The Selfish Giant

by Oscar Wilde
dramatized as a musical by Robin & Delwyn McKenzie

Summary

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 for performance.

Characters

2 Narrators
Agnes
Bruce
Celia
Drew
Erica
Glen
Frank
Hew
Giant
Flowers
Frost
Snow
North Wind
Spring
+ Various as required

Script

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, singing.]
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 away.
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 long time.
Drew: I remember him going!
Glen: Really?
Drew: Sure I do. I’m eight!
Erica: Wow!
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 here!
Bruce: Too late!
Erica:/Glen/Hugh: The Giant’s come back!!!
 [enter Giant]
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 myself.
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 a cat.
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.
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, cutie"
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 her.
Snow: That’s Hailey!
Frost/Snow: Hale gales.
Hail: Hi Snowman.
N. Wind: Hi Jack Frost.
Hail: Wanna hear a cool joke guys?
Frost/Snow: Sure.
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 frosty mornings?
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?
Hail/Wind: Yeah/cool.
Song: Snow Wonder
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 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.
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© 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: robin-delwyn_mckenzie@sil.org