adapted by Joe Hanrahan from The Brothers Grimm
The Orange King
The Citizen's Daughter
Chair upstage. Ornate mirror within gazing distance of that chair.
Another chair downstage left.
The Citizen enters.
CITIZEN: Do you believe in Fairy Tales. I did…once…
…Once…upon a time…(checks her watch carefully, nods)…
There was great turmoil in the land. Warring factions. Bloody history. A rage for revenge, unbridgeable chasms of hatred, prejudice and paranoia.
It was a time like any other time. Not the best of, not the worst of…same ol’ same ol’.
But a man had come along. An Orange Man. A man who everyone had heard of – mainly because of the Reality Passion Plays that he staged in town squares. And because he hired the town crier to announce that he had amassed great wealth and property – unverified by the kingdom’s tax officials, but, who knows anything about taxes?
CITIZEN: And everyone knew him because he put his name on everything, everywhere! And his name would be huge! And, to cement the deal, he was known as…
The King enters. Imperious.
KING: …a man who tells it like it is! Or was. Or how people want it to be. At least that’s what I call myself – as a man who tells it like it is. And I like to emphasize I am telling it like it is when I say I’m a man who tells it like it is.
CITIZEN: And thus – by popular, unfathomable acclaim, this man was named – The Orange King!
KING: I’m King! This is beautiful! This is huge! I’m going to be the biggest, bestest, baddest King ever!
CITIZEN: We needed a change. God knows I did. I wondered if this was a man who could do it.
KING: I can do it!
CITIZEN: But what kind of change?
KING: Beautiful! I’m going to make this country beautiful again!
CITIZEN: I believed him. I wanted to believe in him. In Fairy Tales.
(turns to the King) Your majesty! (they exchange awkward handshake)
CITIZEN: Oh, King, My Orange King! How can I serve you? What can I do? Just name it?
KING: Here’s my platorm> (hands her platform written in a small notebook)
CITIZEN: Abolish a Federal department? Several of them. Fire a few judges? All of them. Endanger animals, national parks? Keep public bathrooms safe for straight people? Defund the Arts?
I don’t have any experience at…
KING: You’re on the team. I like you. She has my total support.
CITIZEN: He likes me! A rich person likes me!
KING: But listen. There are some people out there who don’t like me.
KING: Yes. They take my words – the beautiful things I say – and they twist them and turn them.
CITIZEN: Do they really have to?
KING: I need someone who can take my words, and spin them into words that people want to hear. I want to make this country…huge again!
CITIZEN: Sir, I have a daughter. She was…is…um, ah…a marvel with words. She can take any word and spin it so that it will seem like gold coming from your…orange…lips.
KING: Beautiful! Does she do her writing on a microwave?
KING: No one appreciate technology like me. She has my complete support. What’s she look like?
CITIZEN: Well, my King, she is my daughter, so I…
KING: Yeah? So? And?
CITIZEN: She is gorgeous, my King.
KING: Mmmm. Is she from this country?
CITIZEN: Of course.
KING: Good. She ever do any nude modeling? Girl on Girl stuff?
CITIZEN: Of course NOT.
KING: You know, I’m going to need another queen soon…my current one doesn’t like the White Chateau.
CITIZEN: Another queen…?
KING: What’s your daughter’s name?
CITIZEN: KellyCon. KellyCon Anway.
KING: KellyCon. Beautiful. She’s hired! She has my complete support.
CITIZEN: And so, my daughter – the possible future queen? It was like a Fairy Tale - entered into the employ of the kingdom.
DAUGHTER: Mom! I’m not a writer.
CITIZEN: But you wrote those cute little stories when you were…you were so creative!
DAUGHTER: I am creative. I’m an actress. And singer. (Karaoke) And dancer.
And waitress. And barista. And part-time social media solicitor.
And event coordinator. And feminist. And moderate drinker.
But I’m not a writer. I don’t drink enough. And you have to be alone when you write. Yuukkkkk!
I’m not a writer.
