NEWS RELEASE - West Fraser

By Linda J. Saren
Copyright © MCMIXVI by Linda J. Saren
All Rights Reserved
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(2 Men, 3 Women)
LETTER A ..................................... a female (28 lines)
LETTER B...................................... a male (22 lines)
LETTER U ..................................... a female (19 lines)
LETTER S ...................................... an older man (16 lines)
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LETTER E...................................... a female (18 lines)
The stage is empty except For a backdrop of drawings by children
which are self portraits, intermixed with photographs of children’s
faces of all races and ages. Actors wear black t-shirts or sweatshirts
with their respective letters (A. B, U, S, E) in large, white type
embossed on the back. The characters also have their respective letters
printed on the front of their t-shirts, but to a smaller scale.
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Each LETTER has a separate and distinct personality untill that
LETTER takes on the more serious role dramatizing the issue of child
abuse. Unless the LETTERS are portraying their specific abuse
awareness character, they remain oddbeat and lighthearted LETTER
The five LETTERS enter, some from SL some from SR not spelling their
word yet. They look around to get acquainted. LETTER B has
headphones on, a baseball glove and ball, and he is chewing gum;
another LETTER is eating an apple; another LETTER is playing with a
game or slink; another LETTER is fiddling with a yo-yo; and yet
another is blowing bubbles. Only LETTER S wears a baseball Cap to
set him apart later when he takes on the role of the pedophile.
LETTER A: So what do you suppose we’re here to spell this time?
LETTER U: I sure hope it isn’t going to be a long novel or anything.
I’m feeling like a very over-worked vowel.
LETTER A: You’re overworked? You’re talking to “A” girl. Do you
know what it’s like being the first letter of tie alphabet? Because
of my A, I’m the one who gets stuck seated in front of the teacher
all the time. I get called first. And I’m the one they all want on
their report cards. I’m always in demand.
LETTER B: (Removing headphones.) Hey, whu-sssup?
LETTER U: Take those things off, B, before we misspell. A is
complaining about being the first Letter of the alphabet
LETTER B: Shaah. What about me? I’m B. Do you know what it
feels like to be second all the time? Little kids always write you
backwards and get you mixed up with D. Do you know what the
dictionary said about me? Second highest in quality!
LETTER S: Every time I get stuck between two vowels it’s a
grammatical nightmare. Look at you two. How can I work with
them? Couldn’t I just hang around until the end and make a
LETTER E: (To LETTER U.) aren’t you going to introduce me?
LETTER U: Why me?
LETTER E: Because you’re “U.”
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LETTER U: If I’m “U” who are you?
LETTER S: (Coming between them.) I’m Ssssssss. Ssss. Oh, l just
love saying my letter. S. It’s such a good, reliable letter. Sssmile.
Ssseashore. Sssummer. Sssupper. Esspecially ssweet
sscrumptious sound of “S.”
LETTER A: Ssso modesstly sssaid.
LETTER S: EsssentialIy you’re alone until you have an S makes
you more than one. Without me, you’re sssingle.
LETTER E: Well folks, while he makes an “S” out of himself allow
me to introduce myself. I’m E. Everybody needs
E. E is everywhere on earth. Sometimes I sound like something
else, but (Shakes his head.) yup, chances are, it’s an E you
LETTER A: Okay. Cool it, Hang on. Hold it. I just figured it out. I
think I know the word we’ve been assembled to spell.
LETTER S: “Spell” is with an S and so is assembled,
LETTER U: Shhh, Let her estimate
LETTER E: You need an E with that, pal. See, I told you I was
LETTER B: Catch ya later, (Starts to leave.)
LETTER A: Where are you going?
LETTER B: Do I have to spell it out for you?
LETTER S: Well, yeah, you do. That’s what we do, man. I mean
we’re letters, Sometimes you have to spell your guts.
LETTER B: (Emphatically) Not this word. I’m not kidding. I don’t
want to talk about this word.
LETTER E: Most kids aren’t talking about it and that’s been a
problem for a long time. “E” is also for educate,
LETTER U: (Tugs at B’s arm.) We need you, B.
LETTER B: I still don’t feel real comfortable talking about our word.
LETTER E: It’s just a word
LETTER B: Oh, no, its not. It’s a word that opens volumes.
LETTER A: (Whistles or blows a whistle.) It’s time, letters. It’s time
to become a word.
LETTER B: Do we have to?
LETTER A: Yes, we were brought together for a reason. We are the
word. Letter people, it is time to become our word. Ready? Spell.
They line up facing the audience. One at a time from SR beginning
with “A” each letter turns around revealing their letter, spelling
the word “ABUSE.” Pause.
LETTER E: Uh, oh. (Reluctant turning around half way) This is a
word that can be really painful.
LETTER S: (Impatient.) We’re misspelling! Your being out of line is
making us “a bus.”
(LETTER E unwillingly resumes spelling position; letters return to
facing audience.)
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LETTER U: Words get things out in the open.
LETTER S: Who wants to go first? We all have a story to tell.
LETTER E: I’m not sure I’ll ever find the words to express this.
LETTER B: You’re a letter of the alphabet. Your life is words.
LETTER A: You know the expression, a picture is worth a thousand
words? (Points to backdrop of all of the children’s faces.) We are
the words! Without us there are no words. We speak for them.
They don’t have a voice. Let’s give them one, let’s do this right . .
. for the children.
LETTER S: Go ahead, A. You’re used to going first anyway.
(LETTER U sits on stool CS with her back towards he audience,
LETTERS B, S, and E exit.)
LETTER A: “A” is for awareness, awareness that child abuse is one
of the most pressing problems we face. There are *over two
million cases of child abuse and neglect reported in the United
States each year. Out of every 1,000 babies born each year, six
will be abused while still children. What is child abuse? Physical
child abuse occurs when someone who has the care or custody
of a child causes or allows the child to suffer physical harm.
LETTER U: You know what that is . . . it’s not a simple spanking. Its
physical harm that causes bruises, bleeding, burns, fractures,
wounds, brain damage, poisoning - or a child who doesn’t get
proper nourishment.
LETTER A: Child abuse can also be mental or emotional, like this.
Go ahead, guys, show them what emotional abuse can be.
LETTERS E, S, and B file one by one from alternating sides of the
stage saying the following to LETTER U, whose back is facing the
audience and whose head is down.
LETTER E: You’re stupid!
LETTER S: I wish you were never born!
LETTER B: You’re ugly!
LETTER E: You’re pathetic. You can’t do anything right.
LETTER S: Get out of here! I’m sick of looking at your face.
LETTER B: You’re worthless!
LETTER S: You’re more trouble than you’re worth.
LETTER E: You’re selfish and irresponsible!
(LETTERS E, S, and B exit.)
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LETTER A: Children believe what their parents tell them. And if
parents tell them that day after day, that’s emotional abuse. With
something like that at its foundation, the family could be resting
on shaky ground. There’s still another kind of child abuse we
have to talk about. Sexual abuse of children is not at all
uncommon and it happens in all religions, cultures, and races. It
happens to kids from wealthy families, middle class families and
poor families, sometimes in your own home by someone you
trust.Hey, letters (Whistles or blows a whistle, LETTERS E, S,
and B return.) What is the first step we can take towards
preventing child abuse?
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