A small, mild-mannered, timid 12-year old boy.
A foolish, trouble-making 15-year old. A drunk in all of his actions, even though he is always sober.
A caring, but stressed, 40-year old woman and a mother of three.
George’s sister. A beautiful, teasing 16-year old.
A soldier in the ranks of the Revolutionaries. He is respected highly by the other soldiers.
Another soldier. Sam’s constant companion.
Harrison’s best friend and “partner in crime”.
George’s best school friend.
Another school friend of George’s.
A friend of Samuel Adams and a highly regarded soldier in the ranks of the Revolutionaries.
Tactical officer in the rank of the Revolutionaries.
The disgruntled, portly man who runs the tavern.
A rather insane, withered man, with grey hair, a slim waistline, and a crooked back.
The batty old farmer.
The sole, lonely man down at the town jail.
Harrison and Stu’s friend.
Harrison and Stu’s friend.
Scene 1: The Market
Lights come up on an empty stage. A booming voice is heard.
Narrator: The date is February 22nd, 1775.
Suddenly carts are pulled onto the stage, and a market materializes before the eyes of the audience. People begin running about, buying and selling merchandise. Various other characters walk about, such as the tavern owner, the teacher, the warden, Stu, Paul, Carrol, the strategist, and Farmer Chaplin.
Narrator: In this innocent town you see here, a family of four has recently been moved in, just four weeks ago, turned away by all others, arriving at the gates of this village scraggly and tired. The town has been kind enough to give them a place to stay, so they may begin to live their ordinary lives again.
Amongst the chaos of the market, George’s mother leads him and his sister through to a front corner of the stage.
George’s Mother: Now, Mariana, you’re to come with me and do the shopping, then you’ll go off to do your chores at the home. George, your…friend Harrison will meet up with you here, and then the two of you will go to work at the tavern. I’m going to go check on your brother at the soldier camp, so if anyone needs me, just run down there, fine?
George’s Mother: All right. Mariana, say so long to George.
Mariana (exasperated): So long, George.
The two walk offstage, leaving George in the town square. He shifts from foot to foot, waiting for Harrison to arrive. Suddenly, there’s a commotion heard from offstage.
Voice of Harrison: Oi, mate! No need to get rough about it! It’s just tea!
Harrison is shoved onto the stage by Sam, who trudges on with Smitty at his heels. Sam has tea spilled all over his uniform.
Sam: Watch it, boy! This’ll teach you to respect the soldiers of America!
Sam gestures to Smitty, and he kicks Harrison to the ground. George puts his arm out to help, but draws it back quickly and awkwardly stands back from the incident.
Harrison: Aren’t you revolting against the taxation of tea, anyways? Than again, maybe you’re just revolting. Get many girls, Sammy?
Sam: Shut your mouth, boy!
Sam kicks Harrison himself, and Harrison grabs his chest. He shivers on the ground, yet a smile creeps across his face. Sam and Smitty walk offstage.
Once they leave, George rushes to Harrison’s side.
George: Hairy! Are you all right?
Harrison: Yeah, those two make a great group- Primate Sam and Oaf-headed Smitty. What a pair! I don’t like the looks of ‘em, though. C’mon, let’s get to the tavern.
Scene 2: The Tavern
Lights up on the tavern. A group of men sit at a table, beer mugs in their hands. George and Harrison are sweeping the floor.
Harrison: This slime’s nasty, mate. Don’t ever end up like these drunkards, oh boy.
George: Whatever you say, Hairy.
Harrison: No kidding, mate. My knowledge is gonna save your life, so long as you remember it. Now, get a mop and clean up the mess in the corner.
George grumbles. He marches over to the closet and pulls out a mop. He wanders over to the corner of the bar.
Harrison (to himself): Kid just moved into town about a month ago, and look at him! He’s running this joint!
George: Maybe that’s because no one else will do it.
Harrison: You say somethin’, Georgie?
Harrison: You have a brother and a sister, right Georgie?
George: Yup. John’s me brother and Mariana’s me sister.
