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Below we present the complete text of episode 1 of Rapunzel for Schools. Each scene is introduced with writer’s notes on the process of adapting the original fairy tale as an Audio Drama.
EPISODE 1 – GUSTAV THE HUNTER
Okay, so here’s where the writing begins.
What follows is a worked example of adapting a fairytale for dramatic audio presentation based on the methods set out in the “Audio Drama for Schools” suite of lessons. Each scene (or in some cases group of scenes) is prefaced by some notes from the author explaining the creative and practical choices made in the process of creating these plays.
The very first choice made was to adapt the story into six episodes rather than try to squeeze it into a single performance.
The first act aims to establish the characters (in their pre-adventure behaviors and patterns), calls them to action, and calls them to a change of character.
As noted earlier, the story of Rapunzel, though simple, is somewhat sprawling and a lot happens before our title character is even born. As a result I have chosen to focus the first half of the story on Rapunzel’s father.
According to my outline, the first scene has a number of objectives…
- It sets out to establish the inciting incident
- It sets out to demonstrate Gustav’s initial character
- It presents Gustav with a call to change and growth in character
The inciting incident event that sends Gustav (Rapunzel’s father) out of his normal pattern of behaviour (living his life as a hunter) into the witch’s garden and the story itself is an accident.
The inciting incident needn’t be something earth-shaking in intent. In this case it is as simple as Hans, Gustav’s well-meaning but impetuous brother-in-law, eating his wife’s salad at a time when vegetables are scarce.
I decided that having the community face a blight on their vegetable crops and having the witch’s garden prove immune to it would help motivate Gustav to climb the witch’s fence.
With regard to demonstrating Gustav’s initial character, I had decided he is, at the start of our story, an easily swayed sort of man who wants to please everybody and has few convictions of his own.
I try to demonstrate this by having him agree to both of the mutually exclusive opinions of his wife and brother-in-law regarding the prospects of an end to the food-shortages brought on by the blight. To underline it, I have them recall an incident in which he very nearly found himself married to someone else because of his unwillingness to make waves.
The call to change comes from Hans, the brother-in-law. When Gustav panics at the disappearance of the salad, Hans, challenges him to grow a spine and make a decision.
The micro-plot (the central conflict) of the scene is set up as follows.
Gustav has a goal. He wants to give his wife some fish and salad for dinner.
There is an obstacle to achieving this. Salad is scarce (due to blight) and he is a hunter, not a fisherman. Despite this he has some unspoiled salad on hand and he has arranged to obtain some fish from his brother-in-law in exchange for some venison. Unfortunately, Hans, also likes salad and does not know that the little that is there is all Gustav has.
Disaster strikes when his brother-in-law unwittingly eats the salad.
The big question or dilemma of the scene (so identified because its answer propels us into the next scene) then becomes “Will Gustav go without salad, pay an exorbitant price at market, or attempt to get some from the Witch next door?”
To be dramatic the question of the scene must have more than one possible answer.
Gustav makes a decision to visit the witch (getting our story under way).
I have chosen to use a narrator as a convenient means of introducing each episode (and summarising what took place in previous episodes for those who come in late) and also for helping the story skip over large periods of time (such as the eighteen years between Rapunzel’s birth and the death of the King) and avoid undue repetition as when Rapunzel must be told her own history (something the audience has already seen for itself).
I could have chosen to dispense with the narrator (many folk feel a narrator’s presence destroys the audience’s sense of immersion within the story) but it seemed the most convenient way to achieve these particular story goals.
SCENE 1: INT. A SMALL COTTAGE IN THE WOODS — DAY
(NARRATOR, GUSTAV – the hunter, HANS – the fisherman, GERTRUDE – pregnant wife of GUSTAV)
- MUSIC:  OPENING THEME — LET IT FINISH
- SOUND:  (BACKGROUND) DISTANT OCCASIONAL BIRDSONG
- NARRATOR: Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a hunter and his wife in a small cottage. The hunter’s name was Gustav and his wife was Gertrude and they were awaiting the birth of their first child. On the day our story begins they received a visit from Hans, Gertrude’s brother…
- GUSTAV: Come in Hans, sit down and give us some news. I’ve got some fresh cooked venison for you… (WORRIED) if you’ve brought the fish…
- SOUND:  DOOR CLOSES – LET IT FINISH
- HANS: Don’t let yourself get in a knot, Gustav. I brought the fish right enough. I take it Gertrude has still got you running scared.
