Squad 4 Script

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Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters
By John Steptoe
Adapted by Alicia Harabin
Characters:
Mufaro / Narrator 4
Manyara
Nyasha
Nyoka / Headless Man / Narrator 5
Messenger / Headless Man / Narrator 6
Child / Narrator 1
Old Person / Narrator 2
Great King / Narrator 3
Scene 1
Mufaro’s Daughters
(At rise, MUFARO stands proudly with his
daughters, MANYARA and NYASHA.)
NARRATOR 1: Long ago, in a certain village in Africa, a man named
Mufaro lived with his two daughters, Manyara and
Nyasha. Everyone agreed they were very beautiful.
NARRATOR 2: Although they were alike in looks, in personality they
could not be more different. Manyara almost always
had a bad temper. Nyasha was kind and helpful.
(MUFARO exits.)
MANYARA: Someday, Nyasha, I will be queen, and you will be a servant
in my household.
NYASHA: If that should come to pass, I will be pleased to serve you. But
why do you say such things? You are clever and
strong and beautiful. Why are you so unhappy?
MANYARA: Because everyone talks about how kind you are. When I am
queen, everyone will know that your silly kindness is
only weakness.
(MANYARA stomps off.)
1
NARRATOR 1: Nyasha was sorry that her sister felt so badly, but she
went on with her chores. Nyasha kept a little garden,
and as she worked there, she sang to her crops.
(NYASHA tends her garden and hums.)
(Enter NYOKA.)
NARRATOR 2: Some said that is what made her plants grow more
beautifully than anyone else’s. One day, Nyasha
noticed a little green snake among the yam vines.
NYOKA: Hiss.
NYASHA: Good day, little nyoka. You are welcome here. You will keep
away any creatures who might spoil my vegetables.
(NYASHA resumes tending and humming.)
(NYOKA slithers around the garden.)
NARRATOR 1: From that day on, Nyoka was always at Nyasha’s side
when she tended her garden. It was said that she sang
all the more sweetly when he was there.
(Enter MESSENGER.)
(NYOKA exits.)
MESSENGER: I come with a message from the King!
(Enter MUFARO and MANYARA, excited.)
(NYASHA stands to listen.)
MESSENGER: The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land are
invited to appear before the King, and he will choose
one to become Queen!
MUFARO: It would be an honor to have one of you chosen. Tomorrow,
as the sun rises, we will make our way to the city.
MANYARA: But, my father, I know Nyasha would grieve if she were
parted from you. I am strong – send me to the city! Let
poor Nyasha be happy here with you.
NARRATOR 2: Mufaro knew nothing of how Manyara treated her sister,
and Nyasha was too considerate of her father’s
feelings to complain, so he thought Manyara was kind
as well as beautiful.
2
MUFARO: No, sweet Manyara. Only a king can choose between two such
worthy daughters. Both of you must go!
(EXEUNT.)
Scene 2
Manyara’s Journey
(MANYARA tiptoes onto the stage.)
NARRATOR 3: Manyara wanted very badly to be the first to appear
before the King, so that night, when everyone was
sleeping, she stole quietly out of the village.
NARRATOR 4: She had never been in the forest at night before, and she
was frightened, but her greed drove her on. In her
hurry, Manyara nearly tripped over a small child.
(CHILD enters and bumps into MANYARA)
CHILD: Please. I am hungry. Will you give me something to eat?
MANYARA: I have brought only enough for myself.
CHILD: But, please! I am so very hungry.
MANYARA: Out of my way, kid! Tomorrow I will become your queen.
How dare you stand in my path?
(MANYARA shoves CHILD aside and exits.)
(CHILD shakes head and exits.)
(OLD PERSON enters and sits.)
NARRATOR 3: After traveling a long way, Manyara came to a clearing.
Sitting on a stone in the moonlight was a very old
person.
(MANYARA enters and freezes in fright.)
OLD PERSON: Manyara! I will give you some advice. You will come to a
grove of trees. They will laugh at you. You must not
laugh in return. Later, you will meet a man with his
head under his arm. You must be polite to him.
MANYARA: How do you know my name? How dare you advise your
future queen? Stand aside, you ugly old fool.
3
(MANYARA exits.)
(OLD PERSON shakes head and exits.)
(Enter laughing trees.)
