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Hansel and Gretel

In the style of Sanksrit Theatre

Indra’s Staff is placed in the corner. Everyone comes on to the stage and sings:

“O Gods of stage we bid thee come
And stave off all that’s troublesome,
For so long that it stays away,
We’ll dedicate to you this play!”

Stage manager comes out and speaks to the audience:

“Welcome, friends! I bid you, settle
To hear our tale: Hansel and Gretel.
Set deep within a far-off wood
In a house lacking in livelihood.
Within that house we find out cast
In desperate times - and worsening fast.
The father – he’s a noble man
But without food, and without plan. (Demonstrates father move)
His wife – cold-hearted; a realist at best,
Begins our tale with a dark request. (Demonstrates mother move)
Hansel you’ll find to be a bright lad,
He’s quick with a plan when things go bad. (Demonstrates Hansel move)
His sister, Gretel, a girl so clever
She can succeed in any endeavor. (Demonstrate Gretel move).
And in a house made of sweets hidden deep in the wild,
Lives an old witch who loves to feast on a child! (Demonstrates witch move)
And now we turn to the cottage wherein
Our tale of these children is about to begin!

Stage manager leaves. Mother and Father are arguing, Hansel is hiding, listening in.


Father:
Winter is coming – the worst one in years,
And a lack of food is compounding my fears.
And when the winter snows arrive,
I simply don’t know how we’ll survive.

Mother:
I know things look bad, but I have a plan.
We cannot feed four – but just two we can.
We could solve our problem for good
If we just sent our children into the wood!


Father:
You must be joking! Abandon our kids?
This is something my conscience forbids!

Mother:
I ask you, my husband, what choice have we got?
There’s no way we all can survive in this cot!
With four of us here we will all surely parish!
You and I along with the children you cherish!

Father:
It causes me anguish, but I see you are right.
I’ll take them tomorrow as soon as it’s light.
I will give each of them a loaf of bread,
Then return home and leave them there for dead.

Hansel runs back to tell Gretel what he has heard:

Hansel:
Gretel! I’ve just overheard something rotten!
We will be brought to the woods and forgotten!

Gretel:
Oh Hansel! Tell me – what shall we do?

Hansel:
I’ve got a plan that will help us get through.
As we are walking, I’ll let fly a crumb,
To give us a path showing where we came from!

The next morning, Father comes in to Hansel and Gretel’s room.

Father:
Wake up my children – come now, be good!
We must go to the forest to collect firewood.
Here – take this bread, but don’t eat it yet.
This is your lunch, and it’s all that you’ll get.

Hansel pulls Gretel aside.

Hansel:
Do not fear, Gretel, remember my plan,
And we will back home quick as we can.

– The travel to the woods is shown in dance –
When they arrive at the deepest part of the woods, Father walks off.
Father:
Now children, I’ve noticed you look rather distressed,
So I’ll let you stop here and have a nice rest.
Don’t move an inch – I’ll still be near –
I’m going to grab some more wood over here!

Father leaves.

Gretel:
Hansel, we have been left by that louse!
Now let’s follow your breadcrumbs back to our house.

Hansel:
I’m afraid that my clever plan has been beaten…
It appears that all of my crumbs have been eaten!

Gretel:
I think that panic may be affecting my head:
Is it just me, or do you smell gingerbread?

Hansel and Gretel follow the sent until they find the Gingerbread House.

Hansel:
Gretel, you were right! A house made of candy!
Whoever thought we’d find something so handy?

- The could be another dance here if we felt like it, showing H&G eating the cottage -

The witch walks out of the house to see who is eating it.

Witch:
I thought I heard the sound of kids munching
Come in – I was about to start lunching.
Relax – there is no cause for alarm.
As long as you’re here, you will come to no harm.

Hansel:
What luck to find so friendly a stranger
Who will give us food and keep us from danger!

Gretel:
Hansel went in, and so go in I must,
But there’s something about her that I do not trust…

Witch:
Come now, eat up! There is plenty of food!
If you do not, I’d consider it rude!
It would bring a tear to my gentle eye
If you refused another slice of my pie!

Gretel:
Hansel! I don’t think you should eat all that!
If you keep on eating you’ll surely be fat!

Hansel:
Yes that is true, I cannot deny it,
But with all these sweets, who can stay on a diet?

Witch:
When you’ve had your fill, I’ll show you your rooms,
And when you’re all settled in – the eating resumes!

- Here is a dance showing all the eating – then the Witch throws Hansel into a cage -

Witch:
I like plump children – can’t stand them thinner!
For what good is a thin child for my dinner?
Now you’re in my cage, and you’ll stay there until
You’ve grown plump enough to give me my fill!
And you, little Gretel, will help me with chores
Till it’s time for desert – then the cage will be yours!
But first, Gretel, go out and fetch me some twigs
So that when the time comes I can cook you like pigs!

Gretel picks up twigs and brings them into the house. She gives one to Hansel. The witch goes to the cage.

Witch:
Hansel! Let me give your arm a feel,
To see if you are ready to become my meal!

Hansel stretches out the twig, and the witch feels it.

Witch:
Why Hansel! You are as thin as a stick!
You’d better eat more, and you’d better eat quick!

Stage Manager:
For days this went on, and the twig got no fatter,
And the watch could not have been any madder.

Witch:
Blast! I’ve wasted enough time with you!
Scrawny or not, you’ll be my stew!
Gretel, I have just started the fire
Go see if you think the flames should be higher…

Gretel goes to the fire. When she is looking at it, the witch tries to push her in, but Gretel is too quick, and she pushes the Witch in instead. Gretel finds the keys to the cage and lets Hansel out.

Hansel:
Oh Gretel – how could I be so foolish
As to fall for that witch’s plan oh-so-ghoulish?

Gretel:
Hansel, it’s true that we were both fools
- But look what I’ve found: the witch’s jewels!

Stage Manager:
Hansel and Gretel took their new wealth to town,
Where they heard the news that their mother had drown!
So the kids returned home, their family was mended,
And as for our tale, you can see that it’s ended.



2009 - Nathaniel Jones