Hard Times adapted to Readers Theatre from the original Charles Dickens Novel. Cast of 12, duration around 15 minutes.
Narrator: And so, we come to Dickens’ shortest novel!
Cast: (Cumulative sigh of relief)
Narrator: But you needn’t think I’m going to let you off that lightly!
Cast: (Grunts, mutterings)
Narrator: No. We still have a story to tell.
Mr. Gradgrind: And characters to portray. As they were, of course. Nothing fanciful
Louisa: (Groaning) Or even, dare I say it, imaginative. Perish the thought!
(Sighing) Father, I thought we had dealt with this!
Sissy: We have! All of us! But old habits die hard, am I right, Mr Gradgrind?
Tom: (Excitedly) Die Hard, did I hear you say? Oh, I’m definitely up for that!
Blackpool: Hey! Calm down, fella! I don’t think Sissy meant that amount of action!
Mr. Sleary: What a shame! I’ve always said a lot needs shaking up around here!
Bounderby: And some of us don’t wish this to turn into a total circus!
Harthouse: (Sarcastically) Oh very droll! Though coming from you, it was bound-to-be!
Bounderby: Touche, Mr. Harthouse! Always trying to out-do me! You’re right, Miss Sissy – some habits do die hard, very hard.
Mrs. Peglar: Well, we are going to try to put things to right, today, are we not?
Rachel: Yes, I thought that was the whole point of this tale.
Mrs. Sparsit: What, changing the way people behave?
Narrator: Indeed, Mrs. Sparsit.
Mrs. Sparsit: You mean, setting our houses in order? Oh, I’m first-class at that!
Narrator: (Sighing) You may be a first-rate housekeeper, Mrs. Sparsit. But I do believe there are certain ways of yours that we could happily do without?
Bounderby: Like learning to mind your own business! We could start with that one.
Mrs. Sparsit: (Exclaiming) So that the likes of you could get away with
Bounderby: (Interrupting) Being a little economic with the truth? Well, yes, I suppose
Mrs. Peglar: I’ll second that! Fancy denying your own mother?
Tom: And making up all those lies about your childhood?
Rachel: Well, that’s rich, coming from you who didn’t think twice about framing my friend, Stephen Blackpool, for something he never did!
Tom: Someone had to take the blame and, well, he was just a Hand!
Narrator: A Hand, you say? Meaning?
Mr. Gradgrind: Ooh allow me. I just love definitions!
These are also available in Readers Theater format.