- GUSTAV: (URGENTLY) Shhhh. She’ll hear you.
- GERTRUDE: She did hear you, and don’t think we won’t be talking more about this later, Gustav.
- GUSTAV: Gertrude, my sweet. I didn’t see you there.
- GERTRUDE: Obviously. (STERNLY) Welcome Hans. Have a seat.
- SOUND:  CHAIR BEING PULLED UP TO TABLE – LET IT FINISH.
- HANS: (ACKNOWLEDGING) Gertrude. (BEAT AS HE SITS) Ah! Still terrorising Gustav with your cravings, are you?
- GERTRUDE: You should try it some time. Six months of vomiting and getting stuck in doorways because you’ve grown to the size of a bear and you’d be a little testy too… Did you bring the fish?
- HANS: It’s here. I’m surprised you can’t smell it.
- GERTRUDE: You’re a fisherman. You always smell of fish so I can never tell. Oooh, but you are an angel Hans, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. The little one growing inside me has been screaming for fish for days. And salad as well, truth be told.
- HANS: And given how pale Gustav is looking, I’d be willing to bet you’ve been doing some screaming of your own.
- GERTRUDE: (SHEEPISH) Maybe so. He has had a bit to put up with of late, poor lamb.
- GUSTAV: He’s standing right here, you know?
- HANS: (LAUGHING) Hmpf.
- GERTRUDE: Well, you mind your manners and see that Hans gets himself fed. (BEAT) That merchant in the village was looking sour last week. I asked him what was up and he said he thought the food shortages would be coming to an end. I guess he sees the end of being able to charge those extortionate rates, and it’s making him a little glum. I also guess that means that there’ll be no need for the King to take action after all. (BEAT) What do you think Gustav?
- GUSTAV: Oh, I agree with you dear.
- HANS: You haven’t been out to the farms. The blight has been awful hard on the growers. And even the game is getting scarce. Some of the streams I fish in are drying up as well. I’m pretty sure the King will be forced to take action and soon.
- GUSTAV: Absolutely, I agree.
- GERTRUDE: (AFFECTIONATELY ANNOYED) You’re the most easily swayed man I ever met. (BEAT) Just as well really, or you’d have married that Helga Weldt.
- HANS: (LAUGHING) Now, there was a narrow escape.
- GUSTAV: All right, all right. I didn’t know what she had in mind when she started barking orders at me. I just thought it would be easier to go along with her.
- HANS: You didn’t know how to tell her “no”, you mean. She’d have had you in front of the priest if I hadn’t warned Gertrude what she was up to.
- GERTRUDE: (LAUGHING) And I’m still not sure I got the better end of the deal. Well, it’s not like I wasn’t fully warned about what I was getting myself into… especially after I had to come and rescue you like that! Anyway, I’ve got washing to hang out.(BEAT)
Hans it’s good to see you again.
- HANS: You too Gertrude.
- SOUND:  WOMAN’S FOOTSTEPS DEPARTING
- GUSTAV: (ANNOYED) Fine. Wait here while I get that venison. It’ll be charred and inedible if I leave it any longer.
- SOUND:  MEAT BEING TAKEN FROM PAN (SCRAPING OF KNIVES ON A PAN ETC.)- LET IT FINISH.
- SOUND:  PLATE SET ON TABLE (ROUGHLY) – LET IT FINISH.
- HANS: Don’t be like that. I’ve known you all my life. I let you marry my sister. What’s a brother in law for if not a little good natured ribbing.
- GUSTAV: (MUTTERING) As if life isn’t hard enough… I’ll be with you in a moment.
- SOUND:  HANS EATS LOUDLY – ESTABLISH FOR A FEW MOMENTS.
- HANS: Do you have any greens to go with it?
- SOUND: POTS CRASH – LET IT FINISH.
- GUSTAV: Now I’ve knocked over the pots. What was that you said?
- SOUND:  CLATTERING OF POTS BEING CLEANED UP – DUCK UNDER.
- GUSTAV: (DISTRACTED) I’m just serving myself. I’ll clean this up and join you in a minute.
- HANS: (MUTTERING) It’s all right. I think I’ve found what I need.
- SOUND:  FOOTSTEPS THEN CHAIR PULLS OUT AND UP TO THE TABLE – LET IT FINISH.
- SOUND:  CLUNK OF PLATE – LET IT FINISH.