NARRATOR 4: Sure enough, Manyara came to a grove of trees, and they
did indeed seem to be laughing at her. She was
frightened, but she held her ground and kept on.
(Enter MANYARA.)
MANYARA: I must be calm. You don’t frighten me. I laugh at you, trees!
(MANYARA laughs at the trees.)
(HEADLESS MAN enters.)
MANYARA: Ah! A queen acknowledges only those who please her.
(MANYARA shields her face.)
MANYARA: I will be queen, I will be queen…
(MANYARA charges past the HEADLESS MAN and
exits.)
(HEADLESS MAN shakes his head.)
(EXEUNT.)
Scene 3
Nyasha’s Journey
(MUFARO and NYASHA enter, stretching.)
NARRATOR 5: The next morning, Mufaro and Nyasha woke at the light
of dawn and dressed in their finest garments. Nyasha
was nervous about leaving her village.
(MUFARO and NYASHA look for MANYARA.)
NARRATOR 6: They were startled to find that Manyara was missing,
but when they saw her footprints on the path, they
thought she must have gone on ahead.
MUFARO: Come, Nyasha. We will go on as planned.
(MUFARO and NYASHA mime walking.)
4
NARRATOR 5: As the wedding party moved through the forest, brightly
plumed birds darted in and out of the cool green
shadows of the trees. Nyasha saw a small child.
(Enter CHILD.)
NYASHA: Poor little one. You must be hungry. Here, have my lunch.
(CHILD takes lunch, bows head.)
(EXEUNT.)
(OLD PERSON enters and sits, pointing.)
NARRATOR 6: They continued walking, until they came to the clearing
where the elderly figure sat hunched on a rock,
silently pointing the way to the city.
(MUFARO and NYASHA enter, see OLD PERSON.)
NYASHA: Thank you.
(NYASHA gives the OLD PERSON her necklace.)
(OLD PERSON bows head.)
(EXEUNT.)
(Enter laughing trees.)
(Trees bow as NYASHA and MUFARO enter.)
NARRATOR 5: As Nyasha and her father passed through the grove of
towering trees, they seemed to bow to her. The sun
shone through the leaves and into the valley below.
MUFARO: Look, Nyasha, it is the city!
NYASHA: Oh, my father! I never dreamed there could be anything so
beautiful.
MANYARA: (from off) Ah!
(MANYARA enters, sobbing. She runs to NYASHA
and kneels before her, hugging her legs.)
MANYARA: Do not go to the king, my sister. There is a great monster
there, a snake with five heads! He said that he knew
all my faults and that I displeased him.
MUFARO: Be calm, my daughter.
5
MANYARA: He would have swallowed me alive if I had not run. Oh
please, Father, do not let her go.
(MUFARO takes MANYARA off toward home.)
(NYASHA looks both ways, thinking. Finally,
NYASHA exits toward the palace.)
NARRATOR 6: It frightened Nyasha to see her sister so upset, but she
bravely continued on. She walked through the palace
gate and into the chief’s throne room.
(Enter NYOKA. NYOKA curls up on the throne.)
(Enter NYASHA, nervous. She sees NYOKA and
smiles and laughs.)
NYASHA: My little friend, Nyoka! It’s a pleasure to see you. But, why are
you here?
NYOKA: I am the king.
(NYOKA changes to the KING.)
KING: I am the king. I am also the hungry child with whom you shared
your lunch.
(CHILD peers from under KING’s robe.)
KING: And the old person to whom you made a gift of your necklace.
(OLD PERSON peers from under KING’s robe.)
KING: Because I have been all of these, I know you to be the Most
Worthy and Most Beautiful Daughter in the Land. It
would make me very happy if you would be my wife.
(KING and NYASHA cross to one side.)
(MUFARO enters and shakes KING’s hand.)
NARRATOR 1: And so it was that, a long time ago, Nyasha agreed to be
married.
NARRATOR 2: The best weavers in the land were called on to make the
wedding garments.
NARRATOR 5: Villagers from all around were invited to the celebration,
and a great feast was held.
6
NARRATOR 6: Mufaro beamed with pride. He boasted to all who would
hear him.
MUFARO: I am the happiest father in all the land, for I am blessed with
two beautiful and worthy daughters. Nyasha, the
queen,
(MANYARA enters with a broom, sweeping.)
MUFARO: And Manyara, a servant in the queen’s household.
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