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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.

Rapunzel For Schools - Episode 3 - Desperate Measures
Rapunzel For Schools – Episode 3 – Desperate Measures

 

EPISODE 3 –      DESPERATE MEASURES

Writer’s Notes

The raising of the stakes continues (even as we move towards the point of no-return) as obstacle after obstacle is raised.

Gustav’s goal in this scene is to break into the King’s chambers and see the King. In order to do this he must break into the castle without being caught by the guards. The guards, of course, are a formidable obstacle. Disaster strikes early in this scene. Gustav is intercepted by a guard almost immediately on climbing through the castle window. His dilemma relates to whether to fight, flee, of simply yell his head off to wake the royal family and hope he can still get a hearing. His choice is to yell.

While drama depends on a protagonist being faced with a continuous string of obstacles, it is not necessary to make every scene end in failure for the protagonist. A remorselessly successful protagonist is boring, but it doesn’t hurt to let your protagonists occasionally succeed (if only to pull the rug out from under them shortly afterwards).

In this scene, the wise King, drawn out from his chambers in the middle of the night by the noise, chooses to give Gustav a hearing and is won over to helping Gustav reclaim his baby from the witch. Of course, this success will be undermined in the very next scene – but it does provide a moment of relief in the otherwise unrelenting tragedy of the story thus far.

 

SCENE 10:    INT – THE CASTLE HALLS – NIGHT
(GUSTAV, GUARD, KING, NARRATOR)