Harrison: Ah, Mariana. She’s a pretty looking girl, ya know?
George: She’s me sister, Hairy. Besides, she doesn’t like you. She says your hair’s too long.
Harrison: How do ya think I got my nickname, boy? My name’s Hairy, and it’s gonna be for as long as I got two feet.
The owner of the tavern emerges onto the stage.
Tavern Owner: Alright, ya filthy things. Get outta here. Come back tomorrow bright an’ early!
Harrison and George begin to walk out. The tavern owner shakes his head and walks offstage.
Harrison (whispering): Hey, ya. Thursday, some of the guys and I are gonna gather up some of Farmer Chaplin’s eggs and pelt that old maggot’s (gesturing to the tavern owner) sorry face! Wanna join in?
George: I dunno, Hairy. My mom needs me at home to help her, and-
Harrison (ruffles George’s hair): All right, you big sissy. I’ll see ya later. (Separates his fingers in a gesture and says:) Live long and prosper!
As he walks off, George looks at the audience, confused, then wanders off in the opposite direction. Blackout.
Scene 3: Chaplin’s Place/ The School
It is the next day. Chaplin enters from a door, hunched over and wearing a nightgown. He arcs his back backwards, and a loud cracking is heard. He sighs pleasantly, then turns sullen.
Farmer Chaplin: Well, if it ain’t a new day. Not much new about it, mind. The kids do their chores, run off to school, jobs are done by the adults, and by that time it’s supper. ‘Course, today’s a bit different, seeing how this town be hostin’ a famous soul. Yep, ol’ Paulie R.’s here in town today.
Chaplin hobbles back inside his house. The lights shift to a school house, with rows of kids including George and his friends Pine and Frederick. The teacher stands on a podium in front of them.
Teacher: Good day, BRATS! As many of you know, there are some very famous people in our town today. They’ll be staying here for the next few weeks, as a matter of fact. So why don’t you LISTEN UP AND SHOW SOME RESPECT for Mr. Paul Revere.
The students weakly clap. Frederick, on the other hand, is overjoyed and cannot be calmed down. He rapidly claps his hands together. John stops him. Paul Revere walks up on the podium.
Revere: Morning, Patriots! No, I’m not a general. Or a sergeant. Not even a private. I’m just a friend of Samuel Adams and a guy who supports the American cause! (Quietly) and, God knows, nobody you would even recognize could be bothered to show up. (Clears his throat and continues his speech) Now-
Boy: ‘Scuse me, sir, but what’s that?
Revere: What, the American cause? Why, it’s our independence, young sir! Our freedom from Britain! The best life for you all, I tell ya!
Transition into next segment, with Revere gone and George and his friend stalking up front, with everyone else scrambling about in the back.
Pine: I dunno about this, guys. My mum told be that Britain is keeping the peace here, and we should be thanking them.
Frederick: For what? They’ve been taxing us unfairly, and we deserve freedom!
Pine: Where did you get that from, your dad? Just because he’s with those blokes doesn’t mean he’s right.
Frederick: Are you sayin’ me dad’s a liar?
Pine: I’m sayin’ you should shut your mouth!
They begin to quarrel and wander offstage. George walks up front, looking depressed.
George: I once knew a man like that. Like that Paul bloke back there. He didn’t know what he was fighting for. He just rode off, ignorant of what would happen to the ones he cared for, the people he loved, a wonderful life just tossed away.
Scene 4: George’s Room/ Outside George’s House
George’s bedroom is presented. He is sleeping on his bed, curled up without the covers. From his dreams we hear the sound of a horse galloping through the rain. The imaginary horse skids to a stop, and the rider falls to the ground. Gunshots are heard, along with anguished screaming. George flails about and falls off his bed, waking up. He begins whimpering:
George: Why did you have to go? You left us with nothing. Nothing but a grumpy aunt who turned us away. Nothing but unanswered letters for months and months. I know it wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t help it. But you knew it was dangerous, and you went ahead and left anyways. “I’ll be back,” you said. And yet you never came back. Nothing but a visit from six men clothed in black, carrying a wooden box. Nothing else. Nothing.
