AMERICAN TALL TALES
A play in one-act by John Hardy
AMERICAN TALL TALES has a running time of forty five
minutes but has been adapted to fit into the high school
drama competition length of thirty five minutes. It can
be done with as few as four actors and as many as fifteen.
The play has been performed by professionals, high school
drama clubs and even younger. A bench, two stools, a few
hand props and several costume pieces are all that is
necessary. The imagination does the rest.
About the Play
THE PLAY consists of four short playlets, with a
prologue, epilogue and two transitions. The playlets are
approximately ten minutes each and the prologue, epilogue
and transitions approximately one minute each.
The prologue, epilogue and transitions are amusing
vignettes containing educational information about the art
of theatre. The four playlets contained within the play
LITTLE MARGEY: A young girl who wants to be "popular,
beautiful, well-liked" finds that calling upon her inner
resources is the best way to fit in. Along the way, she
discovers that water skiing and parachuting don't hold a
candle to simply being herself.
THE LEGEND OF THE JACK O' LANTERN: At the time of the
American Revolution, Jack returns from a Boy Scout meeting
(where he was the only participant because "Boy Scouts
haven't been invented yet") to find that his little
sister has let the family fire go out while his mother was
out "slaying a bison for dinner". He is sent to find fire.
His quest takes him to the Jones family who can't help him
because they are going to Miami until the war is over. He
then encounters a game show host who sends Jack to the
local Indian tribe where he is given coals for a fire.
After encountering a pack of wolves, Jack carves out a
pumpkin to carry the coals because they have been "burning
a hole in his pocket". Jack returns home and saves the
family from freezing while inadvertently inventing the Jack
PURVIS: The story follows the life of a young boy named
Purvis Wesley (who bears a great resemblance to Elvis
Presley). With the help of a guardian angel, Purvis
manages to invent Rock 'n Roll after failing at baseball
and truckdriving as well as striking out with the girls.
Purvis finds his place in the world simply by following the
advice, "be true to yourself". Music and magic abound.
THE GHOST STALLION: Johnny Ringo is the lonesome cook on
the cattle drive but he wants to become a cowboy. The only
way he can do that is to tame the wild and deadly, Ghost
Stallion of the West. One night, as the coyotes howl,
Johnny encounters the legendary Stallion. He befriends the
wild horse and becomes the first ever to ride the Ghost
Stallion. The other cowboys wake to find that Johnny has
become "the finest cowboy ever" as he "rides forever in
that range up in the sky, watching out for all the lonesome
cowboys below". Cowboy music, magic and mystery.
- First two performances: $50 each
- Subsequent performances: $30 each