(Describe when you were founded, the most important thing your company does, what you care most about, and what sets you apart from similar businesses.)
Words on Stage is family-owned and operated in Virginia Beach, VA. Since opening in 2006, we’ve treated every customer like they were a part of our family. Other companies may offer similar services, but our services come with a personal touch.
WORDS SPOKEN ON EVERY STAGE AT ANY AGE
Note: recommended grades and ages include the children performing or older youth/adults performing for children.
Moral of the Story
By: Valetta Anderson
Why does Harry Hare, TV spokes-hare for the National Hare Council on Carrots; decide to race his longtime friend, Tommy Tortoise? And why can’t Harry’s niece, Harriet Hare spell carrot? This modernized children’s play comes from an ancient “Ibo” (northern Nigeria) legend that reveals what inquiring minds have always wanted to know: the inside scoop behind Aesop's famous Fable and why tortoises have cracked, lumpy shells.
Mommy Hare: Harriet Hare’s mother and Harry Hare’s sister.
Harriet Hare: Vivacious, floppy-eared rabbit, niece of Harry Hare.
Harry Hare: Loser of Tortoise and Hare Race, Harriet’s uncle, Mommy Hare’s brother.
Tommy Tortoise: Winner of Tortoise and Hare Race.
Reporter Tortoise: Television reporter.
Starter’s Voice(Offstage): Starter of Tortoise and Hare Race.
Ibo Tortoise: Tortoise with shiny, smooth shell.
Skybird: Emissary from Skyland to Ibo Tortoise’s forest.
Time & Place: Present day Hare Town, and ancient Iboland.
FROM THE PLAY
The Scene: Harriet Hare’s living room on a quiet street in Hare Town. It is after school, and Mommy Hare is helping Harriet Hare study her spelling.
Mommy Hare: Apple.
Harriet Hare: Apple. A P P L E. Apple.
Mommy Hare: Very good.
Harriet Hare: Can I turn the TV on, now?
Mommy Hare: One more. Button.
Harriet Hare: Button. B U T O N. Button.
Mommy Hare: No, Harriet. Button is spelled with two Ts. Now spell it, again.
Harriet Hare: But Mommy! We’re going to miss Uncle Harry’s commercial!
Mommy Hare: Then you’d better hurry.
Harriet Hare: (very fast) Button. B U T T O N. Button. Now Mommy? Please?!
Mommy Hare: Just one more. Carrot.
Harriet Hare: Oh, Mommy, EVERYBODY knows how to spell carrot! Please, can I turn the TV on?! Please, Mommy, please?!
Mommy Hare: Alright. Turn it on.
Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest
A One Act Play In Four Scenes.
Adapted from the original tales of Robin Hood
by Kathleen McBlair
About the Play: This action-packed one act was very successful with Middle School students, and was used both in Summer Drama Camp and during the school year. It’s only 25 minutes long!
Robin Archer: later known as Robin Hood
Martin Archer: Robin’s father, blinded by the Sheriff’s men
Sheriff Of Nottingham: Prince John’s Security Chief
Sir Guy Gisburne: Sheriff’s cruel deputy
Moll Gisburne: Sir Guy’s sister, Prince John’s magistrate
Prince John: Evil brother to King Richard the Lionhearted
King Richard The Lionhearted: Just returned from the Crusades
Maid Marion Of Dinsmore: Captured by the Sheriff
Sir Chester Dinsmore: Marion’s brother, escapes captivity vows to free his sister
Will Scarlett: Head of the Outcasts of Sherwood Forest
Little John: Metalsmith, recently returned from the Crusades
Mash Much: Doesn’t say much, but carries a big stick
Xena : Warrior Princess and chief cook for the outlaws
Bianca: A Minstrel
Friar Tuck: A displaced monk
Sister Ignatius: A tough nun
The Kirkleighs: Neighbors to Robin and Martin
Extras, as needed for Outlaws, Sheriff”s men or escorts/palace servants ((NOTE: For smaller cast needs, doubling is recommended.)
The Scene: The set is an empty stage, with backdrops or simple Gobo lighting effects to indicate the changes of scene. Banners suggest the court and the archery contest field. Benches, chairs and props are placed as indicated.
Scene 1: In Sherwood Forest, Afternoon
Scene 2: At the court of King Richard, later that evening
Scene 3: Back in Sherwood Forest, the next morning
Scene 4: At court--the archery competition, three days later
From the Play: Scene 1: Deep in the Sherwood Forest, sounds of birds and chirping of frogs, a rock or tree trunk.
The Time: Late afternoon. Offstage shouting is heard
Sheriff, Moll And Men: (Off) This way. They won’t get far! Just ahead. Ouch! What the . . .?
(Robin Archer and his elderly, blinded father enter. Robin is a strong man, just returned from fighting in the crusades. He arrived home to find his lands seized and his father blinded. He is dressed in a tattered crusade uniform, which is the same as that of King Richard. Martin has a rag tied over his eyes and bloodied shirt and breeches.)
Robin: (Out of breath) Father, quickly, hide here. Don’t make a sound, I’ll draw them off
Martin: Go, son, save yourself.
