Crossing the Bridge
To present the dilemma of taking difficult decisions through a play.
by Gill O'Neill
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To present the dilemma of making difficult decisions through a play.
Preparation and materials
- The assembly takes the form of a rehearsed play.
- You will need 8 children to take part.
- You may need to vary the language according to the age of the children.The children will need to be familiar with the Three Billy Goats Gruff story.
Note: When originally performed in an end-of-year assembly at the author's school, the Year 6 children chose to sing 'Reach for the Stars' by S-Club 7 instead of the traditional hymn. They ended their assembly by listening to 'Hello, Goodbye' by the Beatles (on the 1 compilation or Magical Mystery Tour album).
Introduce the play: You have all heard the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. They had to go across the bridge to get to the other side. Unfortunately for them, the area under the bridge was inhabited by a very irate Troll. And you'll know how each of the Goats is treated by the Troll, and that finally the Troll meets his match against the biggest of the three Goats. Now meet their grandchildren - or should that be grand kids?
Narrator: One summer, in a paddock not far from here, there was a small herd of kids (baby goats). They had been playing in the same paddock ever since the day that they were born.
Kid 1: What shall we do today?
Kid 2: Why don't we play Hide and Seek?
Kid 3: We all know all the hiding places. Not much fun there.
Kid 2: Why don't we climb the hill and find an adventure?
Kid 4: We've done that a hundred times before. Boring!
Kid 2: We could always go swimming in the stream.
All: No, too shallow!
Kid 5: That was OK when we were little kids, but the water barely comes up to my knees now.
Kid 2: Why don't we go down to the meadow and have a picnic in the grass?
Kid 6: We've eaten all the grass there. All that's left is stinging nettles and thistles. Yuck!
Narrator: So the young kids mooched around aimlessly, bumping into each other now and again, and getting on each other's nerves. They'd grown so big that there really wasn't enough room for them in the paddock.
All muttering at the same time:
Kids 1 & 2: I'm bored.
Kid 3: What can we do?
Kid 4: I'm hungry.
Kid 5: This place is too small.
Kid 6: Gerroff, leave me alone.
Narrator: Then one bright spark piped up...
Kid 7: I know! Why don't we go across the bridge?
Narrator: A deathly hush descended on the paddock. (pause) The goats stood still, wide-eyed with disbelief. (pause) Eventually they started to speak.
Kid 1: (obviously fearful) You know what happened to my cousin, Billy, when he was a kid. He tried to cross the bridge, and the Troll… (sobs, unable to finish).
Kid 2: Oh yes, and my Nanny, we all know what happened to her!
Kid 7: Yeah, but don't you remember? Granddad Gruff sorted it all out in the end, didn't he? It should be OK now.
Kid 3: How do we know that there's not another Troll under the bridge?
Kid 4: Or something much, much worse?
Kid 5: And what's on the other side anyway?
Kid 6: It'll be too big. The grass will be so long; I'll probably get lost in it. I'm not going over there.
Kid 1: There may be bigger goats. I don't want to go.
Kid 2: If there are other goats, I won't know anyone. I'm not going either.
Kid 3: It's too risky. I don't want to end up in a Troll's burger.
Kid 4: Me neither. Forget it.
Kid 5: I want my Mummy!!
Kid 7: But I thought you were all bored here.
All: WE ARE!
Kid 7: Then we'll have to cross the bridge and see what's there.
All goats speak together:
Kids 1 & 2: But what about the Troll?
Kids 3 & 4: But what about the long grass?
Kids 5 & 6: But what about the Big Kids?
Kid 7: Maybe if we all stick together we'll be OK. Come on…I'm going…Come with me.
Narrator: So, led by the little kid, the goats ventured timidly onto the bridge. As they walked across they looked down.
Kid 7: See - there's no sign of any Trolls!!!
Narrator: This gave them all the confidence they needed. They strode boldly over the rest of the bridge and ran off to find out for themselves what lay beyond. Sometimes they kept together, but eventually ventured out on their own.
Time for reflection
We all face big changes, big decisions, big steps to take.
Pupils and staff alike travel into the unknown every day:
will so-and-so make up with me;
how will I do in that test;
will I get that new… whatever?
And like the Billy Goats we all face difficult decisions:
how can I make it up with my friend;
what should I do about this, that or the other?
Take a moment to think about the things that might come your way and the decisions you might face today.
Like the goats, you'll find it easier to make hard decisions if you make them with friends.
There are good things waiting for you just around the corner. So step out with confidence and take new opportunities in your stride and cross that bridge!
Thank you for the excitement of life,
for new challenges and new steps every day.
Help us to appreciate the opportunities that each day brings.
Thank you for friends and people around us
who can help us to make hard decisions.
'Travel on' (Come and Praise, 42)
'One more step along the world I go' (Come and Praise, 47)