Monday, March 25, 2013

A CLASS OUT OF ORDER


(WHEN THE FAIRY TALES GO TO SCHOOL)

ACT A' - Scene A'

    A classroom with furniture which reminds the fairy tales, beautifully decorated, with familiar items - and much more unknown or whimsical - bright and architecturally flexible. The items move periodically, by necessity or pure whim, just for a little while, and then they turn back to immobility again, according to the flow of events. The teacher is rather old-fashioned, reminds a lady-in-waiting of some palace from a fairy tale - definitely wears glasses.


TEACHER:             Snow White, my child, it is not time for apples right now! At the break...After all, how many times have I told you to be careful? Αnd you insist on apples!
SNOW WHITE:     But...but...
TEACHER:             Yes, I know: (miming Snow White with no success) "But apples are my favorite fruit, madam!". Alright, but since you know the dangers, you should try to avoid them. What's wrong with oranges?
SNOW WHITE:      ..............
TEACHER:              Anyway, tell us, Cinderella, what do you know about the Grand Battle of the Mice?
CINDERELLA:       You know, madam, yesterday I had to clean the whole house and make the cakes for the dinner, so I didn't have time to study. Thank God, the pigeons helped me! But I know nothing about Mice. Should I tell you how we clean the pans and make them shine?
CLARA:                   Oh well! She's in her own world! Madam, since the Mice are in mine, should I tell you what happened in the Battle, so that I could get the best grade and make my parents happy?
TEACHER:               Ah, you're all going to drive me crazy! How many times have I told you not to be indifferent towards your lessons, especially the Historiogeography, Phenomenology, Communication Codes and Interfairytale Studies? It is important to know the basics, so that you could communicate on a correct basis and interact creatively, without conflicts! 
GRETEL:                 Excuse me, madam, what does "correct basis" and "interact creatively" mean?
TEACHER:              It means "as you should" and "make nice relationships and things".
GRETEL:                 Don't we do this now?
TEACHER:             You do it - at least as far as I've observed during all this time I know you. However, when you become adults you will change. Everybody changes. Especially the ones of you who are going to occupy positions in charge, you're in danger of forgetting what you did at school.
BAD SISTER No1:  (snobbishly) Mmmmm, the funny farm to wear the trousers! All of them brainless and cloud heads!!!
TEACHER:               Did I hear anything form the back desks???.........Well, to the point: as you know, today is an examination day, so it is not you that choose who is going to say what, but I! Let's see what Hansel remembers of all the knowledge we shared about diet and food.
HANSEL:                 I don't remember much; the only thing I know is that some one can eat everything as long as he shows a bone instead of his arm to the bad witch - IF he wants to keep it safe in its place!
TEACHER:              Yes, my dear boy, but apart from this specific rule you've learnt BEFORE you came to this class, isn't there anything else you've acquired during the past school year? 
HANSEL:                Of course there is! I've also learnt that the oven isn't useful only to throw the bad witch in and be safe to leave, but also to bake cakes and food!

Some light laugh travels around the class, and the teacher, in a desperate facade, takes some notes down on her little grade book. 

TEACHER:              Quiet in the classroom, we aren't finished yet! You all have to be examined and graded today. You are not improving things with this fuss! So, now I would like Cinderella's two Bad Sisters to approach to the blackboard.

Indeed, they stand up, and start marching towards the blackboard. The Second one keeps stumbling and holding on the First one, who gets all the more annoyed. They stand in front of the blackboard and look at the teacher. First wears her widest smile, while Second does her best to seem charming - however, she fails completely, as her facial gesture degrades into a clumsy grin.

BAD SISTER No1:   (whispering among her teeth) Useless! Completely useless! You cannot achieve even a single fake smile!

TEACHER:                Well, girls, I'll examine you following the age order. First, my child, can you solve the equation three times 4x equals sixty?
BAD SISTER No1:    Of course, madam! (whispering) What did you think of me, you moron teacher, that I was some illiterate or uncultivated or a bimbo, like all these victims you've got here and torment them? 
TEACHER:                What are you whispering, First, is there any problem?
BAD SISTER No1:    No, madam, I'm just making some calculations.
TEACHER:                (with underlying suspicion) Ah, calculations...Nice, very nice!

During all this time while First is solving the equation and talking to the teacher, Second is picking her nose.

TEACHER:                 Second, my child, what's this behavior? Haven't I told you for a thousand times that a young lady does not pick her nose in public, neither does she rub her eyes, nor guffaw, nor shove, nor loiter here and there!
SECOND:                  And where she loiter, ma'am?

The whole class breaks into a vivid roar, and First offers a generous but muffled kick at Second's leg.