  1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
  2. SOUND: (WALLA) GUTTERING TORCHES, OCCASIONAL OWL IN DISTANCE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  3. NARRATOR: Once upon a time in a faraway land, or so the story goes, during a time of hunger and hardship a hunter named Gustav was tricked into paying for trespassing in a witch’s garden by giving up his newborn daughter, Rapunzel. His wife, Gertrude died from the grief of it and Gustav, desperate for the dispute to come to the notice of the King, has decided to break into the King’s chambers in dead of night…
  4. GUSTAV: (GRUNTING) If I can just… make the… window… ledge. (BEAT) Ah. I’m here. (PANTING) Now to find the King’s chambers… and avoid the guards.
  5. CASTLE GUARD: Oh, I think that boat may have sailed, don’t you?
  6. GUSTAV: Argh! You scared me!
  7. CASTLE GUARD: Well, that’s likely not the worst that’ll happen to you this night. (BEAT) Right, c’mon you!
  8. GUSTAV: Wait, what are you doing?
  9. CASTLE GUARD: I’m arresting you of course.
  10. GUSTAV: You are? Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of this before. The King acts as judge doesn’t he? Then, lead on. Take me before the King, my good man!
  11. CASTLE GUARD: (INCREDULOUS) Take you before the King? (BEAT) You’ve just been nabbed red-handed not ten feet from the King’s chambers. There won’t be any trial for you. It’ll be straight to the dungeon and then the headsman’s block. Now come on.
  12. GUSTAV: (Wailing) No. No. I have to see the King. I have to seek his aid.
  13. CASTLE GUARD: Come off it. What do you take me for? You’re probably an assassin from some nearby Kingdom.
  14. GUSTAV: Do I look like an assassin to you? I haven’t even got a weapon… and I’ve got a gammy leg. It’ll hold my weight and let me climb, but I can’t run on it or anything.
  15. CASTLE GUARD: Well, you don’t look like much of an assassin, I’ll grant you. But then I’ve heard assassins look just like everybody else. Maybe you’re just incompetent, eh? Have you thought about that? And besides I’ve found you just where I always expected an assassin to be.
  16. GUSTAV: What?
  17. CASTLE GUARD: I’ve been saying it for years. The most likely point of entry for any would-be assassin was that there window you came through. The other guards laughed at me. But I knew it provided the easiest approach and I’ve stood by this window night after night for years.
  18. GUSTAV: You’ve stood by this exact window for years because you felt it was the one most likely to be used by an intruder?
  19. CASTLE GUARD: (PROUDLY) I have. And look what it’s netted me?
  20. GUSTAV: Of all the luck.
  21. CASTLE GUARD: What do you mean?
  22. GUSTAV: I only picked that window at random.
  23. CASTLE GUARD: You what?
  24. GUSTAV: I only picked that window at random.
  25. CASTLE GUARD: (DISTRESSED) I don’t believe you. (BEAT) You’re just saying that to mess with me and throw me off my game. I can see right through your type. And none of this “I picked a random window” stuff when we get down to the guardhouse… and keep your voice down, the royal family are sleeping.
  26. GUSTAV: So, what are my choices here? Come with you quietly and face the headsman’s block…
  27. CASTLE GUARD: (EAGERLY) Or (my personal preference) resist arrest and let me beat you up a little before taking you to face the headsman’s block – only do it quietly, eh? So as not to disturb the King.
  28. GUSTAV: You know, I actually just thought of a third option.
  29. CASTLE GUARD: Yeah, what’s that?
  30. GUSTAV: (CONSPIRATORIALLY) Well you know how you said the Kings chambers are less than ten feet away?
  31. CASTLE GUARD: (EQUALLY CONSPIRATORIAL) Yes?
  32. GUSTAV: And you want me to keep my voice down (like this) so I don’t wake up the Royal family?
  33. CASTLE GUARD: Yes?
  34. GUSTAV: Then it seems to me, that if I want to gain an audience with the King…
  35. CASTLE GUARD: Yes?
  36. GUSTAV: (YELLING) I should shout my head off!
  37. CASTLE GUARD: No! Shhhhh!
  38. SOUND: SOUNDS OF SCUFFLING – UNDER
  39. GUSTAV: (YELLING) Your majesty! Wake up! Wake up, your majesty! (URK) Alarm! Alarm!
  40. CASTLE GUARD: (SIMULTANEOUS WITH 516 ABOVE) No. Shut up! Will you shut up! I’m… going… to have to… hurt… you… if you don’t.
  41. SOUND: DOOR CREAKS OPEN – LET IT FINISH.
  42. KING: What is the meaning of this racket?
  43. GUSTAV: Your majesty, I must speak with you. It is desperately urgent!
  44. CASTLE GUARD: Your majesty, don’t listen to him. I just caught him climbing in the window to assassinate you.
  45. KING: Through that window, eh? After all these years, you finally caught someone. Well done, you.
  46. CASTLE GUARD: (PROUDLY) Thank you sire.
  47. GUSTAV: Please your majesty. I’m no assassin. And I didn’t come here to steal. I just want to speak with you. My daughter has been taken…
  48. KING: (SHARPLY) Does the man have any weapons?
  49. CASTLE GUARD: Er, no sire.
  50. KING: Any sacks for carrying loot? Lockpicks and such?
  51. CASTLE GUARD: No sire. He doesn’t even have a rope for climbing the outer wall.
  52. KING: Really? No rope? You must be a genuinely desperate fellow… or particularly stupid.
  53. GUSTAV: Yes, your highness. I mean, no your highness. I mean…
  54. KING: Yes, yes all right. You’ve woken me up now so I may as well hear your story.
  55. CASTLE GUARD: But sire?
  56. KING: Calm yourself, Falchion. It’s clear that his man is no threat.
  57. GUSTAV: Falchion?
  58. CASTLE GUARD: (APOLOGETIC) My mother thought it sounded tough. She wanted me to become a guard from the day I was born.
  59. KING: (IMPATIENT) Come, come. Let’s hear it. I may not look at my most dignified standing here in my carpet slippers, but I’m still the King and it wouldn’t do to waste my time.
  60. GUSTAV: Yes, your highness. It’s like this, my name is Gustav, a hunter living on the edge of the Old Forest and…
  61. NARRATOR: And Gustav told the story of how he had sought to borrow some vegetables and how this had led to his daughter being stolen and the death of his wife. The King was shocked…
  62. KING: And she really asked you to marry her beside your wife’s grave?
  63. GUSTAV: Yes sir.
  64. KING: I believe you.
  65. GUSTAV AND THE CASTLE GUARD: You do?
  66. KING: Gustav, in many ways you have been a complete fool.
  67. GUSTAV: (DEJECTED) Oh.
  68. KING: But you are an honest fool. You have told me the whole story, even though much of it does not reflect very well on you. You admit to trespassing on your neighbour’s land and also to the foolish decisions you have made thus far. I can find no lie in what you have said.
  69. GUSTAV: (HOPEFUL ONCE MORE) Does this mean that you’ll…
  70. KING: The punishment that you have suffered at the witch’s hands has been disproportionate to any crime you may have committed. In fact I am horrified at the miscarriage of justice that has occurred here. I will help you. In fact, I swear here and now upon my family honour that your daughter will be returned to your care.
    (TO THE CASTLE GUARD) Falchion, give this man a place to rest in the stables while we gather my personal guard.
  71. CASTLE GUARD: Yes sire.
  72. KING: And while you’re at it. Wake up the Chamberlain. He can see me off. It’s the least he can do for allowing his snobbery and playing-of-politics to result in my being woken in the middle of the night.
  73. MUSIC: TRIUMPHANT SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

