The Princess’s New Clothes
By D. M. Larson
“What happens when a princess wants to wear too many clothes?”
CAST OF CHARACTERS
(Written with 11 speaking roles -1 female and 10 of any gender, but parts can be combined for a cast of 7 or divided up into more than 11 parts using the suggestions below)
PENELOPE: A princess who loves nature and animals
MAGICO: An evil wizard who hates nature and animals
ANIMALS: COW, UNICORN, WOLF, BUTTERFLY, SQUIRREL (NOTE: some ANIMAL parts can be combined as well as divided to share the lines with more animals; the animals can be changed to different species too)
ROYAL: Works for Penelope’s sister
SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER, TAILOR: Dress makers (NOTE: These parts can be combined into fewer parts or divided into more parts)
(PENELOPE dances in the woods with some animals: COW, SKUNK, WOLF, SQUIRREL, BUTTERFLY, FOX, RACCOON and UNICORN. A castle is in the far distance in the background)
PENELOPE: Gather my friends on this beautiful day. Let the wind be our music and sweep us away. Listen to your hearts as it beats to the song. Come join in the fun as we all dance along. The magical day given life by the sun. Gives its loving warmth to everyone. Join all together for our joyful dance. You’ll feel the fun if you give it a chance.
(Animals move around the stage. UNICORN quietly exits)
BUTTERFLY: What a glorious day.
PENELOPE: I love the spring. So many beautiful flowers and butterflies.
(BUTTERFLY is embarrassed)
BUTTERFLY: Oh, you.
(PENELOPE goes to SQUIRREL)
PENELOPE: How you and your family today, Squirrel?
SQUIRREL: Things are just nuts around here. But we manage.
PENELOPE: Well, I brought you some nuts from my supplies. I was worried you might be running low after such a long winter.
SQUIRREL: Thank you so much, Princess. This is wonderful.
(PENELOPE goes to COW)
PENELOPE: How goes things for you, Cow?
COW: This is an utter disaster.
PENELOPE: What’s wrong?
COW: I can’t find my cowbell anywhere. I’m late for band practice and they said they need more cowbell.
PENELOPE: There’s nothing better than a little cowbell to get things mooooving.
COW: Oh, I just love your cheesy jokes.
(PENELOPE finds cowbell)
PENELOPE: Here it is!
COW: I’m saved! Thank you so much, Princess.
PENELOPE: My pleasure.
COW: Bye, bye.
(COW exits playing her cowbell. PENELOPE looks around)
PENELOPE: Where did Unicorn go?
(PENELOPE exits. MAGICO, the evil wizard, enters. Other animals scatter and exit)
MAGICO: Unicorn you say? Perhaps I made her… disappear!
UNICORN: Nope. I’m right here.
MAGICO: Well, now I will make you disappear!
UNICORN: Princess Penelope!
(PENELOPE enters and MAGICO runs away)
PENELOPE: What’s wrong, Unicorn?
UNICORN: It was the creepy kook in the robes again.
PENELOPE: The weird wizard?
PENELOPE: What’s he up to?
UNICORN: He said he wanted to make me disappear.
PENELOPE: We must find this meddlesome magician and see what he is up to.
UNICORN: But how will we find him?
PENELOPE: We need someone with a good nose.
(PENELOPE howls and WOLF hows in return off stage. WOLF runs in)
WOLF: What’s up, Princess?
PENELOPE: Friend, Wolf. Something foul wanders our woods. A stranger. Can you sniff him out for us?
WOLF: My nose will never fail you.
PENELOPE: I knew I could count on you.
UNICORN: He smells of fish and old socks.
WOLF: I’ve picked up that scent. Let’s go!
(WOLF leads PENELOPE and UNICORN off stage. ROYAL enters with SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER and TAILOR)
ROYAL: Where is that princess?
SEAMSTRESS: Why are we looking out here?
ROYAL: She is a free spirit. She loves being in the woods.
(WOLF leads PENELOPE past upstage, behind the others, entering and exiting quickly)
DESIGNER: Was that her?
(ROYAL looks the wrong way)
DESIGNER: Over there.
(ROYAL still doesn’t see anything)
ROYAL: Nope. Nothing.
TAILOR: She goes out here often?
ROYAL: Every day. She loves helping the animals.
SEAMSTRESS: She sounds very kind.
