THE MYSTERY OF THE READING ROCKS
Marilyn A. Kinsella
Edwardsville Public Library Summer Reading - 2002
PUPPETS: Professor Rocky Rhodes (with magnifying glass on hand), his son Stony Rhodes, Wizard, Inspector, and Miz Tory Rocks – can be a puppet or person outside of the stage.
PROPS: Sheet with petroglyphs hung on side of stage.
ACT 1 (At the Music professor’s classroom)
(enter Rocky and Stony)
PR. Stony, my good boy, I’m so glad you took time out of your busy day to come and visit your dear old dad here at the university. You see, I’m on a quest to find out what these ancient markings mean. I was on my way to the library today to pick up some books on the history of Rock and Roll and the library’s new CD’s on the Rolling Stones when I found this on the wall by the children’s room desk. I quickly made a copy so I could study them. What do you think?
ST. Gee, Pops, it looks like chicken scratch to me.
PR. No, no – these are symbols. Someone left messages on rocks a long, long time ago. They are found all over the world. Sometimes they are etched in caves or onto big boulders. There are even some right here in Southern Illinois. I just need to know what this message is trying to tell us.
ST. How will you ever figure it out?
PR. Ah, there’s the rub! I am so busy here with my classes. Papers are due on the famed composer, Rachmaninov, and I have no time to figure out this mystery. But, I have the uncanny feeling that this is very important and we don’t have much time…or it will be too late.
ST. Too late…for what?
PR. How should I know. I just know you have to get on this mystery right away or those super snoops – Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys will beat us to the punch.
ST. The wisest man I know is that master of metamorphics, the wily wizard of Willoughby Wallow. I’ll go ask him.
WW. Good idea! Now hurry on, you know what they say…a rolling stone gathers no moss.
ACT 2 (at the Wizards castle)
ST. Greetings, Mr.Wizard!
WW. Ah, Stony, good to see you my young lad. How is your father these days?
ST. He’s fine, sir. As a matter of fact, he’s the reason I’m here. He was on the way to the library, when he found this piece of paper with strange markings on it. I couldn’t make head or tails out of it, but I thought to myself “Self,” I said, “Self, whenever you have a problem the smart thing to do is to ask the smartest man alive to help you.” And you, Mr. Wizard, are just about the smartest man ever to live. (looking at paper) So, can you figure this out?
WW. Certainly, I can read that! (pause) However, we must wait until Saturn is in the Third House and all nine planets are aligned with the vernal equinox.
ST. And, when would that be?
WW. According to my calculations I will have the answer for you at precisely 9:00 am, Tuesday, July 25th.
ST. But, what year?
WW. Oh, that would be the year 5041.
ST. I’m afraid that will be a little too late.
WW. Sorry Stony. Perhaps, the world-renowned Inspector Igneous Rockwell will help
ST. But where will I find him?
WW. That’s easy. Iggy likes to hang out on the third rock from the sun and his office is # one Rockefeller Plaza (both exit)
ACT 3 (At Inspector Igneous Rockwell’s office)
ST. Inspector Igneous Rockwell, I presume?
IN. You have the right person, and who might you be?
ST. Let me introduce myself. My name is Stony Rhodes. Perhaps, you have heard of my father, Professor Rocky Rhodes? We are trying to decipher the hidden message on this paper. Can you help us?
IN. Sedimentary, my good man, all I need is for you to do is gather some minor gadgets to help me. Let me see… a super sonic-bionic-teutonic blaster; a microtechno-erecto scope, and a digital-lithographic chamber. Yes, that should do the trick.
ST. Gosh, that sounds expensive. How much do you think it will cost?
IN. Oh, a mere 900 ga-zillion, 42 tra-trillion, 92 ba-billion, 854 dollars and 42 cents – give or take a few pennies.
ST. Ah, I think I better keep asking around. But, thanks for your time. (Inspector exits)
ST. Gee, the wizard needs time and the inspector needs money. I’m off to a rather rocky start. I feel like I’m between a rock and hard place. I better put my nose to the grindstone to figure this out. Wait I just had an idea. I bet an archaeologist would know. And there’s one just a stone’s throw away from here at the famous World Heritage Site, Cahokia Mounds. (exits)
ACT 3 (At Cahokia Mounds)
AR. Hello, young man, may I help you.
ST. I sure hope so. My name is Stony and my father found some strange writing on the wall at our library. He made a copy of it, and I thought you might help me find out what it says.
AR. I’d be glad to, Stony. My name is Miz Tory Rocks. I’m the archaeologist at the Mounds. I guess you could say that I “dig” rocks. (laughs at her own joke) Petroglyphs are my specialty.
ST. Petra – who?
AR. (laughs) Petra – glyphs. That word means writing on stone, or sometimes they are more accurately called rock paintings. Have you ever heard of the Rosetta Stone?
ST. Yes, our history teacher said that they couldn’t read the hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt until they found the Rosetta Stone.
AR. Your teacher is right, Stony. The Rosetta Stone helped us read the Egyptian writing. Some very smart people figured out the alphabet they used in ancient times.
ST. So, where is the “Rosetta Stone” for the (stumbles on next word) pet-ro-glyphs.
AR. That’s just it. There isn’t one. As far as the archaeologists can tell they are just pictures. Perhaps, the ancient people were trying to tell us a story, but through pictures – so they call them rock paintings.
ST. Oh, I see. So how will I ever figure out this message?
**************************************** (Alternate ending starts here)
AR. I happen to know the children’s librarian at your library. She is so creative that she made up messages using interesting rock painting symbols and posted them on the wall of your library. That’s what your father must have seen. Then, she made up her very own Rosetta Stone so you can figure out the message. If you ask your children’s librarian, I’m sure she’ll let you use her decoder to figure out the message. In fact, she told me that each week a new message will be posted and when you discover the hidden message, you can win a nifty little prize.
ST. Way cool, win a prize…that rocks! Thanks, Miz Tory Rocks. I can’t wait to go home and tell my dad about the new contest at the library. He will be happy to know that I left no stone unturned until I figured it out.
AR. Good luck, Stony! (ST exits) (to audience) I just happen to have a copy of the children’s librarian’s Rosetta Stone. It’s really quite simple. I should have known it all along. It says (flip over message) READING ROCKS.
AR. Well, Stony, I think there can only be one answer to this question. I know your librarian and I bet she is trying to get the summer reading message out any which way she can.
ST. You mean, the message says…
AR. That’s right, Stony, the message says (flip over the message) Reading Rocks!
HOME PUPPET CENTRAL