BAD SISTER No1:    (hisses like a snake) You've stained my reputation once more, you stupid thing!

Meanwhile, First has solved the equation and has found x=5.

TEACHER:                 Very well done, First! (First swells as a peacock) Now tell us what this 5 is.
BAD SISTER No1:     What "what this 5 is"? It's five!
TEACHER:                  Yes, it is, but in general (underlining it) what is it?
BAD SISTER No1:      A number.
TEACHER:                  Correctly! A number, but what number?
BAD SISTER No1:      (loses her grip, starts fidgeting her hands and biting her lip) What "what number", madam? Just a number. Not a letter, a number! A NUMBER!
TEACHER:                  (barely keeping her posture) Alright, First, my child, there's no need to yell! It is a number, I didn't say the opposite! But WHAT number?
BAD SISTER No1:      Oh my! You're unbearable, madam! (mockingly)"What number" and "what number"! All numbers are the same; numbers! What extra could they possibly have? Isn't it enough that we put up with their existence, are we going to be searching what more they are? - a needle in the haystack that is! (full of irony)Yeah, well, let us waste some grey matter on numbers! Like we didn't have anything more important to do! If you asked me about Princes, I'd understand and willingly answer everything! But about numbers!!! Well, no, I DON'T know what number is this 5, nor any other of them; I don't care and I've got more urgent things to do - let's say dress up, make up and go to parties - than seeking for the kinds of numbers! Do you UNDERSTAND?
TEACHER:                   (still calm on the surface, but boiling underneath) I do, First, I do. Very deeply, indeed! Please, sit down and try to get hold of yourself. Oh, and don't forget to take Second (who has already started wailing) with you. I don't think she's able to undergo any kind of examination right now. I'll see about her tomorrow.

First grabs Second's hand and drags her behind her as she moves through the desks, making her increase her wailing tones. 

TEACHER:                    Beautiful Bella, please, take Second in the next room and calm her down. I'd be mostly obliged!
TEACHER:                   (to the other students in the classroom, who are fidgeting in their seats and murmur) We are going to continue the examination for some minutes and then you can go release your energy during the break!

The class keeps quiet and then a light snoring is heard.

TEACHER:                    Oh my God, the Sleeping Beauty! I totally forgot her! Sleeping Beauty!

No response. The Sleeping Beauty keeps on sleeping on her desk. The teacher goes above her. 

TEACHER:                    Sleeping Beauty! Wake up, my dear! It's time for you to get examined! Wake up, please!.................Sleeping Beauty! SLEEPING BEAUTY!
SLEEPING BEAUTY:   (moves slightly while naging with her eyes still closed) Please, Mommy, don't wake me up! I don't want to go to school!
TEACHER:                    But you already ARE at school, Sleeping Beauty! Wake up to finish this!
SLEEPING BEAUTY:   (opening one eye, she sees her teacher, then she gets up in her seat with a yawn) Madam teacher! Please forgive me, madam teacher! I didn't realize I got asleep!
RUMPELSTILTSKIN:  (singing) And when aren't you asleep? You never remember it! You're always yawning! And we never see you moving!
TEACHER:                   Rumpelstiltskin! Quiet! Your time is near! Don't push your luck or I' ll get you grounded! (to the Sleeping Beauty) Tell me, child, where is the Kingdom of Far Far Away?
SLEEPING BEAUTY:  (with a gradually increasing impetus, as if she's trying to make up for the time she lost while she was asleep) The Kingdom of Far Far Away is located at the remote borders of our Fairytale Universe, it is inhabited by fifty-one myriads of natives and forty-two myriads of immigrants, incomparably beautiful natural sites, and a highly organised system of mass transportation, like dragons, carts, postal carriages, and horses of every speed capacity, for hire. Also, telecommunications are conducted by postal pigeons, while in special occasions they sent riding messengers..........Messengers. Period. Phew!
TEACHER:                    Excellent, child, but take time to breath in! You've made it now! I honestly wonder where did you find the time to study! 
SLEEPING BEAUTY:   I had some........subconscious learning while sleeping, madam!

The class bursts into laughter.

TEACHER:                    (teasingly) I'd say you saw it all in your dream. 
SLEEPING BEAUTY:   (with enthusiasm) How did you get it? In fact, I saw I visited the place flying on the back of a goose and...
NILS HOLGERSSON:  Whoa, Sleeping Beauty! Cut it down a little! Now you're going to say that we even traveled together! C'mon, girl!

Among a new burst of laughter, the bell rings. Curtain.


(12/6/2014 - UPDATE: This is the first scene of the first act. The play is now almost complete - apart from two-three songs...)


[Copyright: Zafiria Kostopoulou, March 2013]