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Below we present the complete text of episode 2 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 2 – KIDNAPPING
At this point in Gustav’s character arc he has been challenged to change, and resisted that challenge, now he needs to commit himself to saving his baby from the witch.
As far as the overall plot is concerned, the stakes continue to rise moving towards the point at which the options available to the protagonist (Gustav) are limited and removed and there is no longer any way to avoid committing to the conflict personally. This process is not complete until the decision point facing Gustav (where the King begs to be released from his promise) occurs in Scene 12 (the point of no return). In this process we see Gustav lose his wife, the assistance of his neighbours, his brother-in-law Hans, and ultimately the King himself.
But right now Gustav is filled with remorse over making the deal with the witch and sets out to protect his home from her. He buys books and purchases a fake witch-repelling charm from a local charlatan.
When originally planned I saw this as a single scene, but in writing it, it became clear that it was three scenes (Scenes 4 to 6) with two separate conflicts.
The first half of the central conflict occurs in Scene 4. The conflict arises from Gustav’s goal to protect his soon to be born child. His own ignorance is his greatest obstacle and he buys a fake charm from a charlatan.
The second half of the conflict plays out in Scene 5. Disaster strikes when the witch arrives despite the charm. The dilemma he faces is whether to defend the baby, let the witch take her, or try to escape. His choice is to try to defend the baby but he is frozen in place by a spell and the witch escapes with the child.
The aftermath of the death of Gertrude in scene 6 cements this section as a significant decision point for Gustav. He literally loses all that he holds dear.
SCENE 4: INT – THE COTTAGE – DAY
- MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
- SOUND: (BACKGROUND) DISTANT BIRDS – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- NARRATOR: Once upon a time… that’s how these stories usually begin isn’t it? And this story is no exception. The poor hunter Gustav is awaiting the birth of his first child with far more dread than most expectant fathers. His next door neighbour, the witch Esmerelda, forced him into offering her his newborn in exchange for his life over an altercation concerning some vegetables some six weeks earlier. He hoped that making the deal would buy him some time in order to find another way out, but time is running short and he is growing desperate to find a way to prevent the witch from coming to collect. On the day we rejoin the story, Gustav is being visited by a local “phrenologist” while his wife, Gertrude, is at market.
- SOUND: CHAIR SCRAPES ON FLOOR – LET IT FINISH.
- CHARLATAN: [CUE] There you are Gustav, the leg seems to be coming along just fine. I doubt you’ll ever walk without a limp again though. How long has it been?
- GUSTAV: (DEPRESSED) Six weeks.
- CHARLATAN: Ah, well. The damage was simply too great. I’d like to tell you otherwise but that makes it certain. You’ll definitely be left with a limp. (SADLY) If only you’d called me in sooner.
- GUSTAV: Gertrude insisted I see a real doctor first… no offence.
- CHARLATAN: None taken. Lots of people are suspicious of Phrenologists. They just don’t see how the study of the bumps on a person’s head connects with the health of their bodies.
- GUSTAV: Well, now that you mention it…
- CHARLATAN: Oh, don’t you go worrying yourself about the science, dear boy. It’s far too complicated for the likes of you. I’ve been studying this for years and years. If you can’t bring yourself to trust me, then at least trust all that study.
- GUSTAV: No, no. It’s not like that… (DEJECTED) it’s just that Gertrude said you wouldn’t be able to help me in the end.
- CHARLATAN: I take it that your wife’s mistrust is why I’m forced to visit you while she’s at the market?
- GUSTAV: Yes.
- CHARLATAN: Think nothing of it, dear boy. I am met with this kind of prejudice all the time.
- GUSTAV: But you haven’t been able to help me.
- CHARLATAN: Sadly, that’s true. But if your wife hadn’t kept you from coming to see me until it was too late, I could have.
- GUSTAV: (SIGHS)
- CHARLATAN: What’s the matter Gustav? A limp isn’t so bad. (BEAT) (CHANGING TOPIC) I see you’ve been making some changes around here since last I visited. When did that bookshelf turn up… I never took you for a reading man… “Mystical remedies”, “Charms and curses”, “Curse breaking”… you aren’t looking for a magical cure are you? (BEAT) Because, while I can’t guarantee it will work, I just happen to…
- GUSTAV: No, no. Nothing like that. I’m looking for something that can deal with a witch.