 

 

Writer’s Notes

Whether you conceive of these scenes as a continuation of the initial raising of the stakes or as the development of the rising tension of the story, the obstacles continue to mount.

In this scene the goal is to arrest the witch. The main actor is the King, while Gustav remains, for the most part, a spectator in the action. To give Gustav a stake in the outcome of the scene (beyond the question of whether the baby will be recovered or not) I chose to have the King express some doubt over Gustav’s truthfulness and drop some dark hints regarding what will happen if the situation is found to have all been a hoax.

The main obstacle in the scene (since the witch herself has already departed) is the wall around the property and the animated statues within). These are taken care of with cannon fire.

Disaster strikes when it is discovered that the witch has already departed with the child.

The King’s dilemma is circumscribed by his hasty promise to recover Gustav’s daughter. Will he keep his promise and keep up the search, or abandon it having confirmed that the witch has escaped?

The King’s choice is to honour his promise.

Here we see the beginnings of the demonstration of the change that has occurred in Gustav’s character. He will not be swayed and wants to hold the King to his promise.

As the scene concludes a fruitless eighteen years of searching go by.

SCENE 11:    EXT – THE WITCH’S HOUSE – DAY
(SOLDIER #1, SOLDIER #2, OFFICER, HERALD, KING, GUSTAV)

