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TRUMPELSTILTSKIN: A FAIRY TALE
by Scott Bischke
For those who seek to live in better places than towers.
This is the author, Scott Bischke.
Below I provide a sampler of the readers' play I created from my TRUMPELSTILTSKIN short story. I'd be honored if you and your group--
theater, school, church, dinner party, family, whatever!--chooses to put it on. A readers' play means just that, you print out the document,
staple or bind it, maybe practice reading it together with the acting troupe (or not, just depends on how big a deal you are making it!), and then GO!
You can sit around and read, or the actors can ... well ... act, wandering the stage as they read their parts. That's up to you!
TRUMPELSTILTSKIN is tentatively scheduled to run in Bozeman Montana on October 26th, 2016! More info as I have it. And I would LOVE
it if other groups around the country took on the TRUMPELSTILTSKIN readers' play! Just download the full readers' play here and GO! (Oh, did I already say that?!)
And if you are doing it, please give me a shout and maybe take some photos and/or video and email to me or put it on my Facebook feed.
Below I provide a sampler of the play for your review. Included are some ideas for a really minimal efforts that might be fun for
sets and costumes. My thought is that the set could have just the few items shown and that there not be any need for set changes
during or between the 8 scenes. Also, the costumes could range from nothing, to the simple ones I suggest, to something as elaborate
as you want to make. The actors could be 1 or many, that's up to you!
The full Readers' Play is available
as a free pdf for you to download and distribute to your actors, and then to put on the
play (theater, school, dinner party, family, ...), as shown below. And if you do put on a play, or if you have
any thoughts, I'd LOVE to hear from you--just go to my Contact page or
find me on Facebook.
Warm regards from Montana, Scott
—— Characters & costumes ——
______________ = King—crown (King)
______________ = Queen—crown (tierra?)
______________ = Miller—Hillary hair, pantsuit?
______________ = Millwright—Bill Clinton white hair, sport jacket?
______________ = TrumpelStiltskin—Trump toupee and “Make America Great Again” hat
______________ = Warden—Elizabeth Warren-worthy glasses, open sportcoat?
______________ = Sander—Bernie-esque white hair and glasses
______________ = Politician A
______________ = Politician B (could be more than 2 Politician roles)
______________ = Narrator
—— Stage set up & props ——
• Stage right—Castle balcony—fake stone wall (cardboard?) in front of stage
• Stage left—Castle straw chamber—spinning wheel; chair; 3 small straw bales sitting atop 3 buckets and hiding gold-sprayed straw in each of the buckets
• Middle of stage—Castle grounds and forest--perhaps a fake tree in a pot
—— Scene 1 ——
Location: castle balcony looking out over the village (stage right)
Characters: Narrator, King, Queen, Miller, Millwright; Max people on stage at once—5
* * *
Narrator: Welcome to TrumpelStiltskin A Fairy Tale. To stage right is the castle balcony;
to stage left a straw-filled stable chamber in a lower level of the castle. And in stage center a tree that signifies
the castle grounds and the forest. < ...pause... > This short readers’ play is dedicated to all those who seek to live
in better places than towers. Its cast features local politicians, local dignitaries, local actors, and
local hams … some of whom may fit into more than one of those categories.
Politician A (stands up in the audience; with Trumpian flare!): Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world I would say to myself, thinking about me as a boy from Queens, "Can you believe what I am getting?” … [My life is unbelievable, I mean] I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay? It's, like, incredible. …
Narrator (standing to the side): In a land far, far away—yet not so distant as one might think—lived a wise and kindly King and Queen. At that moment they stood on the castle balcony, high on a hill, surveying the kingdom’s core village. A flag flew above each of the castle’s 3 towers. One flag was blue, another white, the third red. Below they saw row after row of tidy, though sparsely appointed, homes. Most looked alike. The only variety that set them apart were the colors of the doors: some red, some blue, some purple.
