Hansel and Gretel: A Grimm Adaptation for the Stage

First performed November 2014 at the Linkville Playhouse in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Original tale written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

Cover/poster art by Aria Sha.

 

ACT 1

 

SCENE 1

 

Lights up

 

Dad: …And they all lived happily ever after… Were you guys even listening?

 

Kids [on phones mumble]: Sure, Dad. Yeah, whatever. (adlib)

 

Dad: Didn’t I ask you to put your phones away earlier? This is family time.

 

Hansel: Well, we DID put them away, but…

 

Gretel [interrupting]: We’re here, and we’re family, and we’re spending time together, soooo…

 

Dad: All right, I’ll read my book and you two don’t have to listen, but you DO have to hand over your phones.

 

Dad stands and walks toward audience.

 

Dad: Actually, you can all turn off your phones and devices. Anything that makes noise, has a light or flashy bulb can get turned off for the remainder of this fairy tale. It’s distracting to the moral of the story.

 

Dad: Now kids, go play on the playground or hunt for clovers; get some vitamin D from the sun and get some sort of exercise which does not only involve your thumbs!

 

Hansel: But Dad, my castle is about to get raided…!

 

Gretel [simultaneously, taking a selfie while she speaks]: I wasn’t finished posting selfies…!

 

Dad: All the more reason to explore the world you actually live in! Now go! We will discuss giving your phones back after 45 minutes of the great outdoors.

 

Kids [grumbling, handing over phones]: But the playground is boring…

 

Dad: Use your imaginations, kiddos!

 

Kids wander away

 

Dad: And stay out of the forest! (Facing audience) And that goes for the rest of you, too.

 

Lights Down

 

SCENE 2

 

Kids wandering, circling the stage, in stage L, out stage R, etc. Making circles.

 

Gretel: I can’t believe he did this to us… he knows I need social contact!

 

Hansel: Hey! What about me? I hate getting dirty! This forest is full of nothing but dirt.

 

Gretel: The playground was no better. At least out here she can’t hear us and we can complain as much as talk about whatever we want…. Where are we, anyway?

 

Hansel: I don’t know. I think I’ve seen that tree three times already…

 

Gretel: I’m hungry.

 

Hansel: Me too. And it’s getting cold…

 

Gretel: It’s getting dark…

 

Hansel: Here, let’s share the candy I brought.

 

Gretel: Where’d you get candy?! No fair! Gimme, gimme!

 

Hansel pulls pockets inside out, finds only one piece of candy, looks at Gretel dismally

 

Hansel: It’s left over from the Halloween stash… Hansel pulls pockets inside out, finds only one piece of candy, looks at Gretel dismally. Uh oh.

 

Gretel: Uh oh? You said you had candy! Where is it?

 

Hansel: I must’ve dropped it…

 

Gretel: I’m hungry!

 

Hansel: I’m sorry…. You can have the last piece.

 

Gretel unwraps it in silence, hands wrapper back to Hansel

 

Hansel: Let’s keep walking. I’m sure we’ll find our way back soon…

 

They continue to make circles

 

Lights Down

 

SCENE 3

 

Gretel: We’ve been walking foreverrrrrrr!

 

Hansel: I don’t understand how we managed to get so lost. Have we seen that squirrel already?

 

Gretel: We’ve seen ALL of the squirrels already!!

 

Gretel flops down on the ground and throws her hands up.

 

Gretel: We’re never gonna get out alive!

 

Hansel: Gretel! I think I see something…

 

Gretel: (Mumbling) Never getting out… never gonna see my Bbunnicula again.. never gonna tweet again… never gonna eat another cupcake….

 

Hansel: Gretel!

 

Gretel: Whaaaaaaaaaat? Can’t you see I’m sulking here?

 

Hansel: I know which way to go!

 

Hansel runs off stage.

 

Gretel: Wait for meeeee!

 

Gretel runs off stage.

 

Lights Down.

 

SCENE 4

 

Hansel runs on stage, stops in front of the candy house

 

Hansel: (staring at the house) Whoa!

