A Bell for the Statehouse – Read-Aloud Plays: Symbols of America by Scholastic SC-936597

A Bell for the Statehouse Classroom Play

Scholastic Professional Books

CHARACTERS
Town Crier
Storekeeper
Bell
Statesman 1
Statesman 2
Dressmaker
Redcoat 1
Redcoat 2
Farmer
Cobbler
Foundry Worker
Tinsmith
Carpenter

WORKSHEET & Sample PDF Activity

Sample PDF Activity

SCENE 1: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

CRIER: One day in 1751, the cobbler was working in his shop when two statesmen walked by.
STATESMAN 1: Isn’t the new statehouse a grand building?
STATESMAN 2: Yes, but what good is the steeple without a bell?
STATESMAN 1: You’re right. It does need a bell.
STATESMAN 2: Why don’t we have a bell cast? The best bell ever!
STATESMAN 1: But where will we find a bellmaker in Philadelphia? There is no one in all the colonies who can make such a bell.
STATESMAN 2:Why not order one from the Old Country? We can send for it today.
CRIER: Hear ye, hear ye: Big bell to be ordered from England!

SCENE 2: Philadelphia

CRIER: Months later the cobbler noticed everyone running past his shop.
COBBLER:What’s all the excitement? Where is everyone going?
CARPENTER: No time to talk. I have to get to the docks.
COBBLER: You there.What’s going on?
STOREKEEPER (not stopping to talk): Haven’t you heard?
COBBLER: I guess I haven’t.
CRIER:Others ran by. They were all too excited to talk to the cobbler.
COBBLER: Excuse me, sir. Excuse me.Will someone please tell me what’s going on?
CRIER: Finally someone stopped.
DRESSMAKER: Just listen, friend. Listen to the town crier.
CRIER: Hear ye, hear ye: The big bell has arrived from England. It’s on the ship Matilda!
COBBLER: The big bell! No wonder everyone is so excited.
DRESSMAKER: Now put your shoes away and follow me!
CRIER: The cobbler didn’t even lock up his shop. He ran to the docks to see the bell.

SCENE 3: Philadelphia

CRIER: The good people of Philadelphia followed the bell to the statehouse.
FARMER: That’s quite a bell, all right.
COBBLER: It weighs more than two thousand pounds!
FOUNDRY WORKER: And it came all the way from England!
DRESSMAKER: Look there! What does it say on it?
FARMER: Can anyone here read?
COBBLER: It says, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land!”
DRESSMAKER: Liberty!
STATESMAN 1: Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for all of us to hear it. May its ring proclaim liberty forevermore!
CRIER: The statesman raised the clapper.
BELL: DING!
COBBLER: How beautiful!
CARPENTER: Loud, too!
BELL:DONG!
STOREKEEPER:What a wonderful sound!
BELL: THUD!
COBBLER:What happened?
FARMER: I think it broke. Look! There’s a crack in it!
CRIER: Everyone was stunned. Hear ye, hear ye: There’s a crack in the bell!
STATESMAN 1: I guess we’re not quite ready to proclaim liberty.
FARMER: Can’t we get it fixed?
STATESMAN 2:What? Send it back to England?
COBBLER:Why not fix it right here in Philadelphia?
DRESSMAKER: That’s right.What do we need England for?
STATESMAN 1: But who would fix it? There aren’t any bellmakers in the colonies.
FOUNDRY WORKER: I can fix it.
STATESMAN 2: But you’re not a bellmaker.
FOUNDRY WORKER: But I know how to melt and pour metal into a mold. And what I don’t know, I’ll learn.
COBBLER: That’s right.We can’t depend on England for everything. If this bell is supposed to proclaim liberty, we have to learn to take care of ourselves.

