Letting my heart bleed on paper.

Message to Readers

This is my final piece for the playwriting competition. It's not a perfect piece but my greatest hope is that you'll get the message behind this piece. Thank you for reading it and any constructive feedback is appreciated!

A Little Princess

June 21, 2016

The stage is split into half. An empty corridor runs in the middle.

Stage right would be the bedroom set. The backdrop is a pink wall decorated with ribbons and girly stickers. The floor is littered with alphabet blocks, baby rattles, dolls and milk bottles. Further stage right is a table and a chair, both facing the audience. A bucket is placed behind the table. In between the corridor and the bedroom set is a white door.  

Stage left is the classroom set. The backdrop will be a cream wall with a whiteboard with the words "ONLY THE BEST WILL SUCCEED" written on it. Six tables and chairs are place inside, three in front, three behind, all facing the audience. Stacks of papers are placed at the back of the classroom. A black door is between the corridor and the classroom set.  


[While the lights are off, a music box is heard being wound up. A sad melody plays from it that lasts about half a minute before it dies off. In the darkness, GIRL speaks.]

GIRL: Let me tell you a story of a beautiful princess.

[The lights on the bedroom come on slowly. Two children are seen lying down and drinking from milk bottles. Both are wearing pajamas, GIRL in pink and BOY in blue. BOY is around 6 and GIRL is about 12. ANTHEA walks in, slamming the door behind her. She is 16 years old, a well respected senior of her school. Her hair is pulled back firmly and tied with a dark blue ribbon. Her white blouse is tucked into her dark blue skirt. Two badges are pinned onto her blouse, her school badge on her left, and a gold badge that glistens below it, her student council president badge. She dumps her bag on the floor, sits down on the chair and buries her face into her hands.]

GIRL: The princess is home.

BOY: She's a pretty princess.

GIRL: Beauty with a price.

MOTHER: [Shouts offstage] Anthea! Anthea dear, are you okay?

ANTHEA: [Shouts back] I'm fine!  

MOTHER: Come out for dinner! You must be hungry!

ANTHEA: Later, Mum! I'm busy!  

GIRL: Later is never.  

BOY: Never is forever.

GIRL: Anthea won't drink her milk again.

BOY: [Horrified] But her milk will spoil!

GIRL: Better spoiled milk than fresh one.

BOY: Why?

GIRL: Because spoiled milk won't make her fat!

BOY: [Nods with understanding]  Nobody likes a fat princess.

GIRL: Anthea can't be fat. It's just not pretty!

[Both slip their milk. BOY pauses to think.]

BOY: Isn't it strange, sis?

GIRL: What is? 

BOY: When babies are fat, we call them cute. But when ladies are fat, we call them ugly!

GIRL: People are strange, and they judge princesses the hardest.

[ANTHEA begins to feel nauseous. She picks up the bucket and vomits into it.]

BOY: There goes the milk.

GIRL: Out of her belly.

BOY: Makes her belly empty.

GIRL: Makes her belly thin.  

BOY: Thin is pretty.

GIRL: Pretty is good.  

BOY: Pretty like a princess.

[ANTHEA stops vomiting, catching her breath.]

BOY: It must hurt a lot.

GIRL: But she can't stop, or she'll be fat.

BOY: [Towards ANTHEA in an encouraging manner] Don't stop Anthea! You must be pretty!

[ANTHEA sticks her finger in her mouth, which forces her to vomit again. She continues while the children drink their milk. She stops after a while, sitting exhausted on the ground. She hurdles into a ball and cries.]

BOY: Poor princess. She's crying.

GIRL: Don't be sad, brother. They're tears of joy.

BOY: Joy?

GIRL: She'll fit in. She'll be loved and adored. She won't cry then.

BOY: Will you do it someday, sis?

GIRL: [Thinks] Maybe. All the girls do it. It's the only way to be perfect.

BOY: Well... I think you're perfect!

[GIRL smiles for a while before it fades. The lights dim out.]


