Robin Redbreast

Robin Redbreast
Birds can represent the fluttering, darting thoughts of intuition. This is why little birds helped Cinderella help herself.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cinderella #72 a play by Thane, A. (1967/1990)

A maid of England circa 17th century. Illustration by de Angeli, M. 1953

Characters:
Cinderella
Kate and Hester (the stepsisters)
Stepmother
Martin (the gardener’s boy)
Fairy Godmother
Prince Charming
Queen
Herald
Chamberlain
Page
Drummer Boy
Horn Blower
Lady-in-Waiting
Guests
Coachman (off-stage voice)
Scene 1 
Time: Morning
Setting: The kitchen of Cinderella’s home.
At curtain’s rise: Cinderella is kneeling before the fireplace at left, sweeping ashes from the hearth and dumping them into a coal hod.  Martin enters up center from outside, carrying a large pumpkin. 
Martin: Miss Ella, here is the pumpkin you wanted for the pies. I brought the biggest one I could find. 
Cinderella: (rising) Oh, thank you, Martin.  Please put it in the corner over there.   You shall have one of the pies for your trouble.
Martin:  I was glad to do it, Miss Ella. It’s a shame the way you have to work in your own house, getting up at five o’clock every morning, scrubbing the floors and polishing and dusting. 
(Stepmother comes in, berates Cinderella. Stepdaughters enter, complaining.)
Kate: You haven’t mended my stockings!
Hester: Or ironed my petticoat!
Kate: What have you been doing all morning?
Hester: She ought to be punished, Mama. 
Stepmother: Oh, she will be, depend on that.
(Sound of trumpets outside.  The Royal Herald comes in and reads from a scroll.)
Royal Herald: Know ye that a grand ball will be given this evening in the royal palace to celebrate the birthday of our most noble and beloved son, Prince Charming.  All gentlemen and gentlewomen are hereby invited to attend. 
Scene 2
Time: Evening
Setting: The same as Scene 1
At rise: Cinderella is busily ironing ribbons on a board laid across a bench at right.  Hester and Kate enter right, wearing their ball gowns and carrying jewelry, ribbons, etc. which they drop onto the table.  Both girls have hand mirrors.  
Kate: Cinderella, have you ironed my handerchief?
Cinderella: (Giving it to her) Here it is, Kate.
Kate: (loftily) Miss Kate, to you, if you please.  Remember your place, my girl. 
Hester: What about my ribbons?
Cinderella: I’m just finishing them. 
(The girls berate Cinderella, the stepmother berates them, and the three of them finally leave, arguing all the while. Now Cinderella sits down before the fire and bursts into tears. “The sound of tinkling bells is heard. Fair Godmother enters.)
Fairy Godmother: Good evening, Ella.
Cinderella: Who —who are you?
Fairy Godmother: I am your fairy godmother.
Cinderella: My fairy godmother? I didn’t know I had one.
(Fairy godmother magics Cinderella a coach, with mice transformed into horses, a rat for a coachman, a new gown, and glass slippers. )
Scene 3: Setting:The royal ballroom.  Prince Chaming dances with no one else. He falls in love with Cinderella, who runs away.  Charming undertakes a search. 
Scene 4: Setting: Cinderella’s kitchen. Time:  The next morning. 
Stepmother: Hurry up, girls, and get ready. The prince will be here any minute. 
Kate and Hester: The prince is coming? 
Stepmother: Cinderella, go down to the cellar and stay there until the prince is gone.
(Cinderella refuses. The hornblower announces the prince, the  page enters with the shoe. The stepsisters try it on but cannot fit.  Cinderella is freed by Martin. She tries the shoe on and it fits. 
Prince: At last, I have found you, my Princess! 
Stepmother: You? A ragged cinder maid? 
Cinderella: My fairy godmother sent me. She gave me the dress and the coach and the horses.
Stepmother: I don’t believe it! You don’t have a fairy godmother! 
(Bells tinkle and the Godmother steps into the room.)
Fairy godmother: You are quite wrong.  Cinderella does have a fairy godmother....and now, I must dress my godchild as befits a queen.
Prince: (holding up his hand) One moment, madam. I will take my bride as I find her.
Fairy godmother: You’re a fortunate young man, Prince Charming. See that you deserve her.
Prince: (to Cinderella) And now, I would have an answer. What is your name, Your Highness?
Cinderella: (laughing) Ella — Cinder-Ella.
Herald: (leading the others in shouting the acclamation) All hail to the Princess Cinderella! (The Drummer beats a merry tattoo and the Horn Blower toots a might blast, as the curtain falls.)
From Thane,A. (1967/1990) Plays from Famous Stories and Fairy Tales. Boston: Plays Inc.
Notes: It is interesting to be reminded of the role that literature played in the education of children during the 20th century.  Such a bittersweet reminder of the days before No Child Left Behind! Oh, cruelly named law. You are turning all of our children into Cinderellas, dressed in the shameful rags of the poor test scores flung in their faces.  Instead: let's dress our children's minds in velvets and brocades! 
Montessori Connection: Literature/Dramatic Arts/Play Production
1. Read this short version of the play of Cinderella. 
2. Think about all the Cinderella stories that you know.

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