Robin: Sshhhh! Stay down, Father.
(Enter sheriff, Sir Guy, and Moll, running as if chasing someone. Sheriff and Sir Guy wear uniforms; Moll in vest/ black skirt. Sheriff has fears from the horrid things he’s done to people while collecting taxes for prince john. Sir Guy and Moll are your average criminal types.)
Sir Guy: Drat! Now he’s disappeared into the deep forest. We'll have to fan out to find him.
Sheriff: But, this is where the Outcasts live. (Looking around nervously) Aren’t they dangerous?
Moll: What’s that to us? We sneeze in the face of danger! (They all sneeze.) Ha Ha!
Scripts for Grades 7 to10.
A Tall Turkey Tale from Old Virginia
A Thanksgiving Comedy in One Act
By: Kathleen L. McBlair
About the Play: The Tall Turkey Tale is a researched portrayal of the settlers and the Chesopean Indians during the early years of English settlement in Tidewater, Virginia, at the Southern end of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a funny first Thanksgiving story for children.
Turk: A husky turkey
Gabbler: His turkey-wife
George Thorpe: A hard-working settler
Elizabeth Thorpe: His wife
Willy Thorpe: Their young son, age 10
Sarah Thorpe: Their daughter
Mary Thorpe: Their daughter
Alma Finch: A neighbor-woman
Dick Finch: Her nasty son, age 20
Takreh (The Willow): An Indian woman
Kynehsweh (Leaping Cloud):An Indian girl, age 13
Quahree (Running Wolf): Her older brother, age 20
Act I, Scene 1. The front yard of the Thorpe’s cabin, located on the banks of the Lynnhaven River, November 1618
Scene 2. Sundown that same day.
Act II: The next day: A Thanksgiving feast
The Scene: A clearing in front of a rough log cabin. In the background, the remains of a large garden and farm implements, barrels, etc., around the yard. There are cut logs, sawdust, boards, etc., as someone is building a table.
From the Play:
Gabbler: I wouldn’t say we are exactly wild, Mr. Turk. We grew up under the watchful eye and generous hand of Kynehsweh, the Indian girl. I’ve never known a time without nearby humans.
Turk: ‘Tis why they brought us here, Gabby. We are cultivated the plants and fruits. Yet, our lives are no shorter, nor any worse than the life of our wild northern cousins. I guess it’s all the same if you’re a turkey. (He hears a sound) Awk! Gobble! (Very suddenly, Willy Thorpe jumps out from behind the house and runs inexpertly toward the birds)
Willy: (shouting, but thinking he’s enticing them) Here, birdie! Here! Turk, turk, turkey. (He makes some noises)
Gabbler: (As they are excitedly dashing offstage) Gak! Run, Turk! Gobble! Awk!
Willy stops just before exiting, and turns around briefly.
Willy: Shucks! I almost had ‘em that time. Boy, would I like to have one of those big turkeys for a pet. I know! (He beams with excitement and, rushing over to a barrel beside the porch, he reaches in for a handful of corn. Holding it in front of him, Willy exits after the turkeys) Come, turkey. Here, nice big bird. Ho! Mr. and Mrs. Turk—ee, where are you? (More noises as he goes off. Meanwhile, the front door has opened and Sarah and Mary Thorpe have stepped out onto the porch. They are giggling and sassy over the strange behavior of their brother.)
SARAH: There goes silly Willy! Always chasing after the strangest-looking creatures!
MARY: What in the world does he want with those funny-sounding birds? What does Father call them?
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Adapted for the Stage by
Kathleen L. McBlair
About the Play: This version of the old children’s story was adapted for children with Hearing Impairment. All performers spoke in American Sign Language, while Hearing narrators performed the voices. This went over very well and provided twice as many participation opportunities.
The Court Jester
The Court Page
The Court Herald
The Fat Prime Minister
Kiddingyou: A fake weaver
Metoo: His partner
Various extras as pages, courtiers, citizens
Scene 1: The Emperor’s dressing room
Scene 2: A road in the empire
Scene 3: The Emperor’s dressing room
Scene 1: The Royal Weaving room
Scene 2: The Emperor’s dressing room
Scene 3: Parade at the Royal Palace
The Setting: Open staging with colorful large props, like a loom and a big trunk and some parade acts. Costumes are standard Fairy Tale.
Time: Days of long ago
Place: Great Empire of Noodle
From the Play:
From Act 1, Scene 2…..
(The false weavers place the invisible cloak across the Emperor’s shoulders, and pretend to trim, pin and fit the magic cloth. The empress helps them.)
Metoo: Me too! (He forgets he is holding a cloak. Kiddingyou smacks him. He holds out his arms.)
Emperor: (angry) Well, it’s getting late! (He looks around) Where are the robes? Where is the cloak? (Everyone looks scared)
Kiddingyou: (quickly) Here we are, Sire. (He starts putting the invisible robe over the Emperor’s head) I know you are speechless, Sire, at the beauty of your new robe.
Empress: (runs over to help Kiddingyou) Yes, and you will look handsome with the gold and silver threads all over the robe.
