Feminist Fairy Tale

           Curtain opens on TERRY, an actress practicing for the lead role in “Sleeping Beauty.” She wears a princess costume. Her acting is campy and over the top as she wanders around the stage holding her script.

TERRY: Oh, woe is me! Forced to hide deep in the woods for sixteen long years by a witch’s curse. And with only my fairy godmothers to keep me company.

She touches her forehead with the back of her hand theatrically.

TERRY: Oh, how I long to fall in love! Whenever will my betrothed, Prince Phillip find me here in this dark, enchanted forest? My fairy godmothers have blessed me with the gifts of beauty and song but what good are these if I have not a husband?

           Terry drops her princess persona suddenly, looking closely at the script.

TERRY: Woah, I am not reading this. Doug, have you even looked at this script? This is incredibly sexist.

           Doug, the director, walks briskly on stage.

DOUG: Of course I looked at it. And of course it’s a little old fashioned, Terry. It’s a fairy tale.

TERRY: (Incredulously.) “For what is beauty without a man’s eye to admire it? And what is song without the ear of a man to deem it pleasant?” Seriously?

DOUG: It was a different time!

TERRY: Oh my god, the next line says, “For to pledge your unconditional obedience to a man is the only true path to happiness for a woman.” I’m not doing this!

DOUG: Okay, this isn’t working. I’m recasting.

TERRY: Fine by me!

           The two storm off stage in different directions.


*   *   *

           A new girl has been cast as Sleeping Beauty and Terry is now in the part of the evil witch. She sits in front of a spinning wheel in a black cape.

SLEEPING BEAUTY: Oh, my. Somehow, I have found myself in this small room at the top of a deserted tower of the castle! I am so lost. Whatever will I do?

TERRY: Hello, dear Princess. Come over here and speak with a lonely old spinster for a spell.

SB: Oh, hello Granny. What is this contraption you have spinning so merrily before you?

TERRY: Why, this is a spinning wheel, my dear.

SB: A spinning wheel? How fine. What is this…

           SB reaches to prick her finger on the spindle but stops as Terry continues speaking, unscripted.

TERRY: Yes, a spinning wheel. An instrument of female domestication in the patriarchal household.

           Enter Doug.

DOUG: Dammit, Terry. That’s not the line!

TERRY: (Speaking more loudly and ignoring Doug.) Yes! As you can see my position of power as a strong matriarchal figure is diminished by this unpaid housework I am forced to do here in this tower.

SB: Um, Doug?

DOUG:  Just prick your finger and fall down, Julie.

           SB goes to prick her finger but Terry slaps her hand away.

TERRY: Don’t give in to this oppressive system, Julie! The spindle is an obvious reference to the penetrating phallus!

           SB/Julie finally pricks herself and falls down.

DOUG: Alright, back to the drawing board.

TERRY: God dammit, Julie. You’re the anti-feminist, you know that don’t you?

           Terry and Doug both march off again, leaving Julie limp on the floor.    


*   *   *

           Sleeping Beauty lies motionless on a bed with her hands folded gracefully on her chest. Terry has now been demoted to Tree and stands in the background in a brown sweat suit. She holds her paper leaf covered arms above her head, swaying slightly.

           Prince Charming enters and kneels at Sleeping Beauty’s bedside. As the prince says his line Terry sighs frustratedly in the background, making comments like “Jesus. Oh, come on. You can’t be serious, etc.”

PRINCE: Oh, my beautiful Sleeping Beauty! I am here to rescue you, my sweet, helpless damsel! And from here until eternity you shall be by my side, obedient and loving, the perfect wife! The perfect cook and maid! The perfect mother to our twelve strapping, future sons! I must just bestow upon your perfect lips true love’s kiss.

           The prince bends over to kiss SB. Terry breaks her tree persona and runs over to stop the prince.

TERRY: Woah, woah, woah! Does no one else see what’s wrong with this? This girl is totally passed out! You can’t just go around having your way with completely unconscious women.

PRINCE: (Rubbing his eyes in exhaustion.) Jesus, Terry… Not again.

TERRY: Consent is not the absence of a no, mister!

           Doug runs out on stage again.

PRINCE: Doug, I don’t know what to do here. She’s unprofessional.

TERRY: And am I the only one who cares that she’s only 16 fucking years old? That’s statutory, right there.

DOUG: God dammit, Terry. You are ruining this play!

TERRY: Oh, I’m ruining the play? Not the fact that your protagonist is a rapist? That has no effect on the play? We’re all on board with this doucher in a crown fondling an underage girl that’s been asleep for a hundred years? Oh, okay. I guess I’m the asshole.

PRINCE: (Breaking down into tears.) You are an asshole, Terry.

           Doug and the prince walk off stage, Doug holding the prince’s shoulders comfortingly and murmuring that he’ll find someone else to play Tree #2.

SB/Julie picks her head up.

SB/JULIE: So, are we taking five here or what?

TERRY: Oh, shuuuut uuuuuuup, you cunt.