Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Kate Paxton
Publisher: Anchorage Press
Acts or Scenes: 1 Act
Estimated Runtime: 40 minutes
Number of Characters: 7
Cast Requirements: 2 female, 2 male
Time Period: 1800's
Production Requirements: Set with two locations, period costumes; creative staging to portray Golden Doe and Domovoi and associated magic.
A cold, Russian winter looms outside, but in their cozy cabin in the mountains, Tatyana and her Papa stay warm and safe. They are helped by their Domovoi—the traditional Russian spirit that lives in the stove and guards the home. But Domovoi has not always been present. Ten years ago, when Tatyana was a baby, her father let the fire go out. Domovoi left the home, and Tatyana’s Mama got lost in the woods while searching for fire wood. Now, Tatyana and her father must find some malachite to carve and sell so that they can survive the winter. With the help of Babushka, a friendly neighbor, Tatyana manages to speak with the Domovoi, who leads her to a Golden Doe that helps her to find what she needs. When a ten-year curse is broken, Papa and Tatyana are reunited with Mama, who had been transformed into the doe the night she was lost in the woods.
Creative staging regarding the magical aspects of this play will help to bring interest to a somewhat unremarkable, though serviceable, plot with an antagonist that is easily beaten. Use of puppets to portray Domovoi and the Golden Doe is a possibility. The silly antics of Babushka and Tatyana’s energetic and sunny character will hold the attention of young audience members, as will the songs. Russian culture can be explored through costuming, staging, and the sprinkling of Russian language throughout. These cultural aspects provide opportunities for pre- and post-show discussion and learning. The relatively simple set needs, small cast, and short running time make this script a suitable choice for a touring company.