Emperor: (struggles at first, then just looks confused and miserable) But…wait…I don’t see…I mean…is this the robe?
Fat Prime Minister: Ah, your Highness, how the diamonds and rubies sparkle along each fold!
Emperor: Gold and silver threads? Diamonds and rubies?
Everyone: Oh yes, Sire! You look beautiful! How royal!
Emperor: It looks good? Very well, then! ( He stands, looking down at his underwear, slowly shaking his head)
Kiddingyou: It is the best weaving I have ever done, Sire.
Metoo: Me too!
Emperor: It’s so light, I feel as though I had nothing on but my underwear. (Everyone giggles) Let’s go! My people are waiting to see the parade. (The Emperor takes the Empress’ arm and waits for the pages to start the parade).
A comedy in eight scenes
Adapted from Lewis Carroll’s Classics
by Kathleen L. McBlair
About the Play: “Alice’s Adventures” was developed as a touring production for Elementary Students, performed by Middle or High Schoolers. We raised over $1,000. per day busing in the students. It’s also been successful as a summer Drama Camp production. The cast can be quite large, or use lots of doubling.
Narrator: Offstage, from the projection booth, or onstage in a comfortable chair, storyteller style. Must have versatile voice, capable of sound effects.
The White Rabbit/March Hare
The Dormouse/Knave Of Hearts
The Dodo/A Card
The Mock Turtle
The Fish Footman/King Of Hearts
The Frog Footman/A Card
Bill the Lizard
The Caterpillar/A Card
The Cheshire Cat
The Mad Hatter
The Queen Of Hearts
Down the Rabbit Hole to Wonderland
The Caucus Race and the Dormouse’s Tale
A Caterpillar’s Advice
The Duchess’ Soup
The Mad Tea Party
The Queen’s Lawn Game
The Tale of the Mock Turtle
The Trial of the Knave of Hearts
The Stage: Open staging with a doorway, and lots of props. Have colorful trees, a carpet painted as chessboard and a mushroom for Wonderland. This production is suitable for touring.
From the Play:
Enter the King and Queen in formal procession. They stop in front of Alice.
Queen: Who’s this? (No one answers) Idiots! What is your name, child?
Alice: Alice, so pleased your Majesty.
Queen: And, who are these? (She indicates the cards on the ground)
Alice: How should I know? They look like a few old cards to me.
Queen: Off with her head!
King: Reconsider, my dear. After all, she’s only a child.
Queen: (To the cards) Get up! (They do) What have you been doing here?
ONE: Um…er…if it pleases your Majesty….
Queen: Off with their heads! (To Alice) Can you play croquet?
Queen: Come on, then. (She claps her hands) The Game. The Game. Be quick about it. (The cards rush about setting up)
Alice: (To the King) Where’s the Duchess?
King: She’s under sentence to be beheaded.
Queen: (Roaring) Get to your places! I want to begin! (Everyone rushes around, bumping into each other, with croquet mallets flying and dolls heads rolling all over the stage.)
NARRATOR: A crazy game of croquet proceeds, with only the Queen allowed a score.
Alice stops playing when she sees the Cheshire Cat.
Alice: Goodness! I never played the game this way.
Cheshire Cat: How’s it going?
Alice: I can’t understand how they play croquet here and I don’t see how there’s anybody left in the Kingdom, what with all these beheadings.
Cheshire: How do you like the Queen?
Alice: Not at all! She’s so extremely…(Alice sees that the Queen is behind her) likely to win, that it’s hardly worth finishing the game.
(The Queen smilingly goes off and the King comes up to Alice)
King: Who are you talking to?
Alice: It’s a friend of mine, the Cheshire Cat. Allow me to introduce you.
King: Hmmm. I don’t like that silly grin at all. But it may kiss my hand, if it likes.
Cheshire Cat: I’d rrr…atherrr not.
King: How impertinent! He may not look at me like that.
Cheshire Cat: A cat may look at a King. It’s the law.
Beauty And The Beast
Adapted from a 12th century French Folk Tale
by Kathleen L. McBlair
About the Play: This 45-minute version of the classic story is ideal for summer camp or drama class use. It involves between 16 and 26 characters, depending on doubling.
Le Prince (later Beast)
Monsieur, Belle's Father, a Merchant
Belle, A Beautiful Girl
Renard, Belle's Jealous Friend
Louise: Belle's sister
Hyacinthe: Belle's other sister
Francois: Renard's friend
Jean: Renard's other friend
Fleur: Beauty's friend
Cara: Beauty's other friend
Mon Frere: Townsperson
Tant Cherie: Townsperson
Capitan: Officer arriving with Monsieur
Jongleur: Traveler - sings and tells stories in mime
Canarie: Creature who dwells at the enchanted river
Parrot: Creature who dwells at the enchanted river
Oriole: Creature who dwells at the enchanted river
Chip Monk: Creature who dwells at the enchanted river
Squire Rell: Creature who dwells at the enchanted river
Pommes Frites: The Beast's Charge d'affairs
Poisson: The Beast's chef
Regarde: The Beast's gardener
Rosette: The Beast's maid
Corvette: The Beast's other maid
Prologue: A magical clearing in the woods
Act I: Scene 1: In Front of Beauty's Cottage
Scene 2: On the Banks of an Enchanted River
Act II, Scene 1: Inside Beast's Castle
Scene 2: Back at the River
From the Play:
(Eerie lights come up downstage. Music under. LaSorceressa, a wicked sorceress laughs cruelly.)
