Day 76: Why Ninjas Wear Black

Why Ninjas Wear Black
Matt Zurbo


(Two kids dressed as ninjas, battling each other. Empty ninja kit boxes on floor.)

Hey, let me tell you the story of why ninjas wear black.
(Two kids, dressed as ninjas, prowling. Both turning to face the reader, one taking mask off.)

Ninjas existed in feudal Japan.
(Hand-drawn map of feudal Japan, written under it: 1180AD to 1603AD)
That was when powerful families and warlords called shogun ruled. Japan was more like a whole lot of little countries fighting each other… for 500 years!

The warlords had samurai warriors. Or, when they needed, ninjas!
(Overweight warlord, samurai standing in front of him, another warrior’ head poking down from top of frame – ninja. Husband and wife farmers in background. Each one is labelled. Two kids, in costume, looking small, watching.)

Ninjas were assassins, experts at espionage, sabotage, infiltration, guerrilla warfare, martial arts… They were S.N.E.A.K.Y!  
(Image of an adult ninja doing some of these things. Kids beside him, high-fiving.)

But they didn’t wear black!
(Image of adult ninja, and both ninja kids, startled, stopped in their tracks.)

Lets face it, if you want to sneak up on someone, you don’t wear a costume. Talk about standing out!
(Clown, with sword, in crowd, approaching a well-guarded shogun. Still a long way away, shogun pointing, “I see you!”)

Most ninjas dressed like peasants so as to blend in.
(Shogun and guards looking nervous, peasants behind them. One of them looks sly, touching a hidden sword. Shogun; “Gah! Where did he go?”)

What’s that? “But, at night…?”
(Two kids, still in costume. One has his arms crossed in anger, the other is holding a questioning finger up.)

Well, look around you, very little is black black. It’s the same after dark. You’d look like a hole running through the night!
(Lots of guards aggressively surrounding two kids in ninja costumes. It is night, guards are all shades of grey, like their surroundings, blending in. Kids, black, stand out.)

When they did go on a midnight mission, they wore the colours around them – mostly green and blue.
(Two kids, exasperated body language, in green and blue ninja costumes.)

Anyways, in feudal Japan the most popular form of entertainment were plays.
Theatre troupes would travel from town to town doing their plays on the back of a horse-drawn cart.
(Suitable image. Troupe passing two kids.)

There was no room for a side stage, with ropes and stuff to hide the stagehands.
(Actor n back of cart, acting. Around her: Several Japanese holding cardboard waves, fake sun, holding lanterns, one standing on a ladder holding a fake grey cloud, pouring a water bucket like rain. one dressed as a horse. Stage hands are dressed in various medieval Japanese clothes. Actor almost swamped.)
Everyone could see them.

So they wore black.
(Same image,bit with all the stagehands wearing black, the actor stands out.)

And the audience simply knew, if someone on stage was wearing black, to not notice them at all!
(Both kids wearing black, one is standing on the other’s shoulders, wobbly, holding cardboard sun up over actor. Two or three audience members watching play intently. Actor saying: Alone… All alone…!)

Eventually, plays about powerful families, shoguns and ninjas became hugely popular! Everybody fighting, lots of drama!
But, being on an open stage, there was nowhere for the actors playing ninjas to jump out from and surprise people with their sneakiness.

(Actor/shogun on stage, stagehands in black doing their jobs. Audience pointing to man approaching with sword half drawn: “We see you!”)

So THEY wore black.
(Stage hands working, one with a smirk, not working)

The audience didn’t pay any attention to them. Then, half way through the act, POW! One of the stagehands would leap forward and attack!
(Four stage hands – all dressed in black. Two are the kids. One is holing up fake cloud, one is on step ladder pouring rain. One is holding cardboard barrel. The one in the middle is leaping forward in karate mode. The other three are startled.)

Everyone would go: “Hey! Where did he come from!?”
“How sneaky is that!?”
(Audience puzzled, shocked, amused, looking this way and that. King lying on stage. One boy looking at ‘dead’ king, deadpan. The other boy pointing, deadpan at ninja running away.)

Today, it would be like the film crew suddenly leaping out and attacking the action hero.
(Camera man crawling onto top of camera, to donk down, bopping started action hero, who is in medieval knight costume, but no helmet. Boom mike lady shocked.)

So, yeah, ninjas never really wore black.
(One kid sitting down in a huff, the other standing, holding his removed mask.)
Except in plays.

And after school.
(Kids back in full ninja costumes, karate fighting each other.)


The End

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