  1. SOUND: (WALLA) DAYTIME OUTDOOR AMBIANCE, BIRDS, BREEZE, ETC – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. SOUND: HORSES, BRIDLES ETC. FOR KING’S COMPANY – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  3. OFFICER: Sire, I believe that is the house. Shall I call forth the herald?
  4. KING: Very good, make the announcement.
  5. HERALD: Be it known that His Majesty Ferdinand, King of this land has come forth on entreaty of one of his subjects to right a grievous wrong. The occupant of yonder house is hereby ordered to present herself before the King.
  6. HERALD: (AFTER A LONG PAUSE) There is no response your majesty.
  7. KING: Sir Knight?
  8. OFFICER: Sire?
  9. KING: Am I correct in noting there are no gates in the wall?
  10. OFFICER: Why, yes sire. There are no gates, only a high wall all around.
  11. KING: You have my leave to use the cannon to breach the wall.
  12. OFFICER: Yes, sire. (BEAT) You men, bring the cannon forward.
  13. SOUND: CANNON RUMBLES FORWARD.
  14. KING: You may fire when ready.
  15. OFFICER: Take it to within a few dozen yards of the wall. (PAUSE) Ready. (PAUSE) Fire!
  16. SOUND: CANNON BOOM, CRUMBLE OF WALL – LET IT FINISH.
  17. OFFICER: The smoke’s clearing, Sire. Yes, the wall is breached.
  18. SOUND: HUZZAH OF SOLDIERS PRESENT – LET IT FINISH.
  19. KING: Yes, yes. Very well done, Sir Knight. Before you enter, I must just check something. Gustav?
  20. GUSTAV: Yes your majesty?
  21. KING: We did just blow a hole in the wall of the right house, didn’t we?
  22. GUSTAV: Oh, yes, your majesty.
  23. KING: Oh good, only I suddenly had that feeling you get sometimes. You know the one? Where you feel like you really should have checked your facts before giving an order.
  24. GUSTAV: Then let me put your mind at rest your majesty. That’s definitely the Witch’s house.
  25. KING: Good. Because if this turns out to be a wild goose chase… well, mountains will have been reduced to rubble by the wind before you ever see anything other than the roof of my dungeon over your head again. Understand?
  26. GUSTAV: (GULPS) Er, yes your Majesty.
  27. KING: Now, before I give any further orders. Those statues we can see inside the walls. Were they the ones that left you crippled?
  28. GUSTAV: Yes, your majesty, that’s them.
  29. KING: (DUBIOUS) They don’t appear to be moving at the moment.
  30. GUSTAV: No, your majesty. They only come to life when someone trespasses inside the grounds.
  31. KING: I thought as much. You know, I’ve never actually seen a statue move.
  32. GUSTAV: (FERVENTLY) I hope I never see it again.
  33. KING: (REGRETFUL) Yes, I guess you’re right. It wouldn’t do to send someone in there just to see what happens… even if it would help to reassure me concerning the truth of your situation. (BEAT) Sir Knight?
  34. OFFICER: Sire?
  35. KING: Train the cannon on those statues for me, there’s a good chap.
  36. OFFICER: Yes, sire. (BEAT) All right you lads, shift that cannon to where it can do for those two statues. (BEAT) Ready. (BEAT) Don’t embarrass us now. The King is watching. (BEAT) Aim. (BEAT) That’s it, a little to the left. (BEAT) Fire!
  37. SOUND: BOOM OF CANNON FOLLOWED BY SMASHING CROCKERY SOUND.
  38. KING: Oh, good show. That was a jolly good shot. I like nothing better than a bit of good, cannon marksmanship.
  39. OFFICER: Thank you sire.
  40. KING: Oh, look, they’re lining up the other one.
  41. OFFICER: Yes Sire. (BEAT) Steady. (BEAT) Aim. (BEAT) Fire!
  42. SOUND: BOOM OF CANNON FOLLOWED BY SMASHING CROCKERY SOUND.
  43. KING: (CLAPPING LIKE A CHILD) Oh marvellous, marvellous. I do like a good piece of artillery, don’t you Gustav?
  44. GUSTAV: Your majesty, I am happy simply to know those monsters have been dealt with.
  45. KING: (SOBERING) All right Sir Knight, this is where things get dangerous. We don’t know how powerful she is, so be careful. Send in your men to drag her out. Be sure she is gagged and tied so she cannot speak her spells. And bring the infant out… carefully.
  46. OFFICER: Yes, sire. At once. (BEAT) All right you motley lot, advance upon the house and drag that old biddy out. Quick march!
  47. SOUND: TROOPS MARCHING AWAY – FADE OUT.
  48. KING: Now we wait.
  49. GUSTAV: They just kicked in her door. She won’t like that.
  50. KING: It’ll be alright Gustav. We’ll have your daughter back in your arms shortly… assuming you’ve been telling us the truth.
  51. SOLDIER #1: (CALLING AT A DISTANCE) We’ve checked the ground floor. There’s no one here.
  52. KING: Oh, dear. This doesn’t look very good, does it?
  53. SOLDIER #2: (CALLING FROM UPSTAIRS) There’s no-one on the upper floor either. It looks like she’s scarpered. There’s evidence there was a child here though. And a note.
  54. OFFICER: Sire, it appears…
  55. KING: Yes, yes. I heard. Have them bring me the note. (SIGH) I’m sorry Gustav, I’d hoped this situation could be resolved quickly. Before I arrest you, I’ll have a little look at this note.
  56. SOUND: RUNNING FEET APPROACHING – LET IT FINISH.
  57. SOLDIER #1: (PUFFING WITH EXERTION) Your majesty (PANTS) Here is the note.
  58. SOUND: PAPER BEING UNFOLDED – LET IT FINISH.
  59. KING: Dear Gustav. (BEAT) That would be you. (BEAT) I received word this evening, via the crows who watch the road for me, that you were travelling this way in the company of the King (that’s me) and his men (that’s them). Rather than get into a nasty little snit with Royalty, I’ve chosen to take your daughter and leave. If you’d behaved, I might at least have let you see the girl from time to time. As it is I’ll make sure you never find either of us and… that you will never see her again.
    Yours, etc.
    Esmerelda
  60. GUSTAV: (MAKES A CHOKING SOB)
  61. KING: Easy Gustav. I guess that confirms your story. I won’t be putting you in jail. I gave you my word we’d get your daughter back and get her back we will. I have sworn it on my family honour. The Witch has not been gone long and she could not have gone far. We will find your daughter and return her to you yet. You’ll see. In the mean-time, what will you do?
  62. GUSTAV: (GATHERING HIMSELF) I won’t give up. I’ll keep searching for a way to get her back. She is all I have to live for. And…
  63. KING: Yes?
  64. GUSTAV: …I will hold you to your promise, your majesty. Please do all that is within your power to help me.
  65. KING: Don’t worry Gustav. Have I not promised my aid. We will find her.
  66. NARRATOR: Only the King didn’t find her and eighteen long years of searching went by. The food shortages became a memory and prosperity returned and, all the while true to his word, year after year the King put the resources of the castle to use attempting to track down Esmerelda and Rapunzel – to no avail. But Gustav refused to give up hope.