- SOUND:  EATING UTENSILS AND GUSTAV EATING – ESTABLISH FOR A FEW MOMENTS.
- GUSTAV: Are things really all that bad out there? Regarding the blight, I mean?
- HANS: No-one is starving yet, but things are getting bad. And the market prices are beyond extortionate.
- GUSTAV: Then I’m glad I was able to get some salad together for Gertrude’s dinner. It may be a while before we see anything fresh and edible again. The remnants in the larder are full of the blight worm and can’t be eaten.
- HANS: What of your neighbour? I passed her crops on the way here. There’s no sign of blight in her garden.
- GUSTAV: (LAUGHS) Well there wouldn’t be, would there?
- HANS: What do you mean?
- GUSTAV: Surely you know who we live next door to?
- HANS: Should I?
- GUSTAV: It’s Esmerelda… You know, the witch? I hate to think what would happen to any blight worms that tried to get into her garden. You know I’ve heard tell those statues of hers come to life and threaten anyone who gets too near her plants.
- HANS: I hadn’t heard. But I’m glad you haven’t been so hard hit that you didn’t have a few greens to spare. I need a little of the leafy stuff to help the Venison go down.
- GUSTAV: What do you mean a few… Oh no! What have you done?
- HANS: What do you mean?
- GUSTAV: (PANICKED) That was the salad I was keeping for Gertrude. You’ve eaten it… all of it! She’s going to kill me!
- HANS: Easy Gustav. It’s not as bad as all that.
- GUSTAV: Not as bad as all that??? You haven’t had to live with her. It’s all she talks about. Fish and salad. Salad and fish. All day long.
- HANS: You can still get some in the village can’t you?
- GUSTAV: It cost the last of what I had tucked away just to buy that.
- HANS: What about your neighbour, Esmerelda? Surely she’d spare you a little.
- GUSTAV: I doubt it. She has a nasty reputation. (BEAT) Oh, what am I going to do?
- HANS: Gustav, you never change. It’s time you grew a spine and made a decision for yourself. Either you face the music and explain to Gertrude what happened or you take the bit in your mouth and visit your neighbour.
- GUSTAV: I guess I’ve got no choice. You saw how happy Gertrude was earlier. It’s the first time she’s laughed in weeks. I’ve got to try at least.
- HANS: That’s the spirit.
- SOUND:  CHAIR PULLS OUT – LET IT FINISH.
- HANS: Thanks for the venison. I’m afraid that’s the last of the fish I’ll be able to bring for a while. It’s getting difficult enough to feed my own folk now let alone have anything left over for trade.
- SOUND:  MALE FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR – LET IT FINISH.
- HANS: Keep hale Gustav, and look after my sister.
- GUSTAV: I will Hans. And I’d best head next door to talk with Esmerelda.
- MUSIC:  NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
This is an example of a scene that changed significantly from the way it was originally conceived in the outline. It’s always worth remembering that the structures adopted for writing are only guidelines and can be modified (or even abandoned) according to need.
Fight scenes can be tricky and surprisingly hard to do in audio. A fight scene needs to be over really quickly because otherwise the listener is being treated to a whole series of bangs and whaps that don’t provide anything much for the listener’s imagination to grab onto… and a blow by blow description (while in keeping with many of the conventions of the genre) starts to sound like a commentary at a prize fight.
For this reason I chose to cheat a little and jump forward in time and begin scene two with Gustav already caught by the Witch’s guardians – a pair of animated stone statues.
The statues are the initial obstacle, demanded by the structure of the plot, that closes out the first act.
Originally, in my outline, I imagined Gustav would be sneaking into the Garden to attempt to steal the vegetables. However, as I came to write the next couple of scenes I felt it would be more appropriate to make Gustav a thoroughly honest (if easily led) man. One who would trespass on his neighbour’s property, but only in order to see the witch in person and offer her a trade for the vegetables. This would serve a double purpose in showing his good character and clearly identifying the witch’s response as a terrible over-reaction to his behaviour.
Writing the statues as somewhat bumbling and stupid was fun and increases the impact when they casually cripple one of Gustav’s legs.
The micro-plot of the scene is as follows.
Gustav’s goal is to escape his captors and obtain some vegetables from the witch.
The animated statues have some fairly rigid programming that forms a significant obstacle to achieving his goal.
Disaster strikes when they cripple one of Gustav’s legs.
The central question/dilemma of the scene is “Will Gustav press on to see the witch or try to escape and can Gustav convince the stone statues to let him go regardless?”