- CHARLATAN: A witch?
- GUSTAV: Yes, a witch. I want to keep one out of this house.
- CHARLATAN: But my dear boy, that’s as easy as child’s play.
- GUSTAV: It is?
- CHARLATAN: Of course it is. I have some charms that are guaranteed effective at keeping any and every witch away. Why, I wear one myself, see?
- GUSTAV: (EAGER) How does it work?
- CHARLATAN: I simply hang it around my neck like so. Witches are renowned for their jealousy towards those who work for the public good, you know, just like doctors, really. Only witches are far more dangerous.
- GUSTAV: And this will really keep one out?
- CHARLATAN: Oh, indubitably. Have you ever seen a witch in my company?
- GUSTAV: Why, no!
- CHARLATAN: They don’t come near me. And do you know why, my boy?
- GUSTAV: The charm?
- CHARLATAN: That’s right. The charm. (BEAT) But, sadly, I only have a handful of them left and to spare one..? Well, I need all the protection I can get, just for myself.
- GUSTAV: No, please. This is an emergency. I have no protection at all. My wife and child need protection, and all my reading has turned up nothing. Please I’m running out of time. I have to find a way to repel witches… I just have to.
- CHARLATAN: Well, I can see that you are desperate. I’ll tell you what, how much were you going to pay me for my visit today?
- GUSTAV: Uh, one leg of venison.
- CHARLATAN: That’s right, one leg. On thinking it over, I might be able to part with one of these trinkets, I mean very powerful protective amulets, for, say, the entire animal?
- GUSTAV: The entire deer!!?
- CHARLATAN: I’m risking a lot by parting with one of these charms, you know? With so many envious witches baying for my blood I really can’t afford to part with it for anything less.
- GUSTAV: All right, all right. To be safe from that witch will make it worth the price. The deer is yours.
- CHARLATAN: A pleasure doing business with you. Here’s the charm.
- MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
The baby girl, Rapunzel, is born. A small gold chain is placed around her foot by her mother. Besides being a nice thing for the mother to do, this action provides a hook for Gustav’s recognition of Rapunzel after eighteen years of separation at the end of the story. It’s important to build setups into the story early that you wish to pay off at the end.
The baby is born and the witch comes to collect her. She sees the child and falls in love. The witch chooses not to murder the family before taking her away.
The witch, having been challenged to care about the plight of others, having also resisted that call in the case of Gustav, and motivated by selfishness though she is, is committing herself to the care of the new born as part of her own character journey and making a tentative step towards unselfishness by not murdering Rapunzel’s family.
The identification of the point of no return is a little difficult. We could potentially put it at this point (the witch’s actions effectively place some hard limits on Gustav’s choices) but I chose instead to strip away those choices further and set the point of no return at roughly the end of the 3rd episode (where all of Gustav’s allies and choices are gone and he is left to rely solely on himself for Rapunzel’s return).
SCENE 5: INT – THE COTTAGE – DAY (TEN WEEKS LATER)
(GERTRUDE, GUSTAV, MIDWIFE, WITCH)
- GERTRUDE: (IN LABOR) AAAAAARGH!
- MIDWIFE: That’s it dear!
- GERTRUDE: Who are you calling “dear” you myopic old bat. AAAARGH!
- GUSTAV : (DISTRESSED AND PANICKED) I’ve had all I can stand. I’ll be outside.
- GERTRUDE: Take one step towards that door and you’re as good as dead. I am NOT going through this alone. AAAAARGH!
- MIDWIFE: (TO GUSTAV) Don’t worry, Gustav dear, she doesn’t know what she’s saying.
- GERTRUDE: Do too. UUUUUUGH.
- MIDWIFE: Some girls are just like this going through labour. She probably won’t even remember after the baby arrives.
- GUSTAV: That’s all well and good for her. What about me? I’ll remember.
- GERTRUDE: AAAARGH!
- MIDWIFE: (TO GERTRUDE) That’s it. That’s wonderful dear. I can see the head now. (BEAT) (TO GUSTAV) As for you, you’ll be able to show some sympathy for what your wife’s going through. Now, get out of the way. The baby’s nearly here.
- GERTRUDE: AAAAARGH!
- MIDWIFE: That’s it. One last big push and…
- SOUND: BABY CRYING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- MIDWIFE: It’s a little girl. Gertrude, Gustav, you have a little girl. (TO THE BABY) Here, little one, go to your mama.
