Puss in Boots

A couple of years ago I was asked to rewrite the classic tale, Puss in Boots, for children’s theater to be performed during the Howl Festival in Tompkin’s Square Park. I rose to the challenge and remade the classic with my fellow art stars appearing in the cast. Maybe you’re a schoolteacher and you happen to be reading my blog. Well, you are in luck because I’ve decided to include the script here in case anyone feels like performing it!

PUSS IN BOOTS

ACT ONE

Brer sings opening theme song while two people dressed as mushrooms dance onstage. Song ends, FADE UP on a giant ROACH that sits on a table onstage. It is manipulated with fishing wire to make it look like it’s moving. A person offstage does the roach’s voice.

ROACH

Once upon a time in a magical land called the Lower East Side, the elderly owner of the local bodega became ill.

Faceboy as the ELDERLY BODEGA OWNER in a gray wig wanders onstage complaining like a grumpy old man.

ELDERLY BODEGA OWNER

Gotta restock the 24 ounce cans of Budweiser. These kids today with their parties and their carrying on…oh my achin’ ass!

He falls over dramatically.

ROACH

And after a short while, he died.

Two stagehands carry him off.

ROACH

Unfortunately for his three sons, the bodega owner’s business had not been doing well and he left behind a very small inheritance. In fact his total estate amounted to just three items and these he willed to his sons according to their ages. The eldest son was given the bodega itself, which he sold to real estate developers so that they could tear it down and build a luxury hotel.

The eldest son wanders onstage with a huge check or wad of fake bills.

ELDEST SON

Sweet!

ROACH

The middle son was given a hard-working ass.

Middle son appears with a person wearing an actual ass costume. (I think they sell these ass-head masks at Halloween Adventure.) If we can’t get an ass-head, I do have a donkey mask.

ASS

Eeyore! Eeyore!

ROACH

And the youngest son, Dingus, was given the family cat.

Dingus appears onstage followed by Puss who hangs out huffing a paper bag labeled “cat nip.”

PUSS

(kind of stoned)

Meow.

DINGUS

You gotta be kiddin’ me!

ELDEST SON

Sucks for you.

Eldest son makes “loser sign” with his fingers before walking offstage.

MIDDLE SON

Glad I’m not you.

Also wanders off with his ass.

DINGUS

I’ve been left with nothing but a mangy cat who it appears is addicted to cat-nip! How will I ever survive? I suppose I should set out on foot to the unemployment office!

A stagehand hands him a stick with a bandana tied to the end. Puss and Dingus walk in place while stagehands move cardboard trees by them as well as a sign that says “Unemployment Office: 20 Miles.”

DINGUS

We’ve been walking all day and the unemployment office is still 20 miles away. Good thing I’m gelling in my Dr. Scholl’s massaging gel insoles with dual wave design to absorb shock.

Puss cries and looks at his feet.

DINGUS

I guess you’re not so lucky, are you, Puss?

Puss cries again.

DINGUS

I suppose I could give you a foot rub.

Dingus starts to rub his hands together dramatically when all of a sudden a fairy, ROSEBUDWEISER, appears! (It is a 24-unce can of bud with a doll head hanging from fishing wire on a stick and someone offstage does its voice.)

DINGUS

Oh look, it’s a magical fairy!

ROSEBUDWEISER

My name is Rosebudweiser.

DINGUS

Hi, Rosebudweiser.

ROSEBUDWEISER

Your pussy seems awfully tired.

DINGUS

Yeah, it was a two-for-one over at The Phoenix last night and my man pu…

ROSEBUDWEISER

Your CAT. Your CAT seems awfully tired.

DINGUS

Yeah. Um. His feet hurt.

ROSEBUDWEISER

Well, why don’t you buy him some boots? I just happen to have a pair in his size I could sell you.

DINGUS

But I only have 3 dollars to my name.

ROSEBUDWEISER

Perfect. They only cost 3 dollars.

DINGUS

That doesn’t seem like the wisest investment…

ROSEBUDWEISER

You don’t want PETA on your ass do you?

