Hansel and Gretel is a twisted fairy tale as told by the Brothers Grimm, themselves. In this hilarious tale, parents commit a felony by abandoning their children in the dark woods. The children are captured by a serial killer-cannibal-witch who lives inside a candy house. Before the witch can eat Hansel, Gretel tricks the witch and commits murder. A random duck suddenly appears and leads Hansel and Gretel home, where everyone celebrates! A comedy for children that pokes quite a bit of fun at the original fairy tale and its authors!
Andy Pavey is a commissioned playwright, who writes short plays for Drama Notebook. He is a student who attends UWC-USA. He previously spent nine years with Davenport Junior Theatre, the second-oldest children’s theatre in the United States, where he acted in productions, managed the props building, and wrote plays for young actors to perform. In addition to writing, Andy is an avid backpacker!
Excerpt from the play:
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Lights up on the curtain. The GRIMM BROTHERS stand before the curtain and introduce themselves, dressed in ridiculous, antiquated formal clothing (powdered wigs and the like).
Greetings, fair theatre-goers. It is I, Wilhelm Grimm, author of many beloved children’s stories and—
JACOB GRIMM (under his breath)
What was that, Jake?
I, Jacob Grimm, am also an author of many beloved children’s stories. We’re co-authors.
Sure, keep telling yourself that, buddy. (to the audience ) As I was saying, myself and Jake here spent most of our lives collecting more than two-hundred folk stories.
We also worked on a dictionary for a while, but we only made it up to the word “fruit” before calling it off. You weren’t one for side projects, were you, Wilhelm?
Jacob. All we did was roam around Europe and steal fairy tales from peasants. Our life was a side project. (beat ) But no, I wasn’t much one for side projects.
Anyway, dear brother, which story shall we tell the fine patrons of this theatre house tonight?
Ooh—maybe “The Six Swans?” That one’s got witch-burning. Lots of fun!
Considering the youngsters in the audience with us today, maybe we should stick with something a little more PG-13, Wilhelm.
“Rumpelstiltskin?” It’s got a creepy little old elf man who kidnaps children, and when he’s defeated he just tears himself in half out of sheer rage!
JACOB GRIMM (studying a storybook )
I think I know just the one. “Hansel and Gretel.”
“Hansel and Gretel?” Are you kidding me?! That story’s the worst. A travesty. You probably wrote that one, given how bad it is.
Come on! It will be fun. It’s got cannibalism and houses made of candy. A great combination, I think.
Oh, all right. Let’s get it over with.
The GRIMM BROTHERS step aside. The curtain remains shut, but the STEPMOTHER and the FATHER enter and begin to talk worriedly.
I’m just worried we won’t survive the winter, Greg.
We’ll get through it. We always do.
HANSEL and GRETEL sneak in and hide behind a bush or some other small set piece, eavesdropping on the conversation.
The famine’s been dragging on for so long now. Without food, we will starve.
I’m out of options. No one’s buying the wood I’ve chopped down. Everyone’s installing solar energy panels on their houses, so they don’t need wood to power their stoves anymore.
I heard Stacey from down the glen bought her own woodcutting axe on Amazon. She’s got Prime.
JACOB GRIMM (thumbing through the storybook )
I don’t remember that in the original story…
Exactly. The point is, we’re running out of time and we have no more options.
WILHELM GRIMM steps off-stage briefly and returns with a giant gong.
We do have one option left. We must send the children into the forest to fend for themselves.
A record-scratch sound effect plays. The FATHER looks horrified. The STEPMOTHER and the FATHER freeze in place as the GRIMM BROTHERS bicker.
I still ponder, after all these years, whether that’s a little too cruel. It is a children’s story, after all.
Oh, don’t get soft on me now, dear Jacob. We’ve written far, far worse.