Maharaja Krishna Chandra was the king of Bengal during the middle ages. It was customary for kings in those days to patronise talented people. So every king had his own court poets, artists, singers, town planners, architects. And every king had a court jester.

The jester was a very important person for his ability to make people laugh and feel happy. Gopal was the maharaja’s favourite jester. A barber by profession, he had a razor-sharp wit and could make the best of any situation. He was bright and clever and had a tremendous presence of mind.

This story is about how Gopal uses his wits to hint to the maharaja about his leaking straw roof without saying a word directly. As a result the maharaja orders his men to get his mud house changed into a brick one.

One Act Play [Illustrations by Anup Singh and Shinod AP]
One Act Play [Illustrations by Anup Singh and Shinod AP]

To read the complete story click here

The story can be divided into three scenes. Here we will teach you how to make the sets for each of the scenes.

The things you need:

  1. Cardboard

  2. Chartpapers (brown and some other colours)

  3. Chatai or mat

  4. Stationery: Scissors, adhesive, pencil

  5. Chairs, stools and a ladder.

Scene 1: Outside the court jester’s house.

The court jester’s wife is cribbing about the dilapidiated state of their house. She blames her luck and her husband for the kind of house they are living in.

Sample Dialogue:

Wife: “You’re a good-for-nothing man,” she said. “Have you looked at the roof of our house?”

Jester: “The straw is getting thin in places. We’ll need to put a fresh lot of hay.”

To prepare the backdrop:

Step 1: Roll the chatai (mat) in the form of a cylinder and stitch the two sides.

Step 2: Join two chartpapers and make a cone such that it can fit the circumference of the chatai. Make some holes in the chartpaper and stick some straw or hay on it.

Place the hut against a wall and also have the ladder kept next to it.

Scene 2: King’s court.

Gopal, the jester arrives late at the court and when the king asks him the reason for being late he said that he was busy making arrangements for a puja or prayer at his house and would like to invite his majesty for the same.

Sample Dialogue:

King: “What’s the matter with you, Gopal?” he asked impatiently, “You always come late these days.”

Gopal: “I am planning to have kartik puja at my place this year and i would be honoured if you came to attend it.”

To prepare the backdrop:

Step 1: Keep a chair, elaborately decorated with the help of cardboard and coloured paper for the King. Place some other chairs or stools for the other members of the court around the King’s chair.

If you have a red carpet then you can even put that in the center. This will further enhance the effect.

Scene 3: Outside the court Jester’s house.

When the king arrives at Gopal’s house, he asks him to climb the ladder and sit on the roof of his house. The king feels insulted. Gopal tells him that there is no place in his mud house which is high enough for his majesty to sit. The king looks at the straw roof and then the ladder and orders his men to build a two-storeyed brick house for Gopal.

Sample Dialogue:

King: “Are you off your head, Gopal?” shouted the maharaja, “How can anyone sit on that sloping straw roof?”

Gopal: “But Sir, I am not asking you to sit on the straw. I have spread a mattress for you to sit on,” said Gopal, “It’s quite easy to climb up this ladder. Only a few rungs are missing.”

To prepare the backdrop:

The backdrop will be same as scene 1, the only difference being a mattress which is spread on the straw roof.

It is very simple to prepare the sets. Now you have to just write your own dialogues and get yourselves rolling.

675 words | 6 minutes
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: craft activities
Tags: #straw, #court jester, #jester, #maharaja, #straw roof

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