READER'S THEATER

COLUMBUS DAY

 

Characters:

Narrator one

Narrator two

Columbus

King of Portugal

King of Spain

Queen of Spain

Sailors

Messenger

Columbus' brother

Marco Polo

Townsperson one

Townsperson two

Townsperson three

 

Narrator one: A sea battle! The ship tipped and rocked. Suddenly it burst into flames. Splash!
A spray of salt water flew into the air. A sailor had jumped into the ocean.

Narrator two: The sailor swam to a floating oar. He gripped it to stay afloat. Although he was miles
from shore, he knew he would survive!

 

All: He wouldn't give up,

though others might.

He believed in himself

when he thought he was right.

 

Narrator one: This brave sailor was Christopher Columbus.

Columbus: I grew up in Italy. My father was a weaver of cloth. He wanted me to be a weaver,
too. But I dreamed of being a sailor. Finally, my father agreed.

Narrator one: Now Christopher Columbus was in the cold ocean water. But he wouldn't give up.

 

All: Swimming and floating,

working and resting.

Swimming and floating,

working and resting.

 

Narrator two: He did make it safely to shore. He landed in Portugal. This was lucky for Columbus.
His brother lived there!

Columbus' brother: I own a map store. I will give Columbus a job making maps.

Narrator one: Columbus talked with sailors who came to the store. He read about
explorers like Marco Polo.

Marco Polo: I have traveled east from Italy on land. I have gone to wonderful, faraway places.
These places are called the Indies.

Narrator two: People were thrilled by the riches Marco Polo brought back.

 

All: Silk and spices.

Jewels and gold.

Wonderful things

for all to behold.

 

Columbus: I want those things, too!

Narrator one: Columbus began making a plan to travel to the Indies. He thought about the shape of the
earth.

 

Columbus: The earth is round,

this much I know.

Would sailing west

be the way to go?

 

Narrator two: Columbus decided not to go east over land. He would sail west over the ocean!

Narrator one: But Columbus had some big problems. Most people thought the ocean was too
wide to cross.

Townsperson one: It cannot be done!

Townsperson two: Impossible

Townsperson three: The sea is too wide and unknown, they will never come back!

Narrator two: Also, sailing west to the Indies would be expensive! Columbus did not have enough money.

Columbus: I will ask the King of Portugal for help.

Narrator one: First, Columbus explained his plan to the King. Then he asked for ships and money.

 

King of Portugal: Ships and money

for a plan that sounds funny?

Ships and money

for a plan that sounds funny? NO!

 

Narrator two: Columbus was sad. He was disappointed. Butt...

 

All: He wouldn't give up,

though others might.

He believed in himself

when he thought he was right.

 

Columbus: I will go to see the King and Queen of Spain.

Narrator one: The King and Queen listened to Columbus. Then they asked a committee to study his plan.

 

All: Over and over,

meeting and talking.

Over and over,

meeting and talking.

 

Narrator two: After four years, the committee made up their mind.

King and Queen of Spain: It's a Silly Idea!

Narrator one: Poor Columbus. He was very disappointed. But...

 

All: He wouldn't give up,

though others might.

He believed in himself

when he thought he was right.

 

Columbus: I'll go back to see the King and Queen of Spain.

Narrator two: The King and Queen again listened to Columbus. He told them about his dreams of riches.

 

Columbus: Silks and spices

Jewels and gold!

Wonderful things

for all to behold!

 

Narrator one: Columbus tried to convince them. But once again

King and Queen of Spain: NO

Columbus: Next, I'll visit the King of France.

Narrator two: He was on his way, when a messenger caught up with him.

 

Messenger: Please come back!

Do be so kind!

The Queen of Spain

has changed her mind!

 

Narrator one: It was a happy day for Columbus. The King and Queen of Spain signed an agreement with Columbus.

Columbus: I promise to bring you things from the Indies.

 

All: Riches and gold

and information.

Fame and fortune

for the nation.

 

Narrator two: The King and Queen gave Columbus supplies. They also gave him three ships:

All: The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

Columbus. I'll sail on the Santa Maria, it is the largest.

Narrator one: One August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail. He headed west, across the ocean.

 

Columbus: The earth is round

this much I know.

And sailing west

is the best way to go!

 

Narrator two: Columbus kept track of days, directions, and distances. His ships sailed farther and farther away form Spain. His sailors grew angry and worried.

 

Sailors: Tossing and rolling

over the waves.

Sun and storm

and endless days.

 

Narrator one: A month dragged by with no sight of land. The sailors were scared and
ready to give up

Sailors: Time to go home!

Columbus: Give me three more days

 

All: He wouldn't give up,

though others might.

He believed in himself

when he thought he was right.

 

Narrator two: They kept sailing. Two days later, they saw birds. Columbus changed direction to follow the birds. He hoped they would lead him to land.

 

All: Flying high in the sky,

sailing low on the ocean,

the birds and the ships

together in motion.

 

Narrator two: Columbus kept watch until late that night. Finally they saw land! The time was two hours after midnight. The date was October 12, 1492. Five hundred years later, we still celebrate the date!

Narrator one: Columbus thought he had found the Indies. In fact, he had found islands near two continents he didn't know were there. Today, we call these
continents North and South America.

Narrator one: Columbus and his sailors went ashore. The native people welcomed
them. They spoke to each other using sign language.

Columbus: I will call this native people "Indians" because we have reached the Indies!

Narrator two: The native people gave them delicious food. They also showed the sailors how to make hammocks. But Columbus wanted more then hammocks. He wanted riches.

 

All: Silks and spices,

Jewels and gold!

Wonderful things

for all to behold!

 

Narrator one: Columbus and his sailors visited other islands. Along the way, Columbus collected things to take home.

Columbus: Wonderful stories and wonderful things like parrots, sweet potatoes, and golden rings.

Narrator two: He did not bring home the Santa Maria. It wrecked on coral reef and broke into pieces. After six months away, Columbus returned to Spain. He brought some native people with him. He was welcomed as a great hero!! Columbus was very happy.

 

All: He didn't give up,

when others might.

He believed in himself

when he thought he was right!

 

King and Queen of Spain: We will send Columbus on more voyages to the west.

Narrator one: Columbus never found a path to the Indies. All he found was trouble.

 

All: Angry natives,

stormy seas,

greedy sailors,

and disease.

 

Narrator two: By now, Columbus was tired and sick. In 1504, Columbus returned to Spain for the last time. He was no longer a hero. But Columbus knew that he had done something very important. He had sailed across a great ocean when others said it couldn't be done!

Narrator one: Later, millions of people would follow his example and travel west to the Americas. Today Christopher Columbus is a famous man. We can learn about courage from Columbus.

 

All: We won't give up, though others might.

We'll believe in ourselves when we think we are right!

 

 

Adapted from the book:

DeRubertis, Barbara. Holidays and Heroes: Columbus Day. Kane Press, 1992.

 

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