La Sorceressa: Soo, my handsome young Prince, you will pay dearly for trying to curb my style. I control all the people of this valley, not a Prince who is nothing but a puppy! Yes, a puppy, or cub. You're a cub. Come to me. Right here, now.
Le Prince: (A handsome prince tied up with a giant rope staggers into the light. He is trying to say something, through a gag.) Harraggh. mmmflmmmmm
La Sorceressa: What? (He repeats. She removes the gag.) Now, what have you to say for yourself?
Prince: You are a cruel, ruthless sorceress. You've never done a kind thing for anyone. I pledge my life to getting you out of my country.
La Sorceressa: Oh. So that's still your position, is it? (She re-gags him.) Then, hear this. You are hereby transformed into an ugly beast. (The prince groans.) You will live alone in an enchanted land. The only way you can ever leave the enchanted land and be restored to your human shape is if you're borne across the river by someone who loves you. (Laughs wickedly.) Oh, it's rich. What a twist! You'll be so ugly, no one will ever want to love you, let alone carry you over a river! This is really a good bad one. (The prince nods dejectedly.) I shall go ahead to prepare the palace of your lonely exile, Prince. When I return for you, you will be an animal. (Her wicked laugh rings out as the lights dim, and we hear a mournful howl.)
All the World's My Stage
by H. L. Liptak
What’s in the Book:
Three class-room tested, side-splitting comedies
take middle and high school students on a tour
of history, culture, geography, and literature.
Perfect for stage and classroom.
"Something to Believe In": Nick and Nicki, two of
Prometheus' freshly formed mortals, discover the
dangerous world beyond their experience.
Fortunately, Zeus orders Hermes to keep an eye on them.
"Return to Venice": Marco Polo, after 17 years in the service of the
emperor Kublai Khan, travels from the heart of the Mongol
court, across pirate-infested seas, through Persia and India, along Silk Road,
arriving back in Italy. Polo's long journey is fraught with danger and
most of his cohorts lose their way on the trek home. Is "Mystery of the
Pirates Cave" a hidden cave filled with treasure, or a vortex to an unseen world? The author provides copious notes and connections to Academic Standards.
Your students will love reading the plays, and performing them!
From the Plays:
SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN
Lights up. Nick is standing there, kicking at a rock as Nicki enters.
NICKI: Good-morning, Nick.
NICKI: What’s the matter with you this morning?
NICK: Nothing. (Shrugging grumpily)
NICKI: Okay. (Nonchalantly)
NICK: All right, if you must know. Everything.
NICKI: Everything? First nothing, now everything?
NICK: Everything! This (waves hand around at everything) is all pointless.
I’m bored. I’m tired. Nobody listens to me, nobody cares what I want.
NICK: Okay? (disgusted) Why did I even think you’d get it? No one understands.
NICKI: What’s to understand? We wake up, we eat, we talk, we work, we sleep.
We wake up...
NICK: Exactly! Same old thing, every single day since the day we were created. Why can’t we do something different once in a while? Like today. (pause) Let’s get out of here. Today.
NICKI: Okay. But where do we go? What else is there?
NICK: I say we go out there and find out. Right now. This very minute.
NICK: (astonished) Okay? We’re just going out there? Out into the unknown? Do you really think that’s a good idea?
NICKI: Sure. Why not? What have we got to lose?
NICKI: You never know. It’s worth a shot.
NICK: Let’s go. Come on!
NICKI: Right behind you. (They exit. Lights out)
RETURN TO VENICE
Lights up on a bare cell with a ragged man sitting in one corner. Luigi the jailer brings in Marco and throws him into the cell with Rustichello. Luigi shouts at him in Italian as he throws him in.
RUSTICHELLO: Welcome to my humble abode.
MARCO: Thank you, I think.
RUSTICHELLO: So what are you in for?
MARCO: Who, me? I’m from Venice. At war with Genoa. So, you know… wrong place, wrong time. (pause a beat) What about you?
RUSTICHELLO: Same. Except I’m from Pisa. My name’s Rustichello.
MARCO: Nice to meet you. I’m Marco.
RUSTICHELLO: That’s it? You’re not going to make a joke about my name? Rusty cello or something?
MARCO: Why would I do that? I have heard odder names in my time.
RUSTICHELLO: Everyone makes stupid jokes about my name.
MARCO: That doesn’t make it right. Rustichello’s a good Italian name, and I haven’t heard too many of those recently. At least it’s not Marco Polo. That sounds like some kind of game. With horses, or maybe a swimming pool.
RUSTICHELLO: Where have you been that you haven’t heard Italian names in a while?
MARCO: Where haven’t I been? Until recently I was a clerk at the Mongol court in the East. At the moment I find myself unemployed.
