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LIGHTS UP on a deep part of the woods. Hansel is alone, looking for Gretel.

HANSEL
Gretel! Gretel, can you hear me? Gretel! Gretel!
GRETEL
(hidden behind a bush)
Hansel!
HANSEL
Where are you?
GRETEL
Here!
He sees her and runs to her. She cries as they embrace.
HANSEL
I’m here now. You’re all right. I’m here. I’m here.
GRETEL
Oh, Hansel, Aunt, she...she took me out of my bed. I thought it was a dream. A nightmare. I tried to wake you, but she put her hand over my mouth. She brought me...into the woods and left me. I was lost! I’ve been so frightened.
HANSEL
No need to be frightened anymore. We can go back now. We’ll find Father. We’ll tell him we want Aunt Adele to leave.
GRETEL
We’re going back?
HANSEL
Yes.
GRETEL
Did you drop pebbles again?
HANSEL
No. Aunt Adele made that impossible. I dropped crumbs of bread this time. Come on. Before it gets dark again.

They move away as the LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK.
MUSIC.
LIGHTS UP on another part of the forest. This time, it’s the Father who is alone, calling..

.
FATHER
Hansel! Gretel! Children! Where are you? Hansel! Gretel!

LIGHTS CROSS FADE to Hansel and Gretel, still in the forest.

GRETEL
Hansel...
HANSEL
I...I thought for sure I had dropped the crumbs...here...or somewhere...
GRETEL
Hansel...it’s getting dark...
HANSEL
There! No...no...that’s a leaf...
GRETEL
Hansel look!
HANSEL
What?
GRETEL
Over there! That bird! Isn’t he...isn’t he eating...
HANSEL
(looks)
A crust of bread.
GRETEL
Is it the bread you...
HANSEL
Yes. Yes. The birds. They’ve eaten the crumbs.
GRETEL
But how are we going to find our way back home?
HANSEL
I don’t know.
GRETEL
But it’s getting dark!
HANSEL
I’ll think of something...
GRETEL
Hansel...
HANSEL
I’ll think of something...

LIGHTS CROSS FADE to another part of the forest. Two grubby young men, ROLLO and STENCH, are seated munching on chicken bones. As they eat, they hear the Father, calling for the children in the distance.

ROLLO
Did you hear that?
STENCH
Now what fool would be roamin’ about in the woods at this hour?
ROLLO
Well we’re roamin’ about the woods at this hour.
STENCH
Yeah. But we’re us.
ROLLO
True.

The Father appears.

FATHER
Oh! Hello! You’re the first people I’ve seen out here all day.
ROLLO
Well, ain’t you the lucky one.
FATHER
I’m looking for my children. Have you seen them?
STENCH
Well, it all depends. What do they look like?
FATHER
Like...like children! Hansel is ten, Gretel is nine. They’re my beautiful children and I’ve lost them. I’d give anything to get them back!
ROLLO
Anything?
FATHER
Listen, stop wasting my time! Have you seen my children or haven’t you?
ROLLO
Listen, fella, no need to get impolite.
STENCH
Yeah. You’ll hurt our feelin’s.
FATHER
Useless...
(walks away)
Children! Hansel! Gretel!
(he is gone)
STENCH
Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?
ROLLO
I don’t know. Are you thinkin’ Granny?
STENCH
I’m thinkin’ Granny!
ROLLO
It’s been a bad time for her lately.
STENCH
And for us.
ROLLO
Not enough...raw material for her meat pies.
STENCH
And when she can’t bake ‘em...
ROLLO
We can’t sell ‘em.
STENCH
We need the work.
ROLLO
And for us to get work, Granny needs...children.
STENCH
Right!
ROLLO
Let’s find them kids!
STENCH
What if the old fella finds them first?
ROLLO
Him? Why he don’t know half of what we know about these woods. I wager we find them little nippers within the hour.
STENCH
I’m with ya!
ROLLO
Come on!

They run off.