Skin and Bones

skin and bones.jpeg

Play Information
Rating: Excellent
Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Neil Duffield
Publisher: Meriwether Publishing Ltd.
Year: 2000
Pages: 25
Acts: 1
Estimated Runtime: 45 minutes
Number of Characters: 4
Cast Requirements: 3 either male or female
Time Period: Non-specific
Production Requirements: Jungle-like set with evidence of various cultures, simple base costumes with easy animal pieces to add, live music if possible

Tiger and Jackal live in their part of the jungle and have posted a sign warning a list of other animals that they are not welcome, donkeys included. Though they don’t get along particularly well, Tiger and Jackal are united in their bigoted ways and in their fear of Dry Bone, a magical creature known to feast on jungle animals. A friendly donkey arrives to find a new home, and Tiger and Jackal have fun teasing, tricking and tormenting her. When Dry Bone arrives with a secret, magical plan to trick the animals and capture them, Donkey overhears and selflessly decides to save them. After Donkey saves Tiger and Jackal from Dry Bone’s clutches and entraps him using his own trick, Jackal begins to change his opinion about donkeys. Tiger most emphatically does not. The play ends with Jackal’s choice hanging in the balance.

Based on folktales and characters from the Caribbean and Africa, this script gives the opportunity for spectacle and magic that young audiences will appreciate. The prose peppered with verse helps to bring a magical, story-telling quality to the show. The play also offers themes dealing with discrimination and prejudice. These themes are less-than-subtle and will need to be skillfully dealt with so that the audience doesn’t feel beaten over the head. The script specifically delineates that the actors cast should be non-specific racially: Donkey may not be played by an actor whose race differs from the other two actors. This will help to prevent any obvious pre-conceived prejudices from manifesting in the show. The short script, small cast, and abundant opportunity for pre- and post-show discussion make this script a desirable choice for an educational tour.