CITIZEN: That’s OK. I don’t think he’s much of a reader. (she leads her back to the King.) Or a listener.
KING: KellyCon. KellyCon. Mmmmmmm, I’d like to grab you by the…
DAUGHTER: Let’s not. Let’s just…shake hands.
(King starts weird handshake)
DAUGHTER: (As handshake is going on, she breaks away) I’d like to grab you by the…whatever (her mother stops her).…No, let’s just…bow.
KING: (from the bow) Bow. I like that. I like her. (he starts to rise, stares at her breasts) Huge! She has my complete support.
DAUGHTER: Thank you.
KING: So KellyCon. Your father tells me you can take the basest remarks, the basest material, and spin gold from them.
DAUGHTER: Well, I…
CITIZEN: Of course, she can. She’s a wonder…a word…wizard!…writing.
KING: Well, then. I tend to dump some of my basest material at about 2, 3 in the morning.
CITIZEN: And so, first thing, every day, your majesty, KellyCon will be back to you with gold.
DAUGHTER: First thing? I get in kind of late.
KING: KellyCon! You’re a 9. A solid 9. I could get used to you. I can’t get used to this wife I’ve got. She was a throw-in in a deal with Prussia…
KING: (to KellyCon) I didn’t say that! I never said Prussia. You can say…say, we…my wife and I…first encountered each other on a dark, moonless night.
My eyes met, there was a scent of moi in the air, I caught a glimpse of my hair in a pane of glass, and it was love at first sight. That’s the kind of gold I’m looking for.
And as we work together, as we get to know each other, who knows, maybe…
CITIZEN: Yes, who knows, maybe…
DAUGHTER: Maybe I should go, get some rest, be ready in the morning…
(daughter goes to sit on downstage chair. Citizen takes out toilet paper dispenser from behind throne, starts spinning it out)
CITIZEN: But as the King’s late night messages began arriving, my daughter didn’t know where to begin. She couldn’t spin this…this…whatever it was, into gold.
DAUGHTER: I’m not a writer! I’m not much of a reader either, but this, this…is…is…
(Daughter sits with pen and toilet paper, struggling to write)
CITIZEN: To be fair, I don’t know anyone who could do anything with this…this. But then, I heard…about someone –
(whispers) someone who was only whispered about…
R: TA DA!!! I mean (whispers) ta da.
(R strikes poses with every description)
CITIZEN: Some say he was a myth…Some say he was an anarchist…Others, that he was an operative from a foreign land.
But all feared him. So I searched for him, and found him.
I come for the King.
R: Ooooh, The King! Ooooh The King!
Shall I bow? Kiss his ring?
Kiss his ass? All that bling!
Ooooh, The King!
CITIZEN: Uh, yes. And what should I call you?
R: Stiltskin. RumpleStiltskin.
CITIZEN: And…what…are you?
R: I’m Alt Right. You Alt Right? All God’s Chillun’ Alt Right?
Praise be, I am…
CITIZEN: Alt Right. All right. I need you to do a job.
R: A job! A job!
A chance to hobnob!
An opportunity to rob?
CITIZEN: Do you say everything in rhyme?
R: It impresses the mob!
CITIZEN: Well, maybe it can help with this knob.
R: (points at his rhyme) Job Mob Knob! Blob Cob Nabob! Be-Bob…a lulala
CITIZEN: (interrupting him) I need you to help my daughter. She’s working for the king, trying to spin his…words…into gold.
R: The King? That knob? His Words (Big laugh) Sorry. (walking away) Sorry, I’ve got things to go, people to do, places to see…
CITIZEN: If she succeeds, she could become the next queen.
R: (stopping) The next queen? Y’know, My schedule is suddenly wide open. Let’s go, daddy-O!
(they move over to the Daughter)
(R to audience – “KellyCon?”)
CITIZEN: I’ve brought someone to help you.
DAUGHTER: Thank God! I’m getting nowhere with this.
R: Hey, baby.
DAUGHTER: Who is he?
