After the Ball by Helena Auty

After the Ball

(STEPMOTHER is leaving her two daughters BERTHA and PRUDENCE home alone while she goes out.  STAGE RIGHT BERTHA is reading a magazine which on the front says “Cinderella & Prince Return From Honeymoon!”. Holding it so the audience can see. STAGE LEFT PRUDENCE has her back to audience holding a mirror.)

STEPMOTHER: (off-stage) And no arguing!

BERTHA: Arguing… You always start it!

PRUDENCE: (Puts down mirror and faces audience, lipstick smeared across cheek) I don’t start arguments, you do Bertha!

BERTHA: No I don’t Prudence.

PRUDENCE: Yes you do

BERTHA: No I don’t

PRUDENCE: Yes you do… (realisation dawns) you just started that one

BERTHA: No I didn’t

PRUDENCE: And that one

BERTHA: No I…

PRUDENCE: And that one

BERTHA: (turns around huffing)

PRUDENCE: Well, if you’re going to behave like a baby, I shan’t talk to you

BERTHA: (Turns back to face audience) I am not a ba…

PRUDENCE: (hands over ears) la la le la I can’t hear you only an ickle baby crying

BERTHA: Fine. I shan’t tell you what Cinderella has done now.

PRUDENCE: (suddenly interested) What has the little rat done?

BERTHA: I’m not going to tell you. You evidently don’t want to know.

PRUDENCE: I do! I do!

BERTHA: Ok… (stage-whisper) but you have to promise not to tell anyone

PRUDENCE: (puzzled) ok…

BERTHA: (dramatically) Cinderella has…

PRUDENCE: (gasps)

BERTHA: Shut up! I haven’t even started the tale.

PRUDENCE: (begins to speak then thinks better of it)

BERTHA: Cinderella crept into our room, stole our best dresses and prettiest hair pins and our most expensive makeup and our finest shoes and has… (looks at PRUDENCE) It’s not that bad.

PRUDENCE: Yes it is… has she taken my gold-plated hair pin?

BERTHA: Yes, she’s taken that

PRUDENCE: (screams, starts crying)

BERTHA: (satisfied) You don’t even want to know what she did with them

PRUDENCE: (trying to regain control of the situation) maybe

BERTHA: (looks knowingly)

PRUDENCE: Ok, ok, yes I do

BERTHA: Cinderella took them to the (pauses for effect) ball!

PRUDENCE: (confused) The ball?

BERTHA: Yes, the ball. You know, the one with the gorgeous Prince?

PRUDENCE: Oh yes (sighs) Princie…Princie Darling…Princie…

BERTHA: (Interrupts) Yes, I get the picture. (pause) Anyway, she took them to the ball and (pauses because PRUDENCE is still mouthing words -  each beginning with “Princie…”) Hello? Are you listening? Prudence?

PRUDENCE: Hmm, what?

BERTHA: Don’t you want to know what she did?

PRUDENCE: Yes!

BERTHA: She took our beautiful things and wore them and the prince fell in love with her.

PRUDENCE: (screams and runs off blubbing)

BERTHA: (smugly) She is going to be furious when she realises that Cinderella married the Prince four months ago!