Close on the heels of The Stinky Feet Gang being released comes news from Pioneer Drama Service that they'll be publishing my tenth play, a large-cast comedy called Wicked Is As Wicked Does.
Yes, that title is inspired by Forrest Gump's second favorite saying, "Stupid is as stupid does." And like that Academy Award-winning film, this play explores the idea that it's not how you look that's important. It's how you act.
Forrest Gump wasn't stupid, even though many people thought he was. And the protagonists in my play aren't really wicked, even though the other characters say they are.
I guess in that respect, Wicked Is As Wicked Does also owes a debt to that blockbuster Broadway hit Wicked. Both ask the question: what is wickedness? And how can you be good if other people attribute your actions to wickedness?
But my play isn't based on the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. It's based on the similarly named villains from the fairy tales: Snow White's Wicked Queen, Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother, Sleeping Beauty's Wicked Fairy and the Frog Prince's Wicked Witch.
The story takes place after "happily ever after." Snow White has ascended the throne, magic has been outlawed and the four Wickeds have been sentenced to nine million hours of community service each.
But that's not enough for Prince Intolerable, who will soon marry Snow White and rule with her as King. No, he wants to kick the Wickeds out of the kingdom. Learning of this plot from a sassy Magic Mirror, the Wickeds decide to stop the wedding the only way they know how: through magic.
There's just one problem. The Wickeds have gotten a little rusty in the magic department. Can they get their spells to work in time? Or will they be banished forever to the icy wasteland of Grimstad?
The play is 60 minutes and has a highly flexible cast of 32 (9M/12F/11U). It's the most female-driven play I've ever written, with the five biggest parts (the four Wickeds and Snow White) being female.
Here's an excerpt from the script. In this scene, the Wickeds are trying to enlist the good Fairy Godmother in their plot:
WICKED QUEEN: Look, we know we've done wrong, but we've been trying to pay our debts to society. I've spent over 600 cleaning the palace. Wicked Fairy has been traveling around the kingdom making sure every spindle has a warning label on it. And Wicked Witch is leading a campaign to ban the eating of frog's legs.
WICKED FAIRY: Believe me, you don't want to find out those legs used to wear pantaloons.
FAIRY GODMOTHER: So why have you come here?
WICKED QUEEN: I'm afraid I have some bad news. The four of us Wickeds are going to be banished to Grimstad.
FAIRY GODMOTHER: And the bad news is...?
WICKED QUEEN: Okay. So maybe you don't care if we're sent away.
WICKED WITCH: But think of Snow White or your precious Cinderella, going through life without a stepmother.
WICKED STEPMOTHER: After all, a wicked stepmother is better than no stepmother at all.
FAIRY GODMOTHER: Who's going to banish you?
WICKED QUEEN: Prince Intolerable.
FAIRY GODMOTHER: Oh, man. That guy. I can't tolerate him
WICKED FAIRY: I know, right?
WICKED WITCH: You think he's bad now? Just wait until he becomes king.
FAIRY GODMOTHER: So where do I come in?
WICKED QUEEN: We want you to stop his wedding to Snow White. We're not allowed to use any magic, of course, but we were thinking maybe you--
FAIRY GODMOTHER: Oh, no, no, no, no! Queen Snow had banned magic for everybody, and that includes me!
WICKED WITCH: I know, but you have a spotless record. No one will get their breeches in a bind if you perform one spell.
WICKED STEPMOTHER: All we're asking for is a bippity.
WICKED WITCH: Or a boppity.
WICKED FAIRY: Or one little boo.Assuming I don't get sued by Disney first, the play will be available in Spring.