ROYAL: She is. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone loves her. Her family, the people of the country, and the animals too. She is very well liked. But she is also… unconventional. She refuses to dress like a royal. That’s why I called you all here. I need her to look good for the upcoming coronation. Her elder sister is to become queen and she wants Penelope to look her best for the occasion.
(PENELOPE runs past with WOLF and UNICORN and looks like they ran through bushes and rolled in the dirt. She is a mess)
PENELOPE: Oh, hello everyone. Did any of you see a weird wizard wandering about?
ROYAL: I’m afraid not, Penelope. But while I have you here… I would like to meet some of our best clothiers in the kingdom.
PENELOPE: It’s very nice to meet all of you, but I don’t need any new clothes.
ROYAL: Of course you do. It’s your sister’s coronation soon. She needs you to look her best.
PENELOPE: But this is my sister’s special day. I don’t want to stand out or draw attention from her.
DESIGNER: Then if you don’t want to stand out, you’ll need some help.
TAILOR: Because right now. You stand out.
SEAMSTRESS: So we have a beautiful collection of clothes for her.
PENELOPE: I’m happy with my current clothes, thank you.
DESIGNER: I don’t see how.
TAILOR: You can’t be serious.
WOLF: These people bothering you? Want me to eat them?
PENELOPE: I’ll take care of them. Could you be so kind as to continue to hunt for the mean magician?
WOLF: Of course.
(WOLF runs off)
SEAMSTRESS: It was as if she was speaking to the animals.
DESIGNER: And the animal seemed to understand.
ROYAL: Princess. I have nothing against your work here in the woods. You do a lovely job caring for the animals and keeping the forest… but your sister has requested that you dress… differently for the coronation.
PENELOPE: You mean… my sister… wants me to change? She doesn’t like me this way.
SEAMSTRESS: It’s just for one day.
DESIGNER: It’s a special occasion.
TAILOR: Just this once… for your sister.
PENELOPE: Very well. What do I need to do?
ROYAL: They just need to take your measurements.
(SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER and TAILOR gather around PENELOPE with measuring tapes)
PENELOPE: I will only wear something I like. I won’t make any promises.
DESIGNER: Here are some designs I worked on with your sister.
(DESIGNER gives drawings to PENELOPE)
PENELOPE: Oh no! I don’t think so. No, no, no.
ROYAL: What’s wrong with them?
PENELOPE: How can I climb trees in these gowns?
SEAMSTRESS: Why would a princess want to climb trees?
PENELOPE: How can I swim in the lakes?
TAILOR: Are princesses allowed to swim?
PENELOPE: How can I run free in the woods?
DESIGNER: I’ve never designed a tree climbing, swimming, running gown before.
ROYAL: And you won’t. Because that’s not what these gowns are for, Princess. You must learn your place and submit to your sister’s wishes.
(PENELOPE gets angry. MAGICO sneaks in the background and hides)
PENELOPE: Submit. I will never submit. No one should ever have to submit to the will of another. I’m not sure I want to be in a kingdom where people must be submissive. We must be supported. We must be empowered. We must be lifted up and never held down. That’s not a world I want for myself or others.
(DESIGNER, TAILOR and SEAMSTRESS all clap as PENELOPE exits, but ROYAL gives them a dirty look and then all stop)
ROYAL: We have your measurements. We will create your gowns. Prepare yourself, Princess. Go! Prepare the gowns.
(DESIGNER, TAILOR and SEAMSTRESS scatter. MAGICO approaches ROYAL. UNICORN enters, spots MAGICO and hides)
MAGICO: May I approach your majesty?
ROYAL: You may. To whom am I speaking?
MAGICO: I am El Magico. I wish to speak to you about your princess problem.
ROYAL: What do you mean?
MAGICO: I apologize for listening but I couldn’t help overhearing.
ROYAL: She was quite loud.
MAGICO: I have a magic spell that can help with her dress issue.
ROYAL: You do?
MAGICO: Here is some magic dust that if you sprinkle it on the princess, it will make her love the clothes.
(UNICORN gasps. MAGICO looks around but UNICORN hides and isn’t seen)
ROYAL: That simple, eh?
MAGICO: That simple.
ROYAL: And what do you want in return?
MAGICO: I would like control of this forest.
(UNICORN gasps again. MAGICO looks around but UNICORN hides again and still isn’t seen)
ROYAL: I would happily give this forest to you. It’s nothing but a burden on the family. Only Princess Penelope cares anything for this place, but it’s filled with vermin. I will gladly give it to you.
