Exploring the possibilities

Nine globe-trotting explorers from a handful of nations and three centuries of world history met on a stage at Balboa Elementary School in a play written and directed by students in Linda Jekabsons’ combined fourth- and fifth-grade class.

Two students — Vivienne Acuña, 10, and Denisa Wartinbee, 10 — started writing the script, which eventually stretched to 30 typed pages, in January.

The girls proposed producing the play to Jekabsons, who was receptive to the idea.

"We run a democracy in my classroom," Jekabsons said.

The girls took their inspiration for the play, which is called "Drake’s Precious Gem," from their class’ recent study of explorers in North America. They used historical figures to tell a fictitious tale in which nine explorers and their crew members find themselves thrown together through time and space and are stranded as a group on a deserted island.

The writers thought it would be cool to have the explorers in the same place to see how they got along, Vivienne explained.

In the play, Sir Francis Drake, played by Vivienne, is shipwrecked on an island. Drake discovers a ruby, which has some Greek writing on it. When he makes fun of the writing, a mystical Greek Lady — played by Denisa — appears, and she transports the other famous explorers to the island.

The Greek enchantress invites all the explorers to search for riches on the island, but she commands that they must share the spoils fairly among themselves, or risk never being returned to the homes.

The explorers, wearing fake mustaches and imitating the accents of the historical figures they are playing, jockey for rank upon meeting, each one wanting the others to know what a fine adventurer he is.

Drake is eventually

"I want cities of riches, Drake proclaims as he searches. "I want someone to at least find me the fountain of youth."

Vasco Núñez de Balboa, played by 10-year-old Korrin Davis, and his helpers come across some gems but decide they’ll come back at night to claim them without telling the others.

But Drake suspects there might be a thief among the group, and the explorers follow Balboa to the jewels at night.

"Greed! Filthy, disgusting greed!" Drake cries when he catches Balboa.

The group then decides to heed the warning of the Greek Lady and share the island’s riches — even with the crew members.

With this decision, they were all returned to their former lives.

"It doesn’t matter who it is, it doesn’t matter their nationality, you should always share," Vivienne said about what she viewed as the moral of the play.

"It’s always good to teach people lessons while doing something fun," she said.

named the leader, and directs the other explorers and their crews to search the island and loudly announce to the others when they find any jewels.

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