The-Princess-Who-Couldnt-Laugh

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9 characters, flexible casting. Approximately 10 minutes long. Comedy based on a Norwegian folk tale by Debra A. Cole.

Princess Sombina is under a terrible spell that can only be broken if someone can make her laugh. Countless clowns and jesters have tried, but none have succeeded. A simple young man with a magic goose may be the one who will finally break the curse. This lively play involves a lot of physical comedy and antics, and is sure to delight your students!

This script includes discussion questions, and director’s notes on casting, costumes and simple set design.

Debra A. Cole is a celebrated humanities teacher, youth theatre director, and children’s playwright with degrees in journalism, art history, and elementary education. She understands the needs of young performers and their directors and creates pieces that encourage engaging discussion, creative thought, and quirky playfulness. Her goal is that young performers discover the power and delight that theatre brings to actors and audiences alike.

Visit her website:
www.debraacole-playwright.com

Excerpt from the play:

CHARACTERS

PRINCESS SOMBINA — (F) sad and sickly from a spell- she waits for someone to finally make her laugh
FRANKLIN— (M) simple farm boy who dreams of going on a quest
KING — (M) loving father who calls out for help
GOOSE LADY — (F) owner of a magical goose
MILK MAID — (F) curious – carries milk pail
CHIMNEY SWEEP — (M/F) adventurous – carries chimney broom
BAKER — (M/F) hungry – carries various breads in basket
DOG — (M/F) playful – loves the Conga
PIPER — (M/F) enjoys sharing his/her instrument

(The action takes place in fairy tale times in a royal chamber and on a country road.)

(Lights come up on a royal chamber. In bed lies the sad and sickly Princess Sombina. She is propped up in bed by glorious and decorative pillows. The royal bedroom includes a window. The set should be slightly off center to leave room for an area for the woods and under the window later in scenes. Enter the King stage right.)

SCENE 1

KING
Dear Princess Sombina, this must stop. The royal doctor was very clear. Laughter is the only medicine that will make you better from this awful spell.

PRINCESS SOMBINA
It’s no use, father. No one can make me laugh.

KING
What about that clown you saw last Monday?

PRINCESS SOMBINA
A disaster. It took until yesterday to remove all the glitter she threw around the room.

KING
The court jester? He really is a funny fellow.

PRINCESS SOMBINA
(sarcastically) Surely you jest! Don’t you remember, father, the court jester made fun of your false teeth. You were not amused.

KING 
Oh, that’s right. (adjusts teeth in mouth) I must get things darn things fixed. (comes back to subject at hand) I do remember an interesting little troll, did he not even come close to amusing you, daughter? Perhaps he ticked your funny bone just a little?

PRINCESS SOMBINA
That strange little man tickled me all right…. (uncomfortably – then reach to tickle her own knee) but there is nothing funny about my kneecaps.

KING
What about that bearded lady? She had a full beard and mustache! She surely made you giggle just a little bit?

PRINCESS SOMBINA
Facial hair is not funny to a princess, father.

KING
Do not give up hope, dear child. I have put another call out to the entire kingdom. I am confident that someone is up to the task.

PRINCESS SOMBINA
But, father, I worry that if I don’t laugh soon, the spell will be complete, and I will perish.

KING
We have to believe we can be successful. We need someone smart – someone clever – and very, VERY funny.

(lights out)

SCENE 2
(Lights come up on a country road. Goose Lady is carrying her pet goose and she meets up with Franklin. Franklin is carrying a fish.)

GOOSE LADY
(seeing Franklin walking toward her) Greetings, lad. Are you off to the castle like everyone else?  That fish is not going to do the trick.

FRANKLIN
Castle? Why is everyone going to the castle?

GOOSE LADY
How have you not heard about the challenge? Princess Sombina is under a curse that will kill her if she does not laugh soon. Everyone has been trying, but still, nothing. Whoever makes her laugh will receive their heart’s desire. You should give it a try, kid!

FRANLIN
Me? (thinks about it) Well, I have always wanted to go on a quest. Maybe this is my big moment. There is only one problem. I’m not that funny.

GOOSE LADY
My goose can solve that. Are you open to trading your fish for my goose? It is a good trade, and I promise this goose will help you be funny.

FRANKLIN
A goose will make me funny? What is the catch?

GOOSE LADY
The catch is that to everyone you meet, you will need to say the following words, “My goose is friendly, soft and strong, touch her feathers and come along.”

FRANKLIN
Why? What will happen?

GOOSE LADY
(hands goose quickly to Franklin and begins walking off stage right) You will see. Head to Princess Sombina. You will be successful. What is your name, boy? I want to know that it was you that broke the spell when I hear the tale of the victory!

FRANKLIN
Franklin.

GOOSE LADY
Franklin. Good luck, Franklin.

(Lights out)

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