The Selfish Giant
by Oscar Wilde
dramatized as a musical by Robin & Delwyn McKenzie
In its original form, Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant has strongly Christian
themes. Sadly, many modern editions abridge the story, missing the point
that true repentance comes when we meet Christ, and that the Lord rewards
love shown to "the least of these." This present adaptation for stage is
close to the original storyline and develops these Christian themes through
song and dialogue, as well as retaining interwoven imagery of the cycle
of the seasons.
Note: This document contains only the first 3 scenes of the
script. The full script (+ music) may be purchased by contacting the authors,
whose email address is at the foot of this document. A royalty is required
+ Various as required
Scene 1: In the Giant’s Garden
[The scene is the Giant’s garden. There are several trees standing
upstage and two or three pot plants or small shrubs downstage. Backdrop
is of low shrubbery/sky with stone wall of house/castle in one coerner.
There is no garden wall yet. Children enter from two or three directions,
Song: Let’s go play
[narration during song’s instrumental break]
Narr 1 : Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children
used to go and play in the Giant's garden.
Narr 2: It was a large, lovely garden, with soft, green grass. Here
and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there
were peach-trees that in the springtime broke out into delicate blossoms
of pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit.
Narr 1: The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children
used to stop their games in order to listen to them.
Agnes: Whose place is this?
Bruce: Don’t you know? It belongs to a giant!
Agnes: Oh sure.
Celia: Really, it does. He used to live here all the time, but he went
Drew: Must have been about seven years ago.
Erica: I’m seven.
Celia: I don’t think any of us remember him going. Seven years is a
Drew: I remember him going!
Drew: Sure I do. I’m eight!
Agnes: Where did he go?
Celia: I don’t know.
Glen: Some people say he went to Cornwall.
Drew: Apparently he’s got a friend there - an astronaut!
Erica: What’s an astronaut?
Drew: Well, hundred’s of years from now...
Celia: Pay no attention to Drew. He’s always coming out with stuff
that hasn’t happened yet.
Frank: I heard the Giant’s Cornish friend is an ogre!
Glen: An ugly ogre!
Agnes: You sure it’s okay to play here?
Bruce: Of course. We’ve been playing here for years, ever since
the Giant left.
Glen: Well, at least ever since he didn’t hurry back.
Frank: Anyway enough about the Giant. Let’s play a game.
Hugh: Yeah what’ll we play?
Celia: Let’s play “Trees in the forest.”
Frank: Okay, come on over here and we’ll pick who’s “it”. [They circle
around and chant the picking rhyme, while Frank points to each in turn.]
All: Eeny meeny miney macka, where I dommy nacka, chicka lacka lolly
poppa rom pom push.
Frank: You’re “it”, Erica.
[They start to play and “Giant Travelling Music” starts in the background.]
Bruce: Time out! What's that noise?
Glen: Could be a landslide.
Erica: Could be an earthquake.
Drew: Could be a jumbo jet.
Celia: [sigh] Planes haven’t been invented yet, silly.
Drew: Just an idea. It may never get off the ground.
Agnes: Whatever it is, I’m not hanging around to find out. I’m outa
Bruce: Too late!
Erica:/Glen/Hugh: The Giant’s come back!!!
Giant: What are you doing in my garden? [children run away in different
directions] My own garden is my own garden. Anyone with half a brain can
understand that. It’s mine and I don’t allow anybody to play in it but
Song: Number One
[At the end of song he hangs up a sign on a tree which says: "Trespassers
will be prosecuted"]
Scene 2: Outside the garden
Frank: Why does he have to be so mean?
Glen: Yeah, We weren't doing him any harm.
Celia: It is his garden though.
Drew: Yes, but it’s so big - he could share it with us, couldn’t he?
Erica: Yeah! We even treated the garden better than he did.
Celia: So what shall we do now?
Agnes: I dunno, where else can we play?
Frank: We could try playing on the road, I suppose.
Hugh: But it’s dangerous.
Erica: Yeah, we could get trampled on by horses.
Drew: Or run over by a car!
Celia: Drew! You’re so...so... so futuristic!
Drew: Sorry, but I can’t help being a visionary, you know.
Agnes: What about back in the school ground?
Bruce: No, you’re not allowed after school.
Celia: Right, we’d have to write lines or something.
Glen: Maybe even get expelled!
Drew: Now there’s an idea!
Erica: What about your house, Frank?
Hugh: There’s no space at Frank’s.
Frank: Bruce’s house is the only one with a yard.
Bruce: Sorry guys, it’s full of coal right now. We’d all get filthy.
And besides, even when there is no coal, there isn’t enough room to swing
Celia: In my house there’s not enough room to stroke a cat.
Drew: Hey, what’s with all this cat talk? This isn’t “Puss-in-Boots”
you, know. It’s the “Selfish Giant!”
Agnes: If only the Giant hadn’t come back.
Erica: Or if he had, but he wasn’t so selfish.
Frank: Yeah. Now we’ve got nowhere to play.
Song: No Place to Play
[During song Giant constructs a wall downstage of trees, keeping upstage
within and the rest of stage outside of the garden. As he does so trees
change to winter . When wall is complete Giant moves the “Trespassers”
sign to hang on the outside of wall.]
