Welcome Home, Bear!


Director Anne Meeder explains to King Elementary School 1st graders how the leaves, stones, and flowers they’re going to create will become part of the set for performances of “Welcome Home, Bear!” at the Lancaster Public Library on April 5th and 6th, 2019.

This is a brand new script for very young audiences adapted from my story in the July, 2018, issue of LADYBUG magazine.  Using only two actors, with or without puppets, it can be performed in front of individual classrooms or in a larger venue, in presentational or full-immersion style.  I’m looking forward to development/production opportunities.  Please contact me for a perusal script:  sandyasher@gmail.com.


FIRST STORYTELLER, also plays MOUSE, who loves to collect beautiful things.

SECOND STORYTELLER, also plays BEAR, who is all about tidiness and simplicity.

Note:  To distinguish between them in this script, BEAR is male and MOUSE is female, but they may be played as any gender.

TIME:   The spring that Bear and Mouse became friends.

PLACE:  This side of the forest.

PLAYING TIME:  about 30 minutes; longer with full audience participation.

SUMMARY:  Bear and Mouse are neighbors, but they are not friends. Bear keeps his den neat and tidy, just the way he likes it.  Mouse keeps her den filled to the brim with seasonal decorations, just the way she likes it.  They have their differences and keep their distance.  One day, Bear decides to visit a friend who lives on the other side of the forest and asks Mouse to keep an eye on his den while he’s gone.  She agrees to do so, but, to Mouse’s eye, Bear’s den is empty and sadly in need of decoration.  One week later, Bear returns to a den so stuffed with Mouse’s additions, there’s no room inside for him!  Together, Bear and Mouse restore Bear’s den to its former simplicity, and Mouse realizes that it’s not empty at all.  It’s filled with Bear and their new friendship.

NOTE: For the classroom version, this might be done in miniature on one tabletop set.  Or, for a slightly larger version, use three tables, with the dens at right and left and the forest floor downstage, allowing STORYTELLERS room to move freely as they manipulate MOUSE and BEAR puppets and all props and set pieces.  Either way, the forest and dens are sized to fit the puppets.  STORYTELLERS remain in full view of the audience and address them directly, using their own voices to narrate and character voices for BEAR and MOUSE, just as they might if reading or telling the story. If desired, props can be stored in baskets and overseen by teachers who can assist in encouraging children to bring items up to the STORYTELLERS at the front of the room at the appropriate moments.

For the immersive version, the dens at right and left are large and the forest may surround the audience as well as the actors.  FIRST STORYTELLER plays MOUSE and SECOND STORYTELLER plays BEAR, with or without puppets.  In Story Theatre style, they narrate the story as they act it out, using their own and character voices.  Children are encouraged to move around the space to gather and place prop pieces, as indicated in the dialogue.  Additional staff and/or adult audience members may assist.

SUGGESTED PRE-AND-POST-SHOW ACTIVITIES:  Before the show, children may color or otherwise prepare a cut-out of the forest animal of their choice and attach it to their clothing to indicate which kind of “forest friend” they’ve chosen to become.  They then “come into the forest,” to hear the story. They may also create and place nature-based decorations for MOUSE’s den — and also “tidy up” BEAR’s den — before being seated.  After the show, the “forest friend” cut-outs may be glued onto tongue depressors to create take-home puppet souvenirs.



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