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THE GREAT FAIRY TALE CAPER
ACT ONE
We are in the Land of Fairy Tales. Whatever the designer thinks that is, is what the set looks like. The text PROJECTIONS identified appear scene by scene.
In the blackout, we hear the voice of a character who is about to fall. 
“Oh...Ooooh....Oooooooh...Aaaaah!” And than a huge CRASH.
LIGHTS UP. 
PROJECTION: FAIRY TALE LAND
We find a group of famous fairy tale characters gathered in the center of the area, surrounding what appears to be a pile of large, broken egg shells. No more than four pieces, could even be two. I mean, these are large. When they were not broken, they would form what would most likely appear to be a human sized egg. There is also a silly, bright hat that, clearly, was once perched on top of the egg. You know where we’re going with this.
In this group are: CINDERELLA, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, ARIEL, ALICE, DOROTHY, RAPUNZEL, GOLDILOCKS, and MR. TOAD. (There could be more, or fewer, but these are the current principals.)
The group is mumbling, confused. “What happened?” “Who is it, do you know?” “Who do you think it is!” “He was always very clumsy.” “I know.” “It’s Humpty!” “But I never thought he’d end up like this.” General hubbub after an accident. Cinderella quiets the hubbub.
CINDERELLA
So, did anybody see what happened? Alice? Did you see?
ALICE
No, Cinderella! I was in Wonderland at a tea party and I heard this big...crack...so I screamed and accidentally dumped my tea all over my host and ran over here!
CINDERELLA
Who was your host?
ALICE
The Mad Hatter.
RAPUNZEL
Is he really mad?
ALICE
He was when I dumped the tea on him.
CINDERELLA
Did you call the EMTs when you got here?
ALICE
It was too late. When I arrived, all the King’s men were here. They tried to put him together, but they gave up and rode away on their horses.
ARIEL
(looking up)
Where do you think he fell from?
ALICE
Well, he was always sitting on that wall up there, Ariel.
ARIEL
That’s so high!
GOLDILOCKS
It’s dangerous!
ARIEL
You can say that again, Goldilocks! 
GOLDILOCKS
It’s dangerous!
ARIEL
Thank you. Imagine falling from way up there!
LITTLE RED
(she’s a bit sassy)
Who says he fell?
ARIEL
What do you mean?
LITTLE RED
Who are you?
ARIEL
Ariel. The Little Mermaid.
LITTLE RED
What’s with the hair?
ARIEL
(annoyed)
It’s only red in the Disney version.
LITTLE RED
I like it red.
RAPUNZEL
What a surprise, Little RED Riding Hood!
ARIEL
You don’t like my hair, take it up with Hans Christian Andersen. What do you mean “Who says he fell?”
LITTLE RED
I mean who says he fell! We can’t rule out homicide. Everybody knows he had a lot of enemies.
CINDERELLA
Humpty?
LITTLE RED
I’m just sayin’...
CINDERELLA
Why, Humpty Dumpty was the nicest human sized egg in Fairy Tale Land.
RAPUNZEL
A real sweetheart!
ALICE
Well...I heard he could be a little wobbly at times...
CINDERELLA
Yes! But nice! You can be wobbly and still be nice!
LITTLE RED
Depends on who you talk to.
MR. TOAD
(stepping in)
Whom! Whom you talk to!
LITTLE RED
Okay. Whom, Mr. Toad!
(aside)
Can’t get away from the grammar police.
MRS. TOAD pops Mr. Toad on the head.
MRS. TOAD
You just can’t keep your mouth shut, can you?
MR. TOAD
Not when it comes to usage, my dear!
LITTLE RED
(to all)
What...ever! I heard Humpty Dumpty had some anger issues.
GOLDILOCKS
I never had a problem with him.
LITTLE RED
He’s not even in your story, Goldilocks!
GOLDILOCKS
Hey, I get around.
RAPUNZEL
He was always nice to me.
LITTLE RED
I’m just tellin’ y’all what I heard on the grapevine.
CINDERELLA
(to Red)
Oh, you’re always looking to start trouble!
ALICE
Yes! Ever since your grandmother banned you from her cottage!
LITTLE RED
Keep my grandmother out of this! She’s dead to me!
CINDERELLA
She would have been dead to everybody if it hadn’t been for that Friendly Woodsman scaring off that wolf!
