How The Coyote Stole Fire
A time before this time -
A time when humans hadn't been long on the earth,
A time when the tip of a coyote's tail wasn't white,
A time when a squirrel's tail wasn't curled,
A time when chipmunks didn't have three stripes down their backs,
A time when a frog still had a tail,
And Fire Beings held the secret to fire and guarded it closely, so no one else could have it.
But this story changes all that.
A forest near a human settlement in the shadow of the mountain of the Fire Beings
This is meant to be an exercise in storytelling and as such can be done with little or nothing at all, save the actors and their imaginations. Some notes on the text...
Gender of the Characters - Male or Female
- In the case of nearly all the characters, I wrote the roles as gender-neutral as possible so that that either men or women, boys or girls, could play the parts.
- In the case of the two human characters, I felt it important that both a man and a woman, not just a man, represent the human race.
- In the case of the Fire Beings, even though I gave them gender-specific nicknames and pronouns, they, too, are free for interpretation. I just wanted to suggest at least trying to mix up the team of three fire beings - but they could be all male, all female or any combination thereof.
- I chose not to include any cute "ribbits" in the frog's language, or any other animal-specific tics into the speech of the animals. The actors should feel free to imagine their animal roles in any way they choose. I wrote it as simply as possible in order to just tell the story and get out of the actors' way. For all the actors, it is designed as an exercise in storytelling and they can be as plain or outrageous as they like, under the guidance of the director, of course.
- Here, too, I leave it up to the imagination. Costumes could be as simple as T-shirts with the names of the animals or other creatures on them. They could all be dressed completely as humans, with no identifying marks. While elaborate costumes are certainly not out of the question, I don't believe they are necessary. As long as the cast engages the audience's imagination with the story, anything is possible.
- The only trick will be how the Wood swallows the Fire and hides it. I suggest in the script at that point that this could be as easy as an extra-extra-large T-shirt, or a poncho, or even just a large piece of cloth that is Wood's costume, into which the character of Fire can disappear until the appropriate moment at story's end. Again, imagination and simplicity over a lot of fancy bells and whistles would be my preference, but of course it's up to the individual production and designers.
- There's a lot of smacking and threatening going on between the Fire Beings. This is more slapstick than real violence (more Three Stooges than Godfather Part 3). Approach it in that spirit.
Above all, have fun.
Cast of Characters
the clever and daring ringleader - born without a white-tipped tail
one of the Coyote's cohorts - born without a curly tail
another of the Coyote's cohorts - born without three stripes down its back
another of the Coyote's cohorts - born with a tail
another of Coyote's cohorts - pretty eager for an inanimate object
happy, dancing, but mischievous, always plotting to escape
male representative of the young human race
female representative of the young human race
FIRE BEING #1 (Fred)
guards the secret of fire - the sensible one
FIRE BEING #2 (Gladys)
guards the secret of fire - impatient, likes to slap people around, particularly Fire Being #3 (Sparky)
FIRE BEING #3 (Sparky)
guards the secret of fire - but not very well, tends to oversleep