George sighs and pulls himself back on to the bed. He lies down on his back, his hands covering his eyes. The lights shift to the corner of the stage, where George’s sister, Mariana, comes out a door and begins to empty a bucket into a pool. Harrison comes walking by.
Harrison: Why, hello there, Miss! What are you doing out here this fine night?
Mariana: Get out of here, Hairy. Go somewhere else and enjoy this fine night…(look at sky) that happens to be cloudy and starless.
Harrison: Exactly why it’s fine, sweet Mariana! The verge of chaos! The calm before the storm.
Mariana: You’re gonna see a storm if you don’t get out of here. Scram! And get a haircut!
Mariana chases him offstage. She goes back inside. Harrison enters again at the front of the stage, mumbling to himself.
Harrison (to himself): Ah, a fair maiden shall scoff at the idea of marrying peasant. But fear not, young man! All it takes is a bold deed to win the heart of a queen! To arms, men! Tomorrow, we strike the tavern!
Scene 5: George’s House
Lights on the kitchen in George’s house. His mother is fixing supper when Harrison and his friend, Stu, dive in, avoiding eggs being launched at them. George’s mother gasps in surprise.
George’s Mother: What gives you the right to barge into here like this?!
Harrison: We’re really sorry about this, miss, but we got into an egg fight with those apes Sam and Smitty- pardon me for my classification-and your door was respectfully open, so we made it our escape option.
George’s Mother: Yes… (She pauses as they head to his room) Harrison, who’s your friend? (Points to Stu)
Harrison: Oh, him? His names Stu. Odd, ain’t he? (Leans in and whispers to George’s mother) Short for “Stupid”.
They dash away as George’s mother shakes her head. Lights shift to George sitting in his room, reading a book. Harrison and Stu crash into the room.
Harrison: Hiya, Georgie! Ya not gonna believe what just happened.
Stu (notices book): What’s this junk? Math? Literature? Latin? Science?! Are you tryin’ to poison your mind?! (Grabs George’s head and shakes it)
Harrison (pulling Stu back): Whatcha doing to ya self, Georgie? Now, listen to our story.
George groans. Harrison and Stu pull over two chairs and sit in them backwards.
Harrison: So we’re going to get the eggs from Chaplin…
Stu: Minding our own business…
Harrison: Doing nothing out of the ordinary…
Stu: Just minding our own business…
Harrison: When, out of the blue yonder, those galoots Sam and Smitty pop out!
Sam and Smitty enter, images from Harrison’s memory. Dark lighting on them.
Sam: What are you two brats doin’?
Harrison and Stu stand up and approach them, as if entering the memory. Carrol and Paul join them. Each hold an armload of eggs behind their back.
Stu: Nothin’, sir! We were just minding our own… minding our… our own…
Harrison (covering Stu’s mouth): We’re in the middle of something very important, gentlemen. Now, we shall be off.
Sam pulls Harrison back by the shoulder. As he does, Stu, still in Harrison’s grasp, punches Sam in the face in the face and kicks Smitty in the crotch. The two boys run off as Sam recovers, leaving Smitty sprawled on the ground, eyes bugged out. The boys stop and face Sam in the town square. Sam has picked up a few eggs and is ready for battle. Stu and Harrison heave all of their eggs at once at Sam, missing by nearly a foot. Sam grins widely. As he stalks towards them, the boys back up. Harrison runs back to George, watching the action from his room.
Harrison: So there we were, defenseless, backed up against a wall, and suddenly, we saw opportunity!
Harrison scurries back to the memory. He and Stu turn to each other and yell-
As they charge, Sam ducks, expecting a blow. Instead, Harrison vaults over Sam’s back, and Stu slides between his legs. Carrol and Paul throw their remaining eggs at Smitty and run for their lives. They regain they sprint off stage. Sam falls in his eggs, then regains his feet and chases after them. The boys then come back on in George’s bedroom.
