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A simple retelling of the story of Rapunzel made famous by The Brothers Grimm.

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A simple retelling of the story of Rapunzel made famous by The Brothers Grimm.

Author:    Judy Wolfman


      This adaptation of the tale by The Brothers Grimm begins on Rapunzel’s 12th birthday when the witch, Mother Gothel, takes Rapunzel into the forest and presents her with a “new” home – a tower. This is Mother Gothel’s way of protecting her stolen daughter from harm, or other people. With no stairs, Rapunzel is unable to escape, but her long braids allow Mother Gothel to visit her every day. 
     One day, a Prince and his Page hear Rapunzel singing and find her at the tower. After seeing Mother Gothel climb up the braids, the Prince follows suit. They fall in love, decide to marry, and plan for Rapunzel’s escape. But their plan is foiled when Mother Gothel discovers it, removes Rapunzel from the tower, and confronts the Prince when he arrives. 
     In anger, the Prince attempts to grab Mother Gothel, but falls into a bramble bush, which blinds him. For two years, he and his Page seek Rapunzel and finally find her. Her tears restore his eyesight, so they can marry.



Adapted from the fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm




 Copyright 2006  


Judy Wolfman

All Rights Reserved

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that RAPUNZEL is subject to a royalty.  It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Commonwealth, including Canada, and all other countries of the Copyright Union.  All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign language are strictly reserved. 

The amateur live stage performance rights to RAPUNZEL are controlled exclusively by Drama Source and royalty arrangements and licenses must be secured well in advance of presentation.  PLEASE NOTE that amateur royalty fees are set upon application in accordance with your producing circumstances.  When applying for a royalty quotation and license please give us the number of performances intended and dates of production.  Royalties are payable one week before the opening performance of the play to Drama Source Co., 1588 E. 361 N., St. Anthony, Idaho 83445, unless other arrangements are made. 

Royalty of the required amount must be paid whether the play is presented for charity or gain, and whether or not admission is charged.  For all other rights than those stipulated above, apply to Drama Source Company, 1588 E. 361 N. St. Anthony, Idaho 83445.

Copying from this book in whole or in part is strictly forbidden by law, and the right of performance is not transferable.

Whenever the play is produced, the following notice must appear on all programs, printing and advertising for the play, “Produced by special arrangement with Drama Source Co.”

Due authorship credit must be given on all programs, printing and advertising for the play.

No one shall commit or authorize any act or omission by which the copyright or the rights to copyright of this play may be impaired.

No one shall make changes in this play for the purpose of production without written permission.

Publication of this play does not imply availability for performance.    Both amateurs and professionals considering a production are strongly advised in their own interests to apply to Drama Source Company for written permission before starting rehearsals, advertising, or booking a theatre.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, now known or yet to be invented, including mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, videotaping or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.


MOTHER GOTHEL – A witch who wanted a daughter so much that she steals one and hides her from the world for protection.

SQUIGET – Mother Gothel’s servant and companion.

RAPUNZEL – The beautiful, sweet, innocent girl raised by Mother Gothel.

PRINCE – The handsome young man who finds and falls in love with Rapunzel.

PAGE – Trusted servant and friend of the Prince.


RAPUNZEL should wear a blonde wig with two long braids, which come to waist level, or slightly longer, therefore establishing that she has long hair.

In the tower scenes, a good strong rope, separated into strands and fluffed out, tinted yellow and knotted near one end, would give the illusion of the long hair.  The short end is braided and attached to RAPUNZEL’S braids with ribbons.  The rest (fluffed out bulk) would be on the platform until RAPUNZEL lifts it and sends it down.  MOTHER GOTHEL and the PRINCE would hold the rope, and appear to be climbing the hair.

The joined ends should not be visible due to the length, color and ribbon coverage.  When MOTHER GOTHEL cuts RAPUNZEL’S hair, she actually seizes the braids, yanks each ribbon once, which releases the braids from the rope.

The hook in the tower would take all the stress during the actor’s ascent and descent.  The act of looping hair around the hook should be shown by RAPUNZEL so the audience is aware of this device.

