The Secret


Lights fade in, curtains open. Olivia, a six-year-old little girl with pigtails and large brown eyes, is sitting in her counsellor’s room. She is wearing a pink dress and sits cross-legged on a sofa as she anxiously looks at her counsellor. Mrs. Jenkins, Olivia’s teacher, sent her to the guidance office because she was concerned that there have been issues in Olivia’s home life that have been affecting her behaviour at school. These issues are often reflected in her drawings.

OLIVIA: Well . . . I guess I can tell you my secret, but you gotta promise that you can’t tell anybody, okay? I was drawing this picture and he told me that it was as beautiful as I was. I like to draw a lot of pictures, even at school, see! (Olivia shows her disturbing drawings that consist of nudity and sexual themes to her counselor) But I don’t think Mrs. Jenkins likes them very much because she never hangs them up on the board with the other pictures. I even used pretty colours like pink, purple, red and blue to colour in the castle. It looks just like mine, except my castle is more beautiful and not as big. Sometimes he joins me in there to have tea parties and we eat cupcakes and drink juice. He likes it when I sit on his lap, but sometimes he puts his hand up my dress and we play puppet games. See! (Olivia refers to her pictures) I’m the princess and he’s the king. Sometimes I don’t like the puppet games because it hurts my insides and I cry. He gets sad when I cry but we always giggle it off, so I know he doesn’t mean to hurt me, because we’re just playing games, but sometimes I just don’t like it. (Beat) He says I shouldn’t cry too loud because if mama heard she would get really mad and I don’t like it when mama gets mad because she starts yelling really loud and I get really scared. But I really like playing with him, we have a lot of fun. He did do something very bad though . . . but if I tell you, you can’t say a word to anyone, or else! Got it? Cross your heart! Okay so . . . (whispering) He actually ate ALL the cupcakes by himself, so if mama knew that daddy wasn’t sharing, she wouldn’t be very happy.


Goal In this scene Olivia is anxious to tell her guidance counselor her secret, but she wants her counselor to keep hidden as well.
Olivia is afraid that if she tells her guidance counselor about her secret then she might tell somebody like her mother who will, as a result, be very upset and mad at Olivia.
Tactics To Punish/Threaten—Olivia tells her counselor that she cannot tell anybody about her secret “or else”. By saying this, Olivia is suggesting that there will be punishment if she fails to keep the secret hidden to herself

To Explain—Olivia explains to her counselor exactly why she should not tell anybody her secret ex) “so if mama knew that daddy wasn’t sharing, she wouldn’t be very happy.” Olivia hopes that her counselor will keep her secret after explaining her reasoning behind keeping it hidden.

To Promise—By making her counselor “cross her heart” Olivia believes that she will indeed keep her promise and not tell anybody about her secret.

Expectations Olivia expects that her counsellor will keep her secret. She is young and naïve so she cannot imagine anyone breaking a promise because she has yet to come across that in her life.