(A script suitable for ventriloquist)
By John McNeil
Coco, an orphan monkey, learns the meaning of faith. (Note: Another animal puppet could probably be substituted, with appropriate changes to dialogue.)
Coco (a monkey)
Vent: I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Coco, who has come to live with us. We have had a number of international students staying with us this year, but this is the first time we have had someone from Africa. Would you like to say hello to the folk here, coco?
Coco: (Just buries her head)
Vent: What's the matter, Coco? (Bends to listen) What's the matter?
Coco: (Quietly) I'm shy.
Vent: You're shy?
Coco: Yes, I'm shy.
Vent: Oh, come on - no, you're not.
Coco: (A bit louder) Yes, I am.
Vent: Come on, Coco, you're not shy.
Coco: (Louder) I am shy.
Vent: I don't believe you.
Coco: (Shouts) I am shy, I tell you! (Stops, looks around.) Ooh, who are all those people?
Vent: They're friends of mine, whove come here for (name of your event).
Vent: You say they're your friends?
Vent: That's right.
Coco: So they won't laugh at me, then?
Vent: Laugh at you? Why should they?
Coco: Well, I'm white, aren't I, and I talk funny.
Vent: But you are also cute, and you have lovely fur, and I would love a coat like yours for winter. (Coco perks up, looks proud.) But tell us now, how have you found it here in .............?
Coco: Even with my fur coat, it's rather cold. And the day I arrived, there was all this white stuff on the ground. I thought it was ice cream, but it didn't have much flavour.
Vent: Oh Coco, that was snow.
Coco: It was (s)no ice cream, that's for sure. You'd think they could put some flavouring in it. The folk s back in Africa would love it, then.
Vent: Which part of Africa do you come from?
Coco: I was born in darkest Africa. It was so dark, we had to carry torches, even in the daytime.
Vent: That must have caused some problems at times.
Coco: It certainly did. Once I climbed a tree to get away from a wild animal, and discovered I was really climbing the leg of a giraffe. In fact, that was the start of my adventures.
Vent: Why was that?
Coco: Well, the giraffe started to run to get away, with me clinging to his neck. He ran for what seemed like hours, until I got too tired to hang on any longer, so when he jumped over a log, I fell off.
Vent: That must have been frightening for you. Were you hurt?
Coco: No, but I was lost. I had never been so far from home, and had no idea how to get back, or even in which direction to start.
Vent: So what happened?
Coco: I was just about to give up all hope, when along through the grass came a tribe of little men.
Vent: You mean, pygmies?
Coco: Thank you, that's a hard word for me to say without you moving your lips.
Vent: Are pygmies really small?
Coco: These ones were. They were members of the Heckawe tribe.
Vent: The Heckarwe tribe?
Coco: Yes. As they walked along, the grass was so far over their heads one of the scouts would climb a blade of grass from time to time to check out where they were. And when he got to the top, he would shout out, "We're the Heckarwe! We're the Heckarwe!"
Vent: What did they do when they saw you?
Coco: They were very kind to me actually. They took me back to their village. That was fascinating. They lived in tents made from handkershiefs they got from a trading post.
Vent: Did you stay with them long?
Coco: Only a few days. 'Cos I was larger than any of their warriors, it was getting too hard for them to feed me. So they took me to a mission station down the river in a dug-out.
Vent: A canoe?
Coco: Can I what?
Vent: Not 'can you' - I mean, a canoe.
Coco: What's a canoe?
Vent: A dug-out.
Coco: That's exactly what I said. They dug it out of their boat shed on the river bank, and we set off.
Vent: Was it far?
Coco: No, just at the bottom of the garden.
Vent: No, I mean, did you travel far down the river?
Coco: About six feet down! The dug-out sprang a leak and sank straight to the bottom. Fortunately they had another one, so eventually we got to the mission station. I don't mind telling you I was sure glad to get back on dry land.
Vent: Why is that?
Coco: Monkeys do not like water. There's nasty things in water like crocodiles and snakes and piranha fish, all just itching for a taste of monkey, and besides, it ruins a girl's hairstyle.
Vent: What did you do at the mission station?
Coco: I stayed there for six weeks, and during that time the missionaries tried to find my parents. They tried real hard, but have you ever tried to find a money in a jungle? It's an 'apeless' task. And then my new friends had a real monkey puzzle. They were due to return to ....... where they came from. They didn't want to leave me an orphan again, so in the end they decided to bring me back with them.
Vent: And because they are friends of my family, they let you come to stay with us for a while. That's certainly quite a story. Thank you for telling us, Coco, and I guess it's just about time for us to ... (pause; notices a piece of parsley tucked behind Coco's ear). Coco! You've got a piece of parsley behind your ear! What on earth is that for?
Coco: (Confidentially) It keeps the crocodiles away.
Vent: But there are no crocodiles around here!
Coco: Yes I know, effective isn't it!
Vent: (A bit sadly) Coco, when you were with the missionaries, didn't they tell you about God? And how he looks after us?
Vent: Don't you trust him, then?
Coco: Yes, but the way I figure it, I've got to do my part, too.
Vent: Hmmm! When you were found by the pygmies, there was not much you could do to help yourself, was there? You had to trust them.
Vent: And when you went down the river, you could not swim and had to trust the canoe, didn't you?
Coco: That's true.
Vent: When the missionaries brought you to ......., you had to trust them to look after you. Right?
Vent: And here today you have to trust that these people are not going to make fun of you.
Coco: I won't be their friend if they do.
Vent: I'm pretty sure they're all dying to be your friend. But the point is, if you've been able to trust all these things along the way, surely it shows God is looking after you, and you can trust him without something stuck behind your ear!
Coco: (Thinks for a moment) John (or vent's name)!
Coco: Would you like some parsley for your sandwich?
Vent: (Laughs) Come on, let's go and get some morning/afternoon tea! (Exits)
© John McNeil 1998
All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed.
He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or at: 36B Stourbridge St, Christchurch 2, New Zealand.