a dramatic radio play for ESL/EFL Students
Patrick R. Moran
Intermediate to Advanced. Secondary and Adult.
This dramatic "radio play" about a drifter trying to settle down in a small
North American town can be understood as a metaphor for the process
of language learning and cultural adjustment. However, Bob, the stranger,
is a believable, very American individual with personal, very real problems,
which he and many others in today's society must learn to overcome.
This is the story:
A young man named Bob drifts into the small town of Raleigh. The day he
arrives, he makes friends with a young boy, Ricky, and his mother, Jean,
a waitress. Soon Bob is coaching Ricky and his friends in basketball, and
he and the mother are falling in love. He is finally settling down, finding a
place in the community.
Then dramatically his past catches up with him. In college Bob was a
basketball star. He was about to go pro when the police caught him
peddling drugs. After serving time in prison, he came out broken as a
person and started drifting. Now his old "friend," the pusher who sold him
the drugs in college, shows up and tempts him to use his new role in the
community to sell drugs to the kids. Bob refuses, but the pusher threatens
to blackmail him, to expose his past to Jean and the rest of the small
community. The narrator ends the play by asking the students/audience to
write the end of the play, based on what they know of the characters.
This device, a play without an ending, works very well with this play.
Students become very involved in the way they see the story playing out.
The 18 characters in this classic "radio play" production on the cassette
speak naturally and clearly in a variety of American accents. The play
script is well suited for reading aloud or recording and easily adaptable for
stage production. It is illustrated with simple, evocative stage sets and a
pictorial "character guide," used in one of the techniques explained in the
6-page introduction to the teacher. Stranger in Town is suitable for adults
from high school up, with at least intermediate proficiency.