Hansel and Gretel: The Panto
MOTHER screams. GERALD runs in with blunderbuss.
GERALD: Ahoy! Von Trapper here, Hunter Extraordinaire. Where’s the wolf? Let me at ‘em!
MOTHER starts pacing and thinking out loud. GERALD looks around for a wolf.
GERALD: I’m here for you, Miss! Don’t you worry, I’ll get this wolf if it’s the last thing I do!
MOTHER continues to pace and think. GERALD continues to look around for a wolf.
GERALD: Well, darn it if I can’t see this wolf anywhere. What does it look like? (gets out a notepad)
MOTHER (muttering): Children!
GERALD (writing this down): A wolf that looks like children. Got it.
GERALD: Oh, a wolf that looks like those specific children! Got it.
GERALD: And the wolf is missing? Like I said, I’ll find it! And when I do, it shall feel the wrath of my blunderbuss!
MOTHER: No! Listen! I don’t know who you are, but there is no wolf! My children, Gretel and Hansel, are missing, and I think someone kidnapped them and left balloons in their place.
GERALD: Well, those look nothing like Hansel and Gretel. I mean, unless they’ve been beheaded.
GERALD: No, no, no, not to worry! I saw your children, about half an hour ago. They were completely un-kidnapped. Just going for a walk in the forest. Looked a little hungry, though. But do not fear, I know exactly where they are. I gave them directions to that little food house in the woods. You know, the one made of gingerbread? 321 Clavicle Lane, I believe.
MOTHER cries again.
MOTHER: You idiot!
GERALD: I know, I know, they’ll completely ruin their dinner. That’s on me, but…
MOTHER: That’s a witch’s house! They will BE dinner!
GERALD: …Oh. My bad.
MOTHER: We need to get to them before they get there!
In the forest.
GERALD: Don’t worry, Mother. We’ll find them.
MOTHER: I just feel terrible. Most parents can tell their kids from balloons.
GERALD: Well, you’re not most parents, Ms., Ms.—I’m sorry, I think in all the commotion we were never properly introduced. I’m Von Trapper, Ger—
MOTHER: Wolfgang von Trapper?! I love your work! You, sir, have made the greater Black Forest Cake Forestland area a safer place! I heard about what you did for the girl in the red, her grandmother told me. We go to the same gym. Incredible how you removed them from the wolf’s stomach in one piece! Such amazing surgical precision.
MOTHER: And what you did for poor Snow White. You, sir, are a hero. A real hero.
MOTHER: Can I get your autograph?
GERALD sighs, and sadly writes his name on a piece of paper.
MOTHER: Wait. This says “Gerald.”
GERALD: That’s right, Wolfgang’s son. But I’m a huntsman in my own right! I hunt all kinds of things! And kill them! And eat and wear them! Because I’m a hunter. A hunter, I say! And that’s what hunters do! And the Von Trappers are fearsome hunters! Even if they’re only Gerald and not the great Wolfgang.
MOTHER: Of course you are.
GERALD: But enough about me. What is your name?
MOTHER: I’m Mother.
GERALD: And a fine mother you are, I’m sure, but what is your name?
MOTHER: …Everyone’s just always called me “Mother.”
GERALD: Well, that sounds a touch misogynistic.
MOTHER: It does, doesn’t it? (MOTHER ponders her existence.)
A “whoosh” is heard.
GERALD: Got chilly in here, didn’t it?
MOTHER: A bit.
BABA GANOUSH enters, cackling.
By blinking taters and salad toss’d
Take these guys and make them lost!
Through this next section, MOTHER and GERALD start to wander around in an arc, which gradually turns into them making smaller and smaller circles together, until they’re just spinning around in place, independently of each other.
GERALD: That was the worst poem I’ve ever heard. And I’ve sat through a Meghan Trainor concert. Wait, who was that and what did she mean?
MOTHER: I don’t know who she was, but first she swore on her dinner, and then I think she called us losers.
GERALD: That’s terrible!
MOTHER: Well, she seemed like a very negative person. You know, I feel like I’ve seen this tree before. (They are spinning by now.) And this one. And this one. And this one.
GERALD (spinning as well, speaking to her each time he sees her): Mother, I– Mother, can– Mother, will– Mother may I–
MOTHER: Hmm, there’s something shifty going on here.
GERALD: I think it’s us; we’re shifting.
MOTHER: No, I mean something shady.
GERALD: Well, that would probably be the trees.
MOTHER: Something fishy.
GERALD: Well, that doesn’t help me any. I’m a hunter, not an angler.
MOTHER: I feel like…
GERALD: A bagel?
GERALD: A natural woman?
MOTHER: Yes, that’s it. Gerald, I think we’re spinning.
GERALD: Well, that’s ridiculous. Why would we be spinning? It makes no sense.
MOTHER: Remember that poem you hated?
GERALD: Yeah, what about it?
MOTHER: I’m thinking that was a curse.
GERALD: Huh. Yeah, yeah, that makes sense now.
MOTHER: Gerald, next time we go around, grab my hand.
They manage to grab hands, and jolt to a stop.
GERALD: I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little bit dizzy.
MOTHER: My head is spinning.
GERALD: Like a whirlpool it never ends.
MOTHER: Where are we?
GERALD: Don’t worry, Mother! I know exactly where we are.
MOTHER: Oh, thank goodness. Where?
GERALD: We are in the Black Forest Cake Forest.
MOTHER: But where in the Black Forest Cake Forest?
GERALD: The part that has this tree in it, obviously.
MOTHER: Okay, great. How do we get to the gingerbread house from here?
GERALD: I have no idea.
MOTHER: You mean we’re lost?
GERALD: No! Of course not. Did you ever hear the saying, “Wherever you go, there you are?”
GERALD: We’re there!
MOTHER: Where’s there?
MOTHER: Where’s here?
GERALD: The part of the Black Forest Cake Forest that his this tree in it. Obviously.
MOTHER: Gerald, did you ever hear the saying, “I’m with Stupid?”
MOTHER: I’m there.
GERALD: Now, Mother, no need to worry. As I said, I am Gerald von Trapper, of the hunters von Trapper, the most fearsome hunters the world has ever seen! And these woods are my home.
MOTHER: That’s right. You can get us out of this.
GERALD: Absolutely! You ready? (MOTHER nods.) HELP! HEEEELP! WE’RE LOST IN THE WOODS! HELP!