The Royal Toys Sample

SCENE 1

(LIGHTS RISE on the palace of Prince Henri. To one side, out of the way of the action, is an enormous bell jar which will remain on stage throughout the entire play. Inside of it is a beautiful ballerina, Ana. Music box music plays and she dances for a moment. As the music winds down, she winds down herself, striking a pose. (If desired, Ana can dance during scene breaks, to engage the audience over transitions.) Three courtiers rush on from opposite directions, laughing merrily. They are Lady Gabby, Sir Laugh-A-Lot, and Baron Von Babble. All three are dressed elaborately, almost to the point of looking like clowns. None of them notice Ana or the bell jar.)

LADY GABBY: Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?

LADY GABBY: She arrived this morning,
Under a sky bright blue and clear.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: And so the prince soon will marry?

BARON VON BABBLE: For at last the princess is here.

LADY GABBY: I thought this day would never come.
Can you believe how long we’ve waited?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: I still can’t believe the marriage was arranged.

BARON VON BABBLE: The practice seems so outdated!

LADY GABBY: Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?

LADY GABBY: I heard from the prince’s steward,
Who heard it from the cook.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Who heard from the jester.

BARON VON BABBLE: Who was told by the friar out by the brook.

LADY GABBY: But there’s more to the news.
She didn’t just arrive.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: She made quite a first impression.

BARON VON BABBLE: When she took a swan dive.

LADY GABBY: Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?

LADY GABBY: I saw her get out of the carriage.
With her foreign flag on top.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: She took one tiny step out the door.

BARON VON BABBLE: Then she took a longer drop.

LADY GABBY: What a nasty little entrance.
Promptly falling on her face.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Right into the mud.

BARON VON BABBLE: In front of the king, His Grace.

LADY GABBY: Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?

(All three of them laugh.)

LADY GABBY: The look on her face, then.
Like a muddy, little mole.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: She looked like she wanted the earth to open.

BARON VON BABBLE: And let it swallow her whole!

LADY GABBY: Do you suppose the prince has heard?
Of her nasty, little fall?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: It wouldn’t really surprise me.

BARON VON BABBLE: It’s the talk of one and all.

LADY GABBY: Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?
(All three of them laugh again.)

LADY GABBY: And the story keeps getting better
For our hapless new princess.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: You’ve heard what she said, then?

BARON VON BABBLE: In the midst of that big mess?

LADY GABBY: When the guards helped her to her feet.
With her dress all caked in dust.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: She said, “I never wear shoes quite like this.”

BARON VON BABBLE: “I’ll have to learn to adjust.”

LADY GABBY: Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?

LADY GABBY: To never wear shoes with heels,
What an unfashionable little dear!

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Her whole kingdom must be behind the times.

BARON VON BABBLE: Oh yes, that much is clear.

LADY GABBY: She doesn’t know how to follow
A single popular trend.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: I fear the beginning of her reign…

BARON VON BABBLE: Will quickly become the end.

LADY GABBY: Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?

(All three of them laugh again.)

LADY GABBY: Poor, sweet Prince Henri.
What has his father gotten him into?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: A marriage to a girl with no sense of style.

BARON VON BABBLE: Who can’t even walk in high-heeled shoes!

LADY GABBY: What a joke of a royal couple.
An enormous and insane mess.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: She’ll never make it here.

BARON VON BABBLE: With mud all over her dress.

(They all laugh again. Colette enters. She’s a housekeeper, dressed more practically than the others. A stern woman, she disapproves of them and makes it quite clear.)

COLETTE: What’s going on here?

LADY GABBY: Colette! Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?

COLETTE: Heard what?

LADY GABBY: The arrival of the princess, of course!
Poor, hapless little Meg.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: With her ugly, northern hat.

BARON VON BABBLE: And her knobby-kneed legs.

COLETTE: Of course I’ve heard! I’m to be her housekeeper. (beat) Is that what all the laughing is about? You can stop that right now.

LADY GABBY: But have you ever heard such a funny thing.
She fell on her face!

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: A princess, born and bred.

BARON VON BABBLE: Without style, elegance, or grace.

COLETTE: I admit, I haven’t.

LADY GABBY: Princesses are mindful of looks
And always take care…

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Princesses are graceful.

BARON VON BABBLE: Princesses walk like the clouds on air.

COLETTE: This princess does not.

LADY GABBY: What will the prince say?
He can’t possibly go through with the marriage.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: What kind of queen would she make?

