“Crowned” is a full two-act play that was originally written last year for Muslimah Entertainment, a local sisters’ organization in Southern California that puts on a yearly production. If your youth group or MSA (or any other organization) is interested in performing this play, you are welcome to do so! Please contact the author for a soft copy of the play by emailing her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Crowned: Fatima and Samina are best friends about to graduate from Marina Bay High School. In their exciting last year of school, Fatima is faced with a dilemma that many Muslim seniors face: PROM. But the issue isn’t “should I or should I not go to Prom,” the issue is…”should I run for Prom Queen?” Meanwhile, at home, Mariam has just graduated college and is being pressured to get married. Mom has set her up with the Ahmeds’ son, and now the courtship is about to begin. Join the girls on MuslimMatters every Wednesday this April as they walk down the path towards getting “crowned.”
Fatima, volunteer chair of Student Body Government.
Samina, art geek & Fatima’s childhood best friend.
Jehan, the cool kid & Fatima’s cousin.
Mariam, recent college graduate who has returned home & Fatima’s older sister.
Bilkis, also known as “Booger,” Fatima’s little sister.
Mom, the lady of the house.
Top Swordfish, the person who gives the morning announcements for school.
Connor Daveys, captain of the Water Polo team & the popular guy.
Scene One, Introduction.
Part One: Getting Ready for School.
Mom: [yelling off stage]FATIMA!! SCHOOL!!
Fatima: Overslept…AGAIN!! [Fatima jumps out of bed and is getting dressed for school. Looking through clothes, changing clothes. Fixing and re-fixing her hair, putting on hats (stuff to do with head, “crowned”.) Face-wash, make-up, re-wash, make-up. Accessories.]
[Fatima grabs backpack and runs off stage in one direction. Bell rings. Set change: classroom Students sitting down in chairs, Samina is prominently seated. Jehan is seated slightly off-center further backstage. Fatima enters, running in from other side. After bell rings, lights slowly open on scene, show some people sitting down, some people entering stage, some people standing in random areas coming to their seats, people sitting down, talking etc. Fatima is the last to enter. Announcer’s voice get’s quieter and lights dim on him depending on if there is a side conversation going on or not. “Top Swordfish” (Announcer) is shown at the other end of the stage, sitting at desk with a microphone.]
Top Swordfish: Gooooooooooood morning Marina Bay High! Today is Monday, of course, the best day of the whole week! It’s time to wake up Swordfishies! Let’s get on to the morning announcements! To all the arteeests out there, the Art Showcase [lights dim and voice fades] <<is coming up! The showcase will be the >>
Samina:Fatima! Assalamu alaykum! You’re late!
Fatima: Walaykum assalam! Yeah, I know, I hope I don’t get marked tardy!
Top Swordfish: 25th, the same day as Prom! Can’t wait to see your latest pieces. Just another run-of-the-mill cafeteria food scare!! To all of you who ate the mystery meat loaf last Thursday <<if you’re feeling a bit sick or felt slightly sick, it’s because the meat was tainted. Whoops! Sincerely the lunch ladies. >>
Fatima: Ew, that’s why I don’t eat outside meat! Did he collect homework yet?
Samina: No, you’re good.
Top Swordfish: Important announcement for all the seniors! Senior Prom is coming up on the 25th. Tickets to Enchantment Under the Sea <<are being sold during lunch in the quad. $120 for couples and $80 for singles. You must pick up permission slips for the dance and have them signed by your parents.>>
Samina: Enchantment Under the Sea?! What kind of lame theme is that?!
Fatima: Hey! I helped pick that theme!
Samina: Oh, sorry. But you know….it IS pretty lame!
[Fatima playfully shoves Samina]
Top Swordfish: Prom Court Sign ups and applications! <<Attention manly men, do you wanna be the big fish on campus, the senior of the senior class? Prom King sign ups and applications can be picked up in the student body government room and are due at the end of the week.>>
Samina: So how involved are you with this year’s Prom?
Fatima: I’m pretty involved, way more involved than I want to be. I designed the posters and the tickets, and am doing the decorations. They’re probably gonna ask me to volunteer during Prom, since the sophomores don’t know how to do anything.
Samina: That’s whack! I can’t believe you have to be so involved with it. Don’t you feel…?
Fatima: …guilty? Yeah, I do. But what can I do? Student Body Government is student body government.
Samina: Well this is like the last thing that you do for them, right? so…whatever.
Top Swordfish: Attention lovely ladies, do you want to be the queen on campus, royalty of the senior class? [Samina puts a pencil case on her head while making a stupid face and mockingly doing the princess wave] Prom Queen sign ups and applications are due at the end of the week! <<It’s time to determine who will walk away as Prom King and Prom Queen. Who will be elected into these ranks? Whose dream will be fulfilled?>>
Fatima: [slapping off the “crown” from Samina’s head] Yo, knock it off!
Samina: Why, goodness, I didn’t know you were so sensitive about this whole [sneeringly] Prom Queen business.
Fatima: Prom Queen is a big deal.