Harrison: And that, my young comrade, was the Battle of Chaplin’s Eggs!
Stu claps wildly. George raises one eyebrow and looks quizzically at Harrison.
Stu: An epic battle remembered for generations to come! Bravo! Good show, good show!
Harrison crosses the room, ignoring Stu’s applause. He puts his ear to the window and signals for silence.
George: Hairy, what are you-
Harrison: Ssh! (then, eyes wide) We’ve been followed.
In the kitchen, clashes and the marching of feet are heard.
Harrison: Go! Go! Out the window!
Stu and George hastily climb out the window. Harrison scrambles out behind them. They try to run, but they are cornered by soldiers. Sam and Smitty is with them. Sam face is covered in egg yolks, and Smitty is limping.
Sam: Here they are! These are the kids! Take away the older ones. Hold the little one.
The boys struggle as the soldiers grab them, dragging them away from each other. Harrison yells.
Harrison: You bastards! Get lost! Let go of Georgie! I know a lawyer, dammit!
Stu: Don’t tell them anything, kid!
George: Hairy! Stu!
Harrison and Stu are dragged offstage. The soldiers drop George in the center of the stage and march away. George runs after them and attempts to hit them, but to no avail. George is left whimpering on the ground. His mother comes out to him. She carries him back inside as he moans. Blackout.
Scene 6: George’s Room
The next scene sees George lying on his bed again. He is having the same dream, with the horse and gunshots. He suddenly sits up.
George: Did you even care what happened that night? You just rode away with those men in the night. It was raining. And dark. It was dark. It was stupid, stupid. And you left us.
Scene 7: The Jail
Harrison is seen sitting in a jail sell, trying to play a mouth harp. George is shoved in by a warden. At the sight of the boy, Harrison bolts up and squeezes his head between the bars.
Warden: Five minutes.
Harrison: Hey Georgie. I think they’re gonna let me out, soon. I’ve been trying to learn to play this damn here thing, but it ain’t working out for me. (He tosses it aside) How’re things at home?
George: Hairy, you remember when I came to this town? You know, when my mother and I were found at the gate entrance, lying on the ground, starving?
Harrison: Aw, c’mon, Georgie. It wasn’t that bad. I mean-
George: And then you rushed up, and my mom told you to protect me forever, incoherently, and you told her you would?
Harrison: Well, I guess I was pretty great, and-
George: Harrison, listen to me! They could find you guilty you for disrespecting a soldier! You aren’t perfect, for God’s sake! Now do you realize why Mariana doesn’t like you! Your ignorant! Your skull is as numb as my dad’s body!
Harrison: …You know what, George? I don’t give a damn about most words. I don’t care about you bad-mouthin’ my relationship with your sister. But you called me Harrison. Don’t ever do that.
George: Hairy…I wanted to apologize for…for you getting arrested.
Harrison: What’re ya apologizin’ for? It wasn’t your fault.
George: But I could’ve helped you! I could’ve helped you and Stu! I had the chance and I…I didn’t.
Harrison: George, I’m the one that’s supposed to protect you, alright?
George: But…but…I’m a failure.
Harrison: You’re not a failure.
Harrison: ‘Course not. Now go. The warden’s lookin’ peeved.
George: Oh, thank you, Hairy!
He runs off, relieved and overjoyed.
Harrison: What an odd kid.
Scene 8: The Town Square
Harrison appears, leaping and bounding around the town square.
Harrison: I’m free! Ha ha ha! It feels great to see the sun again.
He spots Mariana and runs over to her.
Harrison: I’m free, Mariana! The court saw me innocent, and I’m free!
She storms away from him harshly. Harrison ignores this and continues to cheer.
Harrison: Ha ha ha ha ha! I’m free!
Scene 9: The Town Square
The town square is seen again, now filled with soldiers and tents stocked with weapons. Paul Revere is talking with the strategist and Sam.`
Strategist: We’ll have to defend the bay. The Redcoats are going to attack the colonies, and this town is one of their targets. A sea attack will be easiest.
