Ricky’s Slide
A dramatic reading
Act 1. A Poor Ending

Parts:

Reader:

Narrator

-

Ricky

-

Ruth (Ricky’s friend)

-

Boss

-

Wife

-

STAGING

  • Teacher, Ruth behind teacher, far stage-left (the left side of the stage while facing the audience).
  • Narrator, Ricky behind narrator, far stage-right.
  • There is a table stage-left.

Teacher:

Ricky is typically a C student.
Ricky doesn’t really exist, BUT
His attitudes exist.
The results of his attitudes exist.

Time and place: 6th grade, Jr. High:

NARRATOR

Ricky has been having a bit of a rough time in Jr. High. Things aren’t as easy as they were in the lower grades.

  • His time in school gets chopped up into pieces because of the different periods.
  • He has to remember what books he needs to get from his locker.
  • There is not as much time in class to do his work.
  • He has to remember so much more now, like filling in his agenda book, and remembering to look at it later at home.
  • He has to think about and keep track of all his different classes.
  • The work is more complicated and more difficult.
  • When he leaves school, he is a little bit stressed out. He forgets about schoolwork, because he wants just to relax, and do other things.

Poor Ricky! For too long he has not been trying hard enough. He has not had the courage to ask for help. As time went on, he fell further and further behind in his class work.

Now he is not turning in his work. He is not studying for tests. He is failing! Ricky has gotten so far behind that he has GIVEN UP trying.

But he can’t face the idea that he is FAILING because HE has FAILED to work hard enough. So he has started to convince himself that it is other people who are wrong or messed up, and that he is OK.

Here comes Ricky now.

See if you can hear him trying to focus blame and error on other people ... Lets listen.

STAGING

Both Ricky and Ruth walk slowly to the middle of the Stage and stop there to talk. They stay turned partly towards the class.

RUTH

“Hey, Ricky, how’s it going? Are you ready for the English test today?”

RICKY

ASIDE: (What test? Is there a test today?”)

NARRATOR

Ricky is too ashamed to admit that he forgot about the test.

RICKY

Ahhh - those test are - - - are like so stupid! Why do we have to study English anyway? I don’t see how being forced to learn those stupid parts of speech will ever help me! I knows how to talk English! Teachers! I HATE them! They want to make me work hard for no good reason!

RUTH

But Ricky, aren’t you afraid of flunking!??

RICKY

Nah. And besides, like ... I don’t want kids to think I’m a nerd ... ya know ... or a teacher’s pet!

NARRATOR

That is just a logically sounding “reason” to make himself feel better about himself.

RUTH

But Ricky ...!

RICKY

[Interrupting!] Bug off Teacher’s Pet! Leave me alone!

RUTH

[Shrugs her shoulders and walks away, shaking her head side-to-side.]

NARRATOR

Ricky doesn't want to hear or to face the truth that he might be wrong!

[With a sad tone ... ] Ricky is sliding downhill fast. He just gets by in school. As time goes by, he has not learned all the things he needs for other classes that will come later. He enters High School.

[With a bit brighter tone ...] Somehow, part way through high school, he realizes he needs to graduate! Finally he gets the idea that he should try harder in school. But, because he does not have the knowledge and skills he should have learned earlier, it takes all of his energy and a lot of work to just barely get through his classes.

Ricky does eventually graduate from high school. But he doesn’t remember much of what he was supposed to learn. You see poor Ricky was just barely getting by and didn’t have the time to “learn it for life.”

Ricky’s high school grades are so poor that he can’t go to college without a lot of remedial classes like “Bonehead English” and “Bonehead Math.” Going to college would just be too hard!

STAGING

  • Teacher and narrator in their same places
  • Ruth leaves stage.
  • Wife, standing behind Narrator.
  • Boss and Ricky, stage-left, standing behind the table, facing each other but angled towards audience. There is a steel tape measure, pencil, and paper on the table.

NARRATOR

So Ricky gives up on school. He stumbles through life, from one low paying job to another.

He gets married.

On his last job his boss asked him ...

BOSS

Ricky, please measure this table’s top so we can buy a glass top for it.

RICKY

Sure!

STAGING

  • Boss move behind Teacher.
  • Ricky quickly measures the table, writing quickly on the paper after each measurement.
  • Ricky steps behind the boss.

NARRATOR

But - - - Ricky doesn’t know how to read a ruler! Not realizing it he goofed the measurements badly.

NARRATOR

Time passes. The special glass top has been ordered, cut, and delivered. It doesn’t fit. Hundreds of dollars wasted!

Ricky & Boss

Move to the table and look closely at it for about 3 seconds.

RICKY

Oops!

BOSS

It doesn't fit! - - - “You’re FIRED!”

NARRATOR

That’s the 3rd job Ricky has lost in 6 months. Sad and depressed, he trudges home to tell his wife.

  • Boss steps behind Teacher.
  • Wife walks quickly to center stage.
  • Ricky walks slowly, with his head down, to stand in front of wife.
  • Both are facing part way towards the audience.

RICKY

With a medium-low voice, Ricky says . . . I just got fired.

WIFE

Upset and angry!
What!? Fired AGAIN! Why? What did you do this time?

RICKY

Dejected, sad, eyes downcast
I tried to measure something for the boss and made a big mistake that cost the boss a lot of money. He fired me!

WIFE

Still angry and getting louder!
Ricky, you sure are stupid! STU-pid! You can’t even read a ruler! You keep losing jobs because you can’t do what is asked of you! When you try to follow printed instructions, you mess it up and get fired. Your English is so bad your writing is worthless! When you are working its for minimum wage! Shakes fist at Ricky as she says ... Even if you COULD keep a job we can’t live on that!

RICKY

I ....

NARRATOR

We stop our little drama here, before it gets too ugly.

STAGING

Actors all move to center stage, and face the audience in a line.

TEACHER

Actors, Take a Bow! - - - Teacher starts applause.

TEACHER

When applause is over, Motions actors back to their seats.

 

POST LOG

TEACHER: [LONG PAUSE] In year 2001, about 80 out of 125 Jr. High students in Mr. Andrews' school proved without any doubt that they could NOT read a ruler reliably. Many of those 80 went on to prove that when given a very good opportunity to learn how to read a ruler, they did not make the effort to learn.

Go to next part of the lesson, The Impact of Study


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