Frau Doppler (Franz’s mother)
Coppelia (the doll)
Herr Blumenstrauss, The Mayor
Chorus of Toys
Chorus of Villagers
Prologue (may be omitted)
The tour guide is leading the way up the mountain path. The mother is not carrying anything. All the luggage is being carried by Dad and the children.
TOUR GUIDE: Just a little further now Madam, and we’ll be at the hotel.
BOY: Mummy, why do we have to walk.
MOTHER: Stop asking silly questions. They don’t have buses where we’re going. It’s an undeveloped area of the alps. You know that.
FATHER: I hope there’s an English pub at least! One that serves Guinness.
TOUR GUIDE: Afraid not, Sir. But Oberhausen is the pride of the alps, every traveller’s dream, you couldn’t wish…
MOTHER: Oh, alright! Cut the sales talk. Oh hurry up you three- you do lag behind so. We haven’t got all day, you know.
GIRL: Why is this path so steep, Daddy?
BOY: Because it goes up the mountain, you idiot.
FATHER: I’m starving. I do hope they’ve got a fish and chip shop.
TOUR GUIDE: Afraid not, Sir. GIRL Mum did you pack my Play Station (or substitute with the latest craze)?
MOTHER: Of course I didn’t you daft child. This is an adventure holiday in a ski resort- not in an amusement arcade. GIRL Well, I hope you remembered to pack our skis then.
MOTHER: But, surely we can hire them, can’t we?
TOUR GUIDE: There wouldn’t be much point, Madam. It’s summer and there’s no snow on the mountain.
GIRL: This gets worse by the minute!
FATHER: I don’t mind that as long as they’ve got Sky Digital in every room.
TOUR GUIDE: Not in any room at all, I’m afraid, Sir. But you’ll love Oberhausen. You see – it’s a medieval village and it’s sort of caught in a time warp. They know nothing of the twenty-first century there. You’ll see.
MOTHER: I’m not so sure that Oberhausen is our kind of town after all. Hurry up you three. Stop lagging behind …
The Village Square, Evening (and view through Dr Coppelius’s Window)
MUSIC. The villagers are going about their business and some are standing around, talking. It is growing dark and a light is showing in the window of Dr Coppelius’s house. Music plays softly. Villagers stop their chat and look into the doctor’s house with a mixture of curiosity and fear.
JURGEN: Come and look, Brunhilda, it’s that strange man, Dr Coppelius, and his two dwarf servants.
BRUNHILDA: Don’t look, Jurgen, they will cast a spell on you!
JURGEN: Surely you don’t believe those rumours, Brunhilda. He’s just a harmless old man, even if he is a little eccentric.
HORST: Eccentric! Have you seen him there night after night mixing potions? Many believe him to be practising some sort of sorcery.
MECHTILD: You don’t mean ….. witchcraft?
HORST: Exactly! And that infernal banging noise; all day and half the night! It never stops.
(Sounds of banging from the doctor’s workshop. Lights on stage dim and light from the doctor’s window brightens. We see the doctor and the two dwarves mixing chemicals.)
DOCTOR: Grabbit! Do hurry up with that sodium! I’m nearly ready to do the final mix. No response from Grabbit. (Shouting) Grabbit!
(Grabbit is startled.)
GRABBIT: I’ll get the sodium, shall I, master?
GRUMBLE: Just do as the doctor says, Grabbit, you fool! The sooner this is finished, the sooner we can get home to bed.
DOCTOR: You lazy creature, Grumble. You will do anything to avoid work. You should consider it a privilege to assist me in my work.
GRUMBLE: Bah, privilege – my big toe!
DOCTOR: What was that, Grumble? What did you say?
GRUMBLE: Oh it’s nothing, doctor. I merely agreed that it is a privilege. (Scowls at audience.)
(The lights on stage are brought up slightly for the song [preferably blue].)
SONG 1 Hocus Pocus Fiddlesticks
After the song the villagers drift off while the music finishes and the lights dim. Move swiftly into scene 2
The Village Square, Next Morning
The square at Oberhausen is very busy with the hustle and bustle of shoppers at the market. Many street-sellers are offering their wares. A mischievous group of small children are stealing fruit.
SONG 2: Oberhausen, You’re My Kind of Town
The tour guide and family wander in during the song (in modern dress) Enter Swanilda carrying her wedding dress.
MITZI: Oh Swanilda, you have the dress! It’s so beautiful.
SWANILDA: Why, thank you, Mitzi. Mother made it herself to my pattern; it took her three weeks.
