Dream Tale Puppets produces projects with children that expand the earlier experience theatre founder Jacek Zuzanski had collaborating with schools, libraries, art and cultural centers. Adaptations of folk tales, masterpieces of children’s literature and original plays were written for the productions. Some of these plays are available for further productions and may be interesting for teachers and artists working with children.
The plays often tell stories about groups of children involved in an adventure that takes place partly in a fantasy world. Scenes are diverse in their dramatic modes and provide a variety of acting tasks. Some scenes employ visual elements, performing objects, masks, or puppets. .
The visual dimension of the projects provides additional opportunities for children to develop their creative talents, while working on the sets and props helps create an energetic and enthusiastic group dynamic.
These plays are adaptable in terms of numbers, ages, ability, and gender of children. In most texts it is easy to change the gender of characters, and expand the number of children involved by splitting lines between several characters. Please see short descriptions below. Links to excerpts from the plays and more information are located at the end of each description. Please contact us if you are interested in using some of these plays with your group.
By Jacek Zuzanski and Laura Opie
Cast: 9; length: 21 pages; recommended for performers ages 7 – 12.
First produced in 2014 at Creative Arts Expanded at Falmouth Academy.
Dan has built a model of a ship, but when he (or she) starts his imaginary play, a group of kids appears, snatches the ship and launches their own story of storms and disaster when the biggest bully in the group smashes the ship into the ground. In a blink the children are turned into sailors cast away on a mysterious island in the middle of the ocean.
Meanwhile, back home, another group of children fixes the broken model and embarks on another story of the high seas where they become pirates trying to outsmart a shape-shifting sorcerer. As the adventure builds to a summit, the two stories and two groups of children meet and the battle with the monstrous sorcerer begins.
By Jacek Zuzanski and Laura Opie
Cast: 10; length: 23 pages; recommended for performers ages 7 – 12.
First produced in 2013 at Creative Arts Workshops at Falmouth Academy
A group of children spends the summer in the middle of the countryside covered by forests. Not far from their quarters three girls find a big, strange boat overgrown by trees and bushes. They decide to share the news with one friend, but to keep it secret from others. When a little later the group discusses the pros and cons of participating in a fashion show competition, someone brings the news that Anna — one of the three – is missing.
The children must decide whether to search for Anna or continue planning for the fashion show. Two girls share the secret of the mysterious boat with some friends and set out to search for Anna. As a growing number of children decide to follow the searchers, they find that the boat takes them into a fantasy realm where they must face many challenges to rescue Anna, as well as endangered sea creatures.
By Jacek Zuzanski and Laura Opie
Cast: 13; length: 18 pages; recommended for performers ages 7 – 12.
First produced in 2012 at Creative Arts Workshops at FalmouthAcademy
Suzy adopts a dog found by her aunt. When she shares the news with her friend Anna, she learns that Anna hears a voice from under an old boat buried in a beach near her grandpa’s house? Other children learn of it and some question Anna’s sanity.
When the dog gets lost again later the voice in the boat turns out to know where the dog could be. The voice directs the children to an old abandoned boatyard, a place associated with many spooky stories.
Cast: 12; length: 16 pages; recommended for performers ages 7 – 17.
First produced in 2009 at Centerville Public Library.
Based on a Cape Cod folktale with documented historical roots, the play incorporates a dramatization of The Boat That Fain Will Live on Land, a story from Elizabeth Reynard’s book: The Narrow Land: Folk Chronicles of Old Cape Cod.
A group of inventive young actors brings to life puppets crafted especially for a play inspired by a humorous and nostalgic folk tale about a gentle pastor with lofty dreams whose yearnings are not understood by the colorful folks from his own village.
By Jacek Zuzanski with the editorial help of Faye Dupras
Cast: 12-30; length: 22 pages; recommended for performers ages 10 – up.
The play is waiting for its production.
An adaptation of a fairy tale published in Brothers Grimm’s collection under the title: The Seven Ravens, and also found in the folklore of other European nations. Sophie, a girl from a small village, learns that her brothers have been magically transformed into ravens and she sets out to find them. She takes a little stool to sit on when she is tired, a loaf of bread for hunger and a jug of water for thirst.
False helpers appear and lead her first to the sun, which is too hot and wants to burn her, then to the moon, which craves human flesh. The third helper leads her to stars and from them she learns how to find her brothers. The play is intended for production as an after-school residency with 2-4 groups of performers involved, utilizing the visual dimension of richly developed masks, puppets and performing objects.
Script of outdoor spectacle with children, youth and adult performers
By Jacek Zuzański & Laura Opie
Cast: 40-70; length: 35 pages; recommended performers ages 10 – up.
The play was commissioned in 2008 by Wroclaw Puppet Theatre in Poland for outdoor production with children’s groups and is available in Polish and English.
Young Ariel liked flying kites with his father. Once he was too impatient to wait for his dad and got lost when he went alone to check if the wind was right for kite-flying. Cold and hungry, he was found by an older girl Angelica, who was living on the street. She warmed Ariel, shared her food with him, and seated him on a little rag she called a flying carpet. While they spoke, a street gang of bullies appeared and harassed the girl. When they finally left, tired Ariel fell asleep. When he awoke Angelica was gone, and instead he was surrounded by faeries who explained where to find Angelica and how to make the carpet he was sitting on fly.
That’s how Ariel’s adventures began, adventures which included a visit to the Sun, a meeting with winds, and the conquest of seven dragons. The play was written as a spectacle for 5 groups of children and youth led by adult performers/teachers. Each group has different tasks: narrating and giving voices, singing, acting and manipulating visual elements and big puppets representing fantastic creatures and dragons. The text is available for further adaptation and co-production.
A theatrical script by Jacek Zuzanski and Laura Opie
Cast: 7-15; length: 9 pages; recommended performers ages 7 – 12.
First produced at 2007 at Cape Cod Conservatory.
An adaptation of a well-known tale which utilizes excerpts from Robert Browning’s poem and children’s rhymes. The text provides suggestions for developing mimed scenes.