MAGICO: Then here is your magic dust.
ROYAL: I will prepare the documents that will give you rights to the forest.
(MAGICO gives ROYAL the dust and ROYAL exits. MAGICO laughs evilly)
MAGICO: Soon this forest will be mine and I will plow it to the ground for Ye Olde Shopping Village. I will have shops with things to drink and shops with things to eat and shops with gowns and shops with hats and shops with things that no one needs but want to buy anyway!
(MAGICO laughs evilly again and exits. UNICORN comes out of hiding)
UNICORN: Oh no! I must tell Princess Penelope! Princess! Princess! Princess!
(UNICORN runs back and forth on the stage yelling “Princess!” until PENELOPE returns. Other ANIMALS gather too)
PENELOPE: What’s the matter, friend unicorn?
UNICORN: I found that wacky wizard and he is up to no good. He has an evil plan. He wants to get rid of the forest and build a shopping village.
PENELOPE: Oh, no!
WOLF: What do we do?
UNICORN: You can eat him.
WOLF: Ew! I don’t eat people.
COW: What can we do about that bully? He’s going to milk us for all we’re worth.
UNICORN: He said he was going to have a shop with things people don’t want but they buy anyway.
WOLF: That’s evil.
COW: It’s an udder disaster.
UNICORN: And he made a deal with some person from the castle…
UNICORN: That one… over there… coming this way.
(The ANIMALS all scatter except cow)
COW: You want me to ring their bell?
PENELOPE: No, that’s okay. Thank you though.
COW: No problem. I’ll be close by if you need me.
(COW exits as ROYAL enters)
ROYAL: I’ve been looking for you, Princess. We’ve much to discuss.
PRINCESS: Yes, we do.
ROYAL: I hope you’ve come to your senses.
PENELOPE: I must ask you about the forest. I heard from the animals…
ROYAL: Nonsense… animals do not speak.
PENELOPE: They do to me.
ROYAL: Enough. We must find you a gown.
(SEAMSTRESS, TAILOR and DESIGNER enter with dresses. ANIMALS like COW and UNICORN watch)
SEAMSTRESS: We know we’ll find you a good gown.
TAILOR: We have so many to pick from.
DESIGNER: We know we’ll find you something special.
TAILOR: You’ll love these!
(ROYAL sprinkles magic dust on PENELOPE. ANIMALS watch and gasp)
UNICORN: Oh no!
UNICORN: That’s magic dust.
COW: What’s going to happen?
(PENELOPE sees dresses, jumps up and down in excitement. She squeals in delight)
PENELOPE: I love them all!
(SEAMSTRESS, TAILOR and DESIGNER are happy. PENELOPE puts on a gown)
PENELOPE: I love this one. It’s perfect.
PENELOPE: This one is great too.
(PENELOPE puts on another dress)
TAILOR: Oh, shouldn’t you take off the other?
PENELOPE: No! I want them both!
DESIGN: We really should…
PENELOPE: I want that one too.
(PENELOPE puts on another gown)
TAILOR: Please don’t…
(PENELOPE puts on another)
PENELOPE: Give me more dresses!
(PENELOPE runs off dragging SEAMSTRESS and DESIGNER with TAILOR following)
ROYAL: That worked a little too well.
(ROYAL runs after too. UNICORN comes out of hiding with COW and other animals)
UNICORN: This is terrible.
COW: That really sours my cream.
WOLF: What can we do?
(PENELOPE runs across stage with another dress over the others. SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER and TAILOR all chase after her and they all exit)
UNICORN: We need to find a way to break the spell.
COW: Penelope is always helping us, but now we need to help her.
(MAGICO does an evil laugh off stage)
WOLF: What was that?
UNICORN: The evil magician.
COW: Get him!
MAGICO: Now the forest will be mine!
UNICORN: Not if we don’t stop you first.
(Again… PENELOPE runs across stage with another dress over the others. SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER and TAILOR all chase after her and they all exit. ROYAL enters like she has been running after them but stops)
ROYAL: This isn’t what I had in mind at all.
ROYAL: Your magic worked a little too well.
MAGICO: But it did work.
MAGICO: You must have used too much.
ROYAL: You didn’t say how much to use.
MAGICO: Ooops. Did I forget to tell you the among? I swear I told you to just use a pinch, not the whole thing.