LITTLE RED
Why wouldn’t he be friendly? As soon as he was through with the wolf, he ate most of the goodies in my basket! I had a half dozen cannoli in there!
ALICE
I thought the wolf ate her grandmother.
GOLDILOCKS
Depends on who you ask.
MR. TOAD
(agin, stepping in)
Whom.
MRS. TOAD
(to Mr. T)
You really don’t want to have friends, do you?
MR. TOAD
Not if they abuse the objective case!
MRS. TOAD
Why did I ever marry you?
MR. TOAD
I have great legs!
ALICE
Frog’s legs! I get it!
RAPUNZEL
At least he died happy!
CINDERELLA
How do you know?
RAPUNZEL
He landed sunny side up!
LITTLE RED
Okay! Enough! We got a dead Dumpty here! Let’s focus on that!
MR. TOAD
“Dead Dumpty!” Oh, I love alliteration!
LITTLE RED
(to Toad)
Why are you even here? I mean “The Wind in the Willows,” isn’t that more of a novel? Why are you in Fairy Tale Land?
MR. TOAD
I’ve always considered myself genre neutral!
MRS. TOAD
(to whoever is near her)
I have to live with this.
LITTLE RED
Okay, what are we gonna do about Humpty here?
CINDERELLA
Has anybody told Judy?
ALICE
Who?
CINDERELLA
Judy. His wife. Mrs. Dumpty.
ALICE
Judy Dumpty?
ARIEL
I think she prefers to go by her maiden name. Garland.
DOROTHY
(steps forward, gloriously)
Judy Garland! What a beautiful name!
LITTLE RED
Nobody asked you, Dorothy!
DOROTHY
(steps away, demurely)
Okay.
CINDERELLA
Well, has anybody seen her?
In the distance, we hear a female voice singing the first few lines of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
ARIEL
There she is!
Still offstage, we hear JUDY, calling her husband. She is human, diminutive, and if I were designing her costume, it’d be something like the pantsuit Garland wore at the Palace.
JUDY
(offstage)
Humpty! Oh, Humpty, dear! Where are you?
(she comes into view; sees everybody, still surrounding the shells)
Oh! Hello! Has any of you seen my husband?
The group opens up to reveal the cracked shells. Judy wails and runs over to the shells.
JUDY (cont’d)
Oh, no! Oh, NOOOO! Humpty! My dear, dear Humpty! What happened to you?
The next few lines are delivered very matter-of-factly, not as a poem.
CINDERELLA
Well, from what I can tell, Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
ALICE
Yes, and Humpty Dumpty had...what?...a great fall?
JUDY
Did anybody call for help?
ALICE
Yes! All the King’s horses...
ARIEL
...And all the King’s men...
ALICE
Couldn’t put Humpty together.
There is a long pause, leaving the rhyme up in the air. After an excruciating moment, Mr. Toad steps forward, and gently, in a correcting, professorial way...
MR. TOAD
Again.
(beat, explaining)
Thought I’d...you know...complete the...
MRS. TOAD
My mother was right about you.
MR. TOAD
(to others)
Proceed.
DOROTHY
(carefully approaches Judy, with autograph book)
Excuse me? Miss Garland? May I have your autograph?
JUDY
Where did you get that outfit?
DOROTHY
Oh, it’s...just something I threw together.
JUDY
It looks it.
(grabs book, writes; gives book back)
How did he fall?
LITTLE RED
He didn’t fall!
ALICE
What do you mean?
LITTLE RED
I mean he had to have been pushed. He could not possibly fall from that wall. He knew that wall like the back of his hand.
ARIEL
He didn’t have a hand.
LITTLE RED
It’s an expression! 
JUDY
(to Ariel)
Who are you?
ARIEL
Ariel! The Little Mermaid!
JUDY
What’s with the hair?
ARIEL
I...
(steps away, in disgust)
LITTLE RED
Never mind! Somebody call the cops! Humpty Dumpty has been...murdered!
(beat)
Wait a minute. Why wasn’t there music with that line? Let me try it again...”Humpty Dumpty has been...
(ominous chord)
Better.
(ominous)
...murdered!”
Judy breaks into tears. BLACKOUT and the LAW AND ORDER THEME is heard. (If unavailable to you, simply use a coutroom-sounding theme.) 
On LIGHTS UP, the TORTOISE and the HARE appear in the group, both are detectives.
HARE
Okay, everybody disperse. We need to talk to Mrs. Dumpty.
JUDY
Miss Garland.