Samina: No it’s not, Prom Queen is stupid. Some Barbie is gonna win it, I bet you it’s gonna be Kendra Perkins or Stacey William. They’re popular, pretty, all the boys like them, all the girls want to be like them…
Fatima: Yeah, I guess one of the typical girls will win it. I wonder what it would be like if one of us was Prom Queen. [look at each other and start laughing]
Top Swordfish: Those have been your announcements for the day, Top Swordfish signing off the air, 5 weeks til graduation!!! Buh-bye.
Teacher: Good morning class…[lights fade, bell rings]…reports due next Thursday and see you tomorrow!!
Samina: Man, I am bogged down this week! I gotta run to my next class! Meet me in the art room at lunch.
[Samina exits and Fatima is packing up still. Jehan is walking by Fatima.]
Jehan: Fatima! How was dinner at grandma’s house on Saturday?
Fatima: Oh, Jehan! It was good. Why weren’t you there again?
Jehan: I was busy studying.
Fatima: Oh yeah, I know how it is, it gets crazy towards the end—
Jehan: [cutting her off] of course I was joking. I was at Rachel Brown’s party.
Fatima: Oh…..I um…..
Jehan: [nonchalantly] Yeah, you wouldn’t know about it. You’re not with the popular crowd, even though you work with them in student body government. Anyways, Prom Queen running is coming up, huh?
Fatima: Yeah, so what about it? [innocently laughing] Are you running or something?
Jehan: No, I’m too cool to be Prom Queen. [awkward pause, smile wipes off face of Fatima] But you know what, I would hate to see one of the Barbies be crowned—again! It’s the same thing every year. Why don’t you run?
Fatima: [shocked] What?! ME run for Prom Queen? That’s such a joke! Who would vote for me?
Jehan: A lot of people probably would, the smart kids for sure. You know, people are tired of seeing the same kind of girl win year after year. They might be willing to vote for the nerdy –
Fatima: – hey I’m not nerdy, I’m just smart!
Jehan: Sorry, for the smart brunette, Ms. Goody Goody Volunteer Chair of the school. Who knows, they might find you a nice alternative to the typical Queen. And plus, it’s good for your reputation, everyone will respect you once you win, and they’ll take you seriously and won’t make fun of you for being the Volunteer Chair….Anyways, I got class…catch you on the flip side, cuz (cousin), Ms. Prom Queen Fatima! [Jehan bows and exits]
Fatima: [speaking to herself] What, me, Prom Queen….?
Part Two: Dropping off the Application
[Samina and Fatima are eating lunch in art room and painting, talking about Samina’s portrait. Jehan walks by.]
Fatima: Samina! Girl, bio was disgusting today. We had to dissect a brain and now I smell like brain juice. I was starving before but I think I lost my appetite.
Samina: If you’re not gonna eat it, let me have a look at your lunch. [comes over] Those pears look pretty good. [pause, sniffing] Ew, gross. You DO smell like brain juice. [fake wretching]
Fatima: [snatching bag away] You know what? I don’t even really like pears, but that comment really cost you. I was gonna give them to you, but you smell like….paint….juice. [voice dying and ending pathetically. Sam laughs.]
Samina: Speaking of paint juice, do you wanna see my last piece for the art showcase?
Fatima: Yeah! Show it to me! What’s your last piece, what’s the crowning jewel of your collection? How’s it coming along?
Samina: Ms. Mitchell wanted me to paint a self-portrait, she thought it would be a great way to top my portfolio off–give it the finishing touch! But I wasn’t sure about painting myself, because you know the whole thing about you’re not supposed to draw people or something…well I don’t really know, so this is what I decided to do instead. [Turns canvas around. Painting is blocks of different shades of browns, you can tell it’s unfinished.]
Fatima: Ahahahahh! It’s just brown squares! Genius…
Fatima&Samina: …absolutely genius. [explosion of laughter]
Samina: I know. See, this way I get away with not having to draw a person and it’s true to my abstract style. AND Ms. Mitchell loves this interpretive stuff, so she’ll be impressed. She’ll probably say something like—
Fatima: “Woah, now that is art, I can sense the emotion in that one. Or—”
Samina: “Just brimming with teenage angst! And the Modern twist!”
Fatima: “These tan splotches…so deep…It’s all how you see yourself, not how anyone else defines you. A mirror doesn’t always show you who you really are, especially when you’re looking with your eyes closed. These tan splotches are truly a mark of talent!”
Fatima&Samina: “I LOVE IT!” [laughing]
Fatima: I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished!
Jehan: Hey, I got you one. We talked about it this morning.
[Stops in front of Fatima, drops application packet at Fatima’s feet. Looks at Samina and nods at her.] Sam.
Samina: Ugh! Gosh I hate when she calls me Sam! Can’t you talk to her about it?
Fatima: Yeah, I already have, but she’s just my cousin, not my child, I don’t have any control over her!
Samina: [Leaning over towards Fatima and reaching to pick up packet] So what did she give you?
