A Story of Chelm

by  Linda Gaye Shapiro

Short Play, Comedy  /  11m, 5f

When some heavenly machinery malfunctions, half a bag of foolish souls is dropped in the town of Chelm. They come to life and become obsessed with raising money to build a bathhouse for their shadows, who stubbornly lie in the dust all day long. After a number of moneymaking schemes are bungled, Hea…

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A Story of Chelm

by  Linda Gaye Shapiro

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    11m, 5f
  • Duration

    Duration

    60 minutes (1 hour)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Theatre for Young Audiences, Fables/Folktales
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • UIL Approved
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Children (Age 6 - 10)
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)

Additional Info

When some heavenly machinery malfunctions, half a bag of foolish souls is dropped in the town of Chelm. They come to life and become obsessed with raising money to build a bathhouse for their shadows, who stubbornly lie in the dust all day long. After a number of moneymaking schemes are bungled, Heaven is forced to intervene in this comedy based on a Yiddish folktale.

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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • Elementary School / Primary
  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Church / Religious Groups
  • Youth/Camp Programs

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Not Applicable
  • Duration: 60 minutes (1 hour)
  • Setting:

    An imaginary shtetl somewhere in Eastern Europe

  • Additional Features: No intermission, Physical Comedy
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

11m, 5f
BIG G - God as a business man
WINGS - A vice-president of the heavenly firm
FLUNKY - Part of Big G's retinue
SECRETARY - Part of Big G's retinue
REBECCA - A small pretty woman in her early twenties; newly wed
SHLEM - A good-looking but lazy young man who is forever falling asleep
NACHMAN - The old man of the town
JACOB - The rich man of the town; older and fatter than Reisman 
JUDITH - His wife; a status conscious matron
TANEY - Their daughter; a slightly chubby girl of fourteen
SHIKSEY - Also their daughter; a pretty girl of sixteen
RABBI -  A dignified older man
SHAMUS - The temple handyman; curiously nondescript
BRICKMAN - A middleaged shyster businessman
BERGMAN - His cousin, an older shyster businessman
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Cross gender casting
  • Flexible casting

Casting Notes

Cross-gender casting is encouraged. Wings and Big G can be either gender.

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Authors

Linda Gaye Shapiro

Linda Gaye Shapiro

A Story of Chelm premiered at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL in 1983.

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