The Snow Queen Sample

Scene 1

(LIGHTS RISE on the entry hall to Gerda’s house. Derick, a servant boy, is decorating a Christmas tree. Erick enters.)

ERICK: Derick, there you are.

DERICK: Good morning, Erick.

ERICK: I’ve been looking for you.

DERICK: Well, you found me.

ERICK: I always do. I’m magnificent like that. It’s time for your daily lesson.

DERICK: The mistress says that if I don’t–

ERICK: Bah! The mistress! Who cares what she thinks? You and I are going to be men of the world someday, Derick. And a man is nothing in this world without his lessons.
(singing)
Lessons, ah, lessons,
Where would we be without them?
Those building blocks essential to success!
You see, lessons lead to learning
And learning leads to knowledge,
And knowledge is a power to possess.
Today’s lesson, I’m addressin’
Is a complicated subject
Abstract nouns, my simple-minded friend,
It’s something that we must do,
You think you have it in you?

DERICK:
(singing)
Teach me, I am keen to comprehend

ERICK:
(singing)
What’s a concrete noun, my friend?
It’s something that you hold

DERICK: Like a grudge?

ERICK:
(singing)
Not a grudge, I mean really hold

DERICK:
(singing)
Like what, you suppose?

ERICK:
(singing)
Like a rump!
(he gooses Derick)
Like a nose!
(he pinches Derick’s nose)
Or termites, stoplights, white knights!
(he picks up Derick)
Kites!

DERICK:
(singing)
Put me down, I’m afraid of heights…

ERICK: That’s an excellent place to begin. An abstract noun, unlike a simple concrete noun, is something you can’t hold or touch or see. Example: Fear!
(singing)
Look at you, all cloaked in fear,
Stuck in this situation
Pounding heart, clammy palms, increased perspiration

(Erick sniffs Derick’s armpit.)

DERICK:
(singing)
Put me down!

ERICK: (dropping him) Let’s move on.
(singing)
The next one is complex;
Try your best to keep up ’cause
Eternity is next

(Derick starts turning in circles, like a dog chasing its tail.)

ERICK: What are you doing, there?

DERICK: E-turning!

ERICK: Not even close, mate
(singing)
Eternity goes on and on,
That’s what it is, concisely

DERICK:
(singing)
This lesson never seems to end. Eternity?

ERICK:
(singing)
Precisely!

(Erick milks his applause.)

ERICK: Now, let’s move on to the most important abstract noun in the history of grammar.

DERICK: What’s that?

ERICK: Comedy.

DERICK: Comedy?

ERICK: Absolutely. Now, comedy is a tricky business. It’s what makes you laugh. And laughter is one of the infinitely most complex processes in the human body. It involves endorphins, adrenaline, and a tiny hamster spinning in a wheel that is located directly in your chest, behind the clavicle. That’s a bone. Comedy cannot be explained, my friend. Oh no! Least of all to someone who is not overburdened with thought, such as yourself. It can merely be experienced. For example, consider, if you will, the world’s funniest words.

DERICK: What are the world’s funniest words?

ERICK: Are you sure you can handle it? I warn you, once I divulge these words, you will be unable to control yourself! You will laugh uproariously!

DERICK: Tell me!

ERICK: All right. The world’s funniest words are… (dramatically) Pickle. Lollipop. Seabass.

(Pause.)

ERICK: Why aren’t you laughing? Aren’t you incredibly amused now?

DERICK: No. Mostly hungry. I don’t think I’ll ever understand comedy.

ERICK: But you will, my friend. You will. For you see, you’re in a panto.

DERICK: I am?

ERICK: Yes! Don’t you know what a panto is?

DERICK: No…

ERICK: (to audience) How about you? Do any of you know what a panto is? How many of you have seen a panto before?

(Pause for audience reaction.)

ERICK: Well, for those of you staring at me blankly, I’ll explain. What you’re about to experience is a comedy unlike any other. And here’s the best part. (to audience) You, each and every one of you, is going to play a key role in ensuring that we have a happy ending. We don’t want our comedy to end tragically, after all. That would defeat the purpose. So listen up carefully. Any time that you see something evil sneaking up on the good guys, I want you all to shout out, “It’s behind you!” Scream as loud as you can, throw rotten tomatoes, do whatever it takes to get the attention of the good guys! They’re not very bright. Like Derick here. Let’s give it a shot.

DERICK: Give what a shot?

(Erick exits. Derick turns to face out. Erick enters and starts sneaking up on Derick. Hopefully, the audience shouts “It’s behind you!” Derick is startled and turns around to see Erick.)

ERICK: Well done, audience! (to Erick) Experiencing an abstract noun, are we?

