As promised, here is a Christmas Puppetry Script, loosely based on the Hansel and Gretel Fairytale and devised by the puppetry club in the school I teach at. I wrote the script based on pupils’ rough ideas.
Characters (entirely dictated by what puppets were available to us – feel free to adapt!):
- Evil Magician
Hansel, Gretel and the Dragon
Scene 1 Living Room
Mum: It’ll be a meagre Christmas, husband
Dad: Yes, we are poor. If only we had a work horse to farm the land! But our children are used to it, wife. Let’s call them.
Mum: Hansel! Gretel! Wake up! It’s Christmas morning!!!
Dad: And there are presents!
Hansel: Presents? I’m coming, I’m coming (shakes sister) Come on, Gretel! Actual presents? This is going to be the best day ever!!
They arrive in living room.
Mum: Happy Christmas, Children. Now, you know how it works.
Dad: Yes. One at a time, so that the joy lasts longer. Unwrap yours first, Gretel!
Actor/narrator 1 steps forward and unwraps small insignificant present, designed to be useful.
Gretel: That’s wonderful! A comb, just for me! Thank you.
Dad : And how about you, Hansel – open your present.
Actor/narrator 2 steps forward and unwraps Hansel’s present.
Hansel: That is fantastic! A spoon all of my own. Thank you!
Mum: But there is one more present here. It’s…
Dad: It’s for both of you.
Hansel: WOW. For both of us?
Gretel: WOW. For both of us?
Together: What is it?
Mum: Why don’t you open it?
Actor/Narrator 1 steps forward, unwraps book: It was a book. But not an ordinary book, no. It was beautiful. Colourful. Fascinating. Mesmerising. And, as they were about to find out…
Gretel: Let’s open it.
Hansel: Look at that first page. It’s a wintery wood. Hang on, what’s happening?
Actor/Narrator 1: …MAGIC.
Scene 2: Forest A sweetie trail leads through the audience to the gingerbread house
Hansel: Oh, help. Gretel! Where are we?
Gretel: Looks like some sort of forest.
Hansel: (shivering) Feels like some sort of forest. It’s so cold!
Gretel: It’s the book! It took us here. And now…Now we don’t have any way of getting back! (sinks down and cries)
Hansel: Look, there’s no use in just sitting here. We’ll freeze to death. We need to find shelter!
Gretel: Oh, shelter, that’s right (sarcastic) – why didn’t I think of that?
Hansel: Ahem, Gretel. (Hansel looks at sweetie in sweetie trail)
Gretel: If only there was a signpost here, that would be wonderful. Something to show us the way to a nice warm house. Somewhere safe…
Hansel: Gretel, look!
Gretel: But instead we are here, with nothing but snow and snow and trees and trees and..
Hansel: Yes! Look, it’s a trail, don’t you see?
Gretel: (steps back). I suppose.
Hansel: And it’s leading us somewhere. I just know it! (starts following trail) Come on!
Hansel: Unless you’ve got a better plan?
Gretel: (sighs and follows). I have a bad feeling about this.
Both puppets follow the sweetie trail through the audience as narrator is speaking
Actor 1: And so the two children found themselves in the middle of the dark wood, following the trail of shiny sweet wrappers reflected in the moonlight it wasn’t long before they could see a magnificent gingerbread house in a clearing some way ahead.
(House placed on stage, lights on it)
Actor 2: The wind blew, the frost nibbled at their toes and their stomachs roared in harmony with the storm. Do you think they hesitated, even for a second? Of course they didn’t. They went straight inside.
But nothing was going to prepare them for what they saw in the gingerbread house! Lights down
Scene 3 In the Gingerbread House
Magician: Welcome! Welcome! Have you come to find shelter here like so many other weary travellers?
Hansel: Yes! Oh, it’s so terribly cold out there, and we’re so horribly hungry!
Gretel: Wait: Are you a…
Magician: A wizard? A magician? A wielder of magic? Yes, dear girl, I am all of those things, and more! But let’s not waste precious time talking of me. Go, children. Eat! Satisfy your hunger, and I will get your beds ready. You can stay (quietly) as long as I like.
Hansel and Gretel eat.
Magician: (to the audience) Just as well the gingerbread contains a sleeping potion. That way it’ll be easy to imprison these two – until it’s time to feed them to my terrible DRAGON! Mwhahahaa!
Hansel: I feel so tired all of a sudden!
Gretel: I can barely keep my eyes open.
Magician: Then why fight it? The house is warm and the forest is cold and stormy. Make yourselves comfortable. I’ll keep watch.
Hansel: Will you really? That’s so kind of you, Sir…. Chrrrrrrr (snores)
Gretel: I’ll just have a tiny, teeney little nap for a minute… or chrrrrr (collapses)
Magician: Haha! This is a feast for my terrible dragon! Two chunky, juicy children should keep him going for most of the winter! Now, there’s work to do. Better get busy before my Dragon wakes!