RUSTICHELLO: The Mongol court in Cathay? You have returned recently?
MARCO: Fairly recently. Readjusting is difficult. I keep wondering what’s happening in all those faraway places I lived; places the rest of Christendom never even dreams about.
RUSTICHELLO: You must have lots of unbelievable stories about the Orient.
MARCO: Sure. And no one believes them.
Lights out on cell. Bare stage, girl runs on stage. She is Princess Kokachin’s maid, Ling, who is looking everywhere for her. She looks around frantically and then starts calling for the Princess.
LING: Princess Kokachin! Princess Kokachin! Where are you? Your uncle will be here any minute. You have to be ready! (no response) Great! Just great! Kublai Khan, head of the Yuan Dynasty will be here in mere moments. He expects to be greeted by his adoring niece and she is nowhere to be found! She won’t show up and I’ll be blamed.
MYSTERY OF THE PIRATES CAVE
Curtains open on pirate’s cave. Fog machine, red lights come up slowly. Voice begins:
NARRATOR: The cave. A cavity inside the earth. Whether carved into existence by the slow, gradual action of water, or ripped open by the violent upheaval of tectonic displacement, caves have served humankind in various capacities since time immemorial. But caves are ambiguous spaces. A cave can offer protection and shelter, but it can just as easily trap and imprison. Legends and folklore are full of the stories of the strange and miraculous things that happen when a cave is opened up at the location of a vortex. This is one of those stories.
Rowdy pirates enter through audience singing, carrying huge treasure chest. Lights up as they go onstage. Try to open chest, dance around singing pirate songs and sea chanteys, First Mate enters.
DOMINGO: Avast there, ye stumbling sons of a sea monkey! The Captain will be coming soon and he'd best not find you lolly-gagging about like a bunch of moonstruck landlubbers. (All exit, muttering, except for Dom, Bloodbrine, Peso and Trevor)
BLOODBRINE: Avast yourself, Saldana! We're only celebrating our good fortune! There's not a man jack of us who ever laid eyes on so fine a treasure haul as this!
PESO: And without so much as a scratch to the crew! There'll be no need to deduct even a farthing for to pay off a wooden leg or a glass eyeball!
DOMINGO: Tis fortunate indeed that Captain Jed's name strikes such fear in the hearts of those cowardly Spaniards!
PESO: No such thing! I'll wager tis the sight of the Merry Widow's flag flying from the mizzen mast that got us such an easy prize.
DOMINGO: Or maybe just the sight of you, Peso, struck them numb with terror.
FRANKENSTEIN (OR THE MODERN PROMETHEUS)
Adapted for the stage from Mary Shelley’s novel
By Kathleen L. McBlair
ABOUT THE PLAY: Earlier versions of this adaptation have been performed in school and community theatres since 1980. Audiences love it and scream heartily every time the Creature arrives in the window. The open staging works well and makes the scene changes easy to accomplish. In one production, the Creature entered and exited through the audience, which was raked and acted as the mountain path. Parents and kids screamed together!
Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist
Henry Clerval, victor’s friend
Elizabeth, Victor’s fiancée
Professor Zurmat, a scientist at Ingolstadt University
The Creature, Frankenstein’s creation
Herr Frankenstein, Victor’s father
Jonathan, a student at Ingolstadt
Hanz, another student
Annie, a nearsighted housekeeper
Officer Nugent, constable on the Scottish Coast
Chief Kirwin, in charge at the police station
Delacey, a blind villager
Felix, his son
Safie, Felix’s girlfriend
Captain Walton, on HMS Archangel in the Arctic
Seaman Olaf, on-board the ship
Extras for police& students, good opportunities
THE SET: Use open staging with one dramatic
alpine backdrop, a tall staircase, flowing into and
behind a snowy mountain peak, and winding all
the way up into the flyspace, one scrimmed
interior space with a door entrance from; and two
tall, narrow windows that can be flown in/out, and
one round, ship window. Tables, chairs and
benches as needed for interiors. Some potted trees and
plants for garden and hotel scenes.
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS: Sound effects and complex, fluid lighting are essential. A clear, round ball with bubbling red liquid and a tube, canvas sheets and a body suit for the creature. The set should be a montage of shadows and jagged edges. An electric fire and oil lamps add ambient lighting.
THE MUSIC: Alexander Scriabin’s Prometheus is used throughout the play. Also, Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy is perfect for the creation scene. Somehow, this music seems to have been written for this story.
Scene 1 The garden of the Frankenstein Villa, Summer, 1710
Scene 2 The University at Ingolstadt, Autumn, 1712
Scene 3 Frankenstein’s laboratory, November, 1713
Scene 4 The Alps, Summer, 1715
Scene 1 Mont Blanc, high in the Alps, Fall, 1801
Scene 2 Frankenstein’s laboratory, spring 1802
Scene 3 A police station on the Scottish Coast, early next morning
Scene 4 A walled garden in a hotel at Lake Geneva
Scene 5 Aboard a ship in the Arctic
FROM THE PLAY:
ACT ONE, SCENE 3: both windows are flown in side by side, with a sheet hastily taped across them to prevent prying eyes. The room/laboratory is lit with gas lamps and a disturbing bulk is covered atop a table in the middle of the area. Upstage of the table, a glass globe with tubes coming out of the top, leading to the covered body, bubbles with red liquid. A dilapidated couch, forming the right wall of the room, has a blanket and pillow messily thrown over. Music fades as the lights come up on Victor feverishly making notes in a small diary. It is November16th, 1713.