Fatima: [Trying to cover the application] Oh nothing…
Samina: [Grabs packet, shocked and confused.] Prom Queen Application. She brought you a prom queen app? Why in the world would she get you one? Is this some kind of joke…? [Fatima looks guilty and uneasy. Samina is furious.] PROM QUEEN APPLICATION?! [Fatima grabs application back out of Sam’s hands.] PROM QUEEN APPLICATION, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
Fatima: [defensively, talking quickly in one breath] It was just Jehan’s idea, not mine! She told me that I should run and that she thinks I could even win, and that it would make people like me and that it would finally get one of the Barbies to not win Prom Queen this year.
Samina: You know, Jehan does have some crazy ideas, [begrudgingly] but I think she might be right. You could win…I think. It would be nice to see those Barbies defeated. Everyone wants to be a Barbie. And it’s ironic when you think about it because no one likes them. They’re mean and self-centered. They use their popularity to take advantage of people. And all at the same time, they’re pretty and popular and have the nicest things and wear the cutest outfits and have perfect hair, every single day! Man, don’t you just love them. It would be nice if someone could beat one of them to the crown.
Fatima: Yeah! It WOULD be!
Samina: But just as long as it’s not one of us. I dunno, it seems too weird. Lunch is almost over, let’s go. [Gets up and starts to exit] You’re coming to my arts showcase right?
Fatima: Yeah, of course! I’m so excited to finally see everything all together. When is it again?
Samina: The 25th—
Fatima & Samina: The same day as Prom!
Fatima: No problem! [goofy] InshaAllah!!
Samina: Hey, throw my wrapper in the trash will you? [Fatima picks up wrapper] And while you’re at it…throw away that application, too, where it belongs…right in the trash.
[Samina exits and Fatima is following. Fatima throws wrapper away, but hesitates with the application, holding it above the trashcan. She stands there for a few seconds.]
Fatima: but…it would be so nice….Prom Queen Fatima….but it would be weird [Brings application away from the trash and to her chest and says with resolve] Well, you never know until you try…maybe it’s worth a shot! [Exits.]
Scene Two: Meet the Family
[Lights slowly grow bright. Bilkis eating a snack and sitting at kitchen table, Mariam is sitting next to Bilkis. Mom washing dishes. Enter Fatima, lights get bright all of a sudden.]
Fatima: I’m hoooome! Assalamu alaykum!
Mom, Mariam, Bilkis: Walayakum assalam.
Mom: How was school, honey?
<<In background you hear Mariam saying “but Bilkeeeeees” and Bilkis saying “but Mariaaaam” over and over again and getting louder and louder until it cuts Mom off>>
Fatima: It was fine, I have a report due, I have tests, I have a lot of stuff to do for student body government.
Mom: I don’t understand why you do this school government. They take all your time away from you, you can’t focus on your studies, you are too busy catching up on your homework to go to the masjid some weeks…I don’t like this body government of yours.
Fatima: But mom, we already talked about this! It looks good on college applications—I’m Volunteer Chair for the whole school! I get so much community service hours, it shows that I have leadership skills and responsibility. If you want me to get into a school as good as Mariam, I have to do it. She did band and all this stuff, too when she was in high school.
Mariam: Hey! Leave me out of this! [goes back to being annoying with Bilkis]
Fatima: Well it’s not as easy to get into a good college as it was for Mariam 4 years ago! It’s gotten a lot harder Mom!
Mom: Fine, fine, I know. You did explain this to me all before. “But mom – SATs, volunteering this, testing that, GPA, GPS, IV, IB, OMG, UC, AP, ACT, MPH, LOL.” I’ve heard it all before! [Bilkis and Mariam screaming, pause] Mariam! Bilkis! Would you be quiet! Can’t you see we are talking here? [Mariam and Bilkis burst into giggles. Fatima starts putting her stuff on the table.] You two are so irritating. It’s time you stopped acting like a child, Mariam. [pause, washing dishes, and then as if another thought/a tangentI] You came back from college and now you’re a woman, it’s time to get married. All this foolish screaming is for children, not for someone your age. And remember what I told you about who’s coming on Friday! [Exits with the trash.]
Fatima: Yeah, grow up, it’s time to cop some good proposals, Ms. Marriageable Lady Mariam.
Bilkis: Mariam is going to get married!! YAAAAAAAAY!
Fatima: Booger, shove a sock in it.
Mariam: [somewhat jokingly, but serious at the same time]Fatima! You can’t talk to Bilkis like that!
Fatima: [Sticks tongue out.] Great . I have so much work to do! [Application packet sticking out of her folder. Bilkis reaches for packet, reading out loud]
Bilkis: [Craning neck over] P-pr-rom Queen App…Appli–
Fatima: [Yanking her stuff away] Get away from my stuff, booger!
Bilkis: [indignant] Hey! Stop calling me booger! Mariam already told you to stop!
Fatima: [said in a joking way, a man’s voice] Stop me, big sis, just try and stop me.
Mariam: [jokingly] I know one thing that will stop you for sure. Booger attaaack!!
[Bilkis gets up and runs towards Fatima with hands outstretched screaming and Mariam is sitting there laughing. Fatima runs and exits, followed by screaming/chasing Bilks. Lights fade and fading spotlight on Mariam.]
[Mockingly] What children! [Indignantly.] Hmph!
[Anxiously, puts her head on the table.] Friday…………ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.