The Clumsy Princess Synopsis

A troop of players introduces Prince Stephan, a vain, shallow, egotistical tyrant who ignores his people, and explain about his inability to find a princess. A montage of attempts to find a princess plays out before them. Stephan voices his frustration to Felicity, his fool, and she tries to cheer him up, telling him everything will come in time. She attempts to get him to pay some attention to his suffering people, dealing with plague and famine but Stephan is impatient and wants his bride now so that he can be a paragon of perfection. Felicity suggests that he enlist the aid of the Witch, locked in his tower.

In the Witch’s tower, Stephan demands her assistance in finding a princess. The Witch begs for her freedom, but Stephan refuses. Weary, the Witch prophesies that Stephan’s true love lives in a kingdom on the other side of the mountains. Her name is Princess Tilly and the Witch conjures up an image of her. Stephan is struck by Tilly’s beauty and demands that Felicity drop everything at once to go fetch her.

Felicity arrives home to an excited Stephan. He asks where his princess is and there is a crash from offstage. Tilly has broken a priceless family vase. She enters, as beautiful as before, but quickly proves herself to be clumsy beyond repair. Stephan attempts a romantic proposal, but Tilly continues to mess it up by falling, tripping, and giggling. Finally, Stephan dismisses her. Felicity tries to make him feel better, but he sends her away. Tilly returns moments later, having dropped her ring. As she searches for it, she falls, sending both herself and Stephan out the window and into the river.

Stephan and Tilly are washed along the tide of the river. Since Stephan cannot swim, Tilly manages to drag him to shore. They find themselves in Cheapside. A few peasants pass by and they don’t pay Stephan the proper respects. When he tells them who he is, they don’t believe him and pass on, laughing. Cranky, Stephan sets off to find his castle and Tilly follows after him, despite his angry orders for her to go away.

Lost in Cheapside, Tilly and Stephan encounter a man named Rydell. He is living on the streets. Stephan wants to pass on without paying any attention to him, but Tilly stops and surprises and confuses Stephan with her compassion for Rydell. The old man explains that everything he had was taken from him by an enigmatic figure known only as The Beast. When they try to question him about it, Rydell runs away, terrified.

Tilly and Stephan come to a tavern where Felicity is working her second job. Stephan is confused as to why Felicity is working this second job. The bar matron, Kallista, explains crassly that The Beast took so much from Felicity’s father that he’s been unable to pay for his farm. Felicity works the second job to provide for him and her brothers. Wanting Felicity as his servant exclusively, Stephan vows to destroy The Beast. He demands that Felicity take him to find The Beast and she reluctantly agrees.

The trio set out to the lair of The Beast. They purchase weapons from a merchant (which Stephan forces Felicity to carry). The Merchant warns them about The Beast, telling how he lost half his merchandise to it. Stephan shows some sympathy this time, surprising both the women. After the Merchant leaves, Tilly praises him for it and he is just confused.

After a great deal of travel, the group set camp for the night. Stephan tries to discourage Tilly from coming into battle, but she surprises him with unequaled swordsmanship. She asks why he never even leaves his castle. Stephan explains that as a child, he had absolutely no talent except for being beautiful. His mother feared exposure to the real world would cause him to lose his one gift, so it was decided he would remain in the castle forever. Tilly warns him that ugliness cannot be avoided because not only is it in the outside world, but inside each person.

Tilly falls asleep and Stephan watches her for some time as Felicity prepares his bed. Finally, he asks her to describe The Beast to him. Reluctantly, she gives a very riddling description of Stephan himself, which he does not recognize. In the end, he praises Tilly’s intellect and happily decides she’ll be able to unravel the mystery of The Beast in the morning. As he goes to sleep, Felicity realizes he is falling in love.

The next morning, Stephan and Tilly try to explain the riddle. A pick pocket sneaks on and steals Stephan’s purse. Felicity chases after him. Stephan expresses frustration at the crime and Tilly gently reminds him that circumstances beyond his control probably drove this Thief to such measures. He praises her kindness and insight and the two of them end up kissing, just as Felicity returns with the Thief in tow. The Thief apologizes, explaining The Beast robbed him of everything. Stephan gives the Thief his purse.

They arrive at what Felicity calls the lair of The Beast and Stephan is surprised to find it is the castle. He puzzles through it for a moment before deciding that The Beast is the Witch in the tower. Stephan decides he must go after her himself, as it was his decision to lock her in the tower and no one else’s. Stephan climbs up to the tower were he faces the Witch. The two of them battle and eventually, Stephan wins. The Witch tells him that though he may have defeated her, he has not defeated the real Beast. When he asks where The Beast is, she tells him to open the back curtains. Stephan opens them to find a mirror and his own reflection. The Witch explains that he, himself, is the beast with his unfair taxes and his detachment from the kingdom.

Tilly finds Stephan in the tower. She comforts him, but he claims to be beyond comfort or kindness. Tilly tells him that it’s never too late to change. She says that she loves him and that if she can be swayed, anyone can. Stephan proposes and she happily accepts. The two of them leave, watched by Felicity and the Witch. The Witch praises herself for the brilliant plan, getting Stephan to fall out of the tower in order to change. Felicity muses that seeing the kingdom was only part of the transformation. The other part was love.

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