- Why does Harry Hare, television spokes-hare for the National Hare Council on Carrots, race his longtime friend, Tommy Tortoise?
- And why can’t Harry’s niece, Harriet Hare spell carrot? This modernized children’s play contains an ancient Ibo (northern Nigeria) legend.
The Tortoise and the Hare is the most famous of Aesop’s fables and the story is about a Hare who mocks a slow-moving Tortoise. Irked by the Hare’s scornful behavior, the Tortoise challenges him to a race. The hare soon leaves the tortoise behind and, quite sure of winning, takes a nap half-way through the race. When the Hare awakes however, he discovers that the Tortoise, crawling slowly but steadily, has arrived before him.
The moral of this story has always been ambiguous and Valletta Anderson’s script throws light on the subject for questioning young minds.
From the Play
The Scene: Harriet Hare’s home living room on a quiet street in Hare Town. The set contains a television. It is after school, before dinner. Mommy Hare is helping Harriet Hare study her spelling words.
Mommy Hare: Apple.
Harriet Hare: Apple. A P P L E. Apple.
Mommy Hare: Very good.
Harriet Hare: Can I turn the TV on, now?
Mommy Hare: One more. Button.
Harriet Hare: Button. B U T O N. Button.
Mommy Hare: No, Harriet. Button is spelled with two Ts. Now spell it, again.
Harriet Hare: But Mommy! We’re going to miss Uncle Harry’s commercial!
Mommy Hare: Then you’d better hurry.
Harriet Hare: (very fast) Button. B U T T O N. Button. Now Mommy? Please?!
Mommy Hare: Just one more. Carrot.
Harriet Hare: Oh, Mommy, EVERYBODY knows how to spell carrot! Please, can I turn the TV on?! Please, Mommy, please?!
Mommy Hare: Alright. Turn it on.
(Harriet turns the TV on and Harry Hare pops up within the television.)
Harry Hare: Carrots! Can’t beat them! Carrots! Know why I eat them? They’re just bursting with beta-carotene that’s so good for my skin! Carrot Salad! Carrot Soup. Carrot-Raisin Cookies! And my all time favorite, Carrot Cake! Carrot sauce over rice is so very nice! Any way you fix them, carrots taste as good as they are good for you! Eat carrots raw for a snack that can’t be beat! Eat them steamed. Eat them boiled. Eat them baked. Eat your carrots for goodness sake! Brought to you by the National Hare Council on Carrots.
(As the commercial ends, Mommy Hare turns off the TV and Harry Hare falls out of sight inside.)
Harriet Hare: Wasn’t Uncle Harry great?!…