7 m, 4 f, 3 m or f plus chorus.
Garmangarbis, an old goblin
Oric, the sorcerer
In the Village:
Athelstan, a well-to-do merchant of Fritham
Wilda, his wife
Nelda, older daughter
Orva, older daughter
Odelia, younger daughter
Elvina, Odelia’s poor friend
Wilfrid, Sigbert Athelstan’s Servants
At the Castle:
Prince Wulfstan, the beast
Hengist, Wulfstan’s footman
Horsa, Wulfstan’s footman
Lord Locksley, a nobleman
Nobles and courtiers
The lighting for this scene should be dim, and preferably backlit, so that the actors are mere shadows miming the action as if it were a dream. The narrator could be unseen off-stage, perhaps with the voice amplified, or standing downstage under a spotlight.
NARRATOR: Gather round and listen well as I tell the tale of magic, mystery, wickedness, compassion and love. Our story has its roots deep in days of yore when knights on majestic mounts did defeat dragons and deliver damsels from their distress. In a certain castle Brocburg there lived a sorcerer of great renown, whose powers made even the mighty Merlin appear like a court conjuror. This same sorcerer kept a lowly goblin servant, more from pity of him than of his abilities. Garmangarbis by name, he was grotesque of feature and of nature more twisted than a viper’s tail. One duty of this foul fiend was to tend to the healing herbs in a magical garden, created by the great sorcerer, Oric.
(Enter Garmangarbis and sorcerer who mime the following sequence.)
But, not content to receive this charity, in disdainful deceit the covetous creature stole from his benevolent benefactor. Being of simple mind, however, the dim-witted dwarf failed to cover his traces and was swiftly dismissed from his duties. Generosity knowing no bounds and, compelled by compassion, the sorcerer gave the worthless wretch parting gifts of an exquisitely carved oaken chest, containing the secret of eternal happiness, and the granting of one wish – to be used only for the power of good. As a final gesture the sorcerer, placed the key to the chest on a chain around Garmangarbis’s neck.
The key, however was too large for the lock and Garmangarbis found he was unable to open it and discover the secret of eternal happiness. His frustration grew daily and with it the key, rendering any notion of opening the chest an impossibility. In his obsession with the chest, the goblin quite forgot the one wish he was graciously granted by the sorcerer. Until one day, when his anger had reached its peak, the malevolent malefactor struck out at the nearest living creature – the unfortunate prince Wulfstan, only son of Aldwulf, ruler of the southern kingdom.
Poor Wulfstan, daydreaming as boys do, was wishing aloud, as he picked a white rose from the garden, for the most beautiful girl in the kingdom to be his bride. Garmangarbis, with his one wish, in a fit of rage and jealousy consigned the prince to a despicable destiny. In a terrible transformation Wulfstan was cursed with a bear-like body and sharp claws, a long hairy snout and a foul temper. The boy roared in anguish when he realised his fearful fate. Unknown to the boy, the goblin’s curse allowed a reverse charm to undo the spell, but Garmangarbis chuckled to himself at the thought of any girl falling in love with that creature, let alone shedding tears for it. The reprehensible rogue then simply picked up his possessions and began to wend his way.
Thus, was poor Wulfstan destined to count the passing of days as a recluse, living mostly in the Summer Garden, hidden from the eyes of the public. Upon the death of his father, Wulfstan inherited the castle, land and an army of servants, who would wait on him, without ever questioning his grotesque appearance.
Scene 1: On the Green in Front of Athelstan’s House in Fritham
(The curtain opens on a country village scene dotted with trees and simple buildings. In the background is a cloth or flat of Athelstan’s house with an open doorway. In the foreground the villagers are dancing on the village green and singing.)
SONG 1, Chorus, Country Life
(After the song the villagers drift back to their business upstage, leaving the principal characters downstage)
ELVINA: (In a country accent.) Oh, Odelia, that was such fun. Please let’s do the dance again.
ODELIA: (In a cultured accent.) There’s no time, Elvina. Father must leave for market at Burley or he will not get his stall set up in time.
ATHELSTAN: That’s right my girl. I’m already late and must ride like the wind to make up time.
ELVINA: But Athelstan, you’ve only just returned from your last trip. How long will you be away this time?
ATHELSTAN: I should be only about three days, young Elvina. And don’t you worry. My wife, Wilda, is quite capable of running the house in my absence.
WILDA: (Off-stage) Athelstan! Athelstan, where the devil are you? I hope you’ve not left already.
ODELIA: Talk of the devil. Here’s mother now.
(Enter Wilda, looking fierce)
WILDA: Ah, there you are, Athelstan. Now what did I tell you about that woollen tunic? Do I have to pack your trunk myself?
ATHELSTAN: No Wilda, dear, I am quite capable.
WILDA: Yes, but you didn’t pack your woollen tunic. That rough hemp will never keep you warm in these chill winter days, now will it?
ATHELSTAN: No dear, if you say not.
ODELIA: Mother, please don’t fuss. Father has been away before. He knows what to pack.
WILDA: Oh does he? And have you forgotten that he came back with a fever last year. It nearly took him away from us it was that bad.
ELVINA: I think she’s right, Athelstan, you must be careful of your health.
(Enter Nelda and Orva)
NELDA: Why you young upstart. How dare you speak to my parents like that. Who do you think you are?
ODELIA: I… I… I…
ORVA: The daughter of a basket weaver. That’s who she is. Merely a lowly basket weaver.
NELDA: I don’t know why you are always here hanging around our house. Are you looking for some charity, or something?
ODELIA: The reason she’s here is because she’s my friend and I asked her to come. So what if her father is a poor, humble basket weaver. A touch of humility wouldn’t come amiss around here.
NELDA: How dare you speak to us like that. We are your elders and deserve some respect.
ODELIA: Respect must be earned. Now just leave my friend alone, will you.
ATHELSTAN: Come now, my dears, there is no need for these harsh words. I will need you to work together to keep the household going while I am away. Now Elvina, go and ask Wilfrid and Sigbert to bring the trunk out as we must soon be on our way.
WILDA: Tell them, Athelstan. You don’t ask servants to do something, you tell them.
(She struts off upstage and harasses the villagers.)
ORVA: That’s your problem, father, you’re too soft.
ATHELSTAN: Watch your tongue girl, or I’ll find a new use for my belt.
ORVA: You wouldn’t use your belt on me Daddykins, would you? Besides, if you took your belt off your trousers would fall down.
(Laughter from the others)
NELDA: Will you bring us back presents this time, Father? You often do.
ORVA: Oh, yes, I do so love having presents when you return.
ATHELSTAN: And if I did choose to bring you something, what would you wish for?
ORVA: Oh, I would love to have a necklace of the purest silver from the orient…
NELDA: And I … a bracelet of the finest pearls from the Indian Ocean.
ATHELSTAN: Well, you don’t ask much do you! And you, my precious youngest daughter, what would you wish for?
ODELIA: Oh, nothing, Father, except your safe return.
ORVA: (Mimicking, aside) Oh nothing, except your safe return.
NELDA: Oh Odelia – you are sooo boring!
ATHELSTAN: I pray you make a wish, Odelia, and if it is in my power, I shall grant it.
ODELIA: Oh, very well! I wish…. I wish… for a pure white rose in bloom.
(Nelda bursts into a fit of giggles)
ORVA: Why, that’s ridiculous! It is midwinter and you know father cannot honour your wish.
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Beauty and the Beast Score Sample
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