THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA
By D. M. Larson
CAST OF CHARACTERS
(12 + actors: 7-9 female, 4-5 male)
Fake SNOW WHITE
Fake SLEEPING BEAUTY
Fake PRINCESS FROG
GUARD** (or GUARDS) non-speaking role that can be more than one.
*JACK HORNER an also play the NARRATOR or a GUARD
**GUARD or can be played by NARRATOR or JACK HORNER.
(During the following, the NARRATOR and other patrons can respond to the King’s speech, by cheering and agreeing. The audience can even be encouraged to get involved through signs like “Huzzah!” “Yum!” “What?” “Why?”)
PIZZA KING: Welcome to the Pizza Kingdom! I’m the Pizza King… and it’s not just a name; I’m really a king. Even though I’m royalty, I still love to cook. So I opened this little place as a way to raise money for my kingdom. Instead of charging taxes, I sell pizzas! We don’t have tax collecting agents; we have pizza delivery agents instead. In this kingdom, we feed the people! Because the way to people’s hearts is through their stomachs. I make every sort of pizza and use almost any topping. My son loves everything green, so I made him the great green special which includes spinach, green olives, bell peppers, and a green chile alfredo sauce. What’s something green we never put on a pizza? Peas! Why? I’ll tell you why… Here is our story. The story of the princess and the pea. See that girl over there? She looks like a mere peasant girl, but I know she’s royalty… she doesn’t want me to know, but I suspected something from her severe reaction to peas… we were going to add some peas to the salad bar when… (PRINCESS screams) Yup… that happened. And that’s one thing all us royals have in common. We’re terrified of peas. Because no matter how careful we are something bad happens. Peas are cursed, I say. Cursed!
(During the following, a puppet show of her memories can appear above her head that includes the King’s horses, King’s men, Cow, Spoon, Peter Piper, Old Man, Dog, Jack Horner, Birds)
PRINCESS: Peas scare me. I think it all started when I was little and I got a pea stuck up my nose… that terrified me… I’ve never quite recovered.
Since I’m a princess, my family called all the King’s horses and all the King’s men to help, but no one could get that pea out of my nose. The Cow who jumped over the moon, knew this spoon who was good at scooping, but the spoon was too big and couldn’t get inside my nose. Peter Piper was a good picker… he knew his way around pickled peppers, but picking a pea from a Princess nose… that was a whole other matter. This old man wanted to play nick nack on my nose and paddy wacky right out, but his dog needed a bone and I didn’t have one, so he left. It was Little Jack Horner who had the corner on a solution.
JACK: Looks like my thumb is too big to fit in your nose, but I know some birds that will help. I baked them into this pie, so now they’re good and mad, now they come out and peck off your nose!
(JACK lifts the tops of the pie and the birds fly out and attack. PRINCESS screams)
PRINCESS: I got so scared and ran away… then I fell and the pea popped right out!
JACK: You’re welcome.
PRINCESS: But I’ve been scared of peas ever since.
PIZZA KING: They’re cursed, I say! Cursed!
NARRATOR: You said that already.
PIZZA KING: I did, didn’t I?
NARRATOR: I think it’s time we start the story.
PIZZA KING: I thought I already did?
NARRATOR: May I begin?
PIZZA KING: Again?
NARRATOR: Once upon a time, there was a lonely prince.
(PIZZA KING shrugs and exits)
PRINCE: I'm lonely.
NARRATOR: His mother, the queen, wanted to help him find a princess that would make him happy.
PRINCE: Or a puppy or a kitten. That would make me happy too.
QUEEN: Sorry, I’m allergic.
PRINCE: But mummy. I’m too shy.
QUEEN: I’m finding a princess and you’re going to like her and get married.
PRINCE: Married! Now I’m nervous and shy. Can’t I just go on a date first or something?
QUEEN: Fine. You can go on a date with her first.
QUEEN: Then you’ll get married.
PRINCE: But… but…
QUEEN: There are so many women out there that think they are princesses because they buy a princess costume and dress up like Cinderella, but it doesn't mean you're royalty. So many pretenders. I can’t let just any girl marry my son.
PRINCE: Date. You said a date.
NARRATOR: So the queen put a notice in the official royal news service.
PRINCE: What’s it say?
QUEEN: Here ye, here ye. The royalty family seeks the one true princess in the land who has a truly royal heart. This lucky princess will win a date with my son, the prince.
PRINCE: This is so weird.