VICTOR: (writing) It is finished. My months of dreadful effort are over. I am about to awaken from the nightmare of unimaginable acts committed in the dead of night. No one can feel my sense of impending relief. Life and death seem to me now as only boundaries to be crossed. Mortality, but a dream from which one can be aroused. A new species may bless me as it’s creator and source. Many happy and excellent natures will owe their lives to me. I’m exhilarated and afraid at the same time! What intensity of emotion! My head will split soon if the act is not consummated! (searches his pockets) Where is it? Precious Elizabeth’s letter? Ah! Here. My love says: ‘Dearest Victor, we are thrilled that you will soon be done with your project. Then, home at last! I don’t think Henry and I can wait for the day. You are in our prayers. Take care. Love.’ (he re-folds the letter and puts it in his coat pocket) She says love! She is still an innocent. The love one feels for that which he has created himself is far greater than she knows. It’s like a slow burning inside. The time has come…
(Just then, Frankenstein’s door opens and he is nearly startled out of his skin. He whisks the diary into his pocket and stands as the near-sighted housekeeper, Annie clumps in with her bucket, bucket, mop and duster. She is a squinting character, raggedly dressed, and a bit oblivious to what’s going on around her. She squeaks when she notices the intense young man.)
ANNIE: (French accent) Ooh! Pardonnez-moi, Monsieur! I am not accustomed to cleaning in your quarters at night, but you are often out to class in the evenings.
Victor: (irritated with the interruption) It’s six o’clock at night! What are you doing in here?
Annie: Please excuse me, Monsieur. But, when I come to clean in the morning, you are sound asleep, and I am afraid I disturb you. So, you see how your rooms are such a mess!
VICTOR: (suspicious) What do you mean, I am asleep? I go to the library every morning.
ANNIE: (with her feather duster) oh, Monsieur, I was going to make the bed and I was frightened to see you were in it. And the smell! Those blankets require a wash. So sound asleep, I thought you were dead! (They both look over at the mound. Annie gasps)
VICTOR: (quickly, trying to cover) Yes, yes, Madame. But, please leave now. I have a great deal of work to do tonight and I require privacy.
ANNIE: ( As she works along, she dunks her feather duster into the cleaning bucket) Ah, Monsieur! What flattery. But, I am not a Madame.
VICTOR: (Too tired to cope, stares at her) Not a Madame? You are what? A man?
ANNIE: (Giggling as she picks up Victor’s hat and washes it with the wet duster) oh, Monsieur Frankenstein, you have such a way with humor! I am a Mademoiselle! Never married, you know.
VICTOR: Oh, for god’s sake! Enough of this nonsense! (She is taken aback by his vehemence. Victor tries to calm down. Sits as Annie continues her fumbling work, talking to the coat tree as if it were Victor)
ANNIE: What I cannot understand, Monsieur, is why a bright, handsome young gentleman, such as yourself, isn’t married. Why, I’ve actually wondered, at times, if you wasn’t entertaining a lady here. (Gesturing towards the shrouded figure)
VICTOR: (laughing finally) Well, you certainly are not the only one who thinks that! (he loses the humor when she dusts his head)
ANNIE: Now, my friend, Bertie swears that you are in here taking apart rotten dead bodies and piecing them together into some horrible monster. She says…
VICTOR: Enough! (he leaps up, trembling) Gods! The things that people say. Now, Mademoiselle, time for you to go. You may awaken my…er..lady friend over there.
The Red Shoes
a one-act adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story
by Kathleen L. McBlair
About the Play:
Originally written and produced in 1986 for a High School One Act Play Festival, The Red Shoes went on to win Best Play and Best Original Play. The actress dancing the role of Karen won Best Performer. An effort should be made to borrow an antique wheelchair for Narrator Karen. She portrays a double amputee from the knee down.
Narrator Karen a white-haired woman of indeterminate age. Narrates from a wheelchair
Dancing Karen a young girl
Lila, Karen’s friend
Yvonne, Another friend
Main Street in a quaint Danish village, indicated with backdrop, a street sign, perhaps a tree or flowering bush.
long ago, on the day of the annual town parade
Music: throughout, a mixture of Northern European folk tunes and calliope for the circus
From the play:
(As pall bearers carry her mother off, Shoemaker approaches Karen.)
Karen: (looking up) Oh, it’s you. My mother told me to have nothing to do with you. You are greedy and evil, and you will try to hurt me.
Shoemaker: (innocently) I wonder why anyone would say that about me? I’m only a poor shoemaker who likes to see people get what they want. I know what you want, and I have it right here.
Karen: Please, Sir. Leave me alone. This is a tragic day for me.
