A stage musical of the beloved children's book by George MacDonald. MacDonald was a forerunner to CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, and his work was greatly admired by them. This is one of the most successful and beloved of Victorian fairy tales.
Style: Dramatic with light touches. Duration: Approx. 90min
Actors: 13M, 7F, 1C, + Various. (Some parts may be doubled.)
The play was first performed by Crossbridge Theatre Company, Orewa, Auckland New Zealand, in August 2016. A video of one of the performances can be viewed on YouTube, at: Act One https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_JaGAlvu28, Act Two https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEl4lPrpIEg
Eight-year-old Princess Irene lives a lonely life in a castle in a wild, desolate, mountainous kingdom, with only her nursemaid, Lootie, for company. Her father, the king, is normally absent, and her mother is dead. Unknown to her, the nearby mines are inhabited by a race of goblins, long banished from the kingdom and now anxious to take revenge on their human neighbours. One rainy day, the princess explores the castle and discovers a beautiful, mysterious lady, who identifies herself as Irene's namesake and great-great-grandmother. The next day, Princess Irene persuades her nursemaid to take her outside. After dark they are chased by goblins and rescued by the young miner, Curdie, whom Irene befriends. At work with the rest of the miners, Curdie overhears the goblins talking, and their conversation reveals to Curdie the secret weakness of goblin anatomy: they have very soft, vulnerable feet. Curdie sneaks into the Great Hall of the goblin palace to eavesdrop on their general meeting, and hears that the goblins intend to flood the mine if a certain other part of their plan should fail. A week later Irene loses her way up the mountain; whereupon the light from her great-great-grandmother's tower leads her home, where her great-great-grandmother gives Irene a ring attached to a thread invisible except to herself, which thereafter connects her constantly to home.
When Curdie explores the goblins' domain, he is discovered by the goblins and stamps on their feet with great success; but when he tries to stamp on the Queen's feet she is uninjured due to her stone shoes. The goblins imprison Curdie, thinking he will die of starvation; but Irene's magic thread leads her to his rescue. Irene takes Curdie to see her great-great-grandmother and be introduced; but she is only visible to Irene. Curdie later learns that the goblins are digging a tunnel in the mines towards the king's palace, where they plan to abduct the Princess and marry her to goblin prince Harelip. Curdie goes to warn the palace guards about this, but is imprisoned instead and contracts a fever through a wound in his leg, until Irene's great-great-grandmother heals the wound. Meanwhile, the goblins break through the palace floor and come to abduct the princess; but Curdie escapes from his prison room and stamps on the goblins' feet. Upon the goblins' retreat, Irene is believed a captive; but Curdie follows the magic thread to her refuge at his own house, and restores her to the king. When the goblins flood the mines, the water enters the palace, and the goblins are defeated.
Curdie* – a miner (a 13 -16 yr old boy)
Irene* – the Princess (8-10 yr)
Lootie – Irene’s nanny
Peter* – Curdie father
Mother* – Curdie’s mother
King* – Irene’s father
Members of the King’s household (butlers, maids, soldiers, etc)
Goblins (these roles could be played by children)
The production notes in this script are from the original stage performance, at Orewa, Auckland. in August 2016. They can obviously be modified, ignored, etc, by groups mounting their own productions. The original production ran for eight performances, so two girls played the part of Princess Irene alternately. (When not playing Irene, each girl played in the goblin chorus.)
A DVD of the original performance is available by contacting:
Music, backing tracks, and sound tracks are also available.
A sample portion of the script may be obtained by clicking on the link at the foot of this page. The full script may be obtained from John McNeil, at the above email address.