8 characters. 4M, 4F; 9 pages in length. Approximately 5-10 minutes running time. An adaptation of the Grimms’ fairy tale written by Olivia Arieti.

The Old Woman’s Ring is an adaptation of Grimm’s fairy tale, “The Old Woman in the Woods”. Travelling through the woods with her master and mistress, a poor servant girl named Larabel narrowly escapes from attacking robbers. She finds herself cold, hungry, and alone until a kind dove appears and provides her with all she needs. The dove only asks that she do one thing in return – steal a simple ring from an old woman in a faraway hut. When Larabel finds the ring, it changes the dove back into a prince and changes her life forever! Children will adore this version of a classic fairy tale that teaches kindness the importance of keeping a promise.

Olivia Arieti, a US citizen with a degree from the University of Pisa, lives in Torre del Lago Puccini, Italy, with her family. Her plays have been published by Heuer Publishing, Brooklyn Publishers, Desert Road Publishing, JAC Publishing & Promotions, Independent Playwrights, Green Room Scripts, Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, USA and Lazy Bee Scripts, UK. FLIGHT ATP12 was produced by Gulfport Community Players, FL, JUST FOR YOU, by Blue Box Productions, NYC, CONTEMPTUOUSLY IN LOVE, by Ciona Taylor Productions, NYC; her one minute works by Gi60 Screaming Media Productions NYC, UK, Spare Change Theatre, NYC and Eclectic Theatre Company, FL. UP NORTE and NIGHT INTRUDERS, finalists in the R.J. Flores Short Play Reading Series had staged readings in NYC. THE TEACHER, an adaptation of A. Chekhov’s story, “The Teacher of Literature”, was produced at the Viaduct Theatre, Chicago, for the Neapolitans Off-Chekhov Festival. SOMETHING IN COMMON was produced by Spokane Radio Theatre, WA. Her poems and short stories have appeared in several literary magazines and anthologies in the USA and UK.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

LARABEL
DOVE
HAZEL – Old woman
PRINCE JASPER
LADY LORENA – Larabel’s mistress
SIR ERNEST – Larabel’s master.
SIMON – Prince Jasper’s servant
HARRIET – Prince Jasper’s maidservant

SETTING
The Woods (Scene 1)
Hazel’s Hut (Scene 2)
The Woods (Scene 3)

TIME
Timeless.

SCENE 1 – The Woods
Three big trees and two small ones.

(LARABEL comes out from behind a tree, looks around, frightened.)

LARABEL
Thank goodness those horrible robbers have gone away.
(Sobs.)
And now what can a poor girl like me do all alone in the woods?  Nobody dares to venture here except wolves and bears. If they see me, they’ll eat me up and if they don’t, I’ll starve or freeze to death. Brr… 
(Sits beneath the tree.)
If only I knew my way out…
(DOVE mimes gliding in, has three golden keys.)

DOVE
Why are you crying, lass?

LARABEL
(Jumps up.)
Oh my goodness!

DOVE
Don’t be afraid, I mean no harm.

LARABEL
No, it’s just that I’ve never seen a bird talk and walk…

DOVE
I’ve come to help you.

LARABEL
I was travelling through the woods with my master, Sir Ernest, and my mistress, Lady Lorena, when the robbers assaulted us.

DOVE
Good grief!

LARABEL
No sooner Sir Ernest saw them, he pushed me out of the carriage and shouted, – Jump, Larabel, and save your life. – To tell the truth, I almost broke my neck, but at least the robbers didn’t get me.

DOVE
Indeed.

LARABEL
Then I heard the horses ride away and my poor mistress’s cries. Who knows what may have happened to them.

DOVE
I’ll tell my friends, the hawks and the eagles to search for them. They fly very high and can see well.

LARABEL
Now I am all alone with nothing to eat and no place to sleep.

DOVE
Here, take this key and open that little lock on the big tree standing in the middle.

(LARABEL takes the key, opens.)

LARABEL
Good gracious, there’s a lot of cheese, bread and berries.

DOVE
All for you, Larabel.

LARABEL
However can I thank you?

DOVE
You are so sweet and beautiful that I can’t bear seeing you weep.

LARABEL
Well, I do have enough food now, but when the hens at home go to roost, I am so tired that I, too, would lie in my bed, but there’s nowhere I can rest here.

DOVE
Take this other key and open the door of the big tree on the left.

LARABEL
(Opens the door.)
Oh my, what a lovely little bed there is.

DOVE
You can sleep safe and warm there. My friends, the squirrels will look after you and the larks will sing you the sweetest lullabies.

LARABEL
You are so kind to me, my dear dove.

(Strokes his feathers.)

DOVE
You deserve it, for I am sure that you are as good and generous as you are beautiful.

LARABEL
Well, now I have food to eat, a bed to sleep, but it’s so cold in the woods… I have nothing else to wear except this old dress.

DOVE
(Gives LARABEL the third key.)
Just open that last little door and you’ll find what you wish.

LARABEL
(Opens the door.)
Good heavens, what lovely gowns!
(Takes out a gown.)
This is so gorgeous, all trimmed with gold and jewels. It’s certainly fit for a princess… Too bad I’m nothing but a poor servant.

DOVE
Your beauty equals a true princess’s one, Larabel.

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