 

Gretel: I thought you said you knew the way– (Gretel runs on, bumps into Hansel) Whoa! Is that…?

 

Hansel: A giant gingerbread house! Who needs Halloween candy? This thing could feed us for years!

 

Gretel: Hurray! Come to mama! (Rushes to the house and begins chewing on it)

 

Screaming and wailing is heard from within the house...

 

Gretel: (pauses chewing, mumbles with her mouth full) Who was that?

 

Hansel: I think it was the house!

 

Gretel: (stepping away from house) I’ve never heard a house scream before…

 

Wailing and moaning is heard again, like a B movie ghost

 

Hansel: I think we should leave. Come on. (begins pulling a dumbstruck Gretel away)

 

Gretel: But…

 

Voice within House (Gingerbread man): Who dares to trespass upon the majikal house of the Witch of the Great Woods?!

 

Hansel: My name is Hansel and this is my sister Gretel. We are hungry and tired. Can’t we just sit down for a while?

 

Gingerbread man: Leeeave nooooow!

 

Gretel: Hansel… I gotta go!

 

Hansel: (to House) Okay! But can’t we at least use the restroom first?

 

Witch: (Entering) Aaaaahh yessss that silly girl has finally pricked her finger and fallen asleep!

 

Gingerbread man: Wrong story.

 

Witch: What did you say to me?

 

Gingerbread man: Try again.

 

Witch exits, re-enters

 

Witch: Where are you, Dorothy? I must have those shoes!

 

Gingerbread man: Once more.

 

Witch exits, re-enters

 

Witch: (approaching Hansel) Well, well, well, look what we have here. It’s Harry Potter. He’s all bright, and shiny, and new again, just in time for the Dark Lord!

 

Gingerbread man: (Peaking head out of the house) Seriously?

 

Witch: (stomps foot in a huff) It’s been a long week, okay? I barely made it home without my youth being stolen! ….Home! That’s it!

 

Witch exits.

 

Gingerbread man: You really shouldn’t be here, kids.

 

Hansel: Why not?

 

Gingerbread man: Just trust me! Get out of here before… Quick, she’s coming back! Hide!

 

Hansel and Gretel hear the witch coming, hide behind a tree.

 

Witch: (entering) At last, I’m home! I was just at a Crystals and Medicinal Herbs convention in the Enchanted Forest and you’d be amazed how many kooks attend those things! (not even noticing children) I found myself thinking “What can’t be fixed with a little frosting?” So I left early! (sniffing) I smell….. children.

 

Gingerbread man: You smell what?

 

Witch: Children…

 

Gingerbread man: Hm?

 

Witch: Children!

 

Witch goes looking for the children in the audience, sniffing about, asking different children if they’ve seen the two she is looking for… Proclaiming that each child smells of something different.

 

Hansel and Gretel sScream, try to run away

 

Witch: Oh, no you don’t! Freeze!

 

Children freeze, as though hit by majik

 

Witch: Turn.

 

Children turn stiffly

 

Witch: Well, well, well! What do we have here?/ Such tasty, I mean tired looking children! You twoo must be simply famished! …Why don’t they answer me? Was I impolite? I haven’t lost my charm, have I?

 

Gingerbread man: Still a bit frozen.

 

Witch: Ah! Thaw! Now! Come inside, children, and we’ll get you both some delicious cookies and milk and then, perhaps, you can stay for dinner! After all, the REAL treats come later….

 

Children follow the witch inside

 

Gingerbread man: I warned them. (exits)

 

Lights Down

 

INTERMISSION

 

ACT 2

SCENE 1

 

Children are sitting on the ground, stuffing their faces with cookies

 

Witch: It won’t be long now. Soon they’ll fall into a sugar coma and then I can work my majik!

 

Gingerbread man: Are you sure you want to eat these twoones? They don’t seem sweet enough to make very good cookies. I mean, look at me! I was rotten, and look how I turned out!

 

Witch: I’ve perfected the spell since then. Besides, you were the one who wiggled too much, fell over and got yourself burnt! What a waste of gumdrops….