Shoemaker: But, look! What I have created for you. (he shows her a beautiful pair of red dancing shoes)
Karen: (gasps) Ooh! But they are exquisite!
Shoemaker: Go on, touch them. Just put them on.
Karen: They are more beautiful than the ones worn by the princess. I want to…to put them…
The Priest: Karen? The Dowager wishes to speak to you. It’s important.
Karen: (suddenly confused) Yes, Father. I’ll be right there. (she looks dreamily back to the red shoes in the Shoemaker’s hands.) Why do I long so much to hold them? Are they bewitched?
Shoemaker: No, my dear. Just a tiny bit of magic I made into them. As soon as you put them on, The Red Shoes will dance with you until all your sadness is gone. (he laughs his wicked laugh)
Karen: (leaning towards the shoes) My mother must have been wrong about you. These are just so, so
Dowager: Come here, Child. (Karen turns and leaves the Shoemaker)
The Priest: Karen, the generous Dowager wishes to take you into her home and raise you as her own, since there is no one left to care for you.
Karen: That would be most kind. I hope I won’t be any trouble.
Dowager: I will enjoy your youthful company. I want to see to your religious education and provide for your future. It will be good for both of us.
Karen: I am grateful.
The Priest: Good! The whole business is settled. Dowager, may I ask you..(The Priest and Dowager walk off in friendly conversation. Karen is left smiling, until The Shoemaker comes up to her.)
Shoemaker: I thought you wanted to dance. (his voice grows subtle) You wished to dance before Kings! She’ll never let you.
Karen: (sharply) Don’t talk like that!
Shoemaker: Put these on. Just try them. Red shoes more beautiful than the Princess’s. No more boring Church. No stupid lesson. Just the music and the dance. (Karen is again drawn towards the shoes. She reaches out, and...)
Charlotte Bronte Remembers......an
afternoon of Noms de Plumes
a classroom one act about the Bronte sisters
by Kathleen L. McBlair
Time: Autumn 1845
Place: The upstairs parlor at Haworth Parsonage, Northern England.
CHARLOTTE BRONTË: 28 years old, thin, pert, very small, talkative.
EMILY BRONTË: 26 years old, tall, thin, pale, serious, intense.
ANNE BRONTË: 25 years old, vivacious, attractive, eager to please.
The Scene: A high-ceilinged Victorian room with large windows looking out on the churchyard, a crowded cemetery, and dark, moody moors in the distance (can be indicated with a backdrop). There are two doors: one leads downstairs to the front of the house; the other opens to a stairwell up to the attic. There is a loveseat, chairs, a writing table, small coal stove, lots of books, and a pianoforte. Use ambient gas lamps. Scattered over the table are several wooden toy soldiers, lots of paper, writing implements, and two or three notebooks. When the lights come up, Emily is discovered copying poems. As she busily works, Charlotte appears and speaks to the audience. Charlotte is lively and talkative. Use extant family photos for hairstyle and dress.
CHARLOTTE: Welcome to the Parsonage. My father, Patrick Brontë, is Pastor here, assisted by a series of foolish curates. Our home is humble and unattractive to strangers, but to me it contains what I find nowhere else in the world—the profound affection which brothers and sisters feel for each other when their minds are cast in the same mold, their ideas drawn from the same source. To begin, there were six of us, but the two eldest, Maria and Elizabeth, succumbed early to the consuming fever. This happened while they were away at a school for girls. Then Papa became cautious with the rest of us going to these schools. We have never been happy away from home and one another. (SHE PAUSES, PICKS UP A NOTEBOOK) You must excuse my ramblings. I promised to answer your questions. I love to speak of our lives at home, overlooking the moors. My sister, Emily could sit for hours looking out that window, over the crowded graveyard to the expanse of heather’d crags. Emily used to think of that forever roaming the moors was heaven. This is the “strange idea” you asked me to explain in her novel, Wuthering Heights. The other question you literary persons address to us is how we came to use our pseudonyms or pen names—the Bell Brothers; Currer—myself, Emily was Ellis and dear Anne, Acton. Many of you want to know how that came about. It was one very long afternoon in the fall. Emily was working in the upstairs parlor, which we liked to call “the drawing room.” She copied poems from one notebook to another, finding a more perfect syllable for this or that line; perhaps beginning a new poem altogether. I was downstairs with the cook trying to calm everything after Em’s dog stole a biscuit. (WITH A LITTLE CURTSEY, CHARLOTTE EXITS TO THE DOWNSTAIRS. LIGHTS UP IN THE ROOM.)
EMILY: (SHARPLY) Oh! This doesn’t go together at all. (SHE CONTINUES TO COPY)
So hopeless is the world without
The world within I doubly prize;
Thy world where guile and hate and doubt
And cold suspicion never rise.