DINGUS

I guess I don’t have a choice, do I?

A stagehand throws the boots onstage. Dingus stuffs 3 dollars into the doll’s hand.

ROSEBUDWEISER

Goodbye now. Nice doing business with you.

She flies away as Puss puts his boots on.

DINGUS

Bye.

PUSS

These are some sweet boots.

DINGUS

(shocked)

You can talk? I think I just shat myself.

PUSS

Yeah. Now that I have my magical boots on. Of course I can talk. Hey I’m starved. Totally jonesing for some lasagna. Whaddya say we hit the Olive Garden?

DINGUS

We can’t hit anything. I just spent my last dime on your boots. (Freaking Out) WE’RE GOING TO STARVE.

PUSS

OK. You need to relax. Start by counting your blessings. Have you read The Secret? I have big plans for you, Dingus. By the end of the day, you’re going to be the richest man on the Lower East Side.

DINGUS

Yeah right.

ACT TWO

ROACH

While Dingus and Puss in Boots made their way uptown to the Unemployment Office, the King and Queen of the Lower East Side appeared at the town center in order to make a Royal Proclamation.

A Chamberlain appears onstage.

CHAMBERLAIN

Their Royal Majesties: King Humpday and Queen Dangles and her Royal Highness: Princess Fallopia.

The King and Queen appear along with their daughter who kind of looks and acts like Paris Hilton. She folds her arms and makes sarcastic comments, which the King and Queen ignore. The Queen should wave throughout the entire scene almost like she’s strung out on Valium. There should be two actors playing Villagers planted in the audience.

KING HUMPDAY

Attention, loyal subjects.

VILLAGER #1

You suck!

Throws something.

VILLAGER #2

Get a life!

Throws something else.

KING HUMPDAY

As I was saying…

PRINCESS FALLOPIA

Can you please hurry up, Daddy? These common villagers are like completely gross.

KING HUMPDAY

Queen Dangles and I have decided that it is time for our daughter, the Royal Highness Princess Fallopia to wed.

PRINCESS FALLOPIA

Oh my God, this is so embarrassing.

KING HUMPDAY

From this day forward we will be searching the region East of the Bowery and North of Canal for a man noble enough to take her hand in marriage.

PRINCESS FALLOPIA

It never occurred to you I might be gay?

KING HUMPDAY

He must be wealthy, kind and courageous.

Villager #2 makes a fart noise.

VILLAGER #1

We got out of bed to listen to this?

VILLAGER #2

Seriously. I’m missing happy hour.

KING HUMPDAY

Possibly even courageous enough to slay the evil sorcerer who lives in the tower on Rivington Street. He has placed a plague upon the Lower East Side so that slowly the region and its inhabitants are losing their soul.

VILLAGER #1

Well count me out.

VILLAGER #2

No shit. That sorcerer is one scary dude.

KING HUMPDAY

That is all, my loyal subjects. Now carry on.

The Villagers boo as the Royal Family exits.

ROACH

Meanwhile things were looking up for Dingus.

Dingus and Puss are sitting onstage. Dingus holds a NY Post.

PUSS

So I said ‘I’m not fat; I’m undertall!’

Dingus laughs like this is hilarious.

DINGUS

You crack me up, Puss! Wow, I’m stuffed. Dining and dashing at the Olive Garden was a great idea, but I still need a job. Maybe there’s something listed in this New York Post you found on the street.

They both look at the Post.

PUSS

Check out Page 6. It says the King and Queen are going to marry off their daughter.

DINGUS

No way! Princess Fallopia. She is like so hot.

PUSS

You know what? I’ll bet you end up marrying her.

DINGUS

I swear you’ve got a screw loose, Puss.

PUSS

Trust me. With the right cattitude anything is possible!

ACT THREE

Dingus and Puss are sitting down with a hat out.

DINGUS

So this whole “making millions” thing – just wondering when that’s gonna happen cuz panhandling on Avenue A isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

A lady walks by.