Sam: But they’ll move more stealthily by land, attacking us unaware.
Paul Revere: Indeed. Can we distribute the troops evenly?
Strategist: They’ll be spread too thin. Both barricades will fail. We must choose one or the other if we’re to win.
Paul Revere: We’ll just have to wait for the signal.
Sam: What signal?
Paul Revere: Samuel and I, we’ve put together a plan-
Strategist (Pulls Paul aside): Sir, there have been certain suspicious factors surrounding the whereabouts of this soldier. I suggest we keep the plan a secret.
Paul Revere: Oh, come now, sir! Do you really believe all this?
The lights shift to the corner of the stage, where George’s head pops out from behind stage.
George: This is it! This is how I’ll prove myself! To Hairy, to Mother, to everyone! The British are coming, and I’m gonna stop them!
He crawls away as the lights go out.
Scene 10: George’s Training
The next few days flash by. A strobe light flashes. George is seen saluting to his mother as he heads out. He practices his shooting. He runs across town, building his strength. He stands atop a hillside, and hollers in triumph. Blackout.
George is seen in his bedroom, lying on his bed. His chest is heaving, and he is out of breath. He groans loudly. Hearing this, his mother walks into the room.
George’s Mother: Now what’s wrong, sweetie? You look off…(She examines him) …and strong! What have you been doing?
George: Never mind, mother. I’ve got to go to Mr. Revere.
George’s Mother: Now, hold it there. Why do you need to see him?
George: I’m going to prove myself, Mother. I’m going to fight the Redcoats, and help this country.
George’s Mother: Very funny. Now, go help your sister with her chores.
George: I’m serious, Mother. I’m going to fight the Redcoats, and save the colonies!
George’s Mother: You’ll do no such thing. Now, go.
George: Mom, I’m helping my country!
George’s Mother: George, don’t-
George: I’m proving myself! Why won’t you let me do it, and yet John’s out there with the rebels!
George’s Mother: …Yes, of course.
George’s Mother: We haven’t seen John in a bit, have we?
George: Mother, what’s wrong with-
George’s Mother: George, your brother’s dead.
George suddenly freezes mid-speech, then collapses onto his bed, gasping. His mother promptly exits the room.
George quietly sobs as the lights go out.
Scene 11: The Tavern
A church bell is heard as the lights come up on George and Harrison back at the tavern, working under the watchful eye of the owner of the tavern. Looking at George, his eyes are still red and weary from crying.
Harrison: Well, the bums are off to the evenin’ sermon. Not that they’ll learn anything. They’ll just come lumbering back to the bar with their sloth-like faces. You know what a sloth is, Georgie? It’s a hairy, sluggish thing that lies around all day, never minding what’s happening to the real world. It just lives in it’s own little place, filled with booze a-
Tavern Owner: Hairy! Quiet down before I call the patrol on you.
Harrison: As if you have the wits to, you filthy slave dri-
Tavern Owner: That’s it! Don’t come back tomorrow, or ever, you smart-mouthed teenager!
He stomps off stage, grumbling. Hairy is momentarily perplexed.
Harrison: Nah, he’ll let me back in. It’s not like he can run this place with you alone, and no one else is stupid enough to take the job.
Harrison: What, squirt?
George: Did you ever fight? Like, with guns? You know, to prove yourself?
Harrison: Why would I have done that? I don’t need to fight with some silly weapon to prove my self for any hooligan.
George: Why not?
Harrison: Mate, if I needed to prove something, it wouldn’t be through the shooting of another man. How is killing some ‘un evidence of your moral self?
George looks at his feet. Harrison dusts off his pants and walks off.
Harrison: G’night, George.
Scene 12: Revolutionary Hideout
Crickets chirp late at night. George is seen crossing the town square. He ducks behind a few stands as soldiers walk by. He heads for the house where Paul Revere and the strategist are consulting.
From the other side of the house, a hooded man crawls along the wall, he approaches the front door. He enters and interrupts the two men. He then threatens them at gunpoint.