 

Children: (Yawning) So full… so sleepy… nice and warm in here… so… comfy… tasty… cookies…. (they slump over and begin snoring)

 

Witch: At last! Cookie making time! (Sing song-y as she dances around them)

 

Cookies, for eating, cookies my delight,

gingerbread and frosting

sugary goodness, baked just right!

 

Gingerbread man: Nothing is happening.

 

Witch: I must be tired from my trip… (to audience) Will you help me? I need more energy to turn them into cookies!

 

Gingerbread man: (loud whisper to audience) Don’t do it, guys. How would you feel if you were reduced to frosting?

 

Witch: So you’ll help me?! (let audience respond) No? Fine. I’ll drink a chai. That’ll give me the energy I need.

 

Gingerbread man: Oh, uh, I forgot! I… drank the last of the tea! You’ll have to get some more!

 

Witch: What? You hate tea! Ginger, you’re acting strangely today. I just don’t know what’s gotten into you.

 

Gingerbread man: Sorry.

 

Witch: I’m going to get more tea. I’ll be back shortly. (Begins to exit, stops) And Ginger? Keep an eye on them. (To audience) And you–Watch him for me, will you? (To Ginger) I mean it! If they’re ruined I might have to eat you with my tea!

 

Witch exits.

 

Gingerbread man: (Rushing to kids) Wake up children! She’s gone! You’ve got to get up! Come on, she won’t be gone very long! Get up!

 

Hansel and Gretel groan, flop over, and snore

 

Gingerbread man: (Groaning) Awww man! How am I supposed to save you if you won’t wake up! Do you want to be turned into cookies?

 

Hansel’s arm flops over on Gretel, she sits up

 

Gretel: Where am I? What happened?

 

Gingerbread man: Oh, thank the Gods of Gumdrops! You’re awake!

 

Gretel: Why is the gingerbread man talking to me?

 

Gingerbread man: Oh, boy. I can tell you’re going to be a real challenge. (To audience) Can you guys help me out? We’re gonna do a tiny incantation to help Gretel to come out of her sugar coma and remember me, okay? I’ll say it first, then I need you guys to say it again so we have enough energy to do this right. Ready? (encourage an enthusiastic response)

Sugar and spice

Memories so nice

Come back to this girl

In one sweet swirl!

 

Okay, your turn! Say it after me!

 

Sugar and spice

Memories so nice

Come back to this girl

In one sweet swirl!

 

Hansel groans and starts to wake up, Gretel sits up straight, suddenly alert.

 

Gretel: I remember now!

 

Gingerbread man: Great job, kids! That was the most sugary sweet memory spell I’ve ever seen!

 

Hansel: I ate too many cookies…

 

Gretel: Hansel, you remember too? The witch must’ve did something to our cookies to make us fall asleep. But why would she do that?

 

Gingerbread man: She only put the cookies in front of you. You two ate so many that cookies, you went into a sugar coma. The witch wanted you to give in to your greed and fall asleep so she could work her majik and turn you into tasty cookies to eat while she drinks her tea!

 

Gretel: I can’t believe we fell for that!…

 

Hansel: I feel ridiculous…

 

Gingerbread man: Okay, but kids, we don’t have a lot of time. She’s going to come back, and soon! IfAnd when she finds you two awake, she’s gonna turn us all into a snack!

 

Gretel: But how do we get out?

 

Hansel: I’m still so tired.

 

Gingerbread man: I know the way out of the Great Woods! I’ll show you and you can run back to your parents and your comfy lives.

 

Hansel: But if you know how to get out, why haven’t you left?

 

Gingerbread man: I’m not a kid anymore. I’m a half-burnt cookie. Where would I go?

 

Gretel: If we leave, what will happen to you? Will she eat you?

 

Gingerbread man: Nah, I’m a tough cookie!

 

Hansel: We’d better get out of here before…

 

Witch: (entering) Before what, dear child? Were you planning to leave before tea?