Gustav’s decision is to try to convince the statues to let him go. Sadly, he fails and the witch arrives.
SCENE 2: EXT – WITCH’S PROPERTY – NIGHT
(STATUE #1, STATUE #2, GUSTAV)
- SOUND  (BACKGROUND) CRICKETS AND NIGHT NOISES – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
- GUSTAV: BLUBBERING WITH FEAR (UNDER)
- SOUND  GRINDING FOOTSTEPS OF STATUES APPROACHING AND STOP.
- STATUE #1: (SLOW AND STUPID THROUGHOUT) Well, we caught it.
- STATUE #2: (ONLY SLIGHTLY LESS SLOW AND STUPID THROUGHOUT) And in good order too.
- STATUE #1: It wouldn’t have done to let it get into the vegetable garden.
- STATUE #2: No, it would not.
- STATUE #1: Er, Number Two?
- STATUE #2: Yes, Number One?
- STATUE #1: Why wouldn’t it have done to let it get into the vegetable garden?
- STATUE #2: Because, you rock headed thing, we’re not allowed in the vegetable garden and if it got there it would have been safe from us.
- STATUE #1: Oh. (BEAT) You’re rock headed too, you know?
- STATUE #2: What?
- STATUE #1: I mean to say, you’re a reanimated stone statue, just like me, so who are you to be calling me rock headed?
- STATUE #2: Oh, for crying out loud!
- STATUE #1: And that’s another thing. You say that a lot. I don’t think we’ve been equipped to cry.
- STATUE #2: Oh, shut up.
- GUSTAV: (MOANING – UNDER) Ohhh.
- STATUE #1: (BEAT) Number Two?
- STATUE #2: What now?
- STATUE #1: Do they always make this much noise?
- STATUE #2: Dunno. It’s the first time I’ve ever caught one.
- STATUE #1: What do you think it is anyway?
- STATUE #2: (SHRUGGING) Meh. It doesn’t look like the mistress.
- STATUE #1: No, it’s kind of the wrong shape.
- STATUE #2: And its hair is too short.
- STATUE #1: Maybe we should ask it?
- STATUE #2: Alright.
- STATUE #1: (BEAT) Well?
- STATUE #2: Well, what?
- STATUE #1: Ask it, why don’t you?
- STATUE #2: Oh, right. Um, excuse me? (BEAT) Yes, you? Would you mind stopping all that whimpering for a moment so we can ask you a question?
- GUSTAV: (GULPS) Er, y-yes?
- STATUE #1: Oh good. Um, now what was it? Oh, yes. (SLOWLY, AS IF SPEAKING TO A VERY DULL CHILD) What… are… you?
- GUSTAV: I’m… I’m Esmerelda’s neighbour, Gustav… and… and I’m sure she’ll be really angry with you when she finds out you’ve treated a guest so roughly.
- STATUE #2: Whiner!
- STATUE #1: Yeah, we only hit you a little bit. Just until you stopped moving.
- STATUE #2: You know, Number One, I think I know what it is?
- STATUE #1: Really, Number Two?
- STATUE #2: Yeah. I think it’s one of them Hoomans our mistress keeps talking about.
- STATUE #1: Oh, really? So that’s what they look like. (BEAT) Hang on, I think I’m having a thought. (BEAT) Yeah, yeah. I’m definitely having a thought. (BEAT) Isn’t there something we’re supposed to do if we catch a hooman in here?
- STATUE #2: Oh yeah, now that you mention it I think there is. (BEAT) Let me think.
- STATUE #1: Oh, I have it. We’re supposed to break one of its knee-caps. Like this.
- SOUND:  HORRIBLE BONE BREAKING NOISE (UNDER)
- GUSTAV: SCREAMS IN AGONY. (OUTRAGED IN PAIN AND SHOCK) You’ve smashed my knee! I won’t be able to walk normally ever again.
- STATUE #2: Weren’t we supposed to break both knee-caps?
- STATUE #1: No, I’m pretty sure it was just the one.
- GUSTAV: (GASPING) I’ve got to get out of here.
- STATUE #2: Maybe we should break the other one, just to be sure?
- GUSTAV: I’ll never make it back to the cottage. Not on one leg.
- STATUE #1: I guess we could… but you know how she gets if we mess up her instructions.
- SOUND:  RUSTLE OF GRASS – CONTINUE UNDER UNTIL 125 COMPLETE
- GUSTAV: I should… be… able to crawl… to the vegetable garden… though.
