The Emperor’s New Clothes is a short comedy play script based on the famous story by Hans Christian Andersen. Two tricky weavers promise the emperor a new suit that will be invisible to those unfit for their offices. The problem is that the emperor has surrounded himself with people who only tell him what he wants to hear. It takes the honesty of a child to set the record straight. Leading narration keeps the story moving along. Great for elementary and middle school students.
About the Playwright:
Jennifer Reif has been teaching, directing, and performing around the Pacific Northwest for decades. Her shelves are lined with children’s books and her happy place is in the woods. She loves devising creative theatre projects with kids and sharing ideas with teachers. Jennifer holds her BA in Theatre from Morningside College and also studied at Oxford University in England.
Excerpt from the play:
(Play begins with all characters on stage in a frozen tableau. Encourage dramatic poses that show character and personality. The emperor is center. Characters come to life as they say their line.)
Many moons ago there lived an Emperor who cared so much for fine clothes that he spent all his money on them. Some might say he was vain. He surrounded himself with a court who only told him what he wanted to hear. His daughter, the princess would say…
You are the best daddy in the whole wide world!
His royal guard would say…
Anything for you your majesty.
The royal cook would say…
I’ll prepare whatever you like.
The jester would say…
Have I got a joke for you!
The magician would say…
My only goal is to amaze you.
And the event planner would say…
It’s your party. We’ll do whatever you want!
(They freeze again in a dramatic pose while Weavers are introduced. The child does not speak, because as we know, the child is the one who reveals the truth at the end.)
Speaking of parties, the emperor’s birthday was coming, and he was looking forward to a new outfit. As luck would have it, there came to the town two tricksters who claimed to be weavers.
Oh, my friend, this is going to be terrific!
Yeah Terrific! …Why?
Because we are going to weave some clothes for this gullible emperor and make a bunch of money.
But we don’t know how to weave.
Shhh…. Nobody will ever know. We will just tell people we know how to weave. And that we can weave the most beautiful, magical cloth in all the land.
Ooooh, what kind of magical cloth?
This cloth will be invisible to all those people who are unfit for their office.
In the meantime, the emperor pays us a bunch of money and we get rich!
Oh…I get it! See, that’s why you’re the boss. You’re so smart.
I know. Now, come on. Let’s get this loom set up.
As they started unloading their equipment, they drew a crowd.
(Ensemble enters and looks on)