by Tony Layton,
John Bilsborough and
Dulais Rhys
  Once Upon A Spell
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Another of Tony Layton's works, this time in association with John Bilsborough and Dulais Rhys. This superb one-act musical is ideal for school actors between 9 and 13.

A group of present-day youngsters decide to make up the fairy tale story of King Felix and Queen Sophia from the Kingdom of Winkelstein. The play is enacted through the eyes of two of them (Clare and Tim). Their roles are intertwined with the fairy tale throughout the play as they develop their own story.

They start by deciding that it is the time of the King's birthday and the whole of the town is alive and busy preparing for the forthcoming festival ('Busy Song'). In the castle, the servants are preparing a feast and cleaning the silver under the highly critical eye of the Royal Housekeeper ('Kitchen Song'). The King is a kindly man and is much liked by the servants. He is generous and warmhearted. He praises their efforts, and rewards each of them with an extra farthing.

Grenvold is a wicked witch who lives in a cave on the mountain with her creatures, and because she got a spell wrong once, turning the milk sour ('Witches Song'), she is never invited to the King's birthday festivities, an omission which has become very annoying to her over the years. This year she decides to give the King one last chance, failing which she will cast a spell on him. Visiting him the day before his birthday, the King tells her that "she smells … and has a grotesque face" which the Witch takes as a refusal, and casts a sad spell not only on the King, but all those in the castle too.

Everyone is sad and miserable, except Queen Sophia, who was not affected having being in the castle gardens when the spell was cast. The next day, the whole town visit the castle for the annual birthday festivities ('Song Of The March') but the King is decidedly offhand about the whole thing. He moans at their speeches, rejects their presents and can't wait for them all to leave. Grenvold who has now invited herself along, casts another spell and freezes the whole Kingdom.

Clare now invents a land far away wherein lives a young girl (could be a boy though if required) called Kalaphinproxaphonia, or Kal for short. Kal is a misfit here as she is only happy when dancing, when all around her are content with their lot of breaking rocks. Such is the shame felt about this by Kal's family that she is sent away " …to the world beyond the big mountain …" in an attempt to bring Kal to her senses. On the way she meets a well-educated goblin who has been tricked by Grenvold into thinking that he is more ugly than he really is. Kal reassures him that he is only ugly, not revoltingly ugly which makes him so happy that he starts to make up new words ('The Goblin Song'). He wants to get his own back on Grenvold and enlists Kal accordingly. However, they need some magic for this and to get this, Kal must first pass a test set by the Great Byng of Bong.

Byng, and his 'walking thesaurus' assistant, Ting appear and Kal, having passed their rather simple test, gets magic protection; Grenvold cannot now harm her. She moves on and, reaching the outskirts of the castle, meets Grenvold who offers her a wager. If Grenvold cannot 'guess' Kal's name in three guesses, Kal will be given the keys to the castle. If however, Grenvold does succeed in guessing Kal's name, she will become one of the creatures and live forever in the cave with Grenvold. Knowing that she is safe from Grenvold's evil ways, Kal agrees, and submits to being hypnotised. She stays awake throughout, and tricks Grenvold by giving the wrong name when asked.

Grenvold then 'wakes her up' and proceeds to guess her name in three guesses with the inevitable result. This latter exchange is overheard by the Goblin, Byng and Ting who enter and make sure that Grenvold keeps to her promise; the spell on the Kingdom is broken and everybody who was frozen wakes up. Kal dances for the King who is so happy, he gives everybody an extra weeks holiday a year, and makes Kal his Lord Of The Dance. Clare and Tim close by telling us that Kal settled in Winkelstein, married a handsome prince and had ten fine children, at which point their nanny enters carrying their baby. The nanny suddenly uncovers her face and the baby to reveal Grenvold carrying a hideous black cat.

Clare - a girl or young woman, modern day
Tim - a boy or young man, modern day
King Felix - the King of Winklestein, a character in the minds eye of Clare and Tim
Queen Sophia - the wife of King Felix, another character in the minds eye of Clare and Tim
Grenvold - a mischievous witch, another character in their play
Kal - a teenager, either male or female, lives for dance, another character in their play
Goblin - a well-educated creature tricked by Grenvold to believe he/she is uglier than in reality
Plus a 42 strong supporting cast of mostly either-sex parts which could be doubled if required

  1) Opening Dance
  2) Procession Music
  3) Busy Song (Cast)
  4) Kitchen Song (Cast)
  5) Macabre Music
  6) Witch's Song (Grenvold, Creatures)
  7) Spell Music
  8) Funny Walks Music
  9) Marching Song (Cast)
10a) Freeze Music
10b) Unfreeze Music
11) Fanfare
12a) Sad Music
12b) Exit Music
13) Goblin Song (Goblin)
14) Chanting Music (Byng)
15a) Kal's Dance
15b) Cast's Dance
16) Closing Dance (Same as Opening Dance)
17) Finale (Goblin, Cast)
NOTE : There are no backing tracks for this musical. Piano accompaniment is required.

Schools who wish to order using Official Orders and Invoicing may do so by adding those items required to the Shopping Basket as normal. Please make sure you have an Official Order Number and the school e-mail address BEFORE you get to the Checkout.
Printed Script (Paperback, A5, nn pages, 60g)
Order a rehearsal quantity of 10 scripts to provide one each to the principal actors, one to the Director and two for Backstage staff.
Price : £ 5.00      

Printed Piano Score (Paperback, A4, nn pages, 155g)
Price : £14.00      

Perusal Service
Rent a script, piano score and a vocal sampler CD. Max of three titles on any one occasion. See Perusal Service for further details. UK Customers only.
Price : £ 2.50      

The royalty fees below are payable for each performance given to an audience, where the seating capacity of the venue does not exceed 200. Obtain a quotation by either completing the Application at the Credit Card payment Checkout, or mail-in our printed Application Form.
Schools :
£ 25.00
Amateur Groups :
£ 25.00

Duration : 45mins
Acts : 1
Principals : 2m, 3f, 2m/f
Sets : 1
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