Scene l – (Outside MOTHER GOTHEL’S home) – can be played in front of the curtain.  If desired, a bush or two can be placed to give the appearance of an outside, domestic area.

Scenes 2 thru 6 – (A stone tower in the forest) – Two step ladders with a stone façade made of cardboard surround them could suggest the tower.  A wide board (platform) securely placed across both ladders would allow the characters to sit, stand and move.

For a more elaborate set, the tower would show only two sides coming to a point.  The point, which faces downstage center, has great blocks of stone going to the top, permitting the actors to ascend from the front.  Blocks would alternate – one to the left, next to the right, etc., to the top.  Actor would hold the hair in his hands to give the illusion of climbing it.  Height of tower should be 9 – 10 feet, with height of interior platform at 6-7 feet.

On one of the rear sides of the tower, a small ladder would permit the actors to ascend from the rear.  Platform should be erected so the actors would be seen from the waist up.  

A hook placed in the center of the tower would have the “hair” wound around it before it is lowered.

In both instances, the tower should be placed slightly to the right of center stage, with a few bushes around it.  A tree or two could also be added to the set.

Scene 7 – (The forest) – This scene begins in front of the curtain.  A rock is placed STAGE RIGHT, and bushes are strategically placed.  After the curtain is opened, the balance of the scene is in the forest, with bushes and trees.


{From off  STAGE LEFT, MOTHER GOTHEL’S voice can be heard calling.  She enters STAGE LEFT.}

Mother Gothel:  Rapunzel!  Rapunzel!  Now where could that child be?  {Louder.} Rapunzel!  She knows she’s never to leave the yard.  She’s never done this before, and I can’t imagine where she might have gone.  {Turns to audience.}  Have any of you seen Rapunzel?  She’s a pretty little girl with long golden braids, and stands about this high {She indicates height with her hands.}  Have you seen her?  Are you quite sure?  Well, if you do happen to see her, please tell her that Mother Gothel is looking for her, and to return home immediately.  {She exits STAGE LEFT.}

Squiget:  (Enters STAGE RIGHT calling.} Rapunzel!  Rapunzel!  Oh dear.  I wonder where she’s gone.  Mother Gothel is terribly upset.  {Looks at audience.}  I wonder if you can help me.  I’m looking for Rapunzel, Mother Gothel’s daughter.  Well, she’s not really her daughter, but Mother Gothel likes to think she is.  We can’t seem to find her anywhere.  You’d know her if you saw her – today is her birthday – she’s 12 years old.  She’s quite pretty, and has long yellow braids that go down to here {Indicates length down his back.}  Have you seen anyone that fits that description?  You haven’t?  Please look around you and see if you can find her.  {Gives audience time to look with words of encouragement.}  Well?  Hmmm.  Take a look under your seat.  How about behind you?  Did you look to your right?  And your left?  Any luck?  Oh dear.  Now what will I do?

Mother Gothel:  {Entering from STAGE LEFT.}  Raaapunnnzelllll.  {Sees Squiget.}  Ahh, Squiget.  Have you had any luck?  Did you find Rapunzel?

Squiget:  No, Mother Gothel, I haven’t seen her at all.  And all of those nice people helped me, but no one has seen her.

Mother Gothel:  Well, she has to be around somewhere.  We have no neighbors, and she has no friends.  So, where could she be?

Squiget:  Now, Mother Gothel, I’m sure we’ll find her somewhere.

Mother Gothel:  All of these years of hiding and protecting her so I’d never lose her.  And now – she’s gone!

Squiget:  Do you think she’s gone to see her real parents?

Mother Gothel:  {Flaring up.}  NO!  There is no way she would know who her real parents are.  Why she was only an infant when I took her, and I never let it be known that she was not my real daughter.

Squiget:  Perhaps her parents found her.  After all, they used to live next door to you, remember?  Maybe, after all of these years, they came for her on her 12th birthday to claim her again.

Mother Gothel:  QUIET!  Don’t even think such a thought!  They wouldn’t dare come for her.  Why, I deserved the child.  Don’t you remember, Squiget?  Her mother hungered so for my rampions, and she convinced her husband that if she didn’t have them, she would probably die.  And then the fool came into my garden and took the radishes by the fistful. 