Lights out, spot on narrator.
Actor 1: Using his terrible powers, the evil magician conjured prison bars around the sleeping children. They didn’t hear the clanging of metal, or the distant snores of the dragon. They didn’t even feel themselves transported to the damp, dark cave beneath the gingerbread house. Their sleep was deep and magical. Until…
Actor 2: Until they were woken by the most terrifying sound of all. A hungry dragon’s yawn!
Scene 4: Dragon’s Cave
Lights up: Dragon yawns in the corner.
Dragon: Ohhhhhh, what a lovely dream. I dreamed that dinner came to me from another world: plump, juicy, stringy children, a feast fit for a dragon king. But I’ll probably have to hunt bats and rabbits again instead. That wizard never gets me anything proper to eat!
Hansel and Gretel make sleeping noises
Dragon: Wait – what? Is that…Can I believe my eyes? Plump, juicy, stringy children? Just waiting for me to eat them? Oh, lovely lovely lovely wizard – I’ll never bad-mouth him again!
Gretel: (waking) Hey – less of the ‘plump’!
Hansel: (waking) And I’m sure we’re not stringy either.
Both: (Properly awake) AAAARGHHHH! A Dragon!
Dragon: Good morning, breakfast. How are you this fine day?
Hansel: (shaking) I have been better, thanks.
Gretel: Both of us are feeling particularly disgusting today. Very distasteful. Oh yes.
Dragon: Don’t worry. I’m not fussy with my food.
Hansel: We’re very disappointed to hear it!
Gretel: Hansel: I have an idea! (to Dragon): Oh great Dragon – I wonder why you would fill your stomach with children and rabbits and bats, when in our world, the food is so much better. In fact, in our world it’s Christmas day! That means…
Hansel: Oh yes: Turkey and stuffing and jelly and mince pies…
Dragon: (interested) What are these things?
Hansel: Oh, the best food imaginable for the discerning Dragon. But if you’d rather just have a couple of tough old kids, well, your choice.
Dragon: Wait. My mouth is watering just hearing you talk of it. Stuffing, you say? Mice pies?
Gretel: Mince pies. A delicacy! And our world is full of them. If only we could get back. (cries)
Dragon: The wizard goes to the world of children sometimes. He places his magic books in bookshops
Hansel: So that new victims will be lured to his lair. Like us! Mean Magician!
Gretel: Wicked wizard!
Dragon: Monstrous master! But he is not the only one who can do magic. I’ve hear him recite the spell. There’s no time to lose.
Magician appears, mug in hand.
Magician: No time to lose for what? I was just going to drink my breakfast brew before feeding you, my faithful dragon.
Gretel: (whispering) I still have some of the sleepy gingerbread in my pocket. Now or never!
Actor 2: Gretel stepped up to the bars, and stretching her hand through, crumbled the last of the gingerbread into the wizard’s brew.
Wizard: I feel a bit… (collapses)
Actor: And the dragon melted the prison bars away with a breath of fiery flame
(SFX/ orange light)
Dragon: Children, hold on to my scaly hide. That way, we can fly together, from this world into yours. (They fly off around room/music/ scene change to living room again)
Snowy forest, Christmas Town
I will wear of both the crown
Travel through the realms of time
Until town bells I hear chime
Travel through the magic storm
Until I take another form
Hansel: You’re a horse!
Horse: Dragons don’t exist in your world! Don’t you know anything?
Scene 5: Living Room
They land on living room floor.
Mother: Where have you been? You were there, and then you were not, and now – what is this horse doing in our living room?
Father: A horse is just what we needed – to farm the land. We may not be so poor if we have a horse. How did you get it?
Gretel: Ahem,… we sort of swapped it for the book.
Hansel: Yes, turns out we didn’t like it so much after all. Sorry.
Mum: Enough of all the questions. Who’d like a mince pie? (all stay still, but horse raises a hoof)
Actor 1: And so it came to pass that Gretel and Hansel’s family had the best Christmas they had ever had. A new friend, a strong and willing work horse – as long as there was a steady supply of mince pies.
Actor 2: And the wizard? Well he still travels to our world and places his magic books in bookshops for children to find. So, if you open a book you get for Christmas this year; make sure you hold on extra tight to your seat.
Actor 1: Oh, yes – and I nearly forgot: And have a very merry Christmas!
All puppets: (wave and speak together) Yes, a very merry Christmas to you all!
Christmas Music and bowing. Riotous applause!
So there you have it!
Have fun creating your own! We are going to perform this for a couple of classes of six-year-olds in December. A lot to do before then…!