Rumor has it that a witch has cursed the kingdom. The hens will not lay eggs, the fields will not produce wheat, and the cows no longer give milk. Saddest of all, the King and Queen find that they cannot have a child. King Donovan takes matters into his own hands and journeys into the forest to find the witch.
This short play delivers lessons about the power of kindness and forgiveness. Includes discussion questions and director’s notes regarding casting, costuming 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.
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Excerpt from the play:
BRIELLE — (F) granddaughter of the village witch
KING DONOVAN — (M) kind king who loves his wife
QUEEN GRACIELLA — (F) sad queen who just wants a child
BAVMORA— (F) village witch hated by the kingdom
VILLAGER 1 — (M/F) his/her chickens won’t lay eggs
VILLAGER 2 — (M/F) his/her fields will not grow wheat
VILLAGER 3 — (M/F) his/her cows will not yield milk
(The action takes place in fairytale kingdom inside of a royal chamber and the exterior of a small village hut.)
(Lights come up on a private, royal chamber of a castle. Queen Graciella silently cries center stage. She is a beautiful queen, but her sadness is clear. King Donovan enters stage right. He is a regal man and visibly concerned about his wife.)
My dearest. It hurts me to see you so sad.
I’m sorry, my lord. I try not to show my sadness, but today I am struggling to show strength.
You are the strongest woman I know, dearest. Do not be hard on yourself. It will happen. I am sure of that.
But when? We have waited for a baby to join our family for years now. And here we are, childless. Is our love not enough to grant us a child?
Our love is strong and powerful. Do not give up hope.
Rumors of our longing have reached the village. Some say that we are childless because of The Witch Bavmora. She has cursed the kingdom. The chickens are no longer laying eggs, the fields will not yield grain, and the cows refuse to give milk. I believe she is the root of our problem too. I want her gone! She is horrid and hated by all.
You are hurting, my love. You are not this hard. Those are just silly rumors. But, if it eases your mind, I will pay The Witch Bavmora a visit. The supposed curse will be reversed, and we will have our family at last. I have avoided her hut, but perhaps it is time to face her.
(Lights come up on an exterior of a small hut in the village. It is in shambles. Three villagers are outside the front door with various household props of their trade – Villager 1 wears an egg apron and holds a cast iron pan, Villager 2 carries a breadbasket, and Villager 2 holds a milk jug. The villagers are agitated and yelling into the hut.)
Come out, Bavmora! We know you are in there!
Yeah, we’ve had enough of this curse! You are a scourge to the kingdom.
Milk! We have no milk! My cows have been unable to give milk for months now! Just his one pail is all that is left. This is your fault!
Exactly! My chickens refuse to lay eggs! I have just one egg, and the village and the royal family will need to eat.
Because of you, my fields lay fallow! Not a single seed will grow for wheat! Do you expect a kingdom to not have bread?
(From stage right, King Donovan approaches the hut. He has seen the anger of the villagers.)
What have we here?
(All three villagers see the King and immediately bow in respect. Carefully looking up, Villager 1 first speaks.)
King Donovan, your grace, we are here to make The Witch Bavmora answer for her curse.
Our troubles are HER fault!
Why, rumor has it that her curse has even touched the castle… I mean… I’ve heard… I mean…
(Villager 1 and Villager 2 looks sideways nervously at the Villager 3 for being too personal with the king.)
(All villagers rise cautiously.)
Our apologies, your highness, but this witch must pay for her actions.
I have heard that she is evil, and it is time I faced her and the consequences. Is the Witch Bavmora home?
(Villagers all look nervously at one another.)
We don’t know, your grace. We have been yelling and pounding on her door for days. She surely is home and just ignoring us.
(King Donovan parts the villagers and walks toward the door.)
(Knocking gently on the hut door) Is anyone home? I need to face you.
(Slowly, the door creeks open to reveal a small child. The little girl is clearly frightened. The villagers brace themselves to attack.)
(innocently) My grandmother is not home.