Squiget:  How well I remember, Mother Gothel.  Do you remember how he looked when you caught him?  He was scared to death!

Mother Gothel:  {Laughing.}  I can picture it as if it happened yesterday.  ‘Don’t move,’ I yelled at him, ‘or I will turn you to stone.’  He froze in his tracks.

Squiget:  His face was as white as a sheet.  And he trembled from fright.

Mother Gothel:  And do you remember what he said?  He sniveled something about his wife having seen my rampions from her window, and how she longed to have them, and how he loved his wife so much that he took them without asking.  He thought I wouldn’t notice if a few rampions were missing from my garden.

Squiget:  But remember, Mother Gothel, how he said his wife was acting strangely because she was carrying a baby.

Mother Gothel:  Yes, and that’s when I thought how nice it would be to have a child of my own.  So, I told him he could have all the rampions he wanted on the condition that when the child was born, it was to be given to me.

Squiget:  You really put him on the spot.  At first he said he wouldn’t do it.

Mother Gothel:  But when I said if he didn’t agree to give me the child he could not have the rampions, he finally said ‘yes.’

Squiget:  I remember how strangely he acted around his wife after that.  He never told her of his agreement with you, did he?

Mother Gothel:  No, he didn’t.  I guess he thought he could worm his way out of it.  But he was wrong – so wrong.

Squiget:  What was it they called her when she was born?  Gretel?

Mother Gothel:  Gretchen.  They called her Gretchen.  What an unimaginative name.  Why, the first time I saw her, I knew her name should be Rapunzel – named for my radishes.

Squiget:  You were certainly clever when you got her, Mother Gothel.  They were always holding that baby.  For a few days, I was afraid you’d never get her.

Mother Gothel:  Fortunately for me, he never did tell his wife about his agreement with me, so when I went to visit her and the baby, she never suspected a thing.

Squiget:  He tried to warn her, though.  Remember how he always told her not to let anyone near the baby?  Or to ever let her out of their sight?

Mother Gothel:  Yes, but I outwitted her.  When the baby was only two days old, I waited for him to go to work.  She brought the baby out on the porch for some sun and fresh air.  That was my time to move.  I admired the baby, and asked to hold her.  But she refused me.  Then, I faked a choking fit … ‘Something is stuck in my throat,’ I said.  Oh, it was a marvelous piece of acting.  She put the baby in the cradle, and while she went for my water …

Squiget:  …you took the baby and ran home.

Mother Gothel:  Exactly!  And for the past 12 years, I’ve raised her as though she were my own daughter.

Squiget:  And I’ve come to think of her as my sister.

Mother Gothel:  Yes, and what a joy she’s been to both of us.  We’ve watched over her and seen to it that she never went outside of the walled garden.  And now, she’s nowhere to be found.  

Squiget:  I’ll look for her again, Mother Gothel.  {Exits STAGE LEFT.}

Mother Gothel:  {Looking all around, repeatedly calling Rapunzel’s name.}

Squiget:  {Calling from OFF-STAGE.}  Mother Gothel!  I’ve found her!  I’ve found Rapunzel! {Enters from STAGE LEFT holding Rapunzel by the hand and leading her.}

Mother Gothel:  Rapunzel, my dear, where have you been?  We’ve been looking everywhere for you.

Rapunzel:  I’ve been in my room, Mother Gothel.

Mother Gothel:  Your room?  But we looked in your room and didn’t see you.

Rapunzel:  I had been playing with my dolls on the floor, and got tired, so I curled up and fell asleep – right there on the floor.

Squiget:  That’s true, Mother Gothel.  I found her on the floor on the opposite side of the bed, so when we looked into her room before, we couldn’t see her.

Mother Gothel:  Well, I’m glad we found you.  Rapunzel, do you know what today is?

Rapunzel:  Today?  Let me think.  Yesterday was Friday, so today must be Saturday.

Mother Gothel:   Yes, yes.  But it’s a special day for you.

Rapunzel:  It is?  What day is it for me?