- STATUE #2: (FADING) Maybe you should go and ask her?
- GUSTAV: .. nearly… there! (GASPS WITH RELIEF).
- STATUE #1: (OFF MIC) Maybe we should take it to her and ask?
- STATUE #2: (OFF MIC) Yeah, she might enjoy breaking it’s knee-caps herself. (BEAT) Hang on. Now, where’d it go?
- STATUE #1: (OFF MIC) It’s over there.
- STATUE #2: (OFF MIC) In the vegetable garden.
- STATUE #1: (OFF MIC) Where we can’t get it.
- GUSTAV: (PANTING WITH EFFORT) Okay, I’m safe for now. But how do I get out of here?
- STATUE #2: (OFF MIC) Hey hooman? Want to crawl back out here for a minute? No?
- STATUE #1: (OFF MIC) He’s not looking very cooperative.
- GUSTAV: (TO HIMSELF) Maybe I can get them to go away. (TO THE STATUES) Um… excuse me… big… rocklike, er, statue-things…?
- STATUE #1: (OFF MIC) I think it’s talking to us.
- STATUE #2: (OFF MIC) Looks like it.
- GUSTAV: Can I (ugh) ask you something?
- STATUE #1: We’re just trying to decide what to do next, so if you don’t mind…
- GUSTAV: Yes, right (ungh), but, as I’m fast going into shock, I thought perhaps I should offer to help sooner rather than later.
- STATUE #1: Help? How?
- GUSTAV: Well, it occurred to me that you’re supposed to keep people out of your Mistress’ vegetable garden, right?
- STATUE #2: Yes.
- GUSTAV: And I’ve managed to get into the (Ugh) vegetable garden?
- STATUE #1:
- GUSTAV: So effectively (ugh), you’ve failed.
- STATUE #2: Well technically we did catch you…
- GUSTAV: Yes, but technically I still got into the garden (Nnnngh!).
- STATUE #1: Yes, technically…
- GUSTAV: So, if we accept for a moment that you FAILED to prevent me from doing the thing you were supposed to stop me doing…
- STATUE #2: Mmmm?
- GUSTAV: And that (aaargh) you are probably going to get into serious trouble with your mistress because of it…
- STATUE #1: She does have a nasty temper.
- STATUE #2: True.
- GUSTAV: …and that this is something you would like to (ungh) avoid…
- STATUE #1: Oh, indeed.
- GUSTAV: Then perhaps you could just let me go?
- STATUE #2: What?
- GUSTAV: Yes, you know, just let me run…
- STATUE #2: Crawl…
- GUSTAV: Yes, “crawl” then. Just let me crawl away. (BEAT) After all, no actual harm has been done. You’ve given me a (UGH) broken leg for my trouble…
- STATUE #2: True.
- GUSTAV: And no-one need ever know. What do you think?
- STATUE #1: No.
- STATUE #2 and GUSTAV: No?
- STATUE #1: No. (BEAT) I’ve just remembered.
- STATUE #2: Remembered what?
- STATUE #1: I’ve just remembered what we’re supposed to do if something gets into the vegetable garden.
- STATUE #2: What’s that?
- STATUE #1: We’re supposed to call
- STATUE #2: (SHOUTING) ES-
- STATUE #1: (SHOUTING) MER-
- STATUE #2: (SHOUTING) EL-
- STATUE #1: (SHOUTING) DA!
- SOUND:  RUSH OF AIR FOLLOWED BY MAGICAL CHIMES – LET IT FINISH.
- WITCH: You called?
- MUSIC:  OMINOUS SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
In this third scene we begin raising the stakes. This is where the second act begins. More obstacles are placed in Gustav’s path (this time in the form of the witch).
The witch is introduced here, and as one of our main characters I began working on her character arc straight away.
I use this scene to establish her initial character – she is utterly self-centered and cruel. Gustav presents her with a call to change, asking her why she doesn’t help her neighbours and begging her for mercy.
The witch, though tempted for a moment, resists the change implied in Gustav’s questioning and cruelly demands his soon to be born child in payment for his life.
Gustav’s own arc is advanced here as we see him resist his own call to be decisive and courageous. Instead of making a decision he tries to buy himself some time by giving in to the witch’s demands.
The micro-plot of the scene is as follows…
Gustav’s goal is to survive his encounter with the witch.
The witch’s cruel nature is the obstacle he faces.
