King.
We could be putting them in danger!

Mother: And who's to say a government run by rich Patriots would be any better than a government ruled by our King?

Father: No, we will not fight against the British.
We are loyal to our King.
We are Loyalists!

Thomas Paine: Well, I'm sorry, but that doesn't make any common sense!
I am a Patriot!
I believe we need to stand up and demand our freedom from the King.

Father: Here, take your book and get out of my house!

Scene 4: The Declaration of Independence: July 4, 1776

Thomas Jefferson: The time has come to write a document that states our independence from Great Britain!

Benjamin Franklin:I agree, Thomas!
It should be called the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams: That sounds excellent, Ben!
But who should write it?

Ben: Why, Thomas Jefferson, of course!

John Hancock: We should make a list of all the things that are unfair!

Thomas Jefferson:He doesn't let us make our own rules!

Ben: He has sent soldiers to live in our homes!

Adams: He has taxed us without any representation in Parliament!

Hancock: He has closed our ports stopping our trade!

Ben: He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people!

Thomas: I give you our Declaration of Independence!

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are . . .

Ben: Life!

Adams: Liberty!

Hancock: and the pursuit of happiness!

Thomas: Who will be the first to sign it?

John Hancock: I will proudly sign it!

Adams: Oh, John Hancock, you didn't leave any room for the rest of us
to sign it!

Town Crier: July 4, 1776 --
We have our Declaration of Independence!
Happy birthday, to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, dear America!
Happy birthday to you!

Act 5: The Long War
Scene 1: Germany Helps Britain

King George: So, they have proclaimed their freedom from Great Britain!
We'll see about that!

Jester: Maybe we can get others to help us fight the Americans.

King George: Yes, but who?

Jester: Perhaps we can ask the Germans.

King George: Yes! We'll pay their Hessian soldiers to join our army in the fight against these so called Americans!

Jester: Oh a fight! This is going to be good!

Scene 2: Crossing the Delaware: December 1776

Minuteman: General Washington, spies have told us that the German soldiers are camping across the Delaware River.

Washington: This is our opportunity!
We will cross the river in the dead of night and surprise them!

Minuteman: But tonight is Christmas!

Washington: Yes! They'll never expect it!
Come, let's get the boats!

Minuteman: It's cold!!!

Washington: Forward!

(They sneak upon the Germans. A great battle unfolds.)

Germans: We surrender!

Scene 3: Valley Forge -- December 1777

Washington: It has been a long, difficult war!
Let us camp here at Valley Forge for the winter.

Minuteman: General Washington,our supplies are low.Many men are without coats, hats and shoes.Wouldn't you want to head back to your home?

Washington:No, I will stay with my troops.
Like Thomas Paine says,
"These are the times that try men's souls."
I will not desert my troops in their darkest hour!

Minuteman: Wow! What a leader!

Scene 4: Patriotic Women

Deborah:Hi, my name is Deborah Sampson.
From the look of me you might not know that I am a woman.
You see, ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a soldier and have adventures!
I disguised myself as a soldier to join in the fight against the British!
Shhh! Don't tell anybody!

(A battle is taking place.)

Minuteman: Water! I need water.

Molly Pitcher: I'm coming! I'm coming!
Hi, they call me Molly Pitcher because I bring pitchers of water to the soldiers.

Minuteman: Oh! I'm hit!

Molly Pitcher: I'll take your place!
I'll load this canyon!

Betsy Ross: Hi, my name is Betsy Ross and I made this flag.
You see the 13 stars?
That stands for our 13 colonies.
Oh, I must say, what a grand old flag!

Scene 5: France Helps

Benjamin: I have been talking with the people of France.
They are sympathetic to our cause.
They will send troops to help us.

Washington: Oh, and not a moment too soon!

Lafayette: Bon jour.
My name is Lafayette.
I know you fought us during the French and Indian War.
But we can still be friends!
My troops are here to help you!

Washington: Thank you!
We're heading over to Yorktown to fight the British.

(A battle unfolds)

Time to give it up Lord Cornwallis!

Cornwallis: We surrender!
You win!

Act 5: The War Is Over! - We Won! 1783

Jester: Oh, King, things are looking bad!
Lord Cornwallis surrendered!
It is time to give up!

King George: Never, I'll never give up!

Jester (to the crowd): This guy doesn't know when to quit!

Benjamin: Okay, okay, let's not be a sore loser.
We're heading over to Paris, France to work this whole thing out.
It's time to sign a Peace Treaty.

King George: As you wish!

Benjamin: Let's rejoice!
I would like you all to sing along!

Jester: Oh I love sing-a-longs!

Everyone sings You're a Grand Old Flag

The End!