[The lights for both sets come on. In the bedroom, MOTHER and FATHER are present. MOTHER wears a simple dress, with an apron tied around her waist. FATHER wears a stiff black suit, with a mask that covers the top half of his face. The children, still in ANTHEA's room, are playing with some alphabet blocks from behind. ANTHEA is in the classroom. Students with white masks that cover their entire faces are seated inside as well. ANTHEA sits on the seat in the center, at the front, and completes an assignment on paper.]

MOTHER: [Holds a teddy bear in her hands] I got this for Anthea when she was three. I can't believe she kept this for so long.

[The children stop playing with the blocks and listen to the conversation.]

FATHER: [Scoffs] A lady like her shouldn't be playing with useless toys. Tell her to throw them away when she gets home.

MOTHER: [Frowns as she sets the bear down] Don't be so hard on her, dear. She's only sixteen.

FATHER: With responsibilities on her shoulders, honey! How will she survive out there in the real world if she's trapped in this childish fantasy of hers?

MOTHER: Henry, they're only a couple of dolls.

FATHER: You don't think I see what's going on, do you? I know those nights where she just sits in her room reading fairy tales. I know those nights where she would constanty paint flowers in the air. I know those nights where she would speak to these silly dolls of hers for hours! I raise my daughter to be strong, to face reality head on with confidence and charisma. Not- [Picks up a nearby doll] Not to talk to freaking dolls!

MOTHER: She's still a child, Henry. She gets stressed. Let her have her release, please.

FATHER: ... Gone. By tonight. [He walks out from stage right. MOTHER sighs and follows after him.]

BOY: [Continues stacking blocks] The king is mean.

GIRL: He has a kingdom to run. A grand, big kingdom.

BOY: That the princess has to take over?

GIRL: ... She's supposed to.

ANTHEA: [Stands up and heads towards one of the students] Pass these to Mrs Kelly, please? [The student nods and leaves. ANTHEA's smile drops. She returns to her work.]

GIRL: None of them matter to Anthea. They are only peasants.

BOY: Born to serve-

GIRL: -A ruler-to-be. But she knows, deep within her heart-

BOY: She wants friends.

[Some of the students can be seen laughing as they chat away. ANTHEA bends her head lower towards the table.]

GIRL: But they are all the same now: Faceless. Distractions. Unworthy.

[As ANTHEA writes, the masked students bring the stacks of papers, and start stacking them onto her table. The work stacked up begins to overwhelm her. She quickens her pace, trying to remain calm.]

BOY: The princess struggles.  

GIRL: She's a princess. Not a magician.

BOY: A princess without her knights in shining armor.

GIRL: This battle she fights alone.  

[ANTHEA stops writing. The papers are stacked high, just like the blocks the children played with.]

GIRL: Until the battle takes over.

BOY: And she's losing.

GIRL: And she's failing.

BOY: And she gives in.

[Simultaneously, the BOY and ANTHEA shove the stacks away, sending the blocks and the papers crashing onto the ground. The students respond in shock.]

TEACHER: [Talks offstage] Anthea! What's the meaning of this?!

[ANTHEA remains silent.]

TEACHER: My office. Now!

[ANTHEA grabs her bag and walks offstage by stage left. The lights on the classroom set dim out.]


[The lights of the corridor turn on. ANTHEA runs into the bedroom via the corridor and slams the door shut. She throws her bag on the ground. A furious FATHER arrives, banging his fist against the door as he tries to open it. ANTHEA tries to keep the door close.]

FATHER: Open! Open this door Anthea!

GIRL: [Towards BOY] Cover your eyes.

BOY: [Confused] Why?

GIRL: Now!

[FATHER breaks through the door, flinging ANTHEA to the ground. BOY, being terrified, covers his eyes as his sister holds him close.]

FATHER: [Pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket] What is this? What is this?! First with the teacher, and now this! Why are you trying to prove? That you're brave?! Cool?! [Throws the paper on the ground] Foolish! 