- GERTRUDE: (CRYING) Oh, she’s beautiful. Just beautiful. Look Gustav. What will we name her?
- GUSTAV: Um, how about your grandmother’s name; Rapunzel.
- GERTRUDE: Rapunzel. That’s a beautiful name. (BABY TALKING) Hello Rapunzel. Hello my little girl. Welcome to your family. I’ve got something very special for you.
- GUSTAV: She’s wonderful, Gertrude. Just wonderful.
- GERTRUDE: Here you are, little Rapunzel. It’s a little gold chain with a heart on it. It belonged to my grandmother. I’m going to fasten it around your ankle now. (BEAT) There you are.
- GUSTAV: It’s beautiful darling.
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
- ESMERELDA: Oh, now isn’t that a lovely sight. The little family. Too bad I’m here to mess everything up.
- GUSTAV: No… But how?
- ESMERELDA: Don’t look so surprised. You knew this was coming. I certainly hadn’t forgotten.
- GERTRUDE: Gustav? What’s this about? Who is this person?
- MIDWIFE: It’s that witch from next door.
- GUSTAV: .. but you can’t be here. I bought a protection amulet. It’s… it’s supposed to keep witches away.
- ESMERELDA: (WITCH’S DERISIVE CACKLE) Mwahahahahaha. That thing? That’s just an acorn on a piece of string. I hope you didn’t pay very much for it. You certainly haven’t gotten any smarter in the months since I saw you last. (BEAT) And from your wife’s expression I’m willing to bet you never told her about our little deal.
- GERTRUDE: Gustav, what is she talking about?
- ESMERELDA: Oh, look at your face. I hate to be the one to tell you this, my dear, but your husband has been hiding things from you.
Remember that broken leg he’s been recovering from. He got it while trespassing on my property.
- GERTRUDE: No. Gustav, how could you have been so stupid?
- ESMERELDA: Oh, yes. I’m hoping the stupidity isn’t genetic though. You see, I made a deal with your husband. I would spare his life and let him return to you on condition that when your baby was born, I would take her off your hands.
- GERTRUDE: (Wailing) No. Not my baby. Not Rapunzel.
- MIDWIFE: No, you monster.
- GUSTAV: No, I won’t let you, I’ll…
- ESMERELDA: Petrify!
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
- GUSTAV AND GERTRUDE: (MUFFLED) Mmmmmf. Mmmmm-mmmmm. Mmmmmf
- SOUND: BABY STARTS TO CRY AND STOPS – DUCK UNDER.
- ESMERELDA: Oh yes, Gustav? You’ll do what? (CACKLES BRIEFLY) Mwahahahahaha. You could simply fulfil your promise you know? No? Then I’m guessing, if that doesn’t suit you, you might try to kill me? Hmmm? Well, I can’t have that now can I? No. Much better to freeze you all in place. You really are an idiot, Gustav. You might have tried to escape if you hadn’t foolishly trusted in that charlatan’s “anti-witch” charm – I might never have been able to find you if you had simply run away. Oh well. Too late now. (BEAT) (BABY TALK) Now let me take a good look at you, Miss Rapunzel, yes let me take a good look at you. Yes, yes, yes.
- SOUND: BABY GIGGLES AND COOS – DUCK UNDER
- ESMERELDA: Oh aren’t you a pretty little girl. So, so pretty. You’re going to come live with me. Yes you are. And we’re going to be very, very happy. (WITH STEEL IN THE VOICE) And I’m going to be so much better as a parent than they ever would have been. I’m going to train you to be a healer and, starting right now, I’ll prove how much better than them I am. I’m not even going to kill them. How’s that, eh? (SLIPPING BACK INTO BABY TALK) That’s right. I’m not even going to kill them? No, I’m not. (BEAT) Dissipate!
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
- GUSTAV: … I’ll kill you if you try to…
- GERTRUDE: She’s gone. My baby, she’s gone. My baby, no!… Oh (PASSES OUT).
- GUSTAV: Gertrude. Gertrude! Oh no. Gertrude, wake up! Wake up, please…
- MUSIC: TRAGIC SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
The witch needn’t have bothered sparing Gertrude as she dies of grief and is buried in the local graveyard. Gustav’s friend (and Gertrude’s brother), Hans, tries to provide comfort and fails. The witch appears by the graveside and offers to marry Gustav.