Squiget:  {Blurting out.}   It’s your birthday, Rapunzel.

Rapunzel:  My birthday?  Oh my, I had completely forgotten about my birthday.

Squiget:  You’re 12 years old today.  How does that make you feel?  In another year, you’ll be a teenager.

Rapunzel:  Oh my, I’m getting old, aren’t I?

Mother Gothel:  {Sarcastically.}  Oh yes, you’re becoming ancient.  And now, my dear, I have a surprise for you.

Rapunzel:  You do?  What is it?  {She looks around.}  Where is it?

Mother Gothel:  It’s in the forest.  Close your eyes and Squiget and I will take you there.

Rapunzel:  How strange that you should have a surprise for me in the forest.  Very well.  {She closes her eyes.}  My eyes are closed.  {She extends her arms.}  Now take me to my birthday surprise.  {MOTHER GOTHEL and SQUIGET each take a hand and lead her off STAGE RIGHT.}

Mother Gothel:  {Speaking as they walk.}  This way, dear.  Watch your step.

Squiget:  Don’t peek, Rapunzel, or you’ll spoil your surprise.  {As they exit STAGE RIGHT the curtain opens to reveal a tall stone tower standing slightly to the RIGHT OF CENTER STAGE.}


As the curtain opens, MOTHER GOTHEL, SQUIGET, and RAPUNZEL enter from STAGE RIGHT.

Rapunzel:  {Eyes still closed.}  Are we almost there, Mother Gothel?  We’ve been walking for such a long time.

Mother Gothel:  We’re almost there, my dear.  Be patient for another minute.

Rapunzel:  I’ve done as you said – I’ve kept my eyes closed the entire time, and have let you and Squiget lead me.  I can’t wait to see where we are and what my surprise is.

Mother Gothel:  {She has led RAPUNZEL to the left of the tower.}  Now, my dear.  We are here.  You may open your eyes.  What do you see?

Rapunzel:  {Looking straight out to the audience.}  All I see are trees – lots and lots of trees.  Oh, and I see a few flowers here and there, and some rocks, and some squirrels, and …

Mother Gothel:  {Annoyed.}  Behind you, Rapunzel.  Look behind you.

Rapunzel:  {Looking over he left shoulder.}  The only thing I see there is that big stone tower.

Mother Gothel:  {Gleefully.}  Yes, that’s it!  That tall stone tower is yours, my dear.  All yours.

Squiget:  Isn’t that great, Rapunzel?  Mother Gothel has given you your very own stone tower.  I don’t know of anyone else who has a stone tower of her own.

Rapunzel:  A stone tower?  For me?  I don’t understand.  Why are you giving me this stone tower?  Whatever will I do with it?

Mother Gothel:  It’s a birthday gift, my dear.  As of today, this will be your new home.

Rapunzel:  My new home?  Aren’t you and Squiget moving here too?

Squiget:  {Looking at Mother Gothel.}  We hadn’t thought about that, had we Mother Gothel?  Do you think I could move in with Rapunzel?

Mother Gothel:  Most certainly not!  This is her home, and only she will live here.

Rapunzel:  What are you saying, Mother Gothel?  I have a home now.  I live with you.  Why would I want a home of my own?

Mother Gothel:  You are no longer a child, Rapunzel.  Just look at yourself.  You have always been a beautiful child, and now you are a beautiful young lady, who is quickly becoming a woman.  You must be protected.  I don’t want anything to harm you.

Rapunzel:  But you and Squiget have always protected me.  Why should things be any different now?

Mother Gothel:  There is always the chance that someone might enter the walls of my home and harm you.  Here you will be safe.  You will not be able to get out, and there are no stairs so no one will be able to get to you.

Rapunzel:  But I was safe behind the walls of your home.  You never let anyone in, and I was never allowed out.  What harm could possible come to me there?

Mother Gothel:  One never knows.  But here, in the middle of the forest, I know with certainty that you will be safe.  No one will even see you.

Rapunzel:  {Crying.}  This is not fair.  I’ve never had anyone to talk to, or play with, except of course you and Squiget.  But now, if you put me in this tower, I won’t even have you and Squiget to talk to.

Squiget:  I’ll come visit you, Rapunzel.  Honest I will.  And we’ll talk and play like we’ve always done.

Rapunzel:  It won’t be the same.  Please, Mother Gothel, don’t put me in this tower.  I promise I will always obey you and will never go outside of the walls of your home.

Mother Gothel:  Sorry, my pet, but here is where you must stay.

Rapunzel:  How will I live?  What will I eat?

Mother Gothel:  Don’t worry your pretty little head.  Squiget and I will see to it that you don’t starve.  We’ll visit you every day and bring you food.

Rapunzel:  How will you come to me if there are no stairs?

Mother Gothel:  {Stroking RAPUNZEL’S hair.)  Why do you think I let you grow your hair so long?  It is thick and healthy and will easily serve as my ladder.  Once you are inside, I will call to you like this: ‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.’  When you hear me, you will lower your hair, supporting it on a large hook that I have placed inside.  Then, I will climb up.

Rapunzel:  And when you leave me?

Mother Gothel:  You will draw your hair inside so no one else will be able to reach you.  Do not fret Rapunzel.  You will have a beautiful view from the top of the tower.  You’ll be able to see far distances and watch the animals as they scurry about.  Now, let’s go inside.

Rapunzel:  Before I am put inside, might Squiget and I play a bit.  It is so beautiful here and I know how dark such a tower will be inside.

Mother Gothel:  I suppose it would be all right for a little while.  I’ll take a walk into the forest to make sure no one else is around.  But when I return, it will be time for you to go inside.

Rapunzel:  Thank you, Mother Gothel.   {MOTHER GOTHEL exits STAGE LEFT.}

Squiget:  Well, Rapunzel, what would you like to play?  Tag?  I Spy?  Hide-and-go-Seek?

Rapunzel:  Let’s play a new game, Squiget.  I’ll hide, but you won’t even try to find me.  I’ll run into the forest and hide so deeply that no one will find me.

Squiget:  Rapunzel, what are you talking about?

Rapunzel:  I’m talking about my freedom.  This would be my chance to run and hide and not have to go into the tower.  Please, Squiget, help me get away.

Squiget:  Rapunzel, no one lives around here.  You’d starve, or be eaten by the wild animals.  It would never work.  And besides, Mother Gothel would be furious and would probably destroy us both.

Rapunzel:  {Dejectedly.}  I suppose you’re right, Squiget.  I’d never be able to hide from her anyway.

Squiget:  Right.  So, let’s play a real game.

Rapunzel:  I don’t mean to seem rude, Squiget, but playing a game with just the two of us is really no fun.  I wish we had other people to play with.

Squiget:  Yeah, I know what you mean.  Games are a lot more fun when you have others to play with.  {SQUIGET looks into the audience.}  Say, I’ve got a great idea.  Why don’t we play with those kids out there.  {To the audience.}  Do you know how to play I Spy?  Rapunzel or I will look at something and describe it, and you see if you can guess what it is.  If you think you know, raise your hand.  OK?  {They play the game with the audience a couple of times, each taking a turn, and perhaps letting an audience member have a turn.  When desired, MOTHER GOTHEL returns from STAGE LEFT.} 

Mother Gothel:  How nice it is to see you two having so much fun.  You do get along well together and it does seem a shame to separate you.  But a person has to do what she thinks is right, and I do believe it is best for Rapunzel to remain here and live in the tower.

Rapunzel:  Please, Mother Gothel, I beg of you one more time – don’t make me go into the tower.  I give you my word, I …

Mother Gothel:  {Losing patience.}  Come, Rapunzel.  I do not have time to argue with you.

Rapunzel:  {Crying.}  I don’t want to go.  Squiget, please help me!

Squiget:  I’ll come visit you often, Rapunzel.  I promise.

Mother Gothel:  {Grabbing RAPUNZEL by the arm.}  Into the tower – Now!  {MOTHER GOTHEL pulls RAPUNZEL and they disappear behind the tower as the lights go out and the curtain closes.}


{RAPUNZEL is standing at the top of the tower, fussing with her hair and singing.  She looks down to the ground.)

