Cast of characters (14): Humpty Dumpty, Egg 1, Egg 2, Egg 3, Egg 4, General, King’s man 1, King’s man 2, King’s man 3, King’s horse 1, King’s horse 2, King’s horse 3, King and Servant.
(Stage directions: There is a big wall upstage and there are a group of eggs playing outside the wall. They accidentally throw the ball over the wall.)
Egg 1: Oh dear, what will we do now?
Egg 2: Well, one of us will have to climb over the wall and get the ball.
Egg 3: Humpty Dumpty will do it
Humpty Dumpty: Why do I have to do it?
Egg 4: Because you are bravest egg of all eggs.
Egg 1: Don’t tell us you are scared.
All: Scaredy Egg! Scaredy Egg!
Humpty Dumpty: Alright, alright I’ll do it.
(Humpty Dumpty starts to climb the wall. He is shaking because he is so scared. He gets to the top but he is too frightened to move.)
Humpty Dumpty: I can’t move. What shall I do?
General: What is going on here?
(All the eggs run off.)
Humpty Dumpty: I climbed the wall because we threw the ball over the wall and I wanted to get back for all my egg friends but now I’m stuck and I can’t get down.
General: I’ll get a ladder and help you get down. (General mimes getting a ladder but Humpty Dumpty starts to wobble and falls off the ladder.)
Humpty Dumpty: Help me! I’m broken. (Humpty Dumpty is lying on the floor.)
General: Don’t worry, I’ll call all the King’s men to come and help put you back together again.
General: (gets out his phones and dials the King’s men) Please come quick, a giant egg has fallen off a wall.
(King’s men come galloping in on their horses. They look at Humpty Dumpty on the ground.)
King’s Man 1: Oh dear, this looks very bad.
King’s Horse 1: I don’t think we are going to be able to fix him.
King’s Man 2: Don’t give up we can try.
King’s Horse 2: Look everybody where do you think this goes? (He holds up an arm.)
King’s Man 3: I think that might be his leg. (They all try hard to put him back together. They circle him so the audience can’t see while they are working on him. Then after a few minutes they stop.)
King’s Horse 3: We tried our best but there is nothing we can do.
(They all put their heads down.)
(Trumpet blows and the King’s servant enters.)
Servant: The king is coming. Everyone bow.
(They all bow as the King enters and sits at the table.)
King: I’m so hungry. (Rings bell.) What is for dinner tonight, servant?
Servant: Lots and lots of scrambled egg.
All: (Come out to the centre stage and recite the Humpty Dumpty rhyme.)
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
They tried to push him up.
They tried to pull him up.
They tried to patch him up.
But couldn’t put him back together again.
For more plays based on Fairytales click on the link below.
As children, we all were eager to learn nursery rhymes. They seem to be simple, creative works of art to attract the young ones. These rhymes are centuries old and some of them contain historical meanings in them. What many of us don’t know is that these short rhyming couplets reflect some historical events of their times. It was also a way of commenting on the contemporary political scene by the common people. Direct criticism would lead to death. Let us look into the hidden message in some of the rhymes.
Ring a Ring O’ Roses
Ring of roses was a reference to the body rash due to infection, the posies were the herbs to defend against the infection, “Atishoo” is the sneezing and “all fall down” actually refers to death. These all were the symptoms of Black Death or the Great Plague. It killed nearly half of the population of London in 1665. And we thought it was a play and fun song!!!
Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
The Mary in this rhyme is the Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII. She was referred to as the “Bloody Mary” and a staunch Catholic. The garden is actually the graveyard of the martyred Protestants. “Silverbells” is a euphemism for “cockleshells” and “thumbscrews” which were used to torture. That surely doesn’t present a good picture.
Jack and Jill went up the hill
According to the French history, Jack is a reference to Louis XVI and Jill stands for Queen Marie Antoinette. In 1793, Louis XVI was beheaded during the infamous Reign of Terror. Therefore the line “broke his crown (head)”. What followed was Queen Antonette’s beheading. Hence ,“Jill came tumbling after”.
When Adam delved and Eve span
England was plagued with the deadly Bubonic Plague, killing half of the population. The farmers realized their importance and they wanted freedom from the life of servitude, unfair taxes and controlled wages. “When Adam delved…” became the anthem for the Peasant Revolt of 1381 as it was simple, catchy and easy to remember. Truly revolutionary!!!
Little Boy Blue
The little boy blue might be a reference to Cardinal Wolsey, a wealthy, arrogant Oxford scholar. The heads of 4 blue leopards were displayed on his robe. “Come blow your horn” as he was known for boasting. ‘Where’s the man who looks after the sheep’ this line is a sarcastic remark on Wolsey, who was interested in his own interests rather than that of his people.
So, the next time you teach your child the rhymes spare a thought for its origin!!!