Justin Locke Productions

Welcome to the Peter VS. the Wolf webpage! This hilarious courtroom comedy is the perfect piece for your next family or gala pops concert. Below you will find the complete script. You will also find links to FAQ's and lots of information about the program. (You can also link to The PHANTOM of the ORCHESTRA, another orchestral comedy for family/gala/pops concerts.) These shows have been done all over the USA, as well as in Brazil, Europe, Australia, Guam, and The Bahamas! Any questions, please call Justin Locke at 781-330-8143 or email justinlocke1@gmail.com.

News! The show was just done at the Berlin Konzerthaus!
They will be doing it again in 2016, and another South American Premiere is in the works!



Read the Complete Script of

A courtroom comedy
for orchestra and five actors



Check out the Tour Package Options of having Justin come in for your performance

Complete text of the script in English (Click here or just scroll down this page)

You can also link to these pages:

Synopsis of the Story

FAQ's on renting the show for your orchestra's family/gala concerts

The Phantom of the Orchestra, another family concert program, for orchestra and 4 actors

Justin talking about the show on CBS Radio

Pix of the Berlin Premiere

Some truly fab pix of a performance in Aachen, Germany (photos by Sandra Borchers)

Who has performed it? (List of past presenters)

Reviews and presenter comments

Notes on staging the show

Video Excerpt: Percussion Testimony

Video Excerpt: Strings Testimony

FAQ's

Script in German --- Script in Portuguese--- Script in Chinese (Chinese version is an MSword doc; right click and "save target as")

Please note, this script is copyrighted and there are fees for the use of it in public performance. For more info, to answer questions, please send me


PETER VS. THE WOLF

by Justin Locke

An orchestral courtroom comedy for family audiences based on the characters, events, and music of the symphonic fairy tale Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev.

[Opening: Stage and house fade to total darkness. A lone spotlight searches slowly around the house, a la a prison yard.

[Sound Effect CD (supplied with rentals) Plays
Prison Break Sound Effects (ALT: you can also have PERCUSSIONISTS create soundscape of a prison break, with sirens, gunshots, bloodhound barking, and anything else they have handy. Note, just about everyone uses the CD.]

POLICE CAR RADIO VOICE
(This is on Sound Effects CD or, if done live, can be DISTRICT ATTORNEY's voice)

Calling all cars, calling all cars. Be on the lookout for the Wolf. He has just broken out of the zoo. He is described as having great big eyes, great big nose, and great big teeth, the better to eat you with, and is considered dangerous.

[A door to the concert hall opens (side or rear).]

WOLF (OUTSIDE)
You'll never take me alive, Coppers!

[Enter Wolf from rear or side entrance of concert hall, in spotlight; with "finger" gun:] Bang! Bang! I got you!

PETER (offstage)
You did not!

WOLF
I did, too! [Police Chase Sound Effects fade. Wolf makes his way to stage.]

WOLF
Huff, Puff, Huff, Puff . . . I gotta hide out. I gotta lay low 'til the heat's off. I'm on the lam! Lamb!? Ah, this is no time to think about food . . .

Hey-- Looks like I gave 'em the slip. [Wolf comes up to front, to center stage, in spotlight. Orchestra is in darkness.] Ah, what am I worried about, they'll never look for me in here. [Sees audience, reacts to them ad lib-- "who's that?" etc.] Hey-- you aren't thinkin' about squealin' on me, are ya? I'm an innocent Wolf! You believe me, don't you? [Crowd (hopefully): "no!"] Hey, hey, wait a minute. I never ate that duck! I was framed! I got a bum rap! I didn't get a fair trial. Look-- I'll make you a deal. I'll tell you what happened at my trial, and if you still think I'm guilty, I'll turn myself in, OK? OK.

[Wolf walks off stage. Spotlight follows Wolf.]

Most of you know the story of Peter and the Wolf. But the story you know is only Peter's side of the story. A few days after that day in the meadow outside grandfather's house, my case came to trial. [Orch begins pre-concert noodling.] I was accused of eating the duck. Everyone was there, including the Judge, and Peter, and the District Attorney, who was representing Peter, and all the characters in the story . . .