(And again… PENELOPE runs across the stage with another dress over the others. SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER and TAILOR all chase after her and they all exit. ROYAL enters like she has been running after them but stops)
ROYAL: How do we stop this?
MAGICO: Give me the deed to the forest and I will help you undo the spell.
ROYAL: Fine. I have the papers right here.
UNICORN: Do something?
WOLF: But I’m scared.
COW: I’ll do something.
(COW runs and grabs papers from ROYAL before MAGICO can get it and runs away)
MAGICO: Hey! That’s mine!
UNICORN: No, it’s not. The forest belongs to everyone.
WOLF: Oh, no. He looks mad.
(MAGICO chases after COW. PENELOPE runs across the stage with SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER and TAILOR all chasing her. ROYAL and ANIMALS join in the chaotic Scooby Doo style chase scene. Eventually, MAGICO crashes into PENELOPE and everyone stops. UNICORN jumps on MAGICO)
PENELOPE: More dresses! I need more dresses!
UNICORN: Give her something to break the spell.
MAGICO: Not unless I get the deed to the forest.
COW: Sorry, but you can’t have it… because I’m eating it.
(WOLF searches MAGICO)
MAGICO: Then she will stay like this forever.
PENELOPE: More dresses… please!
(WOLF finds bottle and holds it up)
WOLF: I found it! I found the antidote to the spell!
UNICORN: Give it to Penelope!
(WOLF opens bottle and sprinkles on PENELOPE)
(PENELOPE shakes her head and starts removing dresses)
PENELOPE: What’s going on?
UNICORN: You were under a terrible spell made by the wicked wizard that made you want to put on all these dresses.
PENELOPE: I can’t put my arms down.
WOLF: We’ll help.
SEAMSTRESS: Don’t rip them!
WOLF: That’s the only way out.
(ANIMALS help remove all the dresses along with SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER and TAILOR. PENELOPE goes to ROYAL. COW sits on MAGICO so he can’t escape)
PENELOPE: We must speak of this at once.
ROYAL: I am so sorry, Princess.
PENELOPE: How dare you use magic on me!
ROYAL: I was getting desperate. Your sister ordered me to do something about your clothes. I had no choice.
PENELOPE: You always have a choice. We always have a choice between right and wrong. I can’t believe you all are trying to change me into someone I’m not. That’s so unfair of you and my sister. Why am I not good enough the way I am? I’m happy with my life. That should be good enough. Please don’t force me to be something I’m not. A princess shouldn’t have to wear fancy new clothes to be accepted or included or important. What’s the point of those gaudy gowns anyway? Is it so she can prove she is better than everyone? Or show she is richer? And do we really need royal families too… do we need kings and queens... do we really need princesses? I would say we don’t. We should all be equal, and instead of punishing those who have nothing, punish those who take too much. What we need is a leader. A leader who cares about all of us and wants to lift us up and make life better for all the humans and animals that live here. Every life matters, no matter how big or small.
(ANIMALS cheer and SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER and TAILOR clap. MAGICO struggles under COW. ROYAL bows down)
ROYAL: Forgive me, your highness.
PENELOPE: I forgive you and I ask you to forgive me.
ROYAL: Forgive you for what?
PENELOPE: For making your job more difficult. I should really speak to my sister directly.
ROYAL: I think she would like that.
PENELOPE: Let’s go everyone. It’s time I spoke to my sister and our future queen. I will speak to her about how important this forest is to all of us and I do my best to cooperate for my sister’s special day.
ROYAL: Wonderful Princess! She will be most thankful.
(Everyone exits except MAGICO and COW. The COW is still sitting on MAGICO)
MAGICO: Wait everyone! I’m still stuck under this bovine.
COW: Oh, did you want me to mooove?
COW: You have to ask nicely.
MAGICO: No! Get off!
COW: Nope. Not until you speak to me with kinder words. You need to learn some manners.
MAGICO: I don’t want good manners. Mooove or I’ll turn you into hamburger.
COW: What’s a hamburger?
MAGICO: It’s something you eat that’s made out of cows.
COW: I thought ham was from pigs.
MAGICO: There’s no ham in a hamburger.
COW: Then why is it called a ham-buger?
MAGICO: I don’t know! Just let me go!
COW: Not until you give me an answer.
MAGICO: But I don’t have an answer.
COW: Then I’m not mooooving.
MAGICO: Somebody help me!
(Lights fade to black during the above exchange)
END OF PLAY
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