The “Pato” Play (2021-22)
On Thursday, fourth graders performed a play in Spanish about our beloved stuffed animal hero, Pato (Duck). This was a play within a play about two best friends, “Pato” and “Oso”, who travel to Peru; meet Ariana Grande and her dog Fluffy, along with an alpaca named Mr. Hashbrown; and turn many “problems” into solutions along the way.
The Fourth Grade “Pato” Play begins with a director who needs to cast the part of “Pato” (my stuffed animal duck) in a movie, but there is a lot of confusion. The first actor that shows up auditions as a gato/cat, not a pato; the second actor auditions as a plato/plate, not a pato/duck; and then there is a delivery of zapatos/shoes, all of which infuriates the director, since he is in search of someone to play the part of a pato/duck and nothing else. Finally, the REAL “Pato” makes an unexpected appearance–he is a super famous, very cool actor–and everyone is aghast! The director offers him the part and he accepts.
However, the actors that do NOT get the part of “Pato” are disgruntled and will continuously interrupt the show with cultural commentaries and the like, to try and steal the limelight. The play (within a play) begins with Pato/duck and his friend, Oso/bear, galloping on horseback in Peru to [a real place called] Rainbow Mountain. There are 14 minerals in the soil there that create a very colorful, layered rainbow look. This tourist attraction is not too far from Machu Picchu, but Pato and Oso are actually in Peru because they want to visit their friend Mr. Hashbrown (an alpaca). Obviously.
The first interruption of the play deals with a parallel comparison of Pato/duck and his friend, Oso/bear, to the world-renowned, 900-page Spanish novel, Don Quijote by Cervantes–and a quick blip of the song, listen HERE. Classes had fun acting out the famous windmill chapter, where Don Quijote “fights” windmills, thinking they are an army of giants.
ACT #2: The saga continues! After the show is interrupted for the first time [re: Don Quijote], we learn that Mr. Hashbrown’s house is near the Amazon River- cue second interruption! The actors trying to interrupt the play this time add a fun fact, namely, that a man (from England) actually walked the entire length of the Amazon River back in 2012, setting a world record. It took him three years! After they are shushed off stage, Oso becomes visibly agitated and nervous, stating that there is a problem. Pato replies that “there are no problems, only solutions“, which ends up becoming his catchphrase throughout the play.
Anyway, while Oso is getting increasingly anxious as he sees an Army of Bacon Monsters slowly approaching on the horizon, Pato starts blabbering about how hungry he is and that he would really like a sandwich. Cue interruption number three: bocadillo [‘bow-kah-DEE-yoh’] is how you say “sandwich” in Spain! Pato always knows what’s going on, even when it seems like he doesn’t, so when he describes the sandwich he is craving, he lists the ingredients- lettuce, tomato and… BACON! The Army of Bacon Monsters (who have been inching closer the entire time) recognize their fate–a BLT sandwich! NOOOOOO! And a chase scene with all parties involved ensues, to music from the Nutcracker. **INTERMISSION**
The two [stuffed animal] friends excitedly arrive at Mr. Hashbrown’s house, but quickly learn that their alpaca friend is quite livid. When prompted, Mr. Hashbrown provides visual and auditory evidence that his neighbor, Ariana Grande, is not the quietest person in the world and, in fact, quite the opposite–which means that he can’t sleep. Ever. Our hero Pato continues believing that, “there are no problems, only solutions“, but as the friends peer out of the window to observe, even he perhaps begins to doubt himself. A modicum of Madness with a capital M follows.
Through the window, they watch as Ariana Grande warms up her vocal chords with the scales–but is horribly tone deaf. Then, she starts yelling for her dog, Fluffy, who runs away every Monday. He doesn’t like Mondays, so he tries to run away from them. (Incidentally, Monday is also the name of a neighborhood cat, which causes the next chase scene to be that much more confusing.) Oso tries to help out and catch Fluffy, but he doesn’t run very fast and stops every two inches to eat honey; and Fluffy keeps running and barking whenever he hears the word, “Monday”, or lunes (“lou-nace”) in Spanish.
Meanwhile, Ariana Grande is talking on the phone with her #BFF, Jennifer, and loses it completely–collapsing to the floor, sobbing hysterically–when she learns that Fluffy may be lost forever. Everyone sings the first eight seconds of this song, “Ay yie yie yie, canta y no llores“ (sing and don’t cry!). The Bacon Monsters reappear not long afterwards, this time as flash mob backup dancers for a music video rehearsal at Ariana Grande’s house to THIS SONG. Pato watches all of this, and finally takes control of the situation, telling Fluffy that it is Friday (viernes/“bee-AIR-nace”), not Monday.
Pato talks with Fluffy and says that they need to find a solution to his problem. Everyone pitches in to build him a new fence so that he doesn’t run away. Ariana stops talking on the phone about her lost dog and stops yelling at Fluffy, so Fluffy the Dog is happy. Mr. Hashbrown is happy because his neighbor only sings now and he can sleep. Oso is happy because he found more honey and doesn’t have to run after Fluffy anymore. And Pato is happy because he has proven to everyone that there are no problems, only solutions. THE END.