The Island Image

The Island - pupil responses

Friday 18th December 2009

The Island is Roundabout’s new production for Years 5 and 6. Performed in the children’s classrooms, the play tells the story of what happens when a stranger is washed up on the shore of an isolated island community. Neither understands the other’s language, and the community are suspicious of what he brings to their island. Except the fisherman. He argues that the man should be integrated into the community, but all refuse, even the priest. The people are frightened, and eventually there is no option but to cast him back into the sea and build a wall around their little piece of land. Then, to make sure no more strange fish are brought to the island, they set the fisherman’s boat aflame and launch it into the waves.

This heartbreaking story was adapted by Laura Lomas from Armin Greder’s picture book of the same title, and toured schools in November 2009. There will be a further week of performances in March 2010, including a public performance in the Playhouse Studio on Wednesday 10 March, and then the play tours widely in autumn 2010. Here are some very thoughtful responses from children who saw the play on its first tour.

Tuxford Primary and Nursery School – Autobiographies

I was young, I didn’t know what I was doing when he arrived.
That day we went to the beach for a lesson on fish. There he was, face down in the sand, naked and wet. Our teacher said he was a scavenger so I beat him with stones. News spread that a man was on the beach. People flocked from all over the island with guns and pitch forks.
Marching him to the goat pen everyone beat him with stones, including me. We threw him into an old abandoned goat pen and left him.
A few weeks later he appeared in town asking for food. They took him straight back to the goat pen and made it stronger. Later I suggested we send him back to the sea. They took my advice, he was never seen again.
I was a fool. I have now learned to treat all people the same and to welcome everyone.
Something I will never forget was the time when I was only 10, I was outside near the sea because we were doing a project on fish at school. Suddenly there was a raft that had obviously been in a storm whilst sailing. Sammy, my friend, happened to have opened the hatch, inside there was a naked man probably from a different country of some sort. Well what a commotion, the teacher that I thought was a kind caring man happened to be a man with no feelings whatsoever, he actually complained more than the children, not that they didn’t complain.
Later on, me, Sammy, Bob and Jane were playing on the old ship wreck near the open sea when we heard… a giant mob chasing after that poor man who I like to call the Stranger, there were pitch forks, knives, torches and more horrible things. They were leading him to the goat pen that was only 8 by 8 feet, I felt really annoyed that they’d do such a thing considering he had only just arrived at the Island. Anyway later on I saw Sammy give some meat from the butcher’s, veg from the cook and bread from her mum.
The next day I heard a commotion near Sammy’s house, I ran to find that my dad, the butcher was banging on the door shouting traitor, traitor, you’re a filthy traitor.

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School – Play Scripts

The Stranger

(Cook rushes in in a hurry. Boss standing there looking cross.)
Boss: (Pointing finger, very angry) Excuse me! Where have you been! Why is this not done?
Cook: (Nervously) Erm, Erm
Boss: (Demanding) I want the truth. Tell me.
Cook: OK, I’ll tell you. I came into work this morning and I got on with my work as usual. I was in the middle of baking the cake for the party tonight when I heard  some shouting.
Boss: OK, carry on.
Cook: As I said I heard shouting but then it died down. So I carried on whisking. But then I saw Mr. Butcher, the Teacher and the Carpenter leave their jobs and rush down to the beach.
Boss:  (Getting frustrated) So you thought it was OK to just drop all your jobs to run down  to the beach.
Cook: (Nervously) No sir.
Boss:  Carry on.
Cook: I saw them run down so yes I left my job and ran down.
 (Boss shakes his head)
Cook: I had to push through the crowd, the whole village was there. I finally got to the front and saw a weak, skinny looking chap walking up the beach.
Boss: (Surprised) You what? A man walking up the beach, who was he?
Cook: He was a stranger, he was naked.
Boss: Naked?
Cook: Yes, he was very strange, he looked ill. I couldn’t stand to look at him.
Boss: So what did you do?
Cook: We all beat him and took him to the police. They said we had to lock him in the old goat pen.
Boss: (Shocked) The goat pen?
Cook: Yes, anyway we made the pen stronger so he couldn’t escape. And you will never guess what Sammy did.
Boss: What?
Cook: She gave food to him.
Boss:  What?
Cook: Yes, yes. So then we decided to just push him back out to sea, and that’s why I didn’t finish my job.
Boss:  Oh, well I am sorry. You can have double pay for the rest of the week.
 (Boss and cook exit)


The Stranger

Boss: (Angrily) Look at that! Just look at that! I told you that this needed to be done for when I got here. There’s lots of complaining customers out there!
Cook: (Embarrassed) Sorry boss.
Boss: Yes, you should be sorry! Now tell me WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL THIS  TIME?
Cook: Well… Well…
Boss: Well what?
Cook: (Scared) I… I heard lots of shouting down on the beach and I was curious. So, I went down there and there was a stranger washed up on the beach.
Boss: That’s no excuse. I’m disgusted! Disgraceful behaviour. You should have just got on with what I told you to do.
Cook: (Irritatingly) But everyone else was down there!
Boss: SO!
Cook: (Annoyed) Fine, if this is what you want, I’m sorry.
Boss: (Cross) Say that again.
Cook: SORRY!
Boss: (Sneering) Now get on with all 8 orders immediately!
Cook: (Angry) No.
Boss: Fine, you’re fired.
Cook: (Furious) OK… I will.
Boss: Well, come on then, get on with it. Chop chop. Two roast dinners now for table 24!
Cook: Steady on… hey they’re shouting again.
 (Cook grabs boss and drags him to the beach.)
Boss: Get off me!!
Cook: (Triumphantly) Look, over there. See that person lying down, shivering?
Boss: (Embarrassed) Oh. So was that what all the fuss was about?
Cook: Yes. Told you! Doesn’t he look weird? He’s definitely a stranger.
Boss: (Curiously) He is certainly not one of us! I want him out of here immediately.
Cook: So do I! Lock him in the goat pen.
Boss: (Sneering) Yes, that’s a good idea actually.
Cook: Let’s get on with our work now.
Boss: Come on then, we’ve got a lot to do!
 (Boss and cook become friends again.)