Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Script and Lyrics by Moses Golderg, Music by Ewel Cornett
Publisher: Anchorage Press Plays
Estimated Runtime: 55 minutes
Number of Characters: 10
Cast Requirements: 3 men, 2 women, 1 either
Time Period: Middle Ages
Production Requirements: Set for two locations, period costuming, sound for music
The classic tale of Sleeping Beauty is told, this time with the help of a singing bush! A King and Queen long for a baby, and when a frog grants their wish, they plant a special bush to shelter it. They have a baby girl, and at her christening, three of the four fairies in the land come to bless her. The bush produces three roses as gifts for them. When the fourth fairy—the evil Fire Fairy—arrives, she is offended by her lack of a rose and curses the baby to die on her sixteenth birthday. The Water Fairy changes the curse to a sleep of one hundred years. The princess grows, and on her sixteenth birthday we meet the prince she is in love with. She pricks her finger on a spindle and falls into a deep sleep. The bush grows thick with thorns to protect those in the castle, and after one hundred years, the great-great-grandson of the old prince arrives to break the curse and marry Sleeping Beauty.
The play opens with the actors meeting the audience in character as actors getting ready to do a show. Though meeting children before an audience is an accepted and useful practice in Theatre for Young Audiences, the subplot of actors that hate or love each other in a separate story that is never returned to is unnecessary. Once that opening is out of the way, the rest of the script is more natural with engaging dialogue, songs, and an action-packed plot. The theatre magic involved in the growing bush and the Frog and Fairy characters will hold the audience’s attention. The subtitle of the play, “A Participation Play Adapted from the Brothers Grimm,” is mainly realized through a song that the audience is invited to sing along to a few times during the show. The song and its actions are clearly meant for a very young audience though, while the remainder of the script is more geared toward an older audience of perhaps eight and up.