CITIZEN: His name is…
R: Aaaah Ah Ah! No names. I’m the…Ghost Writer on this project! (circling the daughter) Boooooo! Aaggggggh! Booga Booga Booga!
Let me take a look at that. (gesturing to notebook)
MAN: I’ll leave you to it. You’re in good hands now.
(as Man turns to leave, R mocks assaulting the Daughter with hands all over the place.)
R: Gooooood hands…Gooooood hands….
DAUGHTER: I beg your pardon!
R: You don’t have to beg, baby. (snatches the paper and pen, reads quickly)
Oh no! What? My my! Oh my my! Does this guy say anything but “Huge” and “Beautiful” and “There’s nobody who’s…whatever…like me”?
DAUGHTER: Pretty much.
R: (working furiously) Let’s say….this…and this…and this! There you go.
(hands newly formed flower of paper back)
DAUGHTER: This is great! I’m going to show it to him!
R: Slow down there, sport model.
Sure I can give you a few tips, suggest a couple of good…(leaning leeringly over her)…lead-ins. MAYBE EVEN WRITE THE WHOLE DAMN-DIDDLEY THING FOR YOU!!!
(lies on ground seductively)
But what have you got for me, huh?
DAUGHTER: What do you want?
R: (striking a gunfighter pose) What I want and what I need are two different things, pardner. And what I need…mmm…is that…brooch you’re wearing.
DAUGHTER: (looking at her blouse) This brooch.
DAUGHTER: You got it. (takes it off flings it at him, walks towards King)
(R murmuring to himself, as he sits on floor in corner, pinning brooch on himself.)
R: Get her used to giving things….mmmm…
DAUGHTER: Your Majesty. (offers flower of paper R wrote)
KING: (reading. ) This is great! This is beautiful! (hands her back the sheet)
What does it say?
(DAUGHTER mimes reading, KING beaming)
CITIZEN: And so KellyCon found herself a favorite in the White Chateau. Where the King resided (when he wasn’t at the Southern White Chateau), but his Queen spent most of her time in their Orange Tower. So the King rarely had the Queen to worry about when he congratulated KellyCon on her work.
(Very awkward dance of King stroking Daughter’s arm, turning it into a weird handshake and evolving into what looks like some ghetto bumping as she runs back to the space/chair where she works.)
CITIZEN: But she continued to struggle to spin the King’s…leavings into gold. (taking more toiler paper from dispenser) Once again, I had to call on…him. (walks down to R)
R: (leaping up) Need me again? One more time!
Should be fine. Extra dime.
Very soon “it’ll all be mine!”
One more time!
CITIZEN: You don’t think those rhymes impress me, do you?
R: Nein. (gesturing towards daughter) The fraulein?
(moving to daughter, doing a U.S. calvary trumpet call and riding in as if on a horse, circling her a couple times) What seems to be the trouble, M’am?
DAUGHTER: Not what. Who.
R: Let me have a look at that map, M’am. (grabs page)
(R reads, starts giggling, into explosive laughter; stops, stands abruptly)
R: (in British accent) Or perhaps something like this. (writes, hands her another flower of paper))
DAUGHTER: (reads) Yes! (starts to exit to King)
R: Eh-Eh-Eh-Eh-Eh-Eh…..Eh. (rubs fingers together a la where’s the money?)
DAUGHTER: What do you want now?
(R mimes a guitar, and starts C&W singing from the song Rings by Cymarron)
R: Ring Ring Doorbell Ring
Baby Come On In
Got Merle Haggard On The Stereo
Ring Ring Golden Ring
Around The Sun Around Your Pretty Finger
DAUGHTER: (having tried to interrupt him on last line or two) All right! All right! I get it. (she pulls ring off her finger and shoves it at him)
(R takes ring into the corner, huddles, trying ring on and murmuring to himself. )
R: Got this. Get something else next.
(Daughter goes back up to the King with R’s writing)
KING: This is beautiful. I sound so good. Nobody ever sounded as good as me.
KellyCon, you are making this King sound great again!
You keep this up, you’ll be In Like Flynn!
