Snow White Gets Her Say by Chris Wind


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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author’s PRIOR consent

 

    A Dark Stage.

      Sound of a Splat.

      Beat.

      Spot on dead frog splattered against the back wall, oozing down.

      Beat.

      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.


      CATHERINE

      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.

      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
      my life.

      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.)


      SNOW WHITE

      (to Catherine and audience) What, you think tossing dwarfs is
      politically incorrect?

      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,
      y’know?

      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.

      CINDERELLA’S SISTER

      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
      me crazy.

[end of extract]




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