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THEMASK OF THE RED DEATH
THE MASK OF THE RED DEATH
Script for School Theatre


Scene 1
Storyteller: Once upon a time there lived Prince Prospero. He was a brave and wise prince. He lived happily with his people in his beautiful country for many years. But then a terrible thing happened. For a long time the Red Death was everywhere in his land. There had never been such a serious illness that went from person to person very quickly, killing nearly everyone. There never was a plague that killed so many, and there never was a death as terrible.
Red Death: First, you feel burning pains in your stomach. Then everything begins to turn round and round inside your head. Then blood begins to come out through your skin – yes, you begin to bleed all over your body – but most of all through your face. And of course when people see you they leave you immediately. Nobody wants to help you. Your terrible face tells everyone that it is too late. ...Too late!

Scene 2
1st Lady: Oh, my Prince! What a terrible disaster! The Red Death came to our country!
1st Man: Yes, my lord! It’s true! We saw so many people dead in the streets of our town! They are all red with blood!
Prince: Isn’t it possible to help them?
2nd Man: No, The Red Death is a very short illness – only about half an hour, from its beginning to its end!
2nd Lady: My Prince! What are we to do? Who can help us? Half of the people in our land are dead!
Prince: We must go away from this city! We are going to my castle, in the middle of the forest! We’ll be safe there! And when the Red Death ends we’ll be able to come back to my palace. Be ready to go in an hour!
Storyteller: And Prince Prospero chose a thousand healthy and happy friends and took them away from the city. Over the hills they went, far away to the Prince’s favourite house. It was large and beautiful, with a high, strong wall all around the house. The wall had only one door: a very strong metal one.
Prince: Here we are at last! Now, my friends, let’s close the door. I’ll lock it and throw the key over the wall into the lake outside.
1st Man: Right you are! Now nobody will be able to come in or out of the house!
1st Lady: And we’ll be safe here inside!
Prince: There is plenty of food in the house, enough for more than a year. We don’t have to worry about the Red Death outside any more.
2nd Man: Let the outside world worry about itself!
2nd Lady: How happy we are to have such a clever prince!

Scene 3
Storyteller: So everyone soon forgot the terrible plague. They were safe inside the Prince’s beautiful house and they had everything they needed to have a good time. There were dancers, there were musicians, and there was beauty. All this was inside, The Red Death was outside.
3rd Lady: Hello, my friend! Have you heard about the party?
4th Lady: The party? What party do you mean?
3rd Lady: Prince Prospero is going to give a special party for his friends.
4th Lady: Will it be a masked party?
3rd Lady: Yes, and a most unusual one!
1st Man: This party will take place in the newest part of this house, in the rooms which he almost never uses!
2nd Man: As far as I know they are very unusual, those seven rooms, aren’t they?
1st Man: Of course, that’s why the Prince has chosen them for the party. You know he is an unusual and strange person and he often has very unusual ideas!
4th Lady: Oh, I saw those beautiful rooms! The Prince decorated them himself in his own unique way.
3rd Lady: I’m looking forward to that wonderful party!

Scene 4
Storyteller: The day of the party came. The rooms were really unusual. The first room was blue, in the second room everything was purple, in the third everything was green. So, every room had its special colour. In the seventh room everything was black – everything but the windows. They were deep, rich, red colour, the colour of blood. And the light filled the rooms with bright, rich and strangely beautiful colour. That light was horrible. It gave a terrible, wild look to the faces of people who entered.
1st Lady: Oh, what a wonderful party we are having today!
2nd Lady: Yes, really! We can say that our Prince has a truly fine eye for colour? I enjoy these strange decorations!
1st Lady: Some people think our Prince is mad but he isn’t. Look! What excellent dresses he chose!
Storyteller: Yes, many dresses looked more than just strange. There was a bit of everything at the party: the beautiful, the ugly, and a lot of the horrible. They looked like a madman’s dreams, those strange masked people, dancing to wild music.

People are dancing to music

Storyteller: They went up and down, changing colour as they danced from room to room until the minute hand on the clock that stood against the far wall of the black room came up to the hour and then, when they heard the first sound of the clock, everything stopped.

The sound of the clock

Storyteller: The musicians stopped playing to listen to the clock. The dancers stopped dancing. The whole party stopped. Everybody listened to the sound.
1st Man: Some people’s faces became white...
2nd Man: Other people’s heads began to go round and round...
1st Lady: Others put their hands to their heads, surprised by sudden strange, dream-like thoughts...
2nd Lady: Why did I stop dancing? I can’t understand!
1st Lady: Neither can I! I think next time we hear the sound of that strange clock we shan’t stop dancing any more!
2nd Lady: Certainly! Next hour we shan’t be so stupid.

Scene 5
The dancing goes on

Storyteller: It was midnight. Again the clock made the same strange, deep and so sweetly musical sound! Midnight! It seemed like there was no end to the sounds this time each sound seemed to go on forever. But now people became paler and their thoughts were even stranger than before.
And some of them saw a tall masked man walking slowly and silently among them. People looked at him with anger and horror. Horror at choosing that mask! It was not funny! His mask was the face of a dead man. He was wearing black clothes. And he had a death mask, but it was the colour that made everyone shake with horror. The mask was red. It was the mask of the Red Death!
Prince Prospero saw the stranger and became mad with anger. He waved his hand and the music stopped immediately.
Prince: Who? Who has done this horrible thing? Catch that man! Take off his mask! We will cut off his head in the morning!
1st Man: My lord! We can’t do that! It’s the Red Death!
2nd Man: We are afraid of him! How did he get here?
3rd Lady: Oh, dear! Who can save us?
4th Lady: I’m afraid, something strange is going to take place!

Everybody stepped back against the walls of the room

Prince: Then I’ll stop him! I’m not afraid of anyone!

Prince, pulling out his knife, ran after the man with the red mask on

Storyteller: The masked man turned suddenly, and gave a terrible, cutting cry. The prince’s knife fell without a sound on the black floor and Prince Prospero fell without a sound next to it. Dead.
Red Death: Suddenly the dancers were no longer afraid. A crowd of them ran up to me. But they couldn’t catch me! Because nobody can catch the Red Death!

The light goes out. People see the black clothes and the mask on the floor

Storyteller: Everyone cried out in horror! There was nobody there. The man’s body was nothing but air! Now everybody understood that the Red Death was now among them. He came like a thief in the night! And the people began to die the terrible death. Soon the last person died. And the last lamp went out. And even the clock stopped. Everything was silence and darkness.

Adapted from Edgar Allan Poe,
by Irina Gutkina, School “Znanie”

Категория: Материалы преподавателям | Добавил: bryndina (04.09.2007) | Автор: Irina Gutkina
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