SCENE 4: Philadelphia

CRIER: Two foundry workers spent many hours melting down and remaking the bell.
STATESMAN 1: I hear the bell is finished.
COBBLER: You see, it looks as good as new. My friends here have done a great job.
CRIER: The statesman raised the clapper.
STATESMAN 1: Gentlemen, for liberty!
BELL: TIIIINGGHH.
CRIER: Hear ye, hear ye: The bell is making a terrible, high-pitched sound!
FOUNDRY WORKER: I’m sorry.We’ll try again.
CRIER: The two men tried once more to recast the bell. This time, they were successful.
BELL: DING, DONG, DING, DONG!
STATESMAN 1: Beautiful. At long last our bell can proclaim liberty!

SCENE 5: Philadelphia

CRIER: The bell rang for years to come. Then, in 1776, the American colonies wanted freedom from England’s rule. Hear ye, hear ye: Congress proclaims independence!
STATESMAN 2: It’s time we listened to the bell and proclaimed our own liberty.
STATESMAN 1: Today we signed a document that echoes the sound of our bell.
STATESMAN 2:When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…
CRIER: It was the Declaration of Independence. The thirteen American colonies were proclaiming themselves free of English rule.
STATESMAN 2:We…declare that these United Colonies are…Free and Independent States.
BELL: DING, DONG, DING, DONG!
CRIER: Hear ye, hear ye: The United States of America is born!
BELL: DING, DONG, DING, DONG!

SCENE 6: Philadelphia

CRIER: But King George did not want the colonies to be free. He sent his army to America to stop the revolution. Hear ye, hear ye: The British are coming!
COBBLER: Is it true? Are the redcoats marching toward Philadelphia?
STATESMAN 1: It’s true. They’re coming to arrest our patriot leaders.
STATESMAN 2: But don’t be alarmed. Our leaders have escaped to the countryside to hide.
DRESSMAKER: Not all of them.
STATESMAN 2:What do you mean? Who is left?
FOUNDRY WORKER: Not who—what. It’s the bell. The British will melt her down to make bullets.
COBBLER: Bullets that they’ll use against us.
STATESMAN 1: I’ll order American soldiers to defend the statehouse.
STOREKEEPER: It will never work. The British outnumber us ten to one.
FOUNDRY WORKER:We need to hide the bell just like we’ve hidden our patriot leaders.
STATESMAN 2: She weighs two thousand pounds and she’s at the top of a steeple! How will we get her down?
COBBLER:We can do it.We’ll have to find a way.
STATESMAN 1: But the British troops have already surrounded the city.
FARMER: I can get her out of the city. I’ll hide her in my wagon.

SCENE 7: Outside Philadelphia

CRIER: The people worked all day to rescue the bell. She seemed to clang nervously as they lowered her from the steeple.
BELL (softly): CLING, CLANG.
FARMER: Put her in the wagon. Cover her with hay. You see, you can’t even tell she’s there.
COBBLER: She’s ready to go then. Good luck.
FARMER: Don’t worry. This bell will be proclaiming liberty long after this war is over.
CRIER: As night fell, the farmer led his oxen out of town. He was soon met by redcoats.
REDCOAT 1: You there, halt in the name of King George!
REDCOAT 2:What brings you this way, farmer?
FARMER: Just hauling hay. If the king’s horses are hungry, I’d be happy to share.
REDCOAT 1 (rudely): If the king’s horses were hungry, we’d take as we please.
REDCOAT 2: But as it is, the king’s horses and soldiers are well fed.
REDCOAT 1: Be on your way.
FARMER: Yes, sirs.
CRIER: The farmer hid the bell in the countryside until the redcoats had passed.

SCENE 8: Philadelphia

CRIER: Soon the bell was back in its steeple. Then, in 1781, it rang louder than ever.
BELL: DING, DONG, DING, DONG!
COBBLER: Have you heard the news?
BELL: DING, DONG!
TINSMITH: It must be good the way the old bell is ringing.
BELL: DING, DONG, DING, DONG!
CRIER: Hear ye, hear ye: American troops have beaten the British at Yorktown. King George has surrendered!
FOUNDRY WORKER: You mean the war is over?
BELL: DING, DONG, DING!
COBBLER: At long last, the bell is proclaiming liberty throughout the land.
BELL: DING, DONG, DING, DONG!

The End

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