[Spot fades to black as Wolf finishes above monologue. Lights come up on stage. Suggested setup: To give the actors room, the orchestra is seated slightly upstage from normal, and/or perhaps shifted slightly to either side. Downstage are: table and chair for the WOLF, Judge's Bench, table and chairs for DA and PETER, and the Court Reporter, who has an oversize steno machine (this machine should spew out several rolls of paper throughout the course of the show). Also somewhere downstage center is a music stand and a chair (this is the witness stand; the WOLF moves the chair and stand around occasionally, as marked or when needed).

Peter and District Attorney (DA) are seated at table.]

DA
All rise! [Orch Stands] Hear ye, hear ye Conductor and Judge enter], this concert is now in session, the Honorable [Conductor's name] conducting, the Honorable Judge Hangen presiding.

JUDGE
Be seated. [Orch sits] Mr. District Attorney, are you ready to present your case?

DA
I am, your honor.

JUDGE
Maestro [Conductor Name], is the orchestra ready to play?

CONDUCTOR
Well, actually, your honor, we haven't tuned yet.

JUDGE
You haven't tuned yet?? Well, do it now, and get it over with.
[Orchestra tunes to oboe. If possible, this should be the actual tuning, but it should go quickly.]

JUDGE
[As soon as possible, JUDGE raps gavel] That's close enough. Let's get started. [Looks around] Hmmm . . . something's missing. [DA motions/points, as if to help Judge thru] Oh yeah. Bring in the defendant. Issue a writ of Habeas Loupus.
[Enter Wolf, apparently pushed in]

WOLF
Hey, who ya pushin'? This is a frame-up. You got nothing on me. I wanna see my lawyer.

JUDGE
Mr. Wolf, where is your lawyer?

WOLF
Ah-- I don't need a lawyer. I can defend myself.

JUDGE
Very well, have it your own way. Mr. District Attorney, please proceed with your persecution . . . er, uh, I mean, prosecution of the Wolf for this despicable crime.

DA
Certainly, your honor. Today we will present evidence of a most irrefutable nature that will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the WOLF did, in fact, unlawfully enter the meadow, that he did, in fact, give everybody a good scare, and he is, in fact, GUILTY of the most horrendous crime of PREMEDITATED DUCKICIDE . . . IN THE FIRST DEGREE . . . WITH ONE GULP!

WOLF
I never ate that duck. You can't prove nuthin'.

JUDGE
Now, Mr. Wolf, one more interruption from you and I might have to find you in contempt of concert. Now sit down, be quiet, be a good little Wolf, and listen to the nice music.

WOLF
But I HATE music!

JUDGE
[Like a parent who has lost patience:] Well, that's just too bad, now isn't it?

DA
Your honor, if it please the court, I would like to read the narrator's sworn affidavit as to the events in the meadow on the day of the alleged duckicide.

JUDGE
Why isn't the narrator here in person?

DA
Because, your honor, you have to pay a famous person to be the narrator, and we couldn't afford anybody.

JUDGE
I see. Very well, you may proceed.

DA
>Early one morning, Peter opened the gate and went out on a big, green meadow.

[With the DA narrating, the orchestra plays Peter and the Wolf, from the beginning to reh. #19. Note: A ">" denotes beginning of each cued Narration section. A "(>)" denotes cues that come in quick succession.]

>On the branch of a tree sat a little Bird, Peter's friend. "All is quiet," chirped the bird gaily.
>Soon a duck came waddling around. She was glad that Peter had not closed the gate, and decided to take a nice swim in the deep pond in the meadow.
>Seeing the Duck, the little Bird flew down upon the grass, settled next to the Duck and shrugged her shoulders.
>"What kind of bird are you if you can't fly?" said the Bird. To this the Duck replied, "What kind of bird are you, if you can't swim?" and dived into the pond.
>They argued and argued--the Duck swimming in the pond, the Bird hopping along the shore.
>Suddenly something caught Peter's attention. He noticed a cat crawling through the grass.
>The Cat thought, "The Bird is busy arguing. I'll just grab her." Stealthily she crept toward her on her velvet paws.
>"Look out!" shouted Peter, and the Bird immediately flew up into the tree.
>While the Duck quacked angrily at the cat . . . >from the middle of the pond.
>The Cat crawled around the tree and thought: "Is it worth climbing up so high? By the time I get there the Bird will have flown away."
>Grandpa came out. He was angry because Peter had gone into the meadow. "It is a dangerous place," said Grandfather. If a Wolf should come out of the forest, what would you do then?
>Peter paