Happy Friday the 13th. As I threatened yesterday, here is my fractured version of ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’ It was written as a puppet show, and was performed as such last year by me and one of my 5th graders. All rights, of course, are reserved.
Little Red: Hi! My name is Little Red Riding Hood, which is kind of a dumb name, but whatcha gonna do, ya know? I mean, I didn’t write this stupid script, but my agent says if I survive this gig, he’ll try to get me a cushy part on SpongeBob. But what a dumb name. I mean, if it were up to me . . .
Wolf: (offstage) Ahem!
Red: Sorry. Hi! My name is Little Red Riding Hood, but you can call me Little Red for short. I am skipping happily through the forest, on my way to my kindly but ailing old grandmother’s house with a basket of cake and wine. Excuse me? Cake and wine for a sick old lady? I always thought it was ‘basket of goodies,’ but this is supposed to be just like the original version, you know? Like, I guess people back then had no idea about nutrition or stuff?
Wolf: (offstage) Ahem!
Red: Sorry. Hi! My name is Little Red. I am skipping happily through the forest, on my way to my kindly but ailing old grandmother’s house with a basket of cake and wine, when suddenly I meet a wolf. Now this part gets really strange, because the wolf talks. I mean literally talks to me.
(Wolf appears, looking annoyed)
Red: In English, ya know? Or I guess in German or something, originally, but the point is . . .
Wolf: . . or I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down!
Red: Excuse me?
Wolf: What? Oh. Sorry. Can you give me the line?
Red: Sure. . . when suddenly I meet a wolf.
Wolf: Why, hello, Little Red. Just where are you off to, skipping happily along through the deep, dark forest, with that basket over your arm?
Red: Why, I am bringing this basket of cake and wine to my kindly but ailing old grandmother, who lives all alone in a little house right in the middle of the deep, dark forest.
Wolf: Cake and wine, huh? Interesting. Now, your kindly but ailing old grandmother’s house: brown paint, kind of gingerbread-looking, with a brick chimney, and an apple tree out front?
Red: That’s the one.
Wolf: Well, give my regards to granny!
Red: Okay! Bye!
Granny: Hi. I’m the kindly but ailing old grandmother, and I can’t believe the way some people carry on just because they don’t like their name. What’s so awful about ‘Little Red Riding Hood?’ That’s better than going around without a name at all. ‘Oh, hello, I’m the kindly but ailing old grandmother.’ Excuse me? If I were in charge around here, you can bet . . .
Granny: What are you doing here?
Hunter: Sorry. I thought I heard snoring.
Granny: What do you mean, ‘snoring?’ And aren’t you supposed to be a woodsman?
Hunter: In the original version, I’m a hunter, and I’m supposed to come along and hear the wolf snoring, and think to myself, ‘How the kindly but ailing old woman is snoring; I must go and see if she is all right.’
Granny: Well the wolf isn’t here yet.
Hunter: How about the little girl with the cake and wine?
Granny: Not a sign of her. She probably forgot her lines.
Hunter: Oh. I sure would like some cake and wine, though. The script says I’m supposed to be happy with the wolf’s pelt. You get to eat the cake and drink the wine, and then you’re not sick any more.
Granny: That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. You can have the dad-blasted cake and wine for all I care. What is the silly girl’s mother thinking, sending cake and wine to a kindly but ailing old woman? What I’d really like is a nice, fresh, juicy steak.
Hunter: Really? You know, we might be able to work something out . . .
Granny: Shh! Someone’s at the door.
Wolf: . . . or I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down!
Granny: Come in!
(Wolf dies; Hunter removes Wolf from stage)
Red: Knock, knock, knock! Oh, kindly but ailing old grandmother, it is I, Little Red, who have come skipping happily through the deep, dark forest with a basket of cake and wine for you! Oh, grandmother, what big ears you have!
(Little Red dies)
Granny: Why did you shoot the girl?
Hunter: Have you ever tasted wolf?
Granny: You were right; that steak was delicious.
Hunter: So was the cake and wine, but where can I get more of it?
Granny: Oh, I can get you cake and wine any time. But where can I get another tender, juicy steak like that last one?
Hunter: Well, I know they’re filming ‘Hänsel and Gretel’ tomorrow . . .