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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Life of a Hollyhock: A One Act Play

Life of a Hollyhock
A One Act Play
By
Carol M.

Cast of Characters

Hollyhock ………………………… A simple biennial flower
Thorn Goblinfly ………………….... A simple little garden fairy
Various flowers. …………………... A variety of blooming flowers

TIME: Summer
SETTING: A garden

ACT ONE
SCENE 1

(We see a few leaves growing in the garden, surrounded by blooming flowers.)

VARIOUS FLOWERS
(All chattering at once)
Hey Hollyhock. Where are your blooms? Look at me! I’m so pretty blooming now! Really, what’s that problem, Hollyhock, why aren't you blooming? What’s a matter, Holly-hock? Nature got your flower? Come on, get with the blooming program here or get out of the garden!

HOLLYHOCK

Stop that! You know I’m a biennial. We don’t usually bloom the first year our seeds germinate. We need time to grow a strong root system because when we do bloom the second year, watch out! You’ll all be amazed then. Just you wait and see!

(Light fades slowly, emulating the setting sun.)

SCENE 2

(A spotlight shines on a hollyhock in full bloom as it turns and faces the audience.)
Hollyhock by Dee, Red Dirt Ramblings

HOLLYHOCK

(A soliloquy).  Just look how tall I am! I tower over all the flowers now. Now I’m the show and they are merely a backdrop. We go through this every two years. I’m a biennial. I don’t bloom the first year, I bloom the second year. I’m not a biannual. Biannual means twice a year. It’s b-i-e-n-n-i-a-l, rhymes with “perennial”. And please, do not call us outhouse flowers. We deserve a whole lot more respect, if not for ourselves, but for our entire family tree!

After all, if it wasn’t for our relatives of the Gossypium genus that like to grow down south, where old times aren't forgotten, all the gardeners around here would be walking around in wool or polyester, or maybe even nekkid if it was really hot outside. Oh, you know the Gossypium’s! Most go by the name cotton.

And then there is Hibiscus esculentus in our family tree. That’s okra, but you smart gardeners in the audience knew that. Did we mention Hibiscus? Why yes, we did. There are all kinds of Hibiscus in our family tree, Malvaceae.

But probably the most famous and beloved member of our family tree, one that the botanists recently added to Malvaceae, one that is more famous and beloved than cotton, okra, and hibiscus flowers, combined, is Theobroma cacao, from which you all get chocolate. Now we have your attention!

(Light fades and thunder is heard off in the distance.)

SCENE 3

(The lights come back up in the garden, and we see a garden fairy scurry about in the wind and rain.)
Photo by Leslie of Growing A Garden In Davis

THORN GOBLINFLY

Oh dear! Oh my! Oh goodness! What are we garden fairies going to do! We are garden fairies and there is a storm coming. We need to do something to save the hollyhocks! Save the Hollyhocks! They are so big and tall. Look at some of those double-flowering hollyhocks! They are so top heavy. Why aren’t they staked? Lazy gardeners! Save the Hollyhocks! That big ol’ storm is going to knock them down. Henry Mitchell was right! Hollyhocks attract these storms with their tall blooms. They do! They must! Oh dear! Oh my! We are garden fairies and those bloom stalks are so tall. Save the Hollyhocks!

(A loud clap of thunder is heard and a blinding light fills the stage, then immediately fades to black.)

SCENE 4
Photo by Mary Ann of Gardens of the Wild, Wild West.
(The lights come back up and we see Hollyhock again, blooming in the garden.)

HOLLYHOCK

Is it over? Is it safe to look? That was quite a storm. Is everyone okay? Can I get a bloom stalk count here? One, two, three… I think I’ve accounted for everyone. I reckon if Thorn Goblinfly and her merry band of garden fairies hadn’t come along when they did, we would all be flat on the ground. All hail the garden fairies! They can use some of our flowers to make hollyhock dolls. After all, we have plenty of seeds. In fact, some of our seeds will germinate later this summer and then they’ll bloom next year in this same spot!

(Light gradually fades as the main hollyhock and all the other hollyhocks break out into a chorus of song.)

THE END


Many thanks to Mary Ann of Gardens of the Wild, Wild West, Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings, and Leslie of Growing a Garden in Davis who provided set design, costumes, and make up for the various hollyhocks, Alcea sp). Oh, okay, they provided pictures, but I had more fun saying they provided set design, costumes, and make up.

15 comments:

allenaim photography and design said...

You. Are. SO. Funny...I adore reading your posts :) ...and I have yet to see one of my seeded hollyhocks bloom...if we could only stop moving!! I'm counting on next year to finally see all the "peaches and dreams" hollyhocks I have spread throughout the garden this spring!

Leslie said...

I would love to see this on stage! The best kind of story: set up,suspense,crisis, happy ending. And in between we learn a lot. Perfect!

greggo said...

Old fashion is ok.

Fairegarden said...

Brilliant!!!! Bravo!!!! Standing ovation!!!

And now to rush out with stakes for the hollyhock here.

Frances

Gail said...

A great story, brilliant costuming and fantastic staging! gail PS I wish this play would come to Nashville!

Layanee said...

Edith Head lives!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Author! Author!
Is the marsh mallow also part of the hollyhock family? What would 'smores be without the Malvaceae.

Wendy said...

Lovely! But can you help me with something? At the end, the Hollyhock says that seeds will germinate right there where they fall and bloom the following year. Earlier, the Hollyhock said that the bloom the second year. Are the self-seeding/re-seeding seeds able to bloom the following year?

Dee Nash said...

That was so stinkin' cute. I love my hollyhocks. Thanks for the fun. ~~Dee

Carol said...

Wendy, yes, many hollyhocks that germinate late in summer will bloom the following year. Some hollyhocks will also bloom the first year, behaving more like short-lived perennials than biennials, but they are generally considered biennials.

compost in my shoe said...

I have to laugh reminiscing about the Ohio farm days, an outhouse, and a beautiful patch of hollyhock that gave brilliant color to weathered wood this time each year! Thanks for bringing back the memory.......

Anonymous said...

Too Cute!!!!

Ever Green Tree said...

Beautiful description! I like to grow hollyhocks at home during the winters. Love the colours.

Green Bean said...

What a hoot!! I mean a hollyhock! :) Thanks for the smile.

Julie said...

I love this post, this is one of the most creative pieces I have read, teaching while entertaining. You are an inspiration!