King (happy): Look, my dear. It is all so good. The people are happy, moving to and fro about their daily lives. Look—there goes the milk delivery wagon, and the new church construction is moving along, and over there, do you see the father pushing the baby carriage?
Queen (happy): I see them all. And listen my dear, can you hear the children playing in the village square? Isn’t a wonderful sound? Yes, you have done well, my love.
King (happy): We have done well. And look over there, just across the river, at the mill. So many men and women of all different colors, shapes, and sizes all working and happy as they produce the kingdom’s gold.
Queen (happy): They are happy, aren’t they, thanks in no small part to the Miller and his wife. Look! And there they are now, coming up the hill. Aren’t they coming to the castle shortly to see you?
King (happy at first; concern growing in his voice as he looks up, away from the approaching Miller): Yes, they will be here soon enough. … hmm … But you know, I don’t like what I see beyond the mill, those monstrous mansions on the hill.
Queen: That has long upset you, I know.
King: Why does anyone need a house that big? And why would anyone want to live in a house that needs a guard dog?
Queen: I don’t know; it is beyond me.
King (pointing): But mostly I wonder who on Earth lives in that largest of mansions on the largest of the hills, the one with the wall around it, that golden tower over there?
Queen: I don’t know, dear, I only know that every time you’ve sent the tax collectors, they’ve been told there’s no money to be had in the golden tower.
Politician B (stands up in the audience; with Trumpian flare!): It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it … [You see] The beauty of me is that I'm very rich. … I have black guys counting my money — I hate it. The only guys I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes all day.
Narrator (standing to the side): The question of who lived in the golden tower was more and more on the King’s mind these days. Because although things were mostly calm and peaceful now, the kingdom was about to change. The King had been in power for some time and he was growing older and increasingly gray. He knew that his reign must shortly come to an end. He also knew that while change brings the opportunity for hope, it can also open the door to upheaval. And he knew that more and more these days, he was thinking of the Miller’s wife, who had taken over the mill for as long as anyone could recall, as the person he would anoint the next king.
Miller (‘s wife; entering stage left): Hello, may we enter dearest King and Queen?
Queen: Yes, of course, please join us.
Mill(wright): We have come with news.
King: What is it?
Mill(wright): Dear friend, I have grown old and tired and…
King (interrupting; a bit exasperated): I know that feeling.
Mill(wright): … and for years now, as you also know, my wife has been carrying the workload at the mill. More and more I have been staying home from work to instead just sit, read, and think.
King (wryly): Yes, I have indeed noticed.
Queen (double wryly): Yes, so have I.
Miller (‘s wife; under her breath): And I.
Mill(wright): So we have decided that as of today I will step aside and my wife will become the new miller. I have decided to become the Millwright, a title in name only, to be sure, but I must admit that I do get a chuckle out of the idea of being named permanently ‘right’!
< All laugh >
King (turning to the new Miller): So be it. From this day forward, throughout the entire kingdom, you dear friend shall be known as the Miller.
Miller: Thank you my King, it is an honor.
King: And I don’t need to tell you how critical your role is. The kingdom’s gold supply is dwindling and threatening the kingdom’s very existence. We must discover some way to increase our supplies.
Miller: As you know, my King, the Miller … I mean Millwright … and I have been working on many ideas to turn straw into gold. I daresay that…
Millwright (brashly interrupting): … that we have succeeded!
Miller (surprised): Wha…
Millwright: Yes indeed, we have done it!
Queen (skeptically): Wait, by “done it”, is that the same as saying you can make straw into gold?
Millwright (strongly, then more quietly): Yes…well I suppose that depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is … Oh never mind. Yes! The Miller and I have figured out how to spin straw into gold!
Miller (aghast; gesturing to the King): May I have a moment, my King?
< Miller pulls Millwright off to the side >
Miller (whispering urgently): What are you talking about?! Yes, we have been trying to develop a process to spin straw into gold. And yes we are getting close. But you know as well as I that we’ve not yet succeeded!
