Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: David F. Eliet
Publisher: Anchorage Press Plays, Inc.
Estimated Runtime: 40 minutes
Number of Characters: 12
Cast Requirements: 3 male, 3 female, gender adaptations possible, one actor from India, Indonesia, or Southeast Asia preferred
Time Period: Present Day
Production Requirements: Playground set that can be adapted for mulitple uses, present day costuming with simple add-on pieces and masks
Anne is having trouble on the playground with two bullies. She wants to fight back violently, but she meets Isaac who tells her that “violence never really solves anything. You have to use your imagination to come up with other solutions.” The children proceed to work together, taking on characters that suit their personalities, to tell the story of the Tiger Raja in Java, based on the Indonesian folk tale Why There Are No Tigers in Borneo. When food becomes scarce in Java, the Tiger Raja sends a messenger to Borneo to demand that the tigers either send food or be attacked. Raja sends a whisker from his face to awe and terrorize them with his size. When the tiger messenger arrives he meets the wily Mouse Deer who, anxious to keep tigers off her island, sends a porcupine quill back as evidence of Raja’s size and strength. Her trick works and the tigers abandon their plan. Isaac’s point is driven home when he explains that an even bigger bully, Man, eventually wipes out the population of tigers in Java. Predictably, the children in the play quickly learn their lesson and decide to get along.
Though overt and somewhat simplistic, the theme and issues – bullying, working together for a common goal, cultural understanding - are current and will be appreciated by parents and educators alike. The dialogue runs true to childish banter on the playground and that setting alone will capture a young audience from the beginning. The same dialogue, fast-paced energetic plot, and animal characters will also hold the young audiences attention. The script also contains four songs which can be negotiated in or out of the performance contract. The running time, small cast, simple production elements, and themes ripe for exploring in post-show discussions make this script ideal for an educational tour.