This scene was written to push Gustav into action. The combination of his wife’s death and the unfeeling and clumsy offer of marriage from the witch push him into positive action at last.
While the scene achieves its goals (motivating Gustav and introducing the witch’s own personal “point of no return”, it fails on a number of levels and if I had time, I would rewrite it. For a start it essentially “fridges” Gertrude. “Fridging” is a term that refers to creating a disposable character whose only purpose is to die and motivate another character in the story. While this works from a dramatic point of view, it is somewhat clichéd and lazy. The dramatic technique has also, rightly, been criticised as a means of devaluing the (usually female) victim. Secondly, it forms another point of resistance for the witch (whose resistance to change has already been established).
The central conflict of the scene is as follows…
Gustav’s goal in the scene is to mourn his wife but an obvious obstacle exists in his urgent need to recover his missing daughter. The disaster in the scene is the arrival of the witch and her revelation that she is not looking after the baby at all well. The dilemma Gustav faces is whether to allow the grief to consume him, take action against the witch himself, or seek aid. His choice is to seek aid.
SCENE 6: EXT – THE VILLAGE GRAVEYARD – DAY
(PRIEST, CROWD, HANS, GUSTAV, WITCH)
- SOUND: (BACKGROUND) BITTER WIND – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- PRIEST: (INTONING IN RITUAL FASHION) Man that is born of woman has but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He comes up, and is cut down, like a flower; he flees as it were a shadow, and never continues in one stay.
We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord : he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.
In your mercy, dear Lord, grant Gertrude, beloved wife of Gustav, eternal rest and raise her with your saints on the last day. In your divine promises we trust.
- CROWD: Amen
- GUSTAV: (BEGINS SOBBING)
- SOUND: (WALLA) MURMURING AND DISPERSAL OF CROWD – ESTABLISH UNDER AND FADE.
- HANS: Come on Gustav. It’s going to be all right.
- GUSTAV: (SOBBING) She’s gone. My Gertrude is gone and the witch has taken our daughter.
- HANS: But what can anyone do? What can little people like us do? The witch could kill a hundred of us and it would make no difference.
- GUSTAV: (QUIETLY – ALMOST WHISPERING) She was your sister.
- HANS: And she starved herself to death out of grief. There’s no accounting for the miseries of this world, Gustav, and little enough comfort to be found for those who remain behind when some of us are taken. Don’t waste what’s left of your time on earth trying to figure out the “whys” of it all. (BEAT)(GIVING UP) I’ll be waiting for you by the donkey.
- SOUND: HANS’ FEET TRUDGE AWAY – FADE OUT.
- GUSTAV: (STILL QUIET) But I know the reason why. I know the reason why and I’m powerless to do anything about it. It was that… it was that… that witch. It was her… (FACING HIS OWN GUILT SQUARELY) and it was me, and my own cowardice. I should have let her kill me. I should have had more courage… I should have… (BREAKS DOWN SOBBING ONCE MORE).
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIMES – LET IT FINISH.
- ESMERELDA: (BUSINESS LIKE) Well, that’s her out of the way. (BEAT) To business. Gustav, I have a proposition for you.
- GUSTAV: (ANGRY) You! I’m gonna…
- ESMERELDA: (MATTER OF FACT) Petrify!
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIMES – LET IT FINISH.
- ESMERELDA: Does it always have to be this way? I’ve got good news for you buster.
- GUSTAV: Mmmmmmmf. Mmmmf!
- ESMERELDA: Have it your way. (BEAT) Now, while I have your frozen attention…
It has occurred to me that I may have been a bit premature in picking the child up so soon.
- GUSTAV: Mmmmmf!
- ESMERELDA: I perhaps should have waited until it could, you know, feed and clean itself, maybe even a little longer. Still, hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
- GUSTAV: Harrmmmmmf!
- ESMERELDA: And the way she cries. I’ve taken to sticking rags in her mouth just to get a little peace.
- GUSTAV: MMMMMF!
- ESMERELDA: But now that your wife is dead… well, I think there’s a solution here for both of us. (BEAT) You want your daughter, and I want an apprentice.
- GUSTAV: Mmmmmf???
