The Jester has been called upon to step in for the Bard. His version of Cinderella is a bit embellished. For one thing, Cinderella has big ears. Her Fairy Godmother has mob connections, and the woodland animals are on strike. Prince Charming is a cad, and he has a brother, Prince Frank, who is a nerd. Will Cinder Ella Phant find true love? Does the Jester know where this story is going? An easy-to-produce madrigal script with humorous twists on an old story.
Cast size: 5 Males, 7 Females, 1 M/F, Extras
CAST OF CHARACTERS
JESTER (M) Professional funny man and a pretty “interesting” storyteller.
PAGE (M) a servant with an attitude. Please remember to tip.
KING (M) loves to have stories at his feasts.
QUEEN (F) prefers the Bard’s stories to the Jester’s jokes.
STEPMOTHER (F) Cinder Ella Phant’s wicked stepmother.
STUPINA (F) Stupendously pretty but not all that bright.
SNOOTINA (F) Arrogantly beautiful and . . . well, you get the idea.
CINDERELLA (CINDER ELLA PHANT) (F) a beautiful maiden with very big ears. We’re talking satellite dishes that can pick up stations from Tibet.
FAIRY GODMOTHER (F) a Mafiosa who demands respect. More comic possibilities if this role is played by a male.
MOUSE (M/F) We could afford only one coachman in the production.
PRINCE FRANK (M) He’s a nerd who lives in the shadow of his brother Prince Charming.
PRINCE CHARMING (M) He’s a cad, but he’s got looks, money, and power so everyone puts up with him.
SCRUB (F) a serving girl who believes that fairy tales can come true.
EXTRAS (M/F) Courtiers for the Royal Table (minimal lines), Guards, Servants, & Pages.
FANFARE AND WELCOME
(BRASS FANFARE will signal the entertainers to clear the hall. Enter JESTER, who greets guests as he makes his way to the main stage.)
Welcome, good Lords and Ladies fair!
Welcome to this night’s affair!
PAGE: (From side stage, in a stage whisper.) Jester!
The hall is warm; the meat is plenty.
The year is Fifteen Hundred Twenty.
There’s music here to calm what ails.
And a bard to tell us magical tales.
There’s food for—
JESTER: (Frustrated.) What is it!?
PAGE: (In stage whisper.) Jester! (Waves him side-stage.) Jester, there’s a problem.
JESTER: Can’t it wait? I am welcoming the guests.
PAGE: No, it can’t wait.
JESTER: (Confused. To audience.) Excuse me a moment. (Crosses to PAGE.) What’s so important?
PAGE: The Bard is indisposed.
JESTER: So? He doesn’t come before the court for a long time yet.
PAGE: He’s very ill. Here, he sent you a message. (Hands note to JESTER.)
JESTER: (Looks at note. PAGE turns it right-side-up.) So, it says . . . uh . . .
PAGE: Need help? (Takes note.) It says, “Jester, what on earth was in that pie you shared with me?”
JESTER: (Nervously to PAGE.) Er, I gave him some of my prune and jalapeño pie. (PAGE stares in disbelief.) What?
PAGE: (Reads more.) “I am very allergic to jalapeños. My lips are the size of sausages.”
JESTER: Oh, the King is not going to like this.
PAGE: (Reads more.) “The King is going to be furious. We have some very special guests tonight, and I will be unable to tell any stories.”
JESTER: What does he mean “no stories”? The King always has stories at the feasts.
PAGE: (Reads more.) “The King always has stories at the feasts. And since you are to blame for this disaster, you must take my place reading the story.”
JESTER: What? I can’t do that! I juggle, I tell jokes, and I banter. But I don’t read so good.
PAGE: (Reads more.) “Well. You don’t read well. But anything is better than your juggling, joking, or bantering. Good luck.”
JESTER: (Grabs note and looks at it.) That’s it? “Good luck”? I can’t do this!
PAGE: But you have to, Jester. Seeing that this is all your fault.
JESTER: My fault?
PAGE: Haven’t you ever heard of apple pie? Or maybe cherry pie? Even boysenberry! You have to fix this.
JESTER: (Nervously.) Any ideas?
PAGE: Well, think of a fairy tale. How about “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears.”
JESTER: I’m scared of bears.
PAGE: “The Three Little Pigs”?
JESTER: I’m scared of pigs.
PAGE: “The Magic Puppy”?
JESTER: Puppies make me very uneasy.
PAGE: Is there any animal that you are not scared of?
PAGE: (Beat.) Elephants?
JESTER: Their ears are so cute.
PAGE: Great. I’ll find the Bard’s book. You can just pretend to read a story about big ears. Just improvise as you go along.
JESTER: Think it will work?
PAGE: It will have to work. Besides, you’re quick on your feet. (JESTER espies KING and begins to exit.) Where are you going?
JESTER: Using my quick feet. (BRASS FANFARE.)
PAGE: (Looks to the back of the hall.) Ah, the King approaches. (Clears his throat and announces loudly.)
Ready the meal and heat the wassail!
Bring forth the meat and finest of ale!
Blow the clarion! Singers appear!
The King and his court are drawing near!
After the first course is served, the action continues.
