One Act Musical Adaptation — Single Set — 1 Boy, 1 Girl, 8-13 Either
Synopsis: Youthkynd is a contemporary adaptation of Mankynd, a medieval morality play. Two teenagers, Himkynd and Herkynd, are trying to write a song that celebrates God. Caught between the Virtues and the Vices, the teens struggle to stay on task. Will they follow Wisdom’s advice, listen to the rest of the Virtues, and create the song? Or will Mischief, Gluttony, Vanity, and the other Vices trip them up?
Why It Was Written: I direct the Youth Musical at our church, and each year we try to find interesting projects to stage. One idea George Brooke, our Music Director, and I wanted to do was turn a medieval morality play into a youth production. This type of play was popular during the late Middle Ages in Europe. Morality plays have allegorical plots where human characters strive to follow God’s plan and lead hard-working, virtuous lives. The humans receive spiritual advice and support from characters like Wisdom, Joy, and Generosity, but they must struggle against temptations that come from characters like Gluttony, Lazy, and Greed.
The play we decided to adapt was Mankynd, one of the more comic morality pieces. It was performed in England around the years 1465-1470. What’s surprising about this play is how bawdy and reverent it is at the same time. In fact, the original script is very, very bawdy (ahem). So to update it, I basically kept the same plot, but found cheekier ways to perform the humor while still keeping the original intent. Erin Taylor, our Youth Director, also helped us work out the theology. So the original play turned into Youthkynd, where a couple teenagers try to resist worldly temptations and stay on God’s path in their lives – not unlike what teenagers struggle to do every day.
Read the First Ten Pages: Script Sample