- ESMERELDA: Surely you can see it. The simple solution is for the two of us to get hitched. What else are you going to do? Curl up and die of grief? End it all? Try to fight me? You haven’t the brains. No, marry me and let bygones be bygones. The girl gets her father back, I stop having to clean up after her – you have no idea how she smells! – and everyone’s happy.
- GUSTAV: MMMMMMF! MMMMMM, MMMMMF, MMMMMMMMMF!
- ESMERELDA: Oh sorry, I forget. Let me unfreeze your mouth – just a little, though. No need to take unnecessary chances now, is there? (BEAT) Mobilise!
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIMES – LET THEM FINISH.
- GUSTAV: (PANTING WITH EXERTION AND QUIET FURY) You stole my daughter, the grief of it killed my wife, and now, with her barely in the ground, you have the arrogance to look me in the face and ask me to marry you so I can look after my own daughter on your behalf, is that it?
- ESMERELDA: Pretty much. What do you say?
- GUSTAV: I Gustav, son of Lars, say this: I swear, here and now, on the grave of my beloved Gertrude, to dedicate my life to hunting you down and recovering my daughter. I promise that I will never let a day go by where I do not attempt to kill you for what you have done to me and my family. If it takes the rest of my life… If I have to spend every last cent… If I have to solicit the aid of the King himself… If, in the end, all I have available to me are my bare hands… I will hunt you down and kill you. I will KILL YOU! YOU HEAR ME, I WILL KILL YOU!
- ESMERELDA: Petrify!
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIMES – LET THEM FINISH.
- ESMERELDA: Ah well, it was just a thought. I could have used the help. She doesn’t half stink, lying there in her own filth. But I’ll figure it out, mothers always do I’m told. Ta-ta!
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIMES – LET THEM FINISH.
- SOUND: GUSTAV COLLAPSES TO KNEES – LET IT FINISH.
- GUSTAV: (WEEPING GROWING TO WAILING) Noooooooooo!
- MUSIC: TRAGIC SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
This is another series of scenes that were originally envisaged as a single entity.
Gustav seeks an audience with the King in order to enlist his aid. The Queen has just given birth to an heir to the throne. Everyone tells him they are too busy to listen to his concerns… but he does not give up.
In terms of Gustav’s character arc, this is where his commitment to his decision to try to regain his daughter is tested.
He wishes to gain an audience with the king – this is his goal. However, a petty functionary who dislikes peasants is the obstacle that stands in his way. Disaster strikes when he learns that he will have to wait two years for the appointment. The dilemma Gustav faces is whether to give up, find someone who knows the king who can act as his sponsor, raise a bribe, or take desperate action like breaking into the King’s chambers in order to get a hearing. He settles on the desperate choice.
Because there was a lot to accomplish here I broke this section into three scenes. The first takes place in the courtyard and gives the Gustav (and the audience) the information regarding the birth of the prince. The second involves the encounter with the Chamberlain and ends with Gustav being told he has to wait two years before an audience with the king will be granted. The final scene takes place in the courtyard again and involves Gustav deciding to break into the King’s chambers.
- SOUND: (WALLA) BUSTLE OF BUSY CASTLE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
- HANS: Gustav, wait. You can’t just walk up and demand to see the King.
- GUSTAV: Why not? He’s my king. He collects taxes from me. He expects me to spill my blood on his behalf if he sounds a general call to arms for the defence of his realm. Why shouldn’t I have the right to call on his aid? It’s part of the social contract after all.
- HANS: Where’d you learn a phrase like that anyway?
- GUSTAV: (DISGUSTED GRUNT)
- HANS: Gustav, stop. Just stop. (BEAT) Firstly, it doesn’t work that way. You’re just a little person. Your small concerns don’t rate any notice in the King’s business.
- GUSTAV: (OUTRAGED) My small concerns? She was your sister who died. She’s your niece who is missing. Just how small do you think they are?
- HANS: I know, I know. These issues are so important to us they make up our entire world. But they are nothing to a King whose world is infinitely larger.
- GUSTAV: All right then, just leave.
- HANS: What? No, Gustav. Don’t be like this.
- GUSTAV: No-one else in the village is willing to help. Everyone is afraid of the witch. I get it, I would have been afraid myself if it had been one of our neighbours that this happened to. But it’s not one of our neighbours, it’s me. It’s our family! We have to try. Don’t you see?
- HANS: All right. All right. I came out to the castle with you, didn’t I? I’m here and I’m coming with you the rest of the way. I just don’t want you to get your hopes up is all.