NARRATOR: Every woman who thought she was a princess wanted a date with the prince because he would one day be King and that meant she would become Queen.
QUEEN: It's good to be Queen.
(All kinds of women dressed as princesses show up. PRINCE is embarrassed as the QUEEN inspects them)
NARRATOR: So hundreds of princesses lined up and waited for their turn to be interviewed by the Queen.
(PRINCESS arrives with several wannabe princesses who aren’t the actual princesses but are posing as them: Fake CINDERELLA, Fake SNOW WHITE, Fake SLEEPING BEAUTY, Fake RAPUNZEL, and Fake PRINCESS FROG. Each fake princess pushes past PRINCESS as they speak and cut in front of her in line so she ends up at the end)
PRINCESS: There are so many princesses here. I don’t know if I have a chance.
CINDERELLA: You don’t… so don’t bother.
SNOW WHITE: Make room for the rest of us.
CINDERELLA: I have this great bit where I leave my shoe behind…
SNOW WHITE: I pretend to eat an apple, and say it’s poison, and pretend to sleep and they have to kiss me awake.
SLEEPING BEAUTY: Sleeping? Kissing me awake? That’s my bit!
SNOW WHITE: And I’ve got animal friends… and little men that follow me around and beat up bad guys for me.
SLEEPING BEAUTY: Whatever.
RAPUNZEL: I’m growing my hair really long and I’ll make the guys climb up it to see me.
FROG: I kiss frogs.
QUEEN: Okay, ladies. Please approach one at a time.
(GUARD brings FROG forward)
FROG: Thanks so much for doing this. It will be great to win a date with the prince. I’m getting really tired of going around to swamps and kissing frogs, trying to find one.
(GUARD escorts FROG out. CINDERELLA approaches)
CINDERELLA: I love you shoes, my queen. Very fashionable. I have some new ones myself. They’re pumpkin color. I love pumpkins.
(GUARD escorts CINDERELLA out. RAPUNZEL approaches)
RAPUNZEL: Now let’s talk hair, my queen. See these luscious locks of mine? You know how I do it? Rain water and cucumber juice, freshly pressed. It smells delightful. Want to smell it?
RAPUNZEL: Oh! Oh no!
RAPUNZEL: Look at your hair.
QUEEN: What’s wrong with it?
RAPUNZEL: Everything. It’s a mess.
(GUARD escorts RAPUNZEL out. SLEEPING BEAUTY approaches)
SLEEPING BEAUTY: Hello, your highness.
(SLEEPING BEAUTY bows but doesn’t get up)
QUEEN: Hello. Are you okay?
(SLEEPING BEAUTY snores)
QUEEN: Excuse me.
(SLEEPING BEAUTY wakes up)
SLEEPING BEAUTY: Oh, so sorry.
QUEEN: Tired, my dear?
SLEEPING BEAUTY: Quite. It’s been a long wait to see you and I’m so…
(SLEEPING BEAUTY nods off and snores again)
(GUARD escorts SLEEPING BEAUTY out. SNOW WHITE turns to PRINCESS)
SNOW WHITE: They’re going to love my damsel in distress routine. Watch.
(SNOW WHITE approaches the QUEEN)
SNOW WHITE: I’m in terrible danger; someone is trying to poison me.
(GUARD has to stop SNOW WHITE from grabbing the QUEEN)
SNOW WHITE: … you must help me! You’re my only hope!
QUEEN: I’ve had it. Take them all away!
(GUARD takes SNOW WHITE and grabs PRINCESS on the way out. PRINCESS goes sadly. PRINCE enters eating a pickle)
QUEEN: This is useless. They all seem like fakes. I need a better way to find the true princess.
PRINCE: Ask them if they like pickles. I love pickles. I love everything that’s green. Bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers.
QUEEN: No wonder you’re lonely.
PRINCE: I’m just trying to be healthy. I love all greens… except for peas… peas are cursed. That’s what daddy says.
QUEEN: You’ve given me an idea. There is another way to find a true princess. I will invite each princess to stay the night and I will place a single pea under her mattress. If she can't sleep because of it, then she is a true princess.
PRINCE: Or you could use a pickle. I love pickles! Did I mention that?
QUEEN: Unfortunately, yes.
PRINCE: Wait. How will she know there is a pea under the mattress?
QUEEN: If she is a true princess, she will sense the pesky pea. And no princess can sleep comfortably if a bed isn’t perfect. There must be no imperfections at all with mattresses, blankets or pillows. Royal ladies are delicate flowers. We’re very sensitive. We bruise like bananas at the slightest touch.
