Here are a few common questions about the plays. While it is not an exhaustive list, I hope that it will help you out.
Why are the casts of these plays so big?
These plays are written for elementary school theater programs, which often have a requirement to cast all children who audition. In a school where theater is extremely popular, that can pose quite a challenge for those in charge of finding a play. While of course it is possible to cast a large number of children in non-speaking roles, such as generic “villagers,” I feel it’s important to give as many children as possible a chance to let their voices be heard. Therefore, all of my plays have 25+ speaking roles in addition to a few crowd scenes that may allow younger actors to participate, as well as those who don’t feel ready to speak on stage.
Of course, if your theater program is smaller, there are plenty of doubling opportunities listed in every play. With quick costume changes, these plays can be performed with as few as 20 actors.
There are many plays out there which offer opportunities for small casts, but surprisingly few non-musicals aimed at child actors which allow so many children at a time to experience having lines.
Why are speaking roles so important?
My goal, when directing and writing plays for children, is not to put on a Broadway show. Rather, it is to teach children self-confidence, public speaking skills, memorization tricks, group cooperation, and numerous other skills. Nothing brings those home so much as being asked to walk onto a stage in front of a hundred people and say the correct line at the correct time (and the correct volume!)
While not every child who auditions for theater is ready for a speaking role, small two-line parts, such as the Toy Seller in Suiko and the Puzzle Box allow them to start slowly. I encourage all children’s theater directors to give out as many speaking parts as possible. Even if a child is very quiet at auditions, or seems incredibly nervous, when given a chance, more often than not, they rise to the task and become enthusiastic members of the cast.
That said, all major information given out in these plays is stated by at least two characters. That way, if someone forgets a line, or is too quiet to be heard, the audience will not be left in the dark. Live theater changes every night!
What do I need to do to perform one of your plays?
You must purchase a set amount of scripts in order to be allowed to perform any of Stephanie Hunter’s plays. This ensures that each major role will have a script of their own to highlight and annotate.
Do your plays require royalties?
My plays don’t have royalties for amateur productions. If you are putting this play on for a church, a camp, a school, or an amateur dramatic society, you do not need to pay royalties to perform this play. If you are a professional company, please contact me directly for more information.
How do you, the author, get paid for your efforts?
I get paid when you purchase a script. This is why there is a set number; it ensures that I am compensated for my research, writing, trouble-shooting, diagramming, formatting, publishing, and marketing. Not much after the printer has been paid, I don’t mind saying, but the point of putting these out there is not to profit–the point is that other directors can have access to high-quality scripts for large casts. That is my main goal: to further good children’s theater.
Why can’t I buy one script and photocopy it?
Because that’s stealing, same as if you bought any other book and handed out photocopies to your friends. Except instead of stealing from a multi-million dollar corporation, you’re stealing from a woman in Ohio who lives in a 600 square foot apartment. Ta.
Buy the set number of copies. I promise you, it’s cheaper than the royalties on most plays.
We are performing one of your plays! May I photograph/videotape it?
Yes! Be my guest. Show it to your friends and family, by all means, keep it around for your archives, or just until the kids are graduating and will groan at the sight of it. That said, if you are posting it on Youtube or Facebook, please make sure my name is included next to the title of the play so that others who would like to perform it may find it easily, and so that I get credit for my writing. Let’s face it: most of how I’m getting paid is in credit, not cash 😉
If you have further questions, feel free to ask them below or email me. Thank you for reading!