edit

The PRINCE, dressed in civilian attire, enters carrying a small satchel. He takes an envelope from the satchel and places it in the mailbox outside the house. As he walks away, he crosses paths with Marianne, who has seen him place the envelope in the mailbox.

PRINCE
Hello!
MARIANNE
Hello.
PRINCE
(beat)
You don’t know who I am, do you?
MARIANNE
Should I?
PRINCE
No. I guess not.
(an uncomfortable moment)
Well...it’s been nice...bumping into you.
MARIANNE
Oh, you didn’t bump into me at all!
PRINCE
Oh. Wishful thinking, I guess. Good day!

He walks away. As he does, Paltrow enters from elsewhere and heads toward the house. She stops and gets the mail. She and Marianne confront each other at the front door.

PALTROW
Wait! You’re not going inside at the same time I am, are you?
MARIANNE
Well...
PALTROW
Well, you are not! Use the back door!
Marianne composes herself, then heads off to the back. Paltrow looks through mail as she enters. She finds the envelope left by the Prince.
PALTROW (CONT’D)
MOTHER! GWYNETH! 
She starts to open it as they enter.
PALTROW (CONT'D)
Look! A message! A message from the Prince in our mailbox!
BLANCHE
(aside)
There’s a Prince in her mailbox?
WHITEY
Ssh!
STEPMOTHER
Give it to me!
(takes it; opens it; reads)
“To All The Fair Maidens In The Land...”
GWYNETH
Oooh! Is that us?
STEPMOTHER
I should hope so.
(reads)
“In honor of my twenty-fifth birthday, I am to hold a magnificent ball. The ball will feature fantastical food, marvelous merrymaking, plenteous pageantry...and a scintillating search for the Lady of my dreams.”
(to girls)
At last! The Prince is taking a wife!
BLANCHE
Where?
WHITEY
Ssh!
GWYNETH
You mean he’s going to choose a wife from among the fair maidens in attendance?
STEPMOTHER
That’s exactly what he’s going to do.
PALTROW
And it could be one of us?
STEPMOTHER
It WILL be one of you!
GWYNETH & PALTROW
Which one???
STEPMOTHER
That, my dears, is up to you! Now, the ball is tomorrow night. Off to your chambers to make yourself as pretty as can be!!!

They run off chattering happily.

STEPMOTHER (CONT’D)
(calls)
CINDERELLA!!!
(Marianne appears)
In two short days, if all goes according to plan--and it will--we will be entertaining the Prince in our humble abode. I want you to scour this house from top to bottom! I don’t want a speck of dirt or grime in sight! Do you hear me?
MARIANNE
Yes, Mother.
STEPMOTHER
Good! Now get to work!

The Stepmother puts the envelope down on the table, and leaves. Marianne picks up the envelope, checks to see that no one is looking, and opens it. She reads.

MARIANNE
“To All The Fair Maidens In The Land.” So that’s why he thought I should recognize him!
She finishes reading the message, folds the letter, and smiles. Blanche and Whitey move back to address the audience.
BLANCHE
Oh, that smile! That sweet, sweet smile! It breaks my heart!
WHITEY
That’s when things got really bad.
BLANCHE
Do we have to tell them?
WHITEY
Full disclosure. That’s what storytelling is all about.
BLANCHE
Oh...
WHITEY
After she cleaned up the house so that it was spotless...
BLANCHE
Totally. I mean you could EAT off that floor. Which really is not that bad a thing to do, you know...every once in a while we...
WHITEY
AFTER she cleaned up the house...she came to her Stepmother with a very special request.

Lights up on house. The Stepmother and the Stepsisters lounge around as usual. Marianne enters.

MARIANNE
Mother?
STEPMOTHER
Yes? What do you want?
MARIANNE
I’ve cleaned the entire house. Every nook and cranny.
GWYNETH
What’s a nook?
PALTROW
What’s a cranny?
STEPMOTHER
So? Would you like a medal or something?
MARIANNE
No. But I would like to ask one...little...thing...
STEPMOTHER
Well, what is it? Get to your point, girl, you’re annoying me!
MARIANNE
I would like...
STEPMOTHER
Yes, yes, what?
MARIANNE
I would like to go to the Prince’s ball!

A beat. Then, the Stepmother and Stepsisters laugh their heads off. Finally, when they catch their breath, the Stepmother speaks.

STEPMOTHER
YOU want to go to the Prince’s ball? Why? Do you think they’re going to need help cleaning up???

Another outburst of laughter.

MARIANNE
I just...thought...that since the invitation was sent to all the fair maidens in the land, that...
STEPMOTHER
Exactly. The operative word there is “fair.” “Fair Maidens.” You are far from fair. Look at you. You’re an unkempt drudge.
MARIANNE
But I can be pretty. I have some nice clothes, and I...
STEPMOTHER
We sold all your...nice clothes...to the street peddler. That’s how we purchased my daughters’ lovely hair ribbons...
(which they model obnoxiously)
MARIANNE
Oh. I didn’t know.
STEPMOTHER
So you see...you can’t go. You have nothing to wear.
MARIANNE
But I can make my own dress! And I...
STEPMOTHER
Oh, stop bothering me! Look...if you really insist...I will allow you to go if...if...
GWYNETH
(warning)
Mother...
PALTROW
(same)
Mother...
MARIANNE
Yes?
STEPMOTHER
The pig trough!
GWYNETH & PALTROW
Ugh!
MARIANNE
Yes?
STEPMOTHER
Empty it. Then scrub it clean until it smells like the sweetest perfume in the world!
MARIANNE
And...if I do...?
STEPMOTHER
I will consider bringing you to the ball!
MARIANNE
Oh, thank you! Thank you, Mother!
(she runs off)
PALTROW
Mother!
GWYNETH
I don’t want her come with us! Mother!
STEPMOTHER
Be reasonable! I have to let her think she’s part of the family, otherwise we’d never get any work done around here. But one whiff of that pig trough and she’ll be running to me in tears begging me to change my mind. Not only will she not be able to clean the trough, she will also lose her temper as no one has ever lost it before! It will be soooo entertaining!
GWYNETH
Oh, Mother! You are so intelligent!
PALTROW
Not only that, you’re smart!
GWYNETH
I can’t wait until Cinderella comes back!