BARON VON BABBLE: Prince Henri should send her back home in her carriage.

LADY GABBY: The girl can’t truly be noble.
She lacks any blue blood.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: She’s Princess of the Dirt!

BARON VON BABBLE: She’s Princess of the Mud!

(All three of them laugh again.)

COLETTE: Enough of that.

LADY GABBY: But Colette–

COLETTE: But nothing. Don’t you three
Have better things to do?

(The three of them look at each other in confusion.)

COLETTE: Oh, yes. I quite forgot.
I was talking to the three of you.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: But Colette–

COLETTE: (to Lady Gabby) Lady Gabby. You spend all your days
Wasting time with useless chatter.
(to Sir Laugh-A-Lot)
And Sir Laugh-A-Lot, you just laze about,
Gossiping and getting fatter.
(to Baron Von Babble)
Baron Von Babble, what a waste of life.
You’ve not one conceivable aim.
(beat)
Go on you three. Get out of here.
I’ve no time to waste on your idle games.

BARON VON BABBLE: But Colette–

COLETTE: Don’t “But Colette” me any more.
I’ve got quite a lot to prepare.

LADY GABBY: But you have to see…

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: You have to admit…

BARON VON BABBLE: The girl has no royal airs.

(A pause. Colette considers this.)

COLETTE: I will admit that I’ve never seen a princess
Quite like this one before.

LADY GABBY: She gambols…

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: And stomps with all the grace…

BARON VON BABBLE: Of a three-legged centaur.

COLETTE: But enough of this foolish gossip,
You three be on your way.

LADY GABBY: But Colette–

COLETTE: No more, no more. Just get out of here.
I’ve nothing more to say.

LADY GABBY: Well, you’re no fun at all.
Come on, boys. No need to suffer this abuse.

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Let’s head to the throne room.

BARON VON BABBLE: I’m sure there are plenty who haven’t heard the news.

LADY GABBY: Have you heard?

SIR LAUGH-A-LOT: Have you heard?

BARON VON BABBLE: Have you heard?

(The three of them exit, laughing. Colette sighs, shaking her head.)

COLETTE: What a pretty picture they make.
Two cads and a catty bawd.
But I suppose I must admit,
Princess Meg certainly seems odd.

(She makes a noise of disgust.)

COLETTE: Now I sound just like them. What is wrong with me?
Colette exits the other way.

(LIGHTS OUT.)

SCENE 2

(LIGHTS UP on Meg’s bedroom. There is some kind of bed off to one side, with at least two covers on it. There is a large trunk to the side, with a hidden trap door which actors can use to enter or exit. Meg enters, wearing high heels. She is a princess, but wears a dress covered in mud and a funny hat, slightly askew. Her hair is messy and her face is smeared with dirt. She sees the trunk and lets out a gasp, rushing over to it. Her movement is awkward in her high-heeled shoes and she collapses in front of the trunk, crawling the rest of the way.)

MEG: Oh, you’re here! Thank goodness!

(She opens the trunk and takes out a teddy bear, a toy train, and a closed jack-in-the-box. Sitting down, she hugs the bear to her chest.)

MEG: I’ve only just gotten here and I’m already off to a bad start! I fell in the mud and humiliated myself in front of everyone!

(She just holds the bear for a moment, before lifting her skirts to look at her shoes.)

MEG: It’s these stupid shoes. I know they’re all the rage, but how can anyone walk in them?

(She takes the shoes off, setting them to one side.)

MEG: I guess…princesses aren’t meant to walk here. (beat) I could hear them all laughing.

(Sighing, she rolls the train along the floor in front of her for a moment.)

MEG: What am I going to do? This isn’t like home at all.

(Colette enters, curtsying to Meg.)

COLETTE: Your Grace, my name is Colette.
I shall be housekeeper for you.

(Meg scrambles to her feet.)

MEG: You don’t have to be formal with me.
Simply calling me “Meg” will do.

(Colette eyes her uncertainly.)

COLETTE: Meg?

MEG: Yes.

COLETTE: As you wish.

MEG: I was only unpacking my things.

COLETTE: Yourself? That won’t do. A princess shouldn’t have to trouble her hands.

MEG: I’m quite capable of–

COLETTE: Let me do it.

MEG: Oh, no. You don’t have–

(Colette walks over to the trunk and peers in.)

COLETTE: There’s nothing but…toys in here. (beat) There must be some mistake.

MEG: No. No mistake. Those are mine.