HEIDI: Swanilda, you are so lucky to be marrying Franz. He is so dashing and handsome. Do you think the rest of us will ever be married?
HELGA: You could be married tomorrow if you accepted Horst’s hand. You know he’s been mad about you since you were eleven years old. Horst is pushed forward.
HEIDI: But I don’t want to marry Horst, he is just a peasant! I want to marry a rich nobleman with a title.
STANZI: Horst has a title, doesn’t he?
SWANILDA: Yes, but I don’t think ‘blacksmiths apprentice’ is the sort of title Heidi has in mind! Girls and villagers all giggle at this. Horst looks hurt. Enter Frau Doppler.
STANZI: Look out girls, here comes that old bat, Frau Doppler, Franz’s mother.
FRAU: Oh, there you are Swanilda! I’ve been looking all over the town for you, mein Liebchen.
HELGA: (Aside) And if Swanilda’s got any sense she’s been hiding from you.
SWANILDA: (In a sugary voice reserved for future mother-in-laws) Hello, Frau Doppler. How nice to see you!
FRAU: I’ve sorted all the arrangements for the wedding – and I’ve got your dress with me. Franz will just love you in this dress.
(She holds up a most revolting dress which is clearly far too big. All the villagers begin to crowd around. Gretchen snatches the dress and holds it up in front of Swanilda. All laugh.)
SWANILDA: Why, that’s very kind of you, Frau Doppler.
FRAU: Call me MUMMY, darling.
SWANILDA: But you see, Frau … er Mummy, all the wedding arrangements have been made already and mother has made me this most beautiful dress. Shows dress
FRAU: Oh. I see. So… you don’t like the dress I’ve made?
(Swanilda takes the dress from Gretchen.)
SWANILDA: Well no, it’s beautiful; but it’s a little too large.
MECHTILD: It will make a lovely bedspread, Frau Doppler! Frau looks angry and grabs Mechtild as if to hit her.
GRETCHEN: (Taking Swanilda to one side) Look Swanilda, you must not let yourself be bullied by this woman. Stand up to her and tell her what you think.
SWANILDA: Oh, alright Gretchen. If you say so. (To Frau) I don’t really think the dress is for me. (Frau looks indignant) But you would look gorgeous in it yourself on my wedding day. Wouldn’t she, Gretchen?
GRETCHEN: (Trying not to laugh) Why yes, Swanilda, she would look as pretty as a picture.
(Sniggers from the crowd. Frau takes the dress and holds it up in front of herself, looking pleased.)
FRAU: Why, Swanilda, that’s very kind of you to say so. Suddenly there are gasps of surprise from the crowd as the doors of the doctor’s balcony open and he brings the most beautiful girl out. She sits on a chair and reads a book.
BRUNHILDA: My goodness, what a beautiful girl! Who on earth is she?
JURGEN: She’s gorgeous! Surely she can’t be the doctor’s daughter?
HORST: Or perhaps his wife?
MECHTILD: Such a lovely girl as that would never marry a grumpy old man like the doctor.
HEIDI: I’ll tell you one thing. If she’s living in this village, she’ll be number one on the list for a rich and noble husband.
HELGA: And where does that leave us?
HORST: Girls, you must not be jealous of her beauty. We should make friends with her and find out who she is. I say, young lady! Won’t you come down and meet the girls from the village. They would like to be friends with you.
(Everyone watches for a reaction. Coppelia sits absolutely still.)
GRETCHEN: Well, I must say, Horst, you have a real way with the ladies!
MITZI: Look, Swanilda, here comes your gorgeous Franz with his friends.
(All look. Enter Franz and the boys in high spirits.)
FRANZ: Good day to you ladies. Good day, mother. Ah, my beautiful bride. What brings you here?
SWANILDA: Oh, I just came to show the girls my wedding dress.
GRETCHEN; (Trying to change the subject. Coughs – ahem!) Now Franz, have you met the new girl in the village yet? She is staying with Dr Coppelius. See her on the balcony there!
(Franz and the other boys turn to look and Franz is astonished by Coppelia. Everyone freezes apart from Franz. There is a lighting change to highlight just Franz and the balcony. Coppelia is immobile. Soft music plays.)
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Coppelia Score Sample
Portsmouth High Prep School, Southsea, England
Rookesbury Park School, Wickham, England
Act One Beginners, Portsmouth Hampshire, England
Willaston Primary School, Nantwich, Cheshire, England
Mevagissey County Primary School, Cornwall, England
Adapt Theatre, Phoenix Arts Centre, Hastings, England
Workshop, Stagecoach, London