The Secret Lives of Toads

Secret Lives of Toads.jpg

Play Information
Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: D. W. Gregory
Publisher: Dramatic Publishing
Year: 2005
Pages: 39
Acts: 1
Estimated Runtime: 40 minutes
Number of Characters: 29
Cast Requirements: 5 men, 18 women, 15 either; doubling possible
Time Period: present day
Production Requirements: Simple backdrop with set pieces conducive to quick changes, simple modern day costuming plus some kind of frog/toad costuming.

It is Harvey’s first day at a new school, and he and some other children are met with intense teasing and bullying. There is hope when one child is friendly to Harvey, but things again take a turn for the worse when he and some other children are locked in the science room after school, along with the body of a toad that was killed by their rough play. In the science room, the audience can hear the conversation of the other toads that are contained there. Once the trapped children begin truly listening to each other, their ears are open to the toads, who help them with an escape plan. Several of the children reach understandings and forge friendships after the experience.

The script is called a “comedy” by D.W. Gregory, but calling it a comedy is quite a stretch. There are a few silly situations and some mildly funny jokes, but the script is more focused on serious issues. Perhaps it was anticipated that the talking frogs would be more comedic? The winding plot has too many subplots and ideas, making it hard to flesh out any of them and leaving the audience to wonder about the message. The script contains many one-note, stock characters, though there are a few that change and grow by the end. Some plot points will be very appreciated by young audiences and their parents, such as bullies changing their ways and looking beyond initial impressions to become friends with a person that was at first disliked.