As George approaches the building, he peeps through the door. He sees the man threatening the revolutionaries. Thinking quickly, he tackles the man’s legs and pins him down. The other men grab his weapon and his arms.
Paul Revere: Let’s see who this sneaky fella is.
He lifts his hood, revealing the man to be Sam.
Paul Revere: You were right, Strategist! It seems there are some in our ranks that we cannot trust! Round up his troop and make the others talk. (Turns to George) Thanks, kid. You best be getting home now.
George: But, sir, I-
Paul Revere: Go. (Quietly, to himself) Can’t let a kid fight, now can I? What would people say?
George mopes offstage as they pull Sam away. Blackout.
Scene 13: The Ride
Thunder booms as George sits in his kitchen, his head on the table. Wind slams against the windows. His mom is fixing dinner when Harrison suddenly barges in, soaking wet.
Harrison: Georgie! Miss! Come quick! There’s a huge gathering in the town square! Mr. Revere’s calling the whole town!
George’s Mother: We’ll get our coats. Mariana, come! The town’s meeting in the square!
Mariana enters from offstage. The whole family gather their coats and head out after Harrison, who has gone off ahead. They trudge all the way to the town square, where a bonfire is lit. Paul Revere stands in front of it. He yells above the high wind.
Paul Revere: We have received word that the British are ready assault upon the colonies, coming by sea to attack us. We require riders to warn other villages. Ten men are needed. Who’s with us?
Nine men slowly make their way out of the crowd to his side. Paul gestures for more to come forth.
Paul Revere: C’mon! One more! Who is man enough to fight for this country!
George: Wait. I’ll go.
The crowd falls silent. George walks right up to Paul Revere. George’s mother can only stare in astonishment.
Paul Revere: I’m not one to question a man’s motives, boy, but you’re just a child. I can’t let you do this.
George: Yes, sir. But I’m also an American. And you don’t see no one complainin’.
Paul Revere crouches down and puts his hand on the boy’s shoulder. His eyes are full of concern.
Paul Revere: You don’t have to do this, you know. It’s your own choice.
Flashes of George’s father, John, Harrison and Stu being arrested, Sam threatening Paul Revere, and his family dying at the gates of the town are projected in a film montage. The scene freezes as the montage is played.
George: I have something to fight for, now. My brother’s dead. Father, too. And there’s a lot of other people that need helping. I can’t just leave them on their own. (another flash of his father) That’s not who I am.
Paul pats on the shoulder and nods. George’s mother begins to cry as George stands next to Paul. She collapses out of agony. Mariana cries out and holds her. George dashes back to her.
George: Mom…I have to do this…for us…for everyone…for the man that died doing the same. But I won’t make that mistake. I’ll come back. I promise, Mom. I promise.
She nods sadly, tears in her eyes. She sits up, Mariana supporting her.
Mariana: You can’t just leave! What are you doing?
Harrison walks forward and holds her by the arm.
Harrison: Mariana, let him be. He needs to be going now.
Mariana backs away. Harrison walks forward and stand in front of George.
Harrison: You were right. (Pause) And I was wrong.
George: About what?
Harrison: About a lot. (Pause, punches him lightly in the arm) Don’t come back until you’ve saved America.
George looks solemnly at his friend as he walks back into the large crowd, away from the scene.
Paul Revere: Tonight, these men will ride for you. For your country. For freedom!
The whole crowd cheers as the riders mount their horses. Paul helps George onto his steed.
Paul Revere: Good luck, son. (To himself, smirking) Just like his father.
George nods, his eyes narrow, his face glowing with bravery. Paul slaps his horse, and he charges off into the distance, the rain beginning to beat down on him. Blackout.
Narrator: In 1783, America gained it’s independence from Britain, and the people rejoiced. The country became one of the strongest nations in the world.
Never shall we forget the men who rode across the countryside on that night in 1775, warning all of the British attack. And never, ever, shall we forget the one boy, who proved to everyone that heroes can come from the least likely places.
End of play.
Age 13, Grade 7
Hunter College High School