That sounds so much better. (LOOKS UP) My secret world, my darling dream! I long for the time when I can live completely in you. (SHE TIGHTENS HER SHAWL AROUND HER SHOULDERS, SHIVERING, CONTINUES) What matters is that all around / Danger and grief…. Hmm. Danger and guilt and darkness lie….Would I rather escape from grief or from guilt? (LAUGHS) I’ll present that question at the Palace of Instruction. ( SHE PICKS UP A TOY SOLDIER AND MARCHES HIM ACROSS THE TABLE TOP TO CONFRONT ANOTHER SOLDIER. IN A DIFFERENT VOICE) Ask, Majesty. (AS JULIUS) Which would best be struck from the imagination, grief or guilt? (SHE TURNS THE INSTRUCTOR ON HIS FACE) That question can only be answered by Augusta, the imprisoned Queen. Seek no more to know what you cannot know in this world. (EMILY LAUGHS AND SWEEPS THE SOLDIERS TO THE BACK OF THE TABLE) I’ll work on my Gondal poem. (COPIES AS SHE SPEAKS)
Twas night her comrades gathered all
Within their city’s rocky wall
When flowers were closed and day was o’er
Their joyous hearts awoke the more.
But lonely in her distant cave
She heard the river’s restless wave
Chafing its banks with dreamy flow
Music for mirth and wail for woe.
(SHE SETS DOWN THE PEN, WALKS TO THE WINDOW) Rochelle, from her prison cell, hears the west wind whirling on the moors. In her mind, the wind is a handsome General come to elope with her into eternity. Ah! Symphony for the ordinary ear. A messenger of hope comes every night to me / And offers for short life, eternal liberty / He comes with western winds, with evening’s wandering airs / With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars….(SUDDENLY BECOMES THE IMPRISONED ROCHELLE) Julian! Soul of my soul. Free me from this cold world. We’ll play on the heather’d earth of our beloved moors. Return me to Gondal or send me to eternity. I can no more endure this cold. (ANNE BURSTS INTO THE PARLOR, LAUGHING. EMILY QUICKLY HIDES HER WORK UNDER THE VARIOUS PAPERS ON THE DESK.)
ANNE: Emily! Just listen! Tabitha’s in the greatest rage, all red faced and huffing. Keeper’s wedged behind the kitchen stove and won’t budge.
EMILY: (PULLING THE SHAWL TIGHTER ON HER SHOULDERS) He’s no doubt trying to keep warm.
The Selfish Giant
a full-length fantasy based on Wilde's Story
by Gillette Elvgren
About the Play: This adventure tells the enchanting story of a group of city kids who discover a beautiful house and garden in the middle of their cement and broken glass environment. But they are chased off by the selfish giant, Gorgon, who places a "No Trespassing" sign on the gate. Because of his selfishness, the elements of Frost, Snow, and Hail invade his garden and banish Spring. A special child named Chris, returns to the garden and treats the giant with love and understanding. This softens the giant's heart. This play, with its strong resurrection theme, is ideally suited for the Easter season. It has been produced professionally by the A.D. Players in Houston and by Saltworks Theatre Company.
3 men; 2 women
Time: One hour; twenty minutes.
Place: The Giant's garden.
From the Play:
(GORGON the giant opens gate with a horrible "creaking" noise)
GORGON: Come out, come out, wherever you are,
Can't get out, can't get far.
Giant find and giant chomp.
Giant see and giant stomp. (To audience.)
Ah-ha! Have any of you tinies seen anyone in Gordon's home, under a flower or beneath a stone.
(He starts to crawl around "looking" for intruder. The "stomp" however has woken the sleeping children.)
GEORGE: I knew it was too good to last.
BONNER: (Using big gesture) Nobody move.
GEORGE: He's so big.
CHRIS: Maybe if we introduced ourselves . .
BONNER: Sure, as breakfast, lunch and dinner. . .
GEORGE: and bedtime snack.
TAFFETA: I don't feel very well.
GEORGE: He's coming this way.
BONNER: Quick, behind the tree. (They hide.)
GORGON: What's that? Something moved, something stirred, it was no snake, it was no bird. Getting warm, getting hot, check this leafy, shady spot. (Goes behind tree. Children run around. GORGON is hidden for the moment.)
TAFFETA: Tell me this is all a dream.
GEORGE: Yeah, a nightmare.
BONNER: Now everybody, just hold on to yourselves. (Everybody grabs themselves.)
There's got to be a way out.
CHRIS: A fountain. Quick, become a fountain.
GEORGE: He's lost it. That's all we need now is a looney on our hands.
BONNER: What can we lose. You two be the base and we'll be the statue part.
CHRIS: Here he comes.
GORGON: (enters) Fi, fie, Foe, fumy,
I smell something to fill my tummy. What's this?
TAFFETA: A fountain.
GORGON: There wasn't a fountain in my garden before, was there? (Fountain people all nod "yes". GORGON could also ask audience here.) Then Gorgon think he get a drink. Let's see. . . (He searches for spout. TAFFETA opens her lunch box, takes out thermos quickly hands it to BONNER who pours it in the giants mouth. GORGON smacks his lips and walks off.) Hmmm, boy, that mighty good drink of milk. (Pause) Milk? Ptooey! Gorgon hate Christmas trees and Gorgon hate bumblebees, but most of all Gorgon hate milk. Wait a minute— something fishy going on here, (He turns slowly)
BONNER: Don't worry. Just relax. I've got everything under control. Run for your life!