Disaster strikes when she demands his soon to be born baby in exchange for his life.
The dilemma Gustav faces is whether he will refuse the witch’s deal and be turned into a statue or agree to the deal (in order to buy himself some more time) but risk losing the baby.
Gustav’s decision is to accede to her demand in order to buy himself some more time to find a solution.
- SOUND  (BACKGROUND) CRICKETS AND NIGHT NOISES – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
- ESMERELDA: All right, why did you two nincompoops wake me up this time? It better be good or I’ll reduce you to gravel and rake you over my garden path.
- STATUE #1: (QUAKING WITH FEAR) Oh, no, your worshipfulness, we were just doing what you told us to. Truly, oh, Mistress of… of… of mean-ness and such.
- STATUE #2: Yes, oh Queen of Selfishness, we were just following orders.
- ESMERELDA: And just what orders were you following?
- STATUE #1: (STRUGGLING TO RECITE FROM MEMORY) If something… er… came into the grounds we are to… er… stop it…
- ESMERELDA: (FULL OF SWEET WARNING) Yes? And?
- STATUE #2: (HURRIEDLY) And… And… we are to break one of its knee-caps…
- ESMERELDA: (SLOWLY) Ahuh?
- STATUE #1: I told you.
- ESMERELDA: But that doesn’t explain why you have called me?
- STATUE #1: Well… um… you wanted us to… to…
- STATUE #2: To let you know…
- STATUE #1: Yes, to let you know… to let you know if…
- STATUE #2: (BLURTING IT OUT IN RELIEF AND MISPLACED PRIDE) To let you know if something reached the garden.
- ESMERELDA: I see… and?
- STATUE #1: And?
- ESMERELDA: And, did anything reach the garden you granite headed idiot?
- STATUE #1: Oh, yes. Yes it did. Over there.
- ESMERELDA: (MUTTERING) Idiots! (BEAT, THEN WITH FEIGNED SWEETNESS) Now, what have we here?
- GUSTAV: .. it’s me, Gustav, your next door neighbour.
- ESMERELDA: You’re trespassing Gustav.
- GUSTAV: Yes, I know but…
- ESMERELDA: I put up signs.
- GUSTAV: But I needed…
- ESMERELDA: I’m pretty sure they’re still there.
- GUSTAV: But…
- ESMERELDA: (TO THE STATUES) They still say ‘Keep out on pain of a particularly grisly and gruesome death’ don’t they?
- STATUE #1: I think so, your Lowness. I can’t actually read.
- ESMERELDA: Yes, but our prisoner can, can’t you dear?
- GUSTAV: Prisoner? Now, look here. I only came…
- ESMERELDA: (TURNING MEAN) You only ignored my signs, climbed over my wall and trespassed all the way into my garden… (LOST IN WONDER) my beautiful, beautiful garden… (MEAN AGAIN) like the thief that I suspect you are. Why shouldn’t I deliver on that gruesome death my signs promised right here and now? I’m pretty sure you’ve got it coming. At the very least, I’m inclined to turn you into one of my statues. You’d certainly be more pleasing as a lawn ornament than as the snivelling creature you are right now. It might even be a mercy.
- GUSTAV: (IGNORING THE THREAT) I came to ask if you could spare some vegetables. You seem to have the only garden in the entire Kingdom that is not effected by the blight.
- ESMERELDA: (SCORNFUL) Ask? You came to ask? My minions have caught you red handed… in my garden… and you expect me to believe you came here to ask?
- GUSTAV: I’m no thief. I was (ungh) going to offer you venison in exchange for anything you could spare.
- ESMERELDA: Venison, yet? I hate meat. Foul stuff. Never eat it.
- GUSTAV: (DEJECTED) Oh…
- ESMERELDA: (ALMOST PURRING) Well, that shut you up. (BEAT) Why do you think I grow all these wonderful vegetables? I’m vegetarian. Have been ever since my cousin with the Gingerbread House got herself baked by those… (BEAT) (AHEM) well, that’s another story.
- GUSTAV: How is it your garden is unaffected by the blight?
- ESMERELDA: (SLOWLY – AS IF TO AN IDIOT) Because… I’m… a… witch. Magical powers? Living statues? Really high fences? (BEAT) Keeping a pesky little blight out is no problem.