KING: (Knocks over his goblet.) Oh, drat! Where is my cleaning wench? Scrub! (SCRUB rushes in from off-stage.) Scrub. (SCRUB nods rapidly.) Scrub. (SCRUB nods rapidly.) No, scrub. (SCRUB looks bewildered. KING points to spill. SCRUB nods and rapidly scrubs the spill. KING refills his goblet. JESTER enters.)
KING: Ah, good Jester, give us some mirth! Tell us a joke.
JESTER: As you wish. Knock, knock.
QUEEN: Who is there?
JESTER: The owl goes.
QUEEN: The owl goes who. (JESTER laughs. COURT is silent.)
JESTER: You see, the owl really does go –
QUEEN: We get the joke, Jester. It’s just not funny. Well, at least the Bard will be here later with a story.
JESTER: Uh, about that. There’s been a change of plans.
QUEEN: What? The Bard is not coming?
JESTER: Well, apparently he has food allergies. (Beat.) Not that anyone knew.
KING: Did someone feed him jalapeños? I’d better not find out who.
JESTER: (Nervously.) I’m sure whoever did had no idea. This is all one big, unfortunate incident.
QUEEN: (Looks at JESTER suspiciously.) Jester, you didn’t!
JESTER: I didn’t . . . know! Can’t we just scrub the story for tonight? (At “scrub” SCRUB nods vigorously and starts scrubbing JESTER.) Hey, stop that.
KING: Don’t stop, Scrub. The Jester has created quite the mess. In fact, go fetch your wire brush. (SCRUB begins to exit but is stopped by JESTER.)
JESTER: Not to worry, my King. I, your faithful Jester, have volunteered to take his place. (COURT looks dumbfounded.) I’ve got the Bard’s book. (COURT looks dumbfounded.) Better me than no one, right? (COURT looks dumbfounded. JESTER looks at SCRUB, who is still scrubbing him.) Will you stop that?
KING: You can stop, Scrub, for now. (SCRUB exits.) I have a feeling we’ll need your services later to help the Jester clean-up his act.
JESTER: (Aside.) Your vote of confidence is overwhelming. Let me just get the Bard’s Big Book of Fairy Tales. (Exits.)
After the main course, the Jester begins . . .
KING: That was a wonderful meal. Now, where is our Jester who will be trying his hand at storytelling?
JESTER: (Enters, struggling to carry the Bard’s book.) I am here, my King. How does the Bard lug this thing around? (Takes his place at a lectern and begins to “read.”) Let’s see. This looks like a good story. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away . . . (He is interrupted by the PAGE, who hands him a page.) Page, what is this?
PAGE: Wrong page.
JESTER: But you’re the only page we’ve got.
PAGE: (Points to book.) No, that’s the wrong page.
JESTER: Ah. (PAGE exits.) Don’t worry, sire. Just close your eyes and imagine what’s happening as I read. Once upon a time, in a cottage far, far, away, lived a girl named—
STEPMOTHER: (Enters, calling.) Cinderella?
JESTER: Excuse me, but that was my line.
STEPMOTHER: Who are you?
JESTER: I’m the Jester.
STEPMOTHER: The Jester? Where’s the Bard? Am I on some kind of reality show? “Extreme Makeover: Cottage Edition”?
JESTER: No, this is a fairy tale.
STEPMOTHER: Fairy tale? I’m in the middle of a campaign promise?
JESTER: Not that kind of fairy tale. In this fairy tale, a young woman finds her true love and lives happily ever after.
STEPMOTHER: That’s a fairy tale all right.
JESTER: If I could continue?
STEPMOTHER: Be my guest.
JESTER: Once upon a time, in a cottage far, far away there was a young woman named Cinderella. She lived with her vicious Stepmother and her two dim stepsisters.
JESTER: She lived with her dim Stepmother and two vicious stepsisters?
SNOOTINA/STUPINA: (Entering.) Hey!
JESTER: She lived with some women who were nasty and brainless?
STEPMOTHER, SNOOTINA, STUPINA: Hey! (They gather threateningly around JESTER.)
STEPMOTHER: Are we not beautiful?
JESTER: Sure, in a liposuction and Botox kind of way.
SNOOTINA: And are we not dressed to kill?
JESTER: Sure, in a First and Second Degree Murder kind of way.
STUPINA: And are we not People worthy? (ALL look at STUPINA.) You know, the magazine.
JESTER: Yes, you’d fit right in. Glossy and two-dimensional.
STEPMOTHER: (Glares at JESTER.) How about, “Cinderella lived with her beautiful stepmother . . .”
SNOOTINA: “Her gorgeous step-sister . . .”
STUPINA: “And her, um, gorgeouser . . . other . . . stepsister.”
JESTER: (Looks at book.) Well, that’s not—
STEPMOTHER: How about “Cinderella lived with her attractive and generous step-family, who were charged, but not convicted, with the brutal assault of a reality show host”?
JESTER: But, I’m the Jester.
STEPMOTHER: Whatever. (STEPMOTHER pulls out a pipe wrench. SNOOTINA pulls out a bat or club. STUPINA pulls out a pillow. STEPMOTHER and SNOOTINA look at the pillow and then at STUPINA.)
SNOOTINA: A pillow?
STUPINA: It’s real lumpy! (STEPMOTHER & SNOOTINA shrug and turn attention back to the JESTER.)
JESTER: As I was saying, Cinderella lived with her very stunning step-family. Real knock-outs.
STEPMOTHER: That’s enough. Be quiet now.
JESTER: Yes ma’am.