- GUSTAV: (DESPONDENT) Come on. I’ll ask someone where the Chancellor’s office is. (BEAT) Here, excuse me. Do you know where the Chancellor’s office is by any chance?
- PEASANT WOMAN: Sure, but you won’t be getting much out of him today?
- GUSTAV: What? Why not?
- PEASANT WOMAN: (LAUGHS) You don’t think the castle court is this full of people all the time. Dignitaries are pouring in to pay their respects to the new heir…
- GUSTAV: (BEAT)
- PEASANT WOMAN: Oh, surely you knew? (GUSHING WITH EXCITEMENT) The Queen gave birth to a bouncing baby boy this morning. They’ve named him Franz. He’s sure to grow up tall and hansome if he takes after his mother.
- GUSTAV: And if he takes after his father?
- PEASANT WOMAN: Then, (AHEM), probably less so. Anyway, the Chancellor’s office is over that way.
- GUSTAV: Thank you. (TO HANS) A royal baby, yet? Could this day get any more complicated?
- MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
SCENE 8: (INT.) CHANCELLOR’S OFFICE
(CHANCELLOR, HANS, GUSTAV)
- SOUND: LIGHT KNOCK AND OMINOUS DOOR CREAK – LET IT FINISH.
- GUSTAV: .. your Honour? Is anyone here? Only the man in the doorway said…
- CHANCELLOR: (IMPATIENT AND OFFICIOUS) Yes. Yes. Come in. I haven’t got all day.
- GUSTAV: Thankyou your Honour. Um. My brother-in-law and I wish to…
- CHANCELLOR: (DISDAINFUL) Oh… Peasants… Hangings are down the hall to your left.
- GUSTAV: Um, we’re not here to watch a hanging!
- CHANCELLOR: I can see that. I assumed you were here to be hung.
- GUSTAV: What? No!
- CHANCELLOR: Really? What does someone like you have to live for? Don’t answer that. It was purely rhetorical.
- HANS: I’ll give you rhetorical you puffed up little…
- GUSTAV: Hans, No! Um, Lord Chancellor, we were told you keep the appointment book for the King.
- CHANCELLOR: Yes?
- GUSTAV: Well, we’d like to make an appointment please.
- CHANCELLOR: (BEAT)(STARTING TO LAUGH) Hahaha. Oh, really. It must be Thursday. Gerhard is in on a Thursday. Ha ha ha. He really does like to have his little jokes. Ha ha ha. Very funny. Very funny indeed. Now if you don’t mind I’ve got work to do.
- GUSTAV: But your Honour…
- CHANCELLOR: Now really, the joke was very good, but I have work to do.
- HANS: It is NOT a joke, your Honour. My brother-in-law would like an appointment to see the King.
- GUSTAV: Yes, urgently.
- CHANCELLOR: (BEAT) Truly? Well, I never. You do realise you will need to make yourselves considerably more presentable before you will ever be allowed to see the King?.
- GUSTAV: These are my best clothes.
- HANS: Those are his only clothes.
- CHANCELLOR: Yes, thank you. I’m down wind enough to detect that on my own.
- GUSTAV: I must see the King, a witch has stolen my daughter and I need his aid to get her back.
- CHANCELLOR: Yes, yes. I’m sure it’s very urgent but… what did you say?
- GUSTAV: A witch has taken my daughter and I need the King’s help to get her back.
- CHANCELLOR: Preposterous! There’s no such thing as witches. (SUSPICIOUSLY) Are you sure Gerhard didn’t send you?
- GUSTAV: I don’t know anyone name Gerhard, sir, I promise you. I just want to get my daughter back.
- CHANCELLOR: (SUDDENLY OFFICIOUS) We all want something… er… what did you say your name was?
- CHANCELLOR: We all want something, Gustav. And everyone wants something from the King. It’s my job to make sure only the deserving one’s get it.
- HANS: And just who qualifies as deserving in your opinion, your Honour? The well dressed peacocks gathered outside?
- CHANCELLOR: Well, presentation is important, and a well dressed gentleman does make a positive first impression – one which you two are clearly not versed in doing.
- HANS: I see, and then it would also be helpful if the petitioner had a sizeable purse.
- CHANCELLOR: Yes, now you see it. A man of means has clearly had education, is responsible and frugal, and far less likely to waste the King’s time than a man from more “humble” circumstances.