DERICK: Yeah. Terror.

ERICK: Good! You’re learning! (to audience) As for you, there’s one more thing you must learn! Any time you see a villain on the stage, you better make sure to boo and hiss as loudly as you can. Let’s try it. Pretend that Derick is something hideous. Well, more hideous than usual, anyway. Something like a high school principal. I know! Let’s pretend he’s the Snow Queen. Give him a good boo!

(Pause for audience reaction. Derick looks hurt.)

DERICK: Hey! That’s not very nice!

ERICK: (to audience) But our friend, Derick, here is one of the good guys. And you should always root for the good guys. Even the dull ones. Let’s give him a good cheer.

(Pause for audience response.)

DERICK: I feel better now.

ERICK: Relief is another excellent abstract noun!

(Gerda enters.)

ERICK: A hero! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, you know what to do when a hero enters the stage.

(Pause for audience reaction. Gerda is very shy.)

ERICK: Hello, Miss Gerda.

GERDA: Good morning, Erick.

DERICK: Hello, Miss Gerda.

GERDA: Oh, isn’t is a beautiful day?

DERICK: You seem to be in a cheery mood, Miss Gerda.

GERDA: Well, why shouldn’t I be? The sun is shining! The sky is so blue! It’s nearly Christmas!

ERICK: And a certain gentleman is paying you a visit today, isn’t he?

GERDA: My beloved Kai. (beat) Today’s the day. Finally.

ERICK: Today’s the day you’re going to tell him you’ve been in love with him since kindergarten?

GERDA: Better! Today’s the day I’m going to manage to get an entire sentence out in front of him!

(Pause.)

ERICK: And that’s an abstract noun known as optimism.

DAME: (offstage) Gerda? Gerda darling?

ERICK: Uh oh.

DERICK: Back to work.

GERDA: (calling off) In here, Grandmother!

(Derick and Erick go back to cleaning.)

Scene 2

(The Dame enters, lugging a beautician’s bag. She is, of course, larger than life in everything she does. She wears massive amounts of make up and has eccentric, mismatched clothing and jewelry.)

DAME: Oh, there you are, my dear.

GERDA: What’s that?

DAME: Just my old bag of tricks. You should be freshened up before Kai arrives. As if you need any help. You’re as lovely as…something lovely. (to Derick and Erick) Back to work, both of you. I don’t like the way you two are staring. I’m psychotic, you know. I can tell what you’re thinking.

ERICK: Don’t you mean psychic?

DAME: I know what I mean! I can read minds! I talk to animals! I see dead people!

ERICK: The only animal I’ve ever seen you talk to was the master.

DAME: How dare you! My late husband was not an animal. The vestigial tail was just…genetic.

DERICK: People can’t really talk to animals, can they, Erick?

ERICK: Of course not.

DAME: I’ll have you know I’m an expert at translating the speech of animals. I know all there is to know about them!

ERICK: And it’s common knowledge that animals are incapable of speech. They lack the sophistication of the human brain. They don’t have the same neurons and synapses and gasoline that powers our brains. (laughing) Don’t you know anything?

DAME: I know that if you don’t get back to work right now, I’m going to be posting an ad for two new servant boys. Get going!

(The Dame chases them off.)

DAME: Now, then, my dear. Let’s put your face on.

GERDA: Oh, Grandmother…I’m determined. I’m not going to get tongue tied again. This time, when Kai arrives, I’m going to tell him that I love him.

DAME: That’s wonderful, my dear. (in sotto) And it’ll be a Christmas miracle if you do.

GERDA: What?

DAME: Nothing! Nothing, my dear!

(The Dame sets down her bag. She starts taking out absurd items.)

GERDA: Do you think…do you think he likes me, Grandmother?

DAME: Of course he does. You’re quite the catch, you know.

(The Dame starts beautifying Gerda.)

GERDA: Well, what should I say to him?

DAME: Just say what’s in your heart, my dear. That’s all you’ll ever need.

GERDA: But what if I get tongue tied again?

DAME: Well, I’ll be happy to help. Oh, I can tell you stories, like I used to when you two were younger. You remember? About the Snow Queen?

GERDA: I remember.

DAME: You used to love hearing those legends! Oh, you’ve grown up so quickly. Your grandfather would be so proud of you. Sixteen years old and no sign of a tail!

GERDA: Yes…

DAME: Not that it matters much. What you’ll learn is that in the end, love is blind. We don’t love with our eyes. Not really. We love with our souls.

GERDA: I have no idea what that means.

DAME: You’ll learn.

GERDA: I will?

DAME: Well, there wouldn’t be much of a plot if you didn’t.

(BLACKOUT.)

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