DAUGHTER: Michael Flynn?
KING: No, he has my complete support. Errol Flynn! Now there was a man – running hot and cold teenagers!
Reminds me. Remember, nothing about Sessions.
DAUGHTER: The Attorney General?
KING: No, he has my complete support. I’m talking about those after party sessions in Prussia, after the beauty contests…Never mind…
(King reaches for her in his awkward way, Daughter moves back to her workplace.)
DAUGHTER: Thanks so much. Gotta run. Gotta fly. Lots to do.
CITIZEN: But now the King had decided it was time to take a new Queen. The former Queen went back to the hinterlands – good Pre-Nup – and the Orange King announced the happy news.
KING: (stands, announces, then sits abruptly) And our new Orange Queen – the beautiful and talented KellyCon!
(Daughter stands, perplexed and in agony, and bows)
CITIZEN: My Daughter! A Queen!
But she had one last writing assignment – the wedding vows that she and the King would deliver on their wedding day.
DAUGHTER: (head in hands) I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.
Vows? To him? Married to him?
I can’t do it!
R: (bounding up, as a cheerleader) I can do it. Yes I can!
If I can’t do it, no one can!
DAUGHTER: So, what do you want this time?
R: Hmmm, let’s see. Well, I’m sure the King will want an offspring from his lovely new bride.
KING: She’ll give me a strong son! A manly son! An orange son!
DAUGHTER: (hollering back at him) What if I want a daughter!
KING: A daughter. Yes, yes, even better. Mmmmm. We’ll name her Baron - ESS.
R: That’s what I want. I want that Daughter. I want her to be mine!
DAUGHTER: My child! Why?
R: (in accent) Let’s just say I have my reasons. (to audience, as a lecturer)
But Scholars disagree. Why does he want the baby? Is it for revenge to help a fallen people?; hope that the baby will be a good queen to bring peace?; Is this strange creature an ancestor spirit.?
Aaaah, fuck the Scholars!
DAUGHTER: I think Betsy Devos is already doing that!
R: Who cares! I want that baby!
DAUGHTER: (on her knees) You can’t! No! When I have my daughter, you can’t have her! No! No! I beg you! (crying)
(R is moved. Her mother is moved, watches closely)
R: Aaaah, OK. Listen, sweet cheeks, I’ll give you one chance. You guess my name, and I don’t take the child.
DAUGHTER: Guess your name?
R: That’s all you got to do.
(R twirls around stage during this interchange)
DAUGHTER: Your name, your name. Uh, Tom, Dick, Harry?
DAUGHTER: Mahershala? Obama? Kanye NorthByNorthwest?
R: I wish!
DAUGHTER: Beastrib? Muttoncalf? Legstring?
R: It’s the name game - KellyCon KellyCon Bee Bellycon
Bananabana Fee Fellycon
Fee Fi Mee Mellycon
(R repeats song, twirling, as the Citizen comes up to her Daughter and whispers in her ear)
DAUGHTER: Is it…?
(R collapses in a heap. Daughter hugs her Mother, who moves to the center to finish the story)
CITIZEN: And so my lovely daughter did not have surrender her firstborn. Which was not born to the King.
Because you see, the Kingdom’s tax officials finally got their hands on his tax returns.
CITIZEN: The false promises he had made of jobs and prosperity never materialized.
CITIZEN: It turns out he was meeting with Prussia constantly.
CITIZEN: And, the people finally realized, he didn’t like them at all.
KING: SO WRONG!
CITIZEN: So the people rose up and chose a new King. But that’s another fairy tale.
(King slumps off throne, to floor)
As for Rumplestiltskin, he was never heard from again…
R: (from floor) That’s what you think!
CITIZEN: Myself. I…no longer believe in…just…any…Fairy Tale. And I’ve learned that alternative facts are not really…facts.
As for my daughter, she met a nice man, had a beautiful daughter NOT named Baron-ESS, and lived, as they say – in Fairy Tales - happily ever after.
(Daughter does big pose.)