This play was written by a Third-Grade class, and the stage directions converted into narration as described in "Group Playwriting Project." A special feature of this play is the long speeches attributed to "Voice of Sekhti." Since Sekhti has such long speeches, the students decided that the actor would "lip sync" his speeches, while the words were spoken by several other students in rotation--a sentence or so at a time. This play was performed at an all-school assembly and was very successful. By the way, despite appearances to the contrary, none of the phrasing of the dialogue here comes from the source material--Third-Graders really came up with the language from scratch!
The Peasant Goes to Egypt
A Play by Ms. Rose's Class, based on an Egyptian Folktale
The High Steward
Sekhti and his Wife are at home.
Long ago there was a peasant named Sekhti, who lived in the Plain of Salt. One day he said to his wife:
Today I must go to the land of Egypt to sell some salt.
I'll make you a loaf of bread for the journey.
On the road, near Hemti's house. Hemti and his Servant watch as Sekhti and his Donkey arrive.
Sekhti said goodbye to his wife and his children and set off for Egypt. He led his faithful donkey, who was laden with bags of salt.
When he got to Egypt, he walked along a narrow path by the Nile River. The path was for all men to use.
Growing alongside the path were fields of wheat. These belonged to a greedy man named Hemti.
When Hemti saw Sekhti coming with his donkey and his salt, he had a wicked idea.
Servant, get a rug and spread it on the path that all men use.
Hemti put his rug across the path that was for all men to use. It covered the whole path.
Watch out, peasant! Don't step on my beautiful rug!
Sekhti tried not to step on the beautiful rug. But he had to take his donkey into Hemti's field of wheat. The hungry donkey ate some of the wheat.
Because your donkey ate my wheat, I shall take your donkey and your bags of salt.
You told me not to walk on the rug. I had to take my donkey into the field. I can't help it if he ate a little wheat. Donkey's are like that.
Well, soooooo what? I'm still taking your donkey, ugly peasant.
Hemti took away Sekhti's donkey and his bags of salt. When Sekhti complained, he even tried to beat him with a stick.
Get back here and fight like a peasant!
Sekhti went to the house of the High Steward to demand justice. He spoke in very beautiful words.
The scene shifts to outside the house of the High Steward. Sekhti calls out to the High Steward.
This is what Sekhti said to the High Steward.
VOICE OF SEKHTI
Oh, High Steward, I beg the Pharaoh's justice. That wonderful, wonderful Pharaoh. He does everything for everyone. The Pharaoh is the living god who makes the Nile flow and the crops grow. Our sacred, sacred Pharaoh. He is the King of everything! He makes me want to bring him some flowers and sugarcane! While the Pharaoh rules, each family will prosper for his greatness. I know the Pharaoh will grant me justice.
The Pharaoh's palace. The Pharaoh and the High Steward are present.
The High Steward went to the Pharaoh and told him what Sekhti had said. The Pharaoh had never heard such praise.
I've never heard such lavish language about me! Delay his case until he's said everything he can possibly think of.
The house of the High Steward. The High Steward and Sekhti are present.
The High Steward delayed the case. Week after week, Sekhti came to plead before the High Steward. Week after week the Steward reported his words to the Pharaoh.
The Pharaoh wants to hear why Hemti has beaten you.
Here is what Sekhti said to the High Steward.
VOICE OF SEKHTI
Oh, High Steward, I am very well pleased to speak words of kindness towards the Pharaoh. For if the Pharaoh did not rule, the Nile River would run dry, and houses would collapse. The Pharaoh is my idol. He is so kind that he makes me want to smile. If everyone were as kind, fair and powerful as the Pharaoh, Egypt would be like Heaven. If he weren't ruling the kingdom of Egypt, no one would live, and Egypt would never exist for eternity. Egypt would be nothing without him. If the Pharaoh did not rule, the birds would not chirp, and the rain would not fall, and Egypt wouldn't be anything at all.
Finally the High Steward took Sekhti and Hemti before the Pharaoh.
The palace of the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh, the High Steward, Sekhti and Hemti are present.
I hope to be as just to you as I am to all, for through your words I am made a great Judge. Your family may move into Hemti's house and take all of his land. I shall make you a Royal Poet.
The Peasant Goes to Egypt was written by Ms. Rose's 1997/98 Third-Grade class at The Haverford School, Haverford, PA, under the supervision of Drama teacher Matt Buchanan. It is based on an Egyptian folktale.