 

Hansel: Oh, no! We were hoping you would show us how you bake such delicious cookies!

 

Gretel: (looking at Hansel, he winks, and she begins to play along) Oh, yes! Will you show us your delicious recipe? We’d love to learn!

 

Witch: Of course, dear! I love to have eager pupils. My cookie making is simply majik! You two stand over there and I’ll go get my crystals…

 

Witch exits

 

Gingerbread man: Okay, kids. She’s going to make a circle for you to stand in so she can say her cookie spell. When she isn’t looking, I’m gonna push her in and we’ll turn her into a cookie! (to audience) We’ll need your help! (to audience) Can you help us? We need everyone to help so we can make sure the witch can’t escape!

 

Witch enters with crystals

 

Witch: I’m baaaaack! Let’s make cookies! You kids stand in the middle of this circle, right there. Good. Now help me say this short… poem.

 

Cookies, for eating, cookies my delight,

gingerbread and frosting

sugary goodness, baked just right!

 

Now repeat after me:

 

Ginergerbread man: (to audience) Now is the time to help, please! We need everyone to say the spell with us so we can make sure the witch doesn’t escape!

 

Cookies, for eating, cookies my delight,

gingerbread and frosting

sugary goodness, baked just right!

 

On “Sugary goodness” the Gingerbread man pushes the witch into the circle, Ginger also falls in accidentally, and the kids leapstep out, just in time to shout “baked just right!”

 

The Witch turns into a cookie, the gingerbread man turns back into a boy.

 

Hansel: The witch has been defeated! (To audience) Thanks, everyone! You were a big help!

 

Gretel: Ginger! Look at you! You’re not a cookie any more! (But you’re still a ginger –if that gag is a keeper and we can make him so)

 

Ginger Boy: My name is Edward! You two… saved me. How’d you do that?

 

Gretel: The spell must’ve been reversible!

 

Edward: Okay you two, it’s time for you both to get home. I’ll show you the way, come on!

 

They all exit

 

Lights

 

SCENE 2

 

They all enter the woods near Dad’s picnic blanket.

 

Edward: Is that your father?

 

Gretel: That’s him. He’s still reading! Did he forget to sleep?

 

Hansel: He does get absorbed.

 

Edward: Hansel? Gretel? Before you go, I just wanted to say Thank You. I wanted you to escape the witch but you ended up saving me, too! You both followed instructions perfectly. Your father is very lucky to have such great children.

 

They all hug

 

Gretel: Thanks Gin… Edward! For everything!

 

Hansel: What’ll you do now?

 

Edward: I think I’ll go back to the witch’s house and start my own bakery! (exiting) Seeya!

 

Hansel and Gretel: Good luck! Bye!

 

Hansel: Let’s go!

 

Lights Down

 

SCENE 3

 

Entering, approaching Dad, he looks up

 

Dad: Did you guys have fun? Didn’t get attacked by any rabid chipmunks?

 

Children: (Rushing over and piling on top of him) Dad! We missed you! We couldn’t find our way back!

 

Dad: (looking at phone) You were only gone for half an hour, guys.

 

Hansel: Really?

 

Gretel: I’m pretty sure we were gone for days!

 

Dad: Nope, I’ve only made it through three chapters. So what have you two been up to? Staying out of the woods, I hope.

 

Hansel and Gretel look at each other.

 

Gretel: We got lost.

 

Hansel: And then we found a gingerbread house.

 

Gretel: And a witch lived inside!

 

Hansel: And she tried to turn us into teatime cookies!

 

Gretel: We made a friend. He was a gingerbread man, but not anymore.

 

Hansel: And he told us to listen to you and stay out of the woods.

 

Children: We’re sorry we didn’t listen to you sooner…

 

Gretel: We’re ready for you to read to us now.

 

Dad: Well, I’m not sure I know exactly what’s happened, but I’m certainly not complaining! Which story should we start with? Do you want to go back to the chapter where the giant finds the kitten, because I’m not sure you heard all of that one the first time…

 

Lights Down
CURTAIN

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