Rapunzel:  Hello birds.  Hello little squirrels.  Good morning rabbits.  And good morning to you, too, deer.  It certainly is a beautiful day isn’t it dear friends?  Oh how I wish you could talk.  I get so lonely with no one to talk to.  I know, Mother Gothel and Squiget have been coming every day for the past two years, but it isn’t quite the same as having someone around all the time.  {She sighs deeply.}  I wonder what will ever become of me.  Am I to spend the rest of my life alone?  In this tower?  {She begins to sing again.  While she is singing, a young PRINCE, followed by his PAGE, enter STAGE LEFT.  He obviously hears the singing and looks around.}

Prince:  What a beautiful voice!  Where could it be coming from?

Page:  I don’t know, Your Highness.  Surely it must be a bird that lives in the forest, for there is nothing else around.

Prince:  I’ve never heard a voice so sweet …so pure.  It must be that of a nightingale…or of an angel.  {The PRINCE wanders around as he talks, and sees the tower.}

Page:  Your Highness, the voice seems to be coming from the top of that tower.  Do you see anything there?

Prince:  I think you’re right.  {He looks up, shielding his eyes with his hand.}  But I don’t see anything.  Wait!  No – it can’t be!  Look up there. {He points to the top of the tower.}  Tell me what you see.

Page:  {Looking in the direction of the PRINCE’S point.}  I’m not sure, Sire, but it appears to be a young maiden.

Prince:  Yes, that’s what I thought.  But what would such a lovely young maiden be doing at the top of such a high tower?  {He waves his hand back and forth to her and calls.}  Hello there.  I suppose she’s too far up to hear me.  How can I reach her?  {Turns to PAGE.}  There must be some way to reach the top.  See if you can find a door, or stairs, or something.  {They both go to the tower and feel around, seeking a door.}

Page:  There’s nothing on this side, Sire.

Prince:  And I find nothing over here.  This is all very strange.  How could someone get to the top of such a high tower when there appears to be no door or stairs?

Mother Gothel:  {From off STAGE LEFT.}  Rapunzel, I’m coming child.  This trip is getting harder and harder for me to make, but I’ll be there in a minute.  I’m on my way.

Prince:  Someone is coming.  We’d better hide.  {They hide behind a tree, peeking out every now and again to witness the following scene.}

Mother Gothel:  {Breathing heavily, she walks to the tower and calls up.}  Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.  {RAPUNZEL loops her long braids around a hook on the tower.  The PRINCE steps out from behind the tree and watches as the hair is being lowered.  When the hair reaches the ground, MOTHER GOTHEL begins her ascent, huffing and puffing all the way.  When she reaches the top, the PRINCE goes back behind the tree.}  Oh, I’m getting too old for this.  There must be an easier way.  I’ll have to work on that.  {She reaches the top and stands beside RAPUNZEL, holding her heart and panting.}  Rapunzel, I don’t know how many more times I can make this climb.  Doing it every day for two years is a bit difficult for me.

Rapunzel:  Well, if it’s too hard for you, then why do you do it?

Mother Gothel:  Don’t be impudent girl!  You know perfectly well why I do it.  There’s no other way to get up.

Rapunzel:  Then why don’t you let me out of the tower.  That way, you won’t have to climb it at all.

Mother Gothel:  You know that’s impossible.  You are here to stay.  But I’ll figure out something.  And now, my pretty Rapunzel, tell me what you’ve been doing to keep yourself amused.

Rapunzel:  The same as I do every day.  I watch the animals as they romp and play, and wish that I could be as free as they are – free to run and jump and play.  Mother Gothel, will you ever let me out of this tower?

Mother Gothel:  {Toying with her.}  Well, I don’t know.  Maybe yes, and maybe no.  It all depends.

Rapunzel:  What does it depend on?

Mother Gothel:  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Rapunzel:  Wait and see about what?

Mother Gothel:  You’ll see, dearie, you’ll see.  Now, I must go.  As soon as I have reached the ground, be sure to bring your hair up.

Rapunzel:  I know, Mother Gothel.  I do it every time.&


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