HARE
Whatever.
TORTOISE
(lugubriously, to group)
And...don’t...leave...town...we...
HARE
(quickly, with great impatience)
...will want to talk to all of you.
TORTOISE
Will...want...
HARE
To talk to all of you.
TORTOISE
To talk...
HARE
To all of you!
TORTOISE
To...
HARE
All of you!
TORTOISE
Every...
HARE
One of you!
TORTOISE
Single...
HARE
One of you!
TORTOISE
Last...
HARE
ONE OF YOU!
TORTOISE
One of you!
HARE
(simultaneously)
One of you! Jeez, Terry, get to the point, willya?
(to all)
Okay, everybody except Mrs. Dumpty out!
All but Judy, the TORTOISE and the HARE disperse. Little Red sidles over to the Hare on the way out.
LITTLE RED
(somewhat conspiratorially)
Listen...I have some information you might find helpful.
HARE
Who are you?
LITTLE RED
(I mean...look at what she’s wearing!)
You’re kidding, right?
HARE
Oh! Right! What’s the information?
LITTLE RED
What’s in it for me?
HARE
Boy, you’ve really changed since your grandmother...
LITTLE RED
Leave my grandmother out of it! She’s dead to me!
HARE
She would have been, except for...
LITTLE RED
Never mind! Do you want the information or not?
HARE
We’ll talk later! Don’t leave town!
LITTLE RED
Where am I gonna go, Narnia? I’ll be around...
(and she slips away)
HARE
Now...Mrs. Dumpty...
JUDY
I told you, I prefer my maiden name.
The next set of lines is delivered deadpan and briskly.
HARE
Do you?
JUDY
Yes.
HARE
Good.
JUDY
So use it.
HARE
I will.
JUDY
You promise?
HARE
I promise.
JUDY
Should I trust you?
HARE
Should you?
JUDY
You tell me.
HARE
I’m asking the questions here.
JUDY
Are you?
HARE
Yes.
JUDY
So ask.
HARE
I will.
JUDY
Good. 
TORTOISE
This is very entertaining.
HARE
So do you think your husband was murdered?
JUDY
No. He was careless. Never watched where he was going. Not like the old days when he was on top of his game.
HARE
He changed?
JUDY
Yes. He was a shell of his former self.
HARE
But was he in good health?
JUDY
A little cholesterol problem, but otherwise, yes.
HARE
In good spirits?
JUDY
He could be a little runny at times, but he was a happy egg.
HARE
How did you meet?
JUDY
I was doing a show at the Palace. 
HARE
Buckingham?
JUDY
46th Street and Broadway. New York. Wise up.
HARE
I see.
JUDY
He came backstage afterward with some friends.
HARE
Eggs?
JUDY
Yes.
HARE
How many?
JUDY
About a dozen.
HARE
Uh huh.
JUDY
He told me he liked the cut of my jib.
HARE
What’s a jib?
JUDY
I didn’t care. I had a jib and he liked it. He was direct. Sassy. You might say...hard-boiled. I liked him. Everybody liked him.
HARE
But what if somebody pushed him off that wall?
JUDY
Ridiculous.
HARE
But what...if? Maybe somebody...didn’t like him.
JUDY
Who? Tell me! Who?
HARE
You tell me. I need a list.
(hands her a notebook)
JUDY
A list?
HARE
Friends. Enemies. Associates. Any leads you can give me.
JUDY
All right. I can do that.
She starts to write in the notebook while the next few lines happen.
HARE
Good.
JUDY
One last thing...
HARE
Yeah?
JUDY
(refers to Tortoise)
Do you ever let her talk?
HARE
She is talking.
JUDY
Oh?
HARE
It’s just that it takes a long time for the words to come out.
JUDY
Prove it.
HARE
(to HARE)
Terry...say goodbye to Miss Garland.
TORTOISE
(as usual, it takes forever)
Oh...Miss...Garland...I...would...
HARE
See?
TORTOISE
...like...to...
HARE
Interminable.
TORTOISE
...bid you...
HARE
A fond farewell.
TORTOISE
A fond...
HARE
Farewell...
TORTOISE
Goodbye...and...
HARE
Farewell.
TORTOISE
And...
HARE
Farewell!
TORTOISE
(simultaneously)
Farewell!
JUDY
(tears list from pad, hands it to HARE)
Never let her talk again.
HARE
You got it.
BLACKOUT