- GUSTAV: But if you can do that, you could help so many of your neighbours. You could…
- ESMERELDA: (UTTER INCOMPREHENSION) What are you talking about? Don’t you get it? You read my signs, right? I don’t want to help my neighbours. I’m a witch. I don’t like people. I want to be left alone! It’s part of the whole witch deal. My neighbours can all starve for all I care.
- GUSTAV: (MUTTERING) You might just get your wish.
- ESMERELDA: What was that?
- GUSTAV: Uh, nothing.
- ESMERELDA: Good. Now, to decide what to do with you?
- GUSTAV: You could let me go.
- ESMERELDA: (DISMISSIVE) Are you still talking? (BEAT) (TO HERSELF) Actually, it’s a tempting thought. A little positive word of mouth couldn’t hurt. I’m almost inclined to believe he didn’t just break in to steal from me.
- GUSTAV: (PLEADING) It’s true.
- ESMERELDA: What? Do be quiet while I’m trying to think. Oh, yes, he’s far too stupid to be anything but honest… But he was trespassing.
- GUSTAV: (HOPEFUL) And your statues have already broken my leg for that.
- ESMERELDA: Shut up! Still, what he says is true enough. (COMING TO A DECISION) All right! I’m prepared to give this mercy thing a try… just this once.
- GUSTAV: Oh, thankyou. Thankyou.
- ESMERELDA: And I really could use an apprentice…
- GUSTAV: Thank you… What? But I’m a hunter.
- ESMERELDA: Not you, dolt! I’m going to let you go home. Out of the goodness of my heart, I’m going to let you see that wife of yours again, wait the next couple of months until your baby is born, and then collect your baby as payment for this act of mercy. Your child will become my apprentice.
- GUSTAV: (RELIEF TURNED TO HORROR) What?!!
- ESMERELDA: Yes, I’ve wanted an apprentice for some time now. Someone to pass the family business on to.
- GUSTAV: You’re not serious? You can’t just raise someone else’s child.
- ESMERELDA: Why not? I hear people raise other people’s children all the time.
- GUSTAV: (EXASPERATION) That’s called adoption!
- ESMERELDA: Right. Then it’s settled. I’ll adopt her. It’s much easier than all that other stuff you have to do to get a kid. I mean look at your wife. I’ve seen smaller barns. Who has the patience for all that?
- GUSTAV: .. but…
- ESMERELDA: It’s settled then. Do we have an accord?
- GUSTAV: (OUTRAGED) No!
- ESMERELDA: What choice do you have, really?
- GUSTAV: It will kill my wife. You just can’t be serious.
- ESMERELDA: Oh, I’m serious. And if you don’t agree, I’ll turn you into a statue… after I have my minions break your other leg, of course. How will your pretty little wife like that?
- GUSTAV: .. but…
- ESMERELDA: Give me your answer. I need it from your own lips, and I don’t have all night.
- GUSTAV: .. (BEAT) (TO HIMSELF)
What can I do? She’ll kill me if I don’t agree. Gertrude needs me. How will she survive if I get killed? And maybe, if I agree, I can use the time before the baby is born to find a way to stop the witch. Maybe… but I won’t be able to do anything if I’m already dead.
- ESMERELDA: .. two… one…
- GUSTAV: All right. All right. You’ve got a deal.
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIMES – LET THEM FINISH.
- ESMERELDA: Good. It is done!
- SOUND: OMINOUS THUNDER – LET IT FINISH.
- MUSIC: OMINOUS SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
- MUSIC: CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.
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- Lesson 1 : The Science Behind Radio
- Lesson 2 : The History of Commercial Radio
- Lesson 3 : Appreciating Radio Drama
- Lesson 4 : Reading Radio Drama Scripts
- Lesson 5 : Performing Radio Drama
- Lesson 6 : Scripting Radio Drama
Worked Example (Radio Adaptation of Rapunzel)
- Appendix : Writer’s Notes on Adapting Rapunzel for Radio
- Example Radio Play (with writer’s notes) : Rapunzel for Schools Episode 1, Gustav the Hunter
- Example Radio Play (with writer’s notes) : Rapunzel for Schools Episode 2, Kidnapping
- Example Radio Play (with writer’s notes) : Rapunzel for Schools Episode 3, Desperate Measures
- Example Radio Play with writer’s notes) : Rapunzel for Schools
- Example Radio Play with writer’s notes) : Rapunzel for Schools Episode 5, Fateful Meeting
- Example Radio Play with writer’s notes) : Rapunzel for Schools Episode 6, Just Desserts