Going Under-Drama Skit

Going Under-Drama Skit

Themes: Black History, The Underground Railroad, Slavery, Freedom, Harriet Tubman, William Still
Categories: Black History 

When Franklin, a slave, is beaten for a minor incident and then set to be sold and separated from his family, he enlists the help of a "Conductor" in the Underground Railroad to help them all escape.  Along the journey, we meet people like Harriet Tubman, who helped over 70 slaves escape in her lifetime, and William Still, who was born free and was educated just as any white man.  While the story is told in "real time" (the audience watches the story unfold) a Narrator helps fill in small tidbits of information in appropriate places.  This skit reminds us all of the wickedness and perils of slavery and then the awe and inspiration that comes with freedom. 

Style: Drama

Add to cart

Characters: 7 (2 Male, 2 Female, 3 Neutral)
Length: 8-10 minutes
Excerpt (Sample)

Setting: The stage is bare except for a chair in the middle. The Narrator stands to the side, apart from the scene, not as noticeable. As the scene begins, a man lays still on the floor. After a moment, a child comes running in.

Child:               Papa! Papa, are you okay? 

The man stirs a bit and lets out a moan of pain

Child:               I’m going to get mama! (runs off stage)

Child:               (voice heard from off stage) Mama!  Come quick!

Serena:            (voice heard from off stage) What is it, child?  What’s wrong?

Child:               (voice heard from off stage) It’s Papa.  He’s hurt!

Serena and Child rush in

Serena:           (sees the man lying on the floor and is gravely worried) Franklin!  (she kneels beside the man, trying to determine what’s wrong, very concerned) Lord o’ mercy! What did that man do to you this time?

Franklin:          (trying to sit up) I think my rib is broken. 

Serena and Child help him up and into a nearby chair, amid moans of pain from Franklin 

Serena:           What happened?

Franklin:          I was a few minutes late gettin’ the horses fed.  Masta’ come to the barn and tell me he don’t ‘preciate me lettin’ his ponies starve.  Then he done showed me with a fist to my face and a boot to my side.

Child:               (spits on the floor) That’s what I think o’ Masta’s precious ponies!

Franklin:          (grabs Child by the arm) You be careful what you say.  If Massa hear you, he beat you too or worse!  He don’t care you just a child!

Narrator:          (to audience) Franklin knew this from experience. He was only 6 years old when he received his first beating.  Now, thirty years later Franklin carries the scars of his lifetime—stripes upon his back from the many whip lashings, a broken jaw, a dislocated shoulder, near blind in one eye, a fractured skull…and the list goes on. In many ways, he is lucky, or some may some “unlucky” to be alive.

Conductor enters, rushing in

Conductor:      Franklin, I bring terrible news.  I just heard the Master talking to Joe Wilkins. You’re being sold.

Serena:           (horrified) No!

Child:               (looks questioningly at Conductor) Sold?

Conductor:      Master will give your father to another man for money. 

Child:               But he can’t do that, can he? 

Franklin:          He can. 

Child:               But that’s not fair! We’re a family. We belong together!

Franklin:          (angry) We’re slaves, Child!  We’re property!  That man can do whatever he wants to with us. Spit on us, beat us, sell us…he thinks more of the cattle than he does of us!

Serena:           Why would Master do such a thing? We’ve done nothing wrong!

Conductor:      He thinks without a wife around to distract him, Franklin will get his work done on time.

Serena:           But it wasn’t my fault!

Conductor:      It doesn’t matter.  The decision has already been made.

Child:               No! (hugs her farther) I won’t let them take you, Papa!

Franklin:          (sadly) We have no choice.

Conductor:      Perhaps you do.

Franklin:          Did you hear me? We’re slaves.  We have no choice!

Conductor:      You do but it may not be an easy one to make.  I am a conductor.  Have you heard of people like me?

Child:               Like on the railroad?

Conductor:      In a way, yes.

Serena:           (recognition hits and she begins speaking a bit more softly) You mean the Underground Railroad, don’t you?

Conductor:      Yes.

Child:               (loud, excited) I didn’t know trains could travel under the ground. Cool!

Conductor:      Shhh!  If anyone hears you we’ll all be dead!

Serena:           I’ve heard of people like you and your organization but we can’t come with you.  It’s far too dangerous.

Child:               Go with him where?

Franklin:          Child, please be quiet!  Serena, if we stay here we’ll be separated.  You heard the man, I’m to be sold.  I may never see you or our son again.  If we leave together, we at least have a chance at freedom.  Freedom, Serena!

Serena:           And what if we’re caught? 

Conductor:      There is great risk I’m afraid. 

Child:               What risk? What are you talking about?

Narrator:          (to audience)The Underground Railroad was not a real railroad of course. It was a network of houses and other buildings used to help slaves escape to freedom in the Northern states or Canada. This network of escape routes was described using railroad terms. “Passengers” were runaway slaves fleeing from the South. Their guides were called “conductors” and they led them from one “station” to another, where fugitives would rest and eat.

                        But slave owners did not take kindly to runaways.  If a slave was discovered missing, search parties would be formed and bloodhounds assembled in order to find the missing party.  If captured, slaves could be beaten severely, tortured or even killed for their attempts.

Child:               (excited) Can it really be done, Papa?  Can we escape? 

Serena:           No! We’ll never make it!

Conductor:      I’ve helped many before you.  It can be done.

Franklin:          It may be our only hope, Serena.  Our only hope for freedom.

Serena:           (long pause, looking into Franklin’s eyes) Okay. (to Conductor) What do we do?

Conductor:      Meet me behind the mill after the Master has gone to sleep. We leave tonight!