Narr 2: The spring came, and all over the country there were little
blossoms and little birds.
Narr 1: Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still winter.
[Spring music. Characters dressed as flowers enter and crouch
down. Spring enters and twirls around before addressing them.]
Spring: Wake up little ones. You’ve slept long enough in the cold,
hard ground. Come up to the sunlight and enjoy its warmth.
Iris: [stretching] Good morning, Spring.
Spring: Morning, Iris.
Violet: [stretching] Good morning, Spring.
Spring: Morning, Violet.
Lily: [stretching] Good morning, Spring.
Spring: Morning, Lily.
Iris: Where are our friends the birds and bees?
Violet: They should be here by now.
Lily: Wait, I hear buzzing. [Enter bees, each hovering round a flower.]
Violet: And I hear whistling [birdsong theme is heard. Enter birds,
flapping and swooping until they “land”.]
Sparrow: Morning ladies. Isn’t it good to be alive?
Spring: Welcome to spring again little sparrow. And to you too Mr.
Thrush: Thankyou. It’s great to see you again and all the flowers peeping
through the soil.
[Inside the garden Frost and Snow lean over the wall and smirk as they
observe the goings on outside. Sparrow goes up to the “Trespassers” notice.]
Sparrow: Hey, Thrush, look at the sign. It's for us! "Tree-perchers
will be protected."
Iris: I thought it was for us flowers. Doesn’t it say, "Trust posies
to be pretty cute"?
Frost: No, no, no! Actually it says, "These posers will be frosted,
Snow: Nice one, Frosty old boy.
Frost: Thank you, Snow.
Spring: Good try, guys! What it really says is "Trespassers will be
prosecuted." That means . . .
Frost: Well look who's here. Miss Spring has sprung.
Snow: [bouncing up and down] Boing, boing.
Frost: I’ll tell you what that sign means. It means nobody wants you
in here! So I suggest you go and plant yourselves somewhere else.
Sparrow: Well if Spring and the flowers can't go in. We're not going
in either. It wouldn't be any fun without Spring or the flowers there anyway.
Thrush: It’s really the children who are being locked out and it surely
wouldn’t be any fun in there without them.
Spring: Seems like there is a cold front moving in. Come on friends.
[Exit Spring, flowers and birds. As they do so, stage hands move
wall sections to behind the wintry trees to make the whole stage the inside
of the garden once again. Snowman sprinkles snow while Jack Frost covers
smaller plants with gauze/white mesh.]
Scene 3: In the Giant’s Garden
Snow: Looks like we still have the place to ourselves, Jack my lad.
I reckon we can live here all year round. What say we invite a couple of
friends around and have a nice party.
Frost: You mean an ice party.
Snow: Yeah, “Freeze a jolly good fellow” and all that jazz. Or maybe
even a snow ball.
Frost: No, too formal. We just need a few drinks... on the rocks!
Snow: What about something to snack on? I missed out on breakfast.
Frost: Okay...how about frosted snowflakes! [nudge, nudge] What say
we invite a couple of gales?
Snow: Now you’re talking! Say, I know a gale called Hailey – she can
sure rattle your panes away.
Frost: And I know a gale called Windy - Windy North – man, can she
blow up a storm? In fact here she comes now... and she’s got someone with
Snow: That’s Hailey!
Frost/Snow: Hale gales.
Hail: Hi Snowman.
N. Wind: Hi Jack Frost.
Hail: Wanna hear a cool joke guys?
Hail: I say, I say, I say [pronounced: Ice A, Ice A, Ice A], What did
Jaws get when he tried his first popsicle?
Snow: I don’t know. What did Jaws get when he tried his first popsicle?
Hail: Frostbite! Hee, hee, hee, hee.
Snow: Arctic, man, arctic!
N.Wind: I got one too. I say, I say, I say [pronounced: Ice A, Ice
A, Ice A], Why do people have to grit their teeth on these frosty mornings?
Frost: I don’t know. Why do people have to grit their teeth on these
N. Wind: To prevent a slip of the tongue. Hee, hee, hee, hee.
Frost: Ice one, Windy. That’s really sub zero!
Snow: What about a song, gales?
Song: Snow Wonder
Trees could be bark covered stools or a-frame ladders holding
branch skeleton to represent the tree during winter. The summer foliage
could be green leafy cardboard to hang on to branch skeleton. When
the children climb the trees, they could stand on the stool/ladders.
If numbers are limited, one narrator could read both narrators parts. Similarly
with children: the original six was expanded to eight, but lines could
be reallocated to fit whatever number. eg. green, leafy cardboard
foliage could be unhooked from tree skeletons, or else cardboard could
be flipped over to reveal white, snowy side.
© Copyright Robin and Delwyn McKenzie, all rights reserved.
This document contains only the first 3 scenes of the script. The full
script (+ music) may be purchased by contacting the authors at the address
following. A royalty is required for performance. Details can be obtained,
or a copy of the full script and music may be purchased, by contacting
the authors at: firstname.lastname@example.org