- HANS: And the merits of the case itself?
- CHANCELLOR: Oh, I take my duties very seriously, of course. The King has entrusted me with the task of weighing each issue brought before me. I judge every case on its merits – I’m required to by royal decree. But I do have to be careful to ensure the King’s time isn’t wasted.
- HANS: And the kidnapping of a newborn baby girl? Would this count as a case with merit?
- CHANCELLOR: Well, naturally. That would be a very serious matter.
- HANS: Good, then you’ll grant us an audience with the King?
- CHANCELLOR: Of course. Over something so serious I’m bound to… once we get all the details in place. Now, who is your sponsor?
- GUSTAV: I beg your pardon?
- CHANCELLOR: Your sponsor? You know, the person in the King’s court who is willing to attest to your veracity.
- GUSTAV: I am an honest man. My word is my bond.
- CHANCELLOR: Yes, but your word counts for very little in a setting where you are basically unknown.
- GUSTAV: Well, everyone in the village knows me. They will attest to my honesty.
- CHANCELLOR: Oh dear. Dear. Dear Dear.
- GUSTAV: I don’t understand…
- HANS: The Chancellor is suggesting that you don’t have any important connections here at court.
- CHANCELLOR: Well now, I wouldn’t want to suggest that…
- HANS: It’s all right. I’m beginning to get the picture regarding how things work around here. And before you ask about administration fees, overheads, tarrifs, and anything else, Gustav spent the last of his money just to get here.
- CHANCELLOR: (SPECULATIVE) Oh?
- HANS: And I don’t have any money either.
- CHANCELLOR: (DISAPPOINTED) Oh. No money. Poorly presented. No court sponsor. Tsk Tsk Tsk. I’m not sure there is a lot I can do for you.
- GUSTAV: So you won’t help me to see the King.
- CHANCELLOR: Oh, I didn’t say that.
- GUSTAV: Really?
- CHANCELLOR: Really. I can fit you in for an appointment…
- GUSTAV: Yes?
- CHANCELLOR: At nine AM on the eighteenth of August…
- GUSTAV: (EXCITED) That’s only two days away!
- CHANCELLOR: …in two years’ time.
- SOUND: ECHOING CRASH OF APPOINTMENT BOOK CLOSING – LET IT FINISH.
- SOUND: (WALLA) BUSTLE OF CASTLE COURTYARD – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- HANS: I’m sorry Gustav. I tried to warn you.
- GUSTAV: I feel ill. I dared to let myself hope. I thought, “if I could just get a hearing from the King…”
- HANS: I know. It wasn’t to be.
- GUSTAV: There must be something I can do?
- HANS: Like what?
- GUSTAV: I don’t know. Find a sponsor perhaps? Raise some money for a bribe?
- HANS: (URGENTLY) Shhh! Be careful what you say openly. We’re still in the courtyard.
- GUSTAV: …maybe even break into the King’s chambers and see him directly.
- HANS: (PANICKED AND CHIDING) What did I just say? Are you crazy? Don’t even think about doing something like that. You’re beginning to sound self-destructive.
- GUSTAV: (LAUGHS BITTERLY) Self-destructive? Perhaps. (BEAT) Or maybe it’s just another word for desperate.
- HANS: Look Gustav, you can’t start thinking like this.
- GUSTAV: Well, what would you have me do? A hunter, crippled in one leg, even with the help of a fisherman like yourself, doesn’t have what it takes to confront a witch. I need an army. The villagers are sympathetic but afraid and won’t come to my aid. The King is the only one who commands the power to take her on… (BEAT) and if I stop trying, I really will die.
- HANS: I’m sorry Gustav, what you’re talking about is madness. They’ll lock you up in a dungeon so deep you’ll never see daylight again… and then they’ll throw away the key… if they don’t execute you for treason first. There is no way this ends well for you and I can’t be a part of it.
- GUSTAV: Yes, I know. You have a wife and little ones of your own. I can’t put them at risk by asking you to help me with what has to come next.
- HANS: You’re decided then?
- GUSTAV: Yes, I must see the King. I’ll try to get into his chambers tonight.
- HANS: Insanity! (BEAT) But, if I can’t dissuade you from this madness…, I will at least wish you luck.
- GUSTAV: Thank you Hans… and goodbye.
- MUSIC: MELANCHOLY 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