No Big Deal

Grades 8-12
The issue: Teen Gambling



Scene 1: Zack is confronted by his girlfriend (Mandy), sister (Nicole), best friend (Jake), and teacher (Mr. Baker) about his gambling problem.

Scene 2: Zack contemplates suicide and reflects on how his life has spiraled out of control over the past few months due to his gambling.

Scene 3: In a flashback to the beginning of Zack’s troubles, he and Jake exchange money over a sports bet. Mr. Baker assigns a film project and Zack, Mandy, Nicole, and Jake decide to work together.

Scene 4: It is Zack’s birthday and Mandy gets him a poker set for an upcoming casino night fundraiser. Zack’s dad, as part of a family tradition, gets him lottery tickets. We learn that Jake and Zack play poker at their regular Guy’s Night.

Scene 5: Zack wins big at the casino night fundraiser and Jake suggests that they use that as inspiration for their film project.

Scene 6: Jake, Zack, Mandy, and Nicole decide that their film project will be about a poker player, played by Zack, and that they will film some scenes at a weekly Texas Hold ‘Em game that Jake’s brother knows about.

Scene 7: Nicole, on her way to a  youth group overnight at her church, runs into Mr. Baker who says he was meeting some friends at the church. Jake, Zack, and Mandy arrive at the church after filming the poker game. While the boys are in high spirits because Zack won big, Mandy is upset that Zack ignored her during the game.

Scene 8: Mandy, Nicole, Zack, and Jake are filming a scene before heading to a Halloween party. After everyone else leaves, Zack calls his bookie to place a bet and promises to get the money to him that night. Mr. Baker overhears the conversation and tries to talk to Zack, who blows him off.

Scene 9: Mandy waits for Zack to pick her up for the Halloween party but he doesn’t show up.

Scene 10: Jake learns that Mandy is upset with Zack for going to play poker instead of picking her up the night of the party. Mandy arrives and Jake learns that Zack has stood her up multiple times and used filming scenes for the project as an excuse. He cautions Zack about lying to Mandy and Zack asks to borrow money for the poker game since he spent all of his previous winnings on flowers for Mandy.

Scene 11: Mr. Baker asks Zack to stay after class because his grades have been slipping. He gives him a card for Gamblers Anonymous but Zack insists that he doesn’t have a problem.

Scene 12: When the others get upset with Zack for not knowing his lines, he storms out. After Jake and Nicole leave, Zack comes back to find Mandy alone. He tells her that his father is behind on child support so he has been helping his mother with groceries, but he has lost Nicole’s i-pod and cannot afford to replace it, so she lends him money. Nicole comes back for a bag she left behind and Zack tells her that he has been putting up all of the money for the poker games and is now too broke go buy Mandy a birthday present, so she lends him money as well.

Scene 13: Mr. Baker attends a Gamblers Anonymous meeting and discusses his own addiction and the consequences of it.

Scene 14: Zack tells Jake that he bet more than he has on a losing team and then gets upset when Jake refuses to lend him more money. Mandy and Nicole arrive and everyone realizes that they’ve all been lending Zack money. Zack storms out and Nicole lets the others know that she thinks that Zack has been stealing from her and their mom. They confide in Mr. Baker that Zack has a gambling problem. He tells them that gambling is an addiction, just like drugs, and how they can help Zack.

Scene 15: Zack is confronted by Mandy, Nicole, Jake, and Mr. Baker about his gambling problem.

Scene 16: Zack sends Nicole a text saying goodbye. She asks Mr. Baker for help and he goes to find Zack.

Scene 17: Zack contemplates suicide. Mr. Baker finds him and after Zack confides in him how out of control his problem has become, reassures him that his addiction is a disease and that he can get help.

Scene 18: Zack attends a Gamblers Anonymous meeting with Mr. Baker and discusses his addiction and the consequences of it.

Scene 19: Jake, Zack, Mandy, and Nicole have finished their film project and have adjusted the ending to reflect what they have learned about gambling and its consequences.



Bring a Saltworks play to your students and watch them use their imagination to resolve conflict, reach out for new healthy relationships, and discover hope for their lives!