THE STORY OF
A C T â€˘1
he curtain rises on the image of an 18th century court shoe caught in a spotlight. Through this image we glimpse a woman lying on her deathbed, attended by her husband and their daughter, to whom she gives a family heirloom of pair of silk slippers.
ome time later, the Father has taken a new wife who has two daughters from a previous marriage. While they are at the wedding ceremony, the new bride has secretly arranged for the house to be redecorated, believing her new husband to be richer than he is. The Father and his daughter survey their altered surroundings with quiet dismay. A modest portrait of his dead wife is being replaced with a large garish portrait of the new wife, who instructs the decorators to throw the old picture in the fire. 4
he Stepmother and her daughters set about degrading the young girl, stripping her down to rags and smearing her motherâ€™s ashes into her face before putting her to work in the kitchen, which the Stepmother has neglected to have refurbished: she has become â€˜Cinderellaâ€™.
inderella dances with the partially burnt portrait of her mother, and her Father enters, despairing about his new situation and evaporating finances. They comfort each other but the Stepsisters walk in on them and discover the damaged portrait, and a squabble ensues.
sudden chill pervades the atmosphere as everyone except Cinderella seems gripped in a trance. A shrouded figure enters and makes its way across the room: the Father and Cinderella cannot quite believe that the face, though scarred, seems to resemble the portrait.
eeing that the strange woman has no shoes, Cinderella feels a rush of empathy and recognises that her own lowly status has, through her own lack of footwear, secured an uncanny bond of some kind with her. She offers the old woman the shoes bequeathed to her by her mother; the woman accepts and in return gives Cinderella a pair of dancing shoes.
here follows a knock at the door - it is the Princeâ€™s Equerry from the Palace, who announces that there is to be a Royal Ball at which it is hoped the young Prince will choose a bride. He hands out invitations, but the Stepsisters tear up Cinderellaâ€™s and forcefeed it to her. The Stepmother brings out a huge catalogue and she and her daughters order gowns and accessories. Items begin to arrive as the Couturier enters, followed by the Wigmaker, the Jeweller and the Cobbler. Excitement grows, and the Royal Dancing Master arrives to give the family a dancing lesson, before they retire to prepare for the Ball. 8
lone once more, Cinderella tries on the shoes the old woman gave her and is startled by the energy coming from them – they are magical shoes. As she dances, she becomes upset and rails at the Stepmother’s portrait. Her Father enters the room and tries to console her, but then he suddenly remembers he came in for his invitation, and retrieves it before leaving her alone yet again. As if sensing that this is one time too many, the old woman returns and reveals her true identity – she is Cinderella’s mother transformed into a magical Fairy Godmother.
S E C R E T G A R D E N
he Fairy Godmother transforms the room into a walled garden in which four fairies representing each of the seasons appear, followed by the Cogs, a group of women resembling the mechanism within a clock. The Godmother conjures beautiful clothes and transforms a pumpkin into a hot air balloon to take Cinderella to the ball. With a warning that she must be home by midnight, when the magic will dissolve, Cinderella sails away to the Palaceâ€Ś and to her destiny. 12
ACT II SCENE 1
P O W D E R ROOM & THE PR INCEâ€™S DRESSING
our Princesses from different continents have been invited to present themselves to the Prince, and are preparing in the Palace powder room, only to be chased out as the Stepmother and Stepsisters explode into the boudoir. 14
t the same time the Prince is being dressed for the Ball by the Equerry and the Dancing Master. He is in a sullen mood, completely disinterested in choosing a bride. 16
TH E BA LLROOM
n the Ballroom, four Ambassadors greet the Princesses, and Cinderellaâ€™s family, the Dancing Master and the Equerry join the festivities. Eventually the Prince arrives, but he refuses to socialise with the female guests. A sudden calm settles on the courtiers, and through the large windows of the Ballroom we see a balloon land in the formal garden. The Prince and his guests are transfixed and, while they watch, the Godmother transforms the Ballroom into a gorgeous summer garden. It is eight oâ€™clock and Cinderella descends in her balloon, captivating the assemblage with the purity of her beauty. 18
S U M M E R G A R D E N
he Prince is captivated, and as the Ball continues into the night he dances only with Cinderella. At the height of the festivities, the clock begins to strike midnight, and Cinderella tries desperately to escape, but loses a shoe in her haste. The Prince is too late to stop her but stumbles upon the shoe: for now she is lost to him, but he has the means to find her. 20
ACT III SCENE I
TH E JOUR NEYS
he Prince has resolved to find the beautiful woman with whom he has fallen helplessly in love. He travels the world searching for her, and encounters many women who profess to be the one, but none will fit the shoe. 22
BACK IN THE D R AW I N G
t is the morning after the Ball and Cinderella is still entranced by the previous nightâ€™s events â€“ she is also very much in love. She hides her remaining shoe before the Stepsisters return with their booty from the Ball, but they discover the shoe and show it to their mother. Furious, she throws Cinderella into the cellar. 24
he Royal search party arrives: the Prince is trying the shoe on every woman he finds. In a desperate attempt to improve her financial position, the Stepmother persuades her daughters to mutilate their feet so that one of them might fit the shoe, but the Father intervenes and lets Cinderella out of the cellar. The Prince immediately sees through her ragged appearance and the powerful chemistry the two felt at the Ball is rekindled. He places the shoe on her foot and they fall back into step with each other and embrace. The Godmother reappears and sends the lovers into the magical garden. 26
PA L A C E GA R DEN
& EPILOGU E C
inderella and the Prince are united in a celebration of true love in the elemental world of the Seasons. For their cruelty, the Stepsisters have had their eyes pecked out by two white doves and, together with their Mother, are condemned to a miserable existence. The Godmother redeems her husband, and leads him into a happy afterlife by her side. 28