Millwright (whispering): Look, you heard the King—he’s tired. If you succeed here and he steps down, who do you think he will name the next king?? We’ve always wanted this opportunity for you, now we have it. So let’s see what you can do with it!
< Switch to King and Queen, also off to the side, also whispering >
King: This surely is an odd business. What do you think?
Queen: It is a big decision, with enormous potential impacts on the citizens of the kingdom. Are you really certain it is the right path to choose?
King: We are running out of options for funding the kingdom. Plus working with gold is the work they do. Why shouldn’t it be true? Have the Miller and the Millwright ever let us down?
Queen (rolls her eyes): Seriously?
King: OK, OK, point taken.
Queen (tone softening): We don’t know if they will succeed, but we do believe in them. So I suggest that rather than stew about it, why don’t we just wait until morning and see what, if anything, the good Miller produces? I say let her try.
King (nods): Ok.
< They all step back together >
King: My dear Miller. You and the Millwright have served the kingdom for a lifetime milling our much needed gold. If your new discovery can be proven out then surely you know what this means?! With your help, we will win the future for the kingdom! Oh you must demonstrate this miracle! Can you do that?
Miller (with a pensive nod [Millwright beaming, shaking head yes!]): Uh-huh.
King: To be clear, you are saying ‘Yes, we can’, correct?
Miller (warming to the task): Yes, we can!
—— Scene 2 ——
Location: stable chamber in the basement of the castle (stage left)
Characters—Narrator, King, Miller, TrumpelStiltskin; Max people on stage at once—3
* * *
Politician A (stands up in the audience; with Trumpian flare!): I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.
Narrator (standing to the side): The King and the Miller have descended to a chamber in the lower level of the castle.
King: Here, dear Miller, is some straw for you to work on. And as you said your new process involves spinning the straw into gold, I had a spinning wheel delivered.
Miller (pensively): Thank you, my King.
King: So let there be no misunderstanding, this 1st pile of straw must be spun into gold before morning if I am to believe in your new process.
Miller: I understand.
< King turns and walks out of the imaginary door, closing it behind him and turning the key in the lock >
Miller (alone; at first downcast and crying, then turning resolute and heading for the spinning wheel): Dear husband, what have you gotten us into this time? I must think. We have tried so many ways to spin straw into gold but they have all failed. I must test those ideas we have not yet tried and find one that works. I must figure out how to change my good thoughts to good works. It is critical that I succeed for the good of the kingdom!
TS (TS; bursts thru the door; always condescending; nice-ish now but increasingly nasty as story proceeds): Good day to you, my fair lass. And why pray tell, are you crying?
Miller (wipes tears away; ignoring his question): Where did you come from? Were you listening outside the door? And who are you, anyway? Why have I never seen you before?
TS (bragging and brash): Never you mind where I came from. And as to who I am—I am an alchemist. I know everything. I am everything. Believe me! Everyone loves me. I can make beauty from ugliness. I can cure any disease. And I can spin straw into gold!
Miller (lips tighten as her focus returns to almost forgotten straw):
TS (gestures to the straw): You have a big problem, my little twittle. Yes, I was outside the door. The King expects you to turn all that straw into gold. I wonder how you propose to do that.
Miller (downcast): I don’t know how, but I will figure it out.
TS (sensing advantage, leering): What will you give me to do it for you?
Miller (under her breath): You are an evil man. ...
... and so on for 8 scenes in total! This is the author again -- I'm thinking that while the short story may be readable on a phone or tablet,
folks interested in putting on the play are far more likely to print it out. Hence the inclusuion the entire TRUMPELSTILTSKIN short story here on my
website, but just this sampler of the readers' play. The full readers' play is available as a free pdf for you to download (see below) and distribute
to your actors, and then to use to put on the play (theater, school, church dinner party, family, ...). And if you do put on a play, or if you have
any thoughts, as already noted I'd LOVE to hear from you, see photos or videos. Best, Scott Bischke
[ Click to read TS:>
Online --Short story (in full) or Readers' play |
Free pdf--Short story
or Readers' play |
Kindle version ]
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