PRINCE: Is that why you won’t hug me, mummy?
QUEEN: Oh, please. I hug you once a year on your birthday.
PRINCE: That’s a hug?
QUEEN: A royal hug.
PRINCE: Nothing royal about those hugs.
QUEEN: Get over it.
(PRINCE mumbles as QUEEN exits)
PRINCE: Sensitive like a delicate flower.
(QUEEN spins around angrily)
QUEEN: What was that?!
PRINCE: Nothing, mummy.
(Fake princesses, CINDERELLA, RAPUNZEL, SNOW WHITE, PRINCESS FROG and SLEEPING BEAUTY are in nightgowns and run across the stage having a pillow fight)
ALL FAKE PRINCESS: Slumber party! Pillow fight! Yeah!
(Fake princesses exit)
(Epic music plays. QUEEN enters dramatically)
QUEEN: Bring in the royal pea.
(GUARD dramatically carries a pea. QUEEN points dramatically to the mattress)
QUEEN: Place the pea under the mattress.
GUARD: Upon the mattress!
(GUARD puts pea on top of the mattress)
QUEEN: Under the mattress!
GUARD: Next to the mattress!
(GUARD moves the pea besides the mattress)
QUEEN: Under the mattress!
GUARD: Behind the mattress!
(GUARD moves it behind the mattress)
QUEEN: Under! Under! Under!
GUARD: Placing the pea under the mattress.
(GUARD stands with the pea. QUEEN is really angry. GUARD slowly places the pea under the mattress. QUEEN lets out a frustrated sound and exits. GUARD turns to the audience)
GUARD: I love doing that to her.
(GUARD exits and QUEEN brings in PRINCESS who is a sleeping gown)
QUEEN: I hope you have a pleasant night’s sleep, my dear. Please let us know if you need anything.
PRINCESS: I will, my queen. Thank you so much for your hospitality.
QUEEN: All of you princesses traveled so far. It would be a share to make you return home so late into the evening. It is the least I can do.
NARRATOR: So each princess was asked to stay the night and the Queen placed a pea under each mattress. All the princesses slept well except for one.
(PRINCESS gets up and her hair and clothes are a mess)
PRINCESS: What a terrible mattress. What is wrong with it? I can't sleep. The Queen won't think I'm right for her son if I have bags under my eyes and really bad bed head. I have to leave before she sees me.
NARRATOR: So the one true princess quietly left before anyone else was awake.
(PRINCESS exits. QUEEN enters)
QUEEN: Where did this princess go?
(PRINCE appears dramatically)
PRINCE: I will find her. Bring me my green riding cape. And my green saddle. And my lunch… a pickle and cucumber sandwich. And my pea shooter… in case there is danger. And the horse with the green eyes. I like green.
(GUARD can bring requested items - all pantomimed)
QUEEN: Just go already!
(PRINCE rides dramatically on pantomimed horse)
NARRATOR: So the prince went looking for the princess. He stopped when he heard someone crying.
(PRINCESS is crying)
PRINCE: I hear someone crying.
NARRATOR: I said that already.
NARRATOR: Perhaps I’m explaining too much. Maybe you should take it from here.
PRINCE: You think so?
NARRATOR: I think you’re ready to handle this scene on your own.
PRINCE: I don’t know. I’m kind of nervous now.
NARRATOR: You better get over there before I narrate a dragon who eats you.
PRINCE: Fine! Okay! Geez! I’m going.
(PRINCE starts to go the wrong way. NARRATOR points the way and PRINCE waves NARRATOR away. PRINCE approaches PRINCESS and hands her a green cloth tissue)
PRINCE: Why are you crying princess?
PRINCESS: Because I failed the Queen's test.
PRINCE: Actually you passed. You're the only one that couldn't sleep because of the pea under your mattress.
PRINCE: That means you're the one true princess in the land.
PRINCESS: Did I win a date with you?
PRINCE: You did! Where do you want to go?
PRINCESS: Let's go to the Pizza King Pizza Parlor.
PRINCE: I love the Pizza King Pizza Parlor! He’s my dad you know.
PRINCESS: I know!
PRINCE: He makes the best cheeseburger pizza.
PRINCESS: That sounds yummy.
PRINCE: It has my favorite topping... pickles.
PRINCESS: I love pickles too!
PRINCESS: Do they have green olives? I love those on pizza.
PRINCE: Me too! I think this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship.
NARRATOR: And they lived ever after.