ANTHEA: [Whimpers] I-I'm sorry!

FATHER: You think sorry is going to cut it? [He grabs her by the hair and drags her out. ANTHEA starts screaming.]

BOY: [Frightened] What's happening? I'm scared!

GIRL: [Solemn] Punishment.

[FATHER throws ANTHEA against the corridor wall, takes out his belt and repeatedly whips her with it. ANTHEA keeps screaming and apologising while crying.]

BOY: Stop! Stop! You're hurting her! [Turns to GIRL] Sis! Make him stop!

GIRL: [Shakes head] I can't.

BOY: But he's evil! You have to do something! [He stands up suddenly, covering his ears.] I don't like this story! I don't want to hear it anymore!

GIRL: No! You have to listen!

BOY: I don't want to! I hate it!

GIRL: [Pulls his hands apart from his ears] But it's the truth, Nathaniel! You must listen to the end!

[The whipping stops. GIRL and BOY both stare at the door as FATHER drops his belt on the floor and leaves via the corridor. ANTHEA gets up, sobbing, and walking into her bedroom before she collapse on the floor, whimpering. The lights on the corridor dim out, leaving only the lights for the bedroom set on.]

BOY: [Crying] Why did he do that?

GIRL: She wasn't perfect.

BOY: How does she live with that?

GIRL: ... she didn't.

[ANTHEA gets up painfully, dragging herself towards her bag. She rummages through to find a medicine bottle.]

GIRL: She made sure no one could hurt her ever again.

[ANTHEA pours out a great number of white pills, and swallows them all.]

GIRL: She gave herself an eternal fate.

[ANTHEA begins choking.]

GIRL: To go to sleep... and never wake.

[A broken music box melody starts playing. The lights turn red. Many voices whisper demeaning words in the background. ANTHEA collapses as she struggles to breathe. Before her final breath, she turns, back on the ground, looks up to the sky, smiles, and close her eyes. The music dies off as the lights are abruptly turned off. BOY screams in the darkness. As the lights slowly come back on, BOY is seen crying in GIRL's arms.]

BOY: I should have done something.

GIRL: [Rubbing his back affectionately] You didn't know.

BOY: You should have done something.

GIRL: It was too late.


[As YOUNG GIRL opens the door, the corridor lights turn on to reveal MOTHER and FATHER as well. YOUNG GIRL is dressed in a simple pink lace dress. Seeing ANTHEA, she screams.]

YOUNG GIRL: [Runs over to the body] Anthea! Anthea! Mama! Something's wrong with Anthea! Sis! Wake up!

[MOTHER, realising what had happened, drops on her knees beside the body, weeping bitterly for her loss. FATHER stands by the door, expressionless.]

YOUNG GIRL: Why won't she wake up, mama? She can't die, mama! Sis! Wake up! Please! [She starts crying along with MOTHER] Please Anthea! Don't leave me, please!

GIRL: [Towards FATHER] You could have been nicer. [She stands up and walks towards him] You could have been more loving, more understanding. But you couldn't, could you? Because it's weakness. Because it's not perfect. [She starts crying the tears she was holding back.] She was my sister, and now she's gone. The princess is gone. And it's all your fault!

BOY: Why daddy? [Still crying, he stands up and faces FATHER as well.] Why did you do that?! Why did my sister had to die?! Is Rosie going to die too?  [A new thought comes upon him, overwhelming him with both fear and disgust.] Am I going to be a bad king too?

[FATHER looks at the boy for a moment, before casting his eyes upon ANTHEA, shaken, before closing the bedroom door, taking slow steps as he leaves the stage via the corridor.]

BOY: [Terrified, he speaks with a sad whisper.] I don't want to be bad. I don't want to be bad. I don't want to...

[GIRL embraces BOY in a hug as he cries. The sad melody from the beginning of the play plays again, and the lights dim out slowly, focusing on ANTHEA's body before dimming out completely.]



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