PUSS

Spare a dime for an out of work cat?

LADY

Get a job!

PUSS

Um. Hello? I don’t have poseable thumbs, dumbass.

A man walks by.

DINGUS

Spare some change?

MAN

What’s wrong? Trust fund ran out? Go back to your parents’ house in Connecticut!

DINGUS

Actually, my trust fund is this cat. It’s no use – no one’s listening.

Just then two hippies walks by. They are tripping. Maybe one of them carries a bong.

HIPPIE #1

I am like so totally tripping.

HIPPIE #2

I know. That is hands down the strongest acid I’ve ever taken.

Hippie #1 stops, his mouth agape.

PUSS

Be patient, Dingus. Money will come. Just tell yourself that you are an open channel for infinite riches. It’s called the Law of Attraction.

HIPPIE #1

Dude. It’s  TALKING CAT. Holy shit. (rubs temples) Not gonna freak out. Not gonna freak out.

HIPPIE #2

And it’s WEARING BOOTS.

HIPPIE #1

We need to like give it all of our money.

They approach Puss and give him their wallets.

HIPPIE #2

Here, dude. Take our wallets.

PUSS

Thank you. That’s very generous of you.

HIPPIE #1

It THANKED US.

The hippies giggle uncontrollably and wander off.

PUSS

(going through a wallet)

Let’s check out the goods. Let’s see – there’s a vote Kucinich button. Some postage stamps with little caterpillars on them – cute – and thirty bucks. Not bad. Their IDs will come in handy in case we have to adopt fake identities.

DINGUS

And now we can buy beer.

PUSS

The princess will be impressed. (looks up as if he sees something in the distance) Speaking of which, that kind of looks like her carriage fast approaching.

Dingus also looks into the distance.

DINGUS

I don’t see anything.

PUSS

That’s cuz you’re a human. We cats have superior senses.

DINGUS

Oh no. This is horrible. I can’t let the princess see me in these rags. She’ll know I’m poor.

PUSS

I have an idea. Quick – take off your clothes and jump in the East River!

DINGUS

Are you nuts? If I swallow any of that filthy water I’ll get diarrhea. I don’t think the Princess would find that too attractive.

PUSS

Just do it! We haven’t got all day.

DINGUS

Okay.

He strips off his clothes down to skivvies. Two stagehands hold up blue fabric and start to wave it like it’s water in front of him.

DINGUS

This water sure is cold.

Suddenly a woman wearing a gown appears in the water. (Maybe she walks onstage then pretends to rise from the water.) Her gown has assorted trash attached to it – fake needles, condoms and the plastic that holds 6-packs together. She holds a sword.

DINGUS

Who are you?

LADY OF THE EAST RIVER

I am the Lady of the East River. Take this sword and you will rule the Kingdom South of 14th Street!

DINGUS

Okay, I know I’m having a weird day and all but I’m really confused. Aren’t you from like Excalibur? I thought we were doing Puss in Boots.

LADY OF THE EAST RIVER

This a postmodern fairy tale. It doesn’t have to make sense. Now just take the sword so I can go back to hiding in the river.

DINGUS

OK.

He takes the sword.

DINGUS

It’s glowing.

PUSS

Here they come! Here they come!

The King and the Princess pull up in the swan carriage.

PUSS

Hello, Your Majesty. A terrible thing has happened here.

KING HUMPDAY

What happened? It appears you were bathing with a friend.

PUSS

Yes. The young man in the river is none other than my very own Master, the Count Von Craven Moorehead.

KING HUMPDAY

Oh yes. I believe I’ve heard of him. I wish to meet him.

PRINCESS FALLOPIA

Have him come out of the water.

PUSS

Well. That’s a bit embarrassing. You see the reason he’s still in the water is that he’s naked. He was set upon by robbers and they stole all of his clothes along with a hefty parcel of presents he’d bought for you, Princess Fallopia.

PRINCES FALLOPIA

The count sounds wealthy. Daddy perhaps we could run home and fetch the count some clothes.

