Summary: This play uses characters from the "Mr Men" children's books. In a panel discussion, Mr Greedy, Mr Muddle and Mr Nonsense try to answer audience questions about world trade, poverty and policies to improve the situation. This sketch was written by the layfolk at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Battlehill, Wallsend, England. It's a novel way of putting over a serious message. Most appropriate for family services.
Style: Light-hearted. Duration: 10min.
Actors: 3M, 1F
Little Miss Wise (in the Chair) with: Mr Greedy , Mr Muddle, Mr Nonsense
Questioner: Does the panel think that World Leaders should rewrite the international rules and practices that govern trade, with poverty reduction and environmental protection as their highest priorities?
LMW: Thank you. Mr Nonsense, would you like to start our session off?
MN: There’s nothing wrong with our international policies. But it makes sense to me that it’s a nonsense to feed people who are just going to get hungry again. If they were allowed to die with dignity, there’d be less of them, and we wouldn’t have to send them anything at all!
LMW: I don’t believe you just said that Mr Nonsense … What do you have to say Mr Muddle?
MM: Well, you know I never have much to say, and what I do say is short, sharp and to the point - but in this case I’m really stumped! I’m not sure whether I agree with Mr Nonsense or not – I mean, should we or shouldn’t we? Is hunger really such an issue – do we need to help all those people who live thousands of miles away - or don’t we. Yes (thoughtfully)… um or no! - Well that’s where I stand – well, I think it’s where I stand…
LMW: (interrupts) Thank you Mr Muddle – short and sweet and clear as mud as usual. Mr Greedy, what’s your opinion on the question?
MG: Poverty reduction, environmental protection, hmm, difficult. Hunger – now hunger’s something I do know about – I’m always hungry – I just have to see food and my tummy starts rumbling and once I start, I just can’t stop eating. I’m sure I know more about hunger than anyone else in the world – and as long as I have enough to eat – well, I think that’s fine - there’s more than enough done to help everyone else! I don’t think we need to change a thing.
LMW: Thank you, panel. Interesting discussion although I’m not sure that the questioner would agree. It seems to me that if we don’t help by putting pressure on the rich governments and the World Trade Organisation, things will never change. And if it doesn’t - then in the poorest countries one child will continue to die every 30 seconds due to poverty. (Pause) Now for our next question.
Questioner: Does the panel think that if changes in policy favouring poor nations are made, this will mean workers in this country will lose their jobs?
LMW: Thank you. Mr Greedy – how do you feel about this?
MG: Well there are bound to be job losses if we allow poor countries to sell their goods here. But wait a minute, it might mean that some of those goods might be cheaper – so that might not be so bad. I would be able to have more of – everything.
LMW: Mr Nonsense – what do you think?
MN: Of course we shouldn’t change policies in favour of poor nations – that would be a nonsense, it would mean they would be as well off as us – and be able to look after themselves properly and use all the things we need. What would happen to us then, I’d like to know? It’s nonsense to even suggest we should do such a thing.
LMW: Another interesting viewpoint ,Mr Nonsense . Now Mr Muddle, a word from you – and I mean a word!
MM: Oh dear – just the one. Well now – introduce policies that would mean poor countries could favour their own producers at home instead of buying the things we make here... Well I don’t know, should we or shouldn’t we; would it work or wouldn’t it be a good idea – that’s the question…
LMW: Yes Mr Muddle, that’s just about what the questioner asked.
MM: Would it mean job losses here because we wouldn’t be exporting goods? Would it damage our export industry? Oh dear… it would be so much less of a muddle if we left things as they are – wouldn’t it!
LMW: Well job losses could happen and it would be devastating if yours were the one to go. But there could also be new jobs and the people who would be earning a living from these would no doubt have just as much need of them. And the changes that might be made could also mean that the poor countries would have more money to spend and contribute to the global economy. (Pause) And now for our final question.
Questioner: There is only so much to share out. Does the panel think that if the Third World is going to be richer, then we have to become poorer?
LMW: Mr Muddle, would you like to start us off on this final question – and I will have to hurry you as our time is running out!
MM: What can I say, It’s so confusing: wealth, poverty – theirs, ours – who gets what. Who gets something, who gets nothing. It’s all such a muddle – I don’t know about you, but I think it’s too much trouble to even start to try to tackle it…
LMW: I’m afraid I’ll have to cut you short, Mr Muddle. Now then, Mr Greedy …
MG: It certainly seems likely that we’d become poorer ,don’t you think – how can we possibly keep our standard of living if poorer countries are taking a share of our wealth. It’s sheer greed – that’s what it is. What do they think they’re doing. What’s mine is mine and definitely not theirs.
LMW: Now we come finally to you ,Mr Nonsense.
MN: I think the whole of this session has been nonsense . I don’t know why we’ve even been discussing the question of ‘Making Poverty History’. There is no question as far as I am concerned as to what we should not do! We, the richest countries in the world should certainly not share our wealth with the poorest – they wouldn’t know what to do with it – wouldn’t use it properly. It’s a nonsense to even suggest it.
LMW: Well, - children, ladies and gentlemen... we’ve come to the end of today’s edition of Make Poverty History Question Time. And I feel I must say that the opinions expressed by our panel today are entirely their own and not shared by anyone else - I hope. This has certainly been an experience – one, I hope for me, never to be repeated.
© Copyright Congregation of Church of the Good Shepherd, Wallsend, England, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the authors.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not
sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for
free performance, the authors would appreciate being notified of when and for