Snow White Gets Her Say by Chris Wind
A Dark Stage.
Sound of a Splat.
Spot on dead frog splattered against the back wall, oozing down.
A young girl, THE KING'S DAUGHTER, comes walking onto the stage from
audience, center aisle, bouncing ball. Turns to face audience.
THE KING'S DAUGHTER
You want to know what part of my story seems to get forgotten? I
mean, besides my name. I'm just "The King's Daughter". As if
my identity is all about, only about, my relationship to a man. (With
a typically juvenile gesture, she sticks her finger toward her open
mouth and mimes throwing up.)
And besides the fact that I was blackmailed. In return for getting
back my ball, the frog asked to be my friend, to sit beside me at
dinner, to eat off my plate, to drink out of my cup, and to sleep with
me. All for a tiny little ball. (She is still bouncing the ball.)
Besides all that. You want to know what gets forgotten? (The ball
doesn't come bouncing back down.)
The fact that I whipped him against the wall. I did! Go read it and
see for yourself!
Well, he went splat. And that was that.
It now occurs to her that the ball hasn't come back down. She looks
up. Light pans up to CATHERINE on balcony, all Juliet-ish. The
King's Daughter exits.
That you don't know my name is, as well, but the first of my
complaints. You know me. I'm the main character-in a tale titled
with the name of one of the men in the story. But what's in a name?
(delivered as a recognizable echo of Shakespeare's Juliet)
She tosses down some bales of straw during the next two bits.
A great deal. Especially if it's a man's name. This man's name
is the answer to the question upon which rests the fate of myself and
my newborn child. So his name is very powerful; it is very important.
My name apparently is not.
Nor is my life. For whether it is to be filled with joy and delight
from being with my newborn, or empty with grief and loss from
separation is to be decided by a mere guessing game.
She unravels a ladder during the next two bits. Not made of her hair
or even a bedsheet, but a hi-tech Mission Impossible ladder.
Nor are my words important. I denied my father's boast. I told the
King I could not spin gold out of straw. But he didn't believe me.
When do men ever believe what a woman says? He chose instead to
believe the words of an immature, egotistic, vain man. And I suffer
The consequences. To pay for my father's lie, I lose my sanity, my
freedom, and my dignity for three nights-and almost my child,
forever. And one sentence-one sentence in the whole tale is devoted
to that 'choice', that decision to give up my child in return for
She needs a moment to recover from saying it out loud. For
remembering. For making that choice. What kind of mother-
She climbs down the ladder during the next two bits.
Because I 'succeeded' on the third night, I was 'rewarded'
with marriage to the King. Thus, for all intents and purposes, I also
lost my life. Can you imagine what it is like to be married-legally
bound to honour and obey until death, and economically bound with
little option but to stay and make the best of it-to a man who
didn't believe me, a man who locked me in a room for three nights, a
man so greedy that he said three nights in a row he'd kill me unless
I did as he wanted? And that was before he owned me.
But as the tale says, I am shrewd. I am clever. And I have learned
the force of threat, and the importance of a name-especially if it
is male. Proud fathers want very much to pass it on. But royal
fathers- Dear husband, aging Highness, what would happen to your
precious lineage if my, your, only son were to suddenly-
She jumps the last few feet to land on the straw. She then steps
forward off the straw and almost gets hit by a flying dwarf (he comes
flying from stage right to stage left). [Alternative scene provided
at end.] She steps back out of the way, then watches in disbelief as
three more dwarfs come flying across the stage. SNOW WHITE appears.
(She is very muscle-bound. And very black-skinned.)
(to Catherine and audience) What, you think tossing dwarfs is
Catherine shakes her head-she doesn't want to antagonize this
woman-and actually allows herself a little smile at the occurrence
(she surely would have loved to have tossed Rumpelstiltskin out the
tower). She exits.
(to audience) I'll tell you what's politically incorrect.
She grabs #5 from off-stage and tosses him.
The patriarchy is politically incorrect.
She grabs and tosses #6.
Thinking women exist to service men is politically incorrect.
She grabs and tosses #7. She then acknowledges audience again.
Ah. I see you're confused. By my name. (She gives it ironic
weight, or rolls her eyes, or looks off-stage after Catherine and the
King's Daughter-names seem to be a problem here)
The story goes she was "as white as the snow, as red as the blood,
and as black as the ebony window frame". It doesn't say what was
white and what was black. Well as you can see, my skin sure is black.
As coal, honey. And my teeth-well they're as white as snow,
don't you think? (smiling broadly) And do I really need to tell
you what part of me is red? On the streets they called me Rosebud.
(responding then to imagined audience whisper) You thought what? That
that was Sleeping Beauty's other name? Well it doesn't surprise
me, we have a lot in common.
Yeah, yeah, I know what else you thought. But what else does a
runaway girl do to survive? Especially if she's-black. There are
some lucky enough to be called domestics. The rest of us, well,
we're called a whole lot of names.
According to the story, nothing! (again, responding to imagined
audience whispers) I was maid, mother, and mistress! Everything
every man wants in a woman. They all want someone to clean their
house, make their dinner, and wash their underwear; look after their
health, and take care of their hearts; and then suck this, stroke
that, and open up there. Nothing but pick up, pat away, and put out.
But smile while you're doing it, honey, oh yeah, we gotta have that
service with a smile. Otherwise they might get the idea that you
don't like what you're doing, that just maybe they're
'forcing' you. And why that might ruin their sleep at night,
Let me tell you, every man's a dwarf expecting us to make him a
giant. That's what we do. How's that for a job description?
Kind of fits every woman, doesn't it? And I'm not just talking
physical. Sure, there is that, why do you think there's so many
stories about young girls having to kiss ugly things-Beauty and the
Beast, The Frog Prince, The Enchanted Pig-it's great 'career
training'. (Though a lot of the time Little Dick stays little no
matter what we do. Doesn't bother me any.)
But there's more to it than that. We also flatter the man, we
listen to him, we obey him-those are the other 'essential job
skills'. And we learn this real quick, because we get in shit every
time we listen to a woman, because god knows most of them are witches
or wicked stepmothers-my own story shows that plain enough!
What is it you're whining about now? The moral of the story's all
changed? Well, that depends on what you look at. The way I see it,
Snow White is all about resurrection. Always was. Make no mistake,
the phoenix is female! Three times I rose against the odds of death.
The corset and comb sure enough was going to kill us, but we lived
through it. And we learned. What we found out with each bite of that
apple was surely enough to make us lie down and die. And maybe for a
while some of us did. But hell, I'm here, aren't I? And honey,
let me tell you, I will live ever after!
As Snow White saunters off stage right, CINDERELLA'S SISTER enters
from stage left, wearing riding gear, especially riding boots, and
carrying a pitch fork. She goes to the bales Catherine has tossed
onto the stage and starts pitchforking them off stage, presumably into
her horse's stall. She leans on the fork at one point, sits on a
bale to deliver another bit, perhaps takes off her boot to extricate a
piece of straw or stone that's gotten in, and so on.
First off, Cinderella did not have to do all the hardest work in the
house. Our stepfather was a man of rank, remember, and my mother no
peasant. We had fine rooms and beautiful clothes, and status enough
to be invited to the King's ball. So we certainly had maids and
servants to scrub the floors and wash the dishes. Cinderella offered
to help with the work. Probably because she had nothing else to do.
She didn't seem interested in much besides pleasing people. Drove
[end of extract]