KING HUMPDAY

Good idea. And when we return we’ll give him and his cat a ride home.

PRINCESS FALLOPIA

I’m sure he has a splendid home!

They ride off in the carriage.

DINGUS

This is worse than Christmas! When the King finds out we’ve lied, he’ll cut off our heads!

PUSS

Don’t worry! I’ve got a plan.

DINGUS

`            I hope it’s a good one.

ACT FOUR

ROACH

While the King and Princess were off fetching clothes for Dingus, Puss raced ahead on the back of a sturdy Unicorn. The cat’s mission was to find the non-existent palace of the Count.

Puss enters with a person wearing a unicorn mask. There is a person dressed as a bum sitting onstage with a bottle of Thunderbird.

PUSS

Thanks for the ride, dude.

UNICORN

Good luck in your mission.

It gallops offstage, neighing and snorting.

PUSS

This 21-story glass tower on Rivington Street in the heart of New York’s hip and historic Lower East Side is fit for royalty.

BUM

I wouldn’t go in there if I were you!  They have tempur-pedic mattresses and Japanese style soaking tubs and…AN EVIL SORCERER LIVES THERE!

PUSS

I know hipsters can be annoying, but I wouldn’t go that far.

BUM

Enter at your own risk!

PUSS

Okay. You might wanna go easy on the Thunderbird.

BUM

You will most certainly perish.

The bum runs off the stage in terror.

PUSS

Wow. This wallpaper is fancy. Hello? Is anyone home?

An evil SORCERER appears.

SORCERER

Who are you and what do you want?

PUSS

I am merely a simple cat, great sorcerer, here to humble myself before your magnificence. And if I may be so bold, I have a small request to beg of you.

SORCERER

Yes. What is it?

PUSS

I have seen a great deal of magic performed by a number of magicians, but I have traveled many miles to meet you because I have heard that you are the greatest sorcerer alive – the only one capable of shape shifting. Of course everyone knows that’s impossible.

SORCERER

Oh not it’s not, but the price of witnessing such sorcery is very high. In fact, it will cost you each of your nine lives!

PUSS

Clearly I value my lives, but I must see you change shape whatever the cost.

SORCERER

Okay then.

He goes behind a screen or curtain and comes out wearing a lion mask, growling and waving his clawed hand at Puss.

PUSS

Not bad I suppose. But it must be easy for a big Sorcerer like yourself to become a large animal like a lion. But could you turn yourself into something really tiny? Like a mouse for instance.

SORCERER

Easy.

Goes behind screen or curtain and a tiny toy mouse on fishing wire appears onstage.

PUSS

Very impressive.

MOUSE

(voice of sorcerer on mic backstage)

I could become even smaller if you like.

PUSS

No. Please do stay as you are. I was just about to show you a little trick I’m fond of. You do know the game of cat and mouse?

MOUSE

No!

Puss lunges at the mouse and picks it up.

MOUSE

Please put me down!

PUSS

Right down my gullet! Not even the smartest sorcerer can beat a smart cat at his own game.

MOUSE

No!

Puss turns his back to the crowd and pretends to swallow it. (Maybe we could use one of the gummy rats from Economy Candy.)

PUSS

Yuck. Could’ve used a pinch of garlic.

ROACH

And so the cat rid the Lower East Side of the evil sorcerer once and for all and the great tower on Rivington became Dingus’s new home – a home suitable for a Count.

Dingus, the King and Princess enter.

DINGUS

(to himself)

He’s done it. Amazing.

(to Puss)

I’m home, Puss!

PUSS

Greetings, Master. Your Majesty and your Royal Highness, welcome to our palace. Won’t you stay for dinner?

KING

That sounds delightful!

ROACH

Dingus and the Princess soon fell in love and were married. The King, meanwhile, learned the true story of Dingus and his cat and he rewarded Puss for his cunning and wisdom by making him his Prime Minister. For evermore the people of the Lower East Side would tell stories and sing songs in praise of their beloved Puss in Boots.

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