Acting Out: Six One-Act Plays! Six Newbery Stars!

Edited by Justin Chanda “The Bad Room” by Patricia MacLachlan “The Raven” by Sharon Creech “The Billionaire and the Bird” by Katherine Paterson “The Dollop” by Susan Cooper “Effigy in the Outhouse” by Richard Peck “Not Seeing is Believing” by Avi      Acting Out is a terrific anthology of short plays well-suited for upper elementary or middle school students to read and/or perform. Collection editor Justin Chanda persuaded six Newbery Award-winning authors to write a one-act play. Before they started writing, Chanda asked each to pick a word – resulting in DOLLOP, HOODWINK, JUSTIN, KNUCKLEBALL, PANHANDLE, and RAVEN – and then incorporate all six words into each play’s dialogue. The word “dollop,” for example, shows up as the name of pet cat; a synonym for contract minutiae, a spoonful of mayonnaise; a titular rock creature; a ghostly substitute teacher’s last name; and an amount of kindness in the different plays. This unifying device is a bit “gimmicky,” but it’s unobtrusive in most cases. While the word “knuckleball” ends up being an anachronism in Richard Peck’s “The Effigy in the Outhouse,” most readers wouldn’t notice it. In addition, although playwriting is a new genre for four of the authors (Susan Cooper and Richard Peck have screenwriting credits), their experiences in literature for young people result in mostly successful works. The target reading audience for Acting Out is older elementary and...

Read More