A Tale of Two Cities Readers Theater Adaptation from Charles Dickens’ Novel . This script has been adapted from the original Tale of Two Cities playscript available separately off www.plays-r-ussell.com in the Literature section of KS III and IV.
Cast of 6 (up to 12). Duration: Around 25 minutes
The original script has been adapted to Readers Theater in the following ways:
- Music suggestions and stage directions have been removed BUT ‘scene titles’ have been kept in or added, with an inclusion of the identification of readers for that scene.
- There are no more than 6 speakers per scene (in the case of any exceptions instructions are given for doubling up)
- All characters in the script are identified in a list in the production notes – these are In addition to the principal characters. Thus additional readers could take on these ‘extra’ parts.
- ‘6’ has been chosen as an arbitrary number – thus the script offers opportunities for adapting this number to suit the number of readers available.
Narrator: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
Marquis: (Pompously) Have you got to the bit yet where all those unruly vermin took over the Bastille and set about terrorising our whole nation?
Monsieur Defarge: (Angrily) Unruly vermin? And who would they be?
Marquis: Why, those filthy commoners, of course!
Monsieur Defarge: You mean, people like me? Not born into money, property and privilege?
Marquis: (Huffily) Well, more fool you!
Monsieur Defarge: (To Narrator) You see what we had to deal with? Two totally separate worlds – the rich and the poor. And those aristocrats didn’t know they were born!
Marquis: Well, I’ll have you know
Monsieur Defarge: (Interrupting) You know absolutely nothing! You and your kind! And what a shock you were in for, in the coming years!
Narrator: I’m assuming you’re referring to the events of the French Revolution?
Monsieur Defarge: The end of the ancien regime and all that went with it! Good riddance to bad rubbish!
Marquis: (To Narrator) Ooh! Don’t let him get away with that! That ‘mob’ executed or murdered around forty thousand people in just one year, including our very own King Louis!
Monsieur Defarge: Huh! Had it coming to them! Talk about out of touch with the common people! When did you ever care about all those dying on the streets from poverty whilst you lauded it in your fancy mansions?
Marquis: Pah! You seriously expect me to shed a tear over the scum of the streets?
Narrator: But wait! What is that terrible sound of anguish and despair?
Gaspard: (Wailing) My child! My child! Struck down by (pauses and then yells) that monster! Let me have him!
Narrator: Hey! Hold it! Whatever is the matter?
Gaspard: That man, that marquis, is a murderer! Monster! I’ll get him for what he’s done!
Narrator: And what has he done?
Gaspard: Murdered my child in cold blood!
Marquis: (Huffily) Oh come, come! Little urchin! Running out in front of my carriage like that!
(Mutters) Just lucky it didn’t damage the wheels!
Gaspard: (Bellowing) It? It? You dare to call my child ‘it’?
Monsieur Defarge: You see? He doesn’t see us, any of us, as human beings.