Present in Heart-Shaped Box

The Best Present
in the World

The following Readers' Theatre script was adapted from "The very best present in the world" written by Penelope Bender. It was rewritten by Pansy Koh Hwee Lin, Kow Hui Meng, Jamunah Rani and Lam May Yuen to suit the Singapore context.

Horizontal Rule
Narrator: Today is her mother's birthday and May is very troubled because she does not have enough money to buy her mum a present.
May: 75, 80, 85 cents. (Sigh!) This is only enough to buy the bottlecap of Mummy's favourite Chanel No. 5 perfume. What am I going to do?
Narrator: May flips through the New Paper and saw a huge advertisement.
May: (Reading the newspaper aloud) Guess the number of Coke cans contest. 12 - 3 p.m. Grand prize: $200. Winner will be announced at 3:30 p.m. today. Wow! That's just what I need ... if only I could win ...
Girl Reading Newspaper

Narrator: May went down to Cold Storage to join the contest.
May: What a huge crowd gathering around the contest area! Wait a minute. Isn't that my classmate, Janice?
Narrator: May walked up to Janice.
Coke Can

May: Hi, Janice, what are you doing here?
Janice: Hi, May! I came to join the contest.
May: Me too. I'm going to get the contest form now. See you later!
May: (Thinking aloud) Gosh! There are rows and rows of Coke cans piled up high like a pyramid. How am I going to start counting them?
Narrator: After hesitating for a very long time, May finally decided to make her guess.
May: I think I'll write 9,999 cans on the contest form. Please God ... please let that be the lucky number!
Narrator: After dropping the entry form into the box, May waited impatiently for the results to be announced. At 3:30 p.m., the emcee stood up and announced that the number of Coke cans was Nine thousand, nine hundred ... May held her breath ... and ninety-nine.
May: I won! I won!

Narrator: May collected her prize joyfully. As she walked out of Cold Storage, she met Janice again at the bus-stop.
May: Oh, Janice! I won the grand prize! I'm going to Takashimaya now to get a present for my mum. It's her birthday.
Janice: (Sadly) I'm very happy for you.
May: (Concerned) But, you don't sound very happy. Is anything wrong?
Janice: (Sobbing) My ... my ... mother is very ill at home and she can't get out of bed. I went to the clinic near my house but Dr. Tan would not make house calls unless I pay $200. But we've no money. I'm really afraid of losing mum. She's all I have since daddy passed away.
May: (In deep thought) Oh, dear! That's terrible. (A short pause) What do you intend to do?
Janice: I don't know.
Narrator: May gazed at the prize money in her purse. After deliberating for a short while, she pressed the money into Janice's hands.
May: Here, take this. Go and get Dr. Tan right away!
Janice: But ... but ... you need this for your mum's birthday present.
May: Don't worry, it's okay. She'll understand.
Janice: Oh! Thank you so much! Thank you so much! I'm sure my mum will pay you back when she gets well.

Narrator: Janice rushed back to her mum while May walked home slowly. She is happy that she had done a good deed but worried about her mother's birthday present.
May: (Dejectedly) What should I do? I still don't have any present for Mum's birthday. Guess I'll just make a card for her. The card won't mean much without a present but ... it'll have to do.
Narrator: That night, at the birthday party, May's brother gave their mother a gold necklace and her sister gave her mum a Versace bag.
May: Mummy, I wanted to give you a present, but this card is all I have.
Mother: But, May ... You've already given me a present. Janice called and told me what you had done. You see, sweetheart, all the presents in the world wouldn't mean as much to me as knowing that you've understood what I've been teaching you.
May: What's that, Mummy?
Mother: How to love, May. And that's the best present in the whole world that any child could ever give to a parent.
Screenbean Holding Heart-Shaped Present
May: Do you mean it, Mummy? I wanted so much to give you the very best present in the world.
Mother: Of course, I do, sweetheart. You have indeed given me the very best present in the whole world and I'm very proud of you!
May: Oh ... Oh! Mummy, I'm so happy!
Horizontal Rule

[ Readers' Theatre ] Home [ Main Page ]
If you have comments or suggestions, Email email me at