Great Expectations – a play based on the book by Charles Dickens
This script is one of a series ‘What the Dickens!’ :
· A Christmas Carol
· Oliver Twist
· David Copperfield
· Great Expectations
· A Tale of Two Cities
Cast of 15
Duration: Around 15 – 20 minutes
Suitable from age 10 upwards, this is a set of scripts written with Key Stage III in mind. I will be adding further teaching resources in the near future. It is my aim to make these great classics accessible to young people and adults alike*Scroll down for review.
Narrator: This is a tale of (pauses) Great Expectations. But please don’t allow yourselves to be fooled by the title. No. Sadly this is far from a tale of high hopes and their fulfilment. This is a tale that will take you to many dark places where you will meet many dark characters. Where treachery and skulduggery lurk in every corner. Where so-called gentlemen act as complete tyrants (pauses) and where ladies, frankly do not come out much better!
(Sound of ‘clanking’ from a blacksmith’s shed)
But wait! What is that I hear? Aha! A sound of decency. A bright ray of light shining through all this mirky darkness.
Joe: (Laughing) Did I hear someone compare my job to something bright and shining?
Narrator: (Shaking Joe’s hand) You did indeed! It’s so good to meet you!
Joe: And very good to meet you too, my friend!
Narrator: Ah, there you go! Warm and welcoming to everyone you meet. Never an unkind thought in your head. Always thinking the best of everyone!
Joe: (Smiling) Well, it doesn’t pay to carry bitterness around with you. My wife sadly carries enough for two of us – and look how happy that makes her!
Wife: (Shrieking) Joe? Joe Gargery? Have you not heard me yelling your name this past half hour?
Narrator: (Aside to audience) And there I was thinking the ear plugs were to protect his ears from the anvil!
Wife: (Rounding on Narrator) And what is your business in these parts?
Narrator: And a very good day to you as well, ma’am. I was just saying to your husband
Wife: (Interrupting) That good for nothing waste of time! And don’t you go wasting any more of his time! He has work to do! Isn’t that right, Joe Gargery?
Joe: If you say so, oh sweetness and light!
Wife: Bah! Don’t you go thinking you can sweet-talk your way around me! (Pauses as she looks around) And where’s that other waste of space, my young brother, Pip? Up to no good, no doubt!
Narrator: (Sarcastically) How lovely it must be to think so well of everyone around you!
I can highly recommend Sue Russell’s plays for use with KS3 students. They are wonderful introductions to classic novels – capturing the mood and tone of the original and communicating the essence of plot and characters in a lively and highly accessible way. Students enjoy the vibrant dialogue and find scope for characterisation and the development of dramatic skills by performing them. These plays can be used in English lessons as well as Drama class. Dickens is a wonderful writer, but the sheer length of the novels and complexity of plot lines can be intimidating for students. Sue Russell’s plays are faithful to their originals yet also brilliantly condensed without any loss of key material.
Many thanks to my writer-friend Jude Hayland who, when not writing, works as drama teacher and English tutor