 

 

Writer’s Notes

While episode three of the telling of this tale has one more scene after this one (intended to whet the appetite for Rapunzel’s tale proper), we are now approaching the conclusion of Gustav’s character arc – we will not see him again until the final scene of the story in Episode 6 – and the narrative mid-point of the story (the actual point of no return that the story has been building towards in which the last of Gustav’s allies is lost to him, leaving him with only himself to rely upon).

It is 18 years later and the King is dying. During all this time Gustav has not given up hope. But the King has pledged his family honour to the task and fears his son will violate the promise. Rather than face disgrace he summons Gustav and begs to be released from his promise.

In this scene, Gustav’s goal, as always, is to the recover his missing daughter. In particular, his aim is retain the aid of the Royal family.

The obstacle is the King’s belief that his son will not honour the promise.

The disaster is, of course, the King’s illness and impending death, but this is exacerbated by the suggestion that the new King will threaten and perhaps imprison Gustav rather than fulfil the promise made by his father.

The dilemma for Gustav is to decide whether to grant the King his dying wish and release him from his promise, or hold the family to the promise come what may.

Gustav demonstrates that he is no longer the wavering man he once was. He is determined that everything that can be done to find his daughter must be done, even after all these years. His choice is to hold the King to his promise regardless of the consequences.

The death of the King forms the midpoint of the narrative by presenting Gustav with the loss of the last of his allies.

SCENE 12:    (INT) THE KING’S DEATHBED – DAY
(KING, MAID, DOCTOR, GUARD, GUSTAV, SERVANTS)

  1. SOUND: (WALLA) DISTANT BIRDS ETC – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. KING: (VERY FEEBLE) Who’s that?
  3. MAID: Just me, your majesty. One of the maids.
  4. KING: Thank you for opening the window my dear, it’s lovely to hear the birds.
  5. MAID: Your welcome your majesty. It’s an honour serving you today.
  6. KING: Doctor!
  7. DOCTOR: Yes, I’m here your majesty. Don’t strain yourself.
  8. KING: Oh stop it. We both know I’m dying. I think we’re past worrying about strain, now, don’t you.
  9. DOCTOR: As you say, your majesty.
  10. KING: Is he here yet?
  11. DOCTOR: Your son?
  12. KING: (ANNOYED) No. Not the dratted boy. I’d rather spare him having to watch me go. (BEAT) No, I mean the hunter, Gustav.
  13. DOCTOR: He waits without sire, but?
  14. KING: Oh for goodness sake man, I have no time. Send him in.
  15. DOCTOR: Yes, your majesty. (BEAT) Steward, bring in the hunter.
  16. SOUND: DOOR CREAKS OPEN – FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.
  17. CASTLE GUARD: Here he is sire.
  18. KING: Gustav, is that you?
  19. GUSTAV: Er, yes your majesty, it’s me.
  20. KING: Gustav, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I never found (COUGHS) your daughter. I’m sorry that after all these years…
  21. GUSTAV: Please, your majesty, don’t tax your strength.
  22. KING: I’ve failed Gustav. (COUGHING) I’m so sorry.
  23. GUSTAV: I know you have tried your majesty… as I have. I know you have held firm to your promise.
  24. KING: True, Gustav, true. But now I must beg you a favour.
  25. GUSTAV: Your majesty?
  26. KING: My son, Gustav. My son is a fool.
  27. GUSTAV: (SHOCKED) Your majesty!!
  28. KING: I’m too near death for hypocricy, Gustav. I have raised a spoiled, lazy brat.
  29. GUSTAV: But your majesty…
  30. KING: It’s my own fault of course. After his mother died I doted on him. Gave him everything he asked for… but now…
  31. GUSTAV: Yes, your majesty…
  32. KING: Now, I must ask you… no, beg you… please, Gustav, release me from my promise.
  33. GUSTAV: But your majesty…
  34. KING: I cannot trust my son to honour it. He is spoiled and wilful. If he does not honour my promise, the promise I swore upon my family name, my line will be dishonoured. (BEAT)
    Please, Gustav, please. Release me from my oath.
  35. GUSTAV: (FEELING THE TORMENT) I cannot do it, your majesty.
  36. SERVANTS:
  37. GUSTAV: Please, do not ask me to. It is all that has kept me alive through these many years of sorrow. Ask anything else.
  38. KING: (SADLY) Ah,Gustav, I did but hope. (BEAT)
    He may threaten you, you know? He may even have you jailed if you try to claim your rights.
  39. GUSTAV: I know.
  40. KING: And you still won’t release me from the promise?
  41. GUSTAV: (SADLY) No. I must go on searching, though no-one remains my ally.
  42. KING: So be it. I die, knowing the honour of my house is likely to be stained.
  43. GUSTAV: Your majesty…
  44. KING: It’s all right Gustav. I am old and weak. My son is a wastrel… and ugly to boot. I know it and so do my advisors. If it had not been this issue, it would have been another. Farewell…. (EXHALES HEAVILY)
  45. DOCTOR: (SILENCE FOR A TIME) The King is dead. Long live the King.
  46. CASTLE GUARD: King Ferdinand is dead, ring the bells, send for our new King. Franz succeeds to the throne.
  47. SOUND: BELLS RING OUT – ESTABLISH AND FADE.
  48. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

 

 

Writer’s Notes

In writing this I have spent the first half of the story on prelude – the story of Gustav. Now we move into the meat of the story (that of Rapunzel and her Prince) in the second half. As stated earlier, I chose to include the introduction to Franz, the prince, at the end of Episode three to provide a hook into the following episodes. The resolution of Gustav’s character arc (while leaving the overall story incomplete) might present a temptation for some of the audience to leave the story at this point, and I wanted to give them a reason to come back. The mystery of the missing children, was intended to provide this hook.

This scene introduces the character of Prince Franz, soon to be King. We step back in time a short way (a matter of a few hours before the current King’s death) to give us time to establish Franz’ character. This scene provides us with the beginning of his character arc.

We initially encounter Franz as a responsibility shirking young man who does not want to take up the responsibilities he has been born to. His initial character is demonstrated by his goofing off in the forest.

Franz is accompanied by Hermann, his friend. Hermann was written largely as a sounding board for Franz. But he also gives the audience a way to voice challenges and make observations regarding Franz’ character.

The call to change comes in the form of a cry for help heard at a distance. But Franz resists the call by hiding (in case it is a servant looking to return him to his duties in the castle).

This substructure of the scene has been split over two scenes; this one and the opening scene of part 4.

Franz’ goal is to enjoy a fun day in the forest away from responsibility.

An obstacle is presented when he hears a boy’s cry for help – which he ignores.


 

SCENE 13:    EXT – THE FOREST – MORNING
(PRINCE FRANZ, HERMANN, BOY)

  1. SOUND: (WALLA) AMBIANT FOREST SOUNDS – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. NARRATOR: Earlier that day in the nearby forest…
  3. HERMANN: Franz, I’m serious. You’re going to be King soon. You can’t keep running off to the woods all the time.
  4. FRANZ: For goodness sake, Hermann. It’s because I’m going to be King soon that I’m doing this. All that responsibility is going to land on me. I want to enjoy the time I have left.
  5. HERMANN: You make it sound like a death sentence. You’re going to be the most powerful individual in the land. Your word will be law. Shouldn’t you at least, I don’t know, try to prepare yourself for all that authority?
  6. FRANZ: (SNORTS) I have watched my father at court since I was a child of six. Do you really think I’ve learned nothing in that time? His officials and advisors manage and direct his every waking moment, all in ways designed to give him a sense of his “great personal authority” while constantly manoeuvring to ensure he never exercises it.
  7. HERMANN: Surely, it’s not as bad as all that?
  8. FRANZ: Oh, yes it is. And, generally speaking, I’m grateful. The one time my father got away from them, he committed the family honour to tracking down some missing peasant girl. He’s bankrupted half the treasury on that quest and still has nothing to show for it.
  9. HERMANN: The baby stolen by the witch? I know the story. What was her name?
  10. FRANZ: Father is always impressing on me that, after he dies, it is my duty to take up the search. Seriously, as if I should be bound to honour the foolish promises he made nearly two decades past.
  11. HERMANN: The King is an honourable man…
  12. FRANZ: No, Hermann. You mean well, but the King is a fool, an impotent fool who lies now upon his bed awaiting death. He doesn’t even wish to see me… I can feel his disdain from here, even deep within this forest.
  13. HERMANN: Your father loves you, Franz.
  14. FRANZ: No, Hermann, he does not. I remind him too much of himself. When he looks at me he sees a mirror containing all his own faults and foibles, everything he finds wanting in his own character and stature is reflected back at him.
  15. HERMANN: Franz, you are too hard on him… and yourself.
  16. FRANZ: Hermann, you are a good friend to say so, but we both know the truth – I have been nothing but a disappointment to him. (BEAT) Take a good look at me Hermann, what do you see?
  17. HERMANN: Franz?
  18. FRANZ: Describe me.
  19. HERMANN: Well, you are… er… you are as stout as your heart… erm…
  20. FRANZ: Oh, very well played Hermann. What you mean is that I am fat, and in this you are completely correct. Continue.
  21. HERMANN: .. well, um you have never been one to overlook your friends…
  22. FRANZ: Ha! A nicely turned phrase. Can you not bring yourself to call me short. I am, you know, both short and fat.
  23. HERMANN: .. er…
  24. FRANZ: Go on Hermann, try and describe my looks in general.
  25. HERMANN: Must I, Franz?
  26. FRANZ: (AMUSED) Yes, I think you rather must. Consider it a royal command.
  27. HERMANN: .. sire… you are a man whose handsome qualities must be… er mined from within.
  28. FRANZ: (LAUGHING) Oh, Hermann, when I am King I will appoint you as a diplomat. I doubt one of father’s professional sycophants could have done better. I am ugly, Hermann, plain and simple. I take after my father in that regard.
  29. HERMANN: And yet you are highly sought after, my Lord.
  30. FRANZ: Oh, stop it, Hermann. We both know why that is. I am the most eligible bachelor in the Kingdom. Women throw themselves at me all the time. But none of them want to marry me. They want to marry the Kingdom. And it will only get worse when I succeed to the throne.
  31. HERMANN: Poor Franz, the lonely Prince in search of love. I guess you think I should feel sorry for you, with all that wealth, power, and your pick of women?
  32. FRANZ: Of course not, it’s just that I…
  33. HERMANN: Yes?
  34. FRANZ: (BEAT) I don’t know what I want. I don’t know who I am or what I want to do. I was raised to be King but I’ve spent my entire life dreading the whole prospect.
  35. HERMANN: It is too nice a morning for such dreary thoughts. You have always been a little too melancholy, Franz. I apologise for raising the issue. Come on, I’ll bet you a pint of ale that the creek beyond those trees is full of fish.
  36. FRANZ: Now a pleasant afternoon fishing is definitely one to lift the spirits.
  37. BOY: (IN THE DISTANCE BUT APPROACHING) Help. Help. Please, someone help me!
  38. HERMANN: Wait, did you hear that?
  39. FRANZ: Oh, damn. I did not want my afternoon ruined. If that is one of the pages from the castle come to fetch me on some errand or other…
  40. HERMANN: It sounded like someone in trouble… someone frightened.
  41. FRANZ: Confound it! I am likely to have too few afternoons to myself in the near future. Quick let’s hide in the brush. If it is someone genuinely in need of aid, we’ll come out. If it’s a servant intent on flushing me out of my cover, we’ll show him I’m not so easily caught.
  42. HERMANN: (UNCERTAIN) If you say so…
  43. SOUND: (ENTERING THE THICK BRUSH)
  44. FRANZ: Now, stay still.
  45. BOY: (RETREATING INTO THE DISTANCE NOW) Please. Please someone, help me. Help me. Help…
  46. FRANZ: It looks like he’s passed us by. The voice seems to have retreated away over yonder.
  47. HERMANN: And you’re sure it wasn’t someone in need?
  48. FRANZ: Who would have anything to fear in this forest? My father sees to it that the forest is kept clear of wolves and bears. No brigands are tolerated within its borders. I think we can be fairly sure it was nothing to be genuinely alarmed about.
  49. HERMANN: (BRIGHTLY) Well in that case. There are fish a-waiting.
  50. MUSIC: TIME PASSING SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
  51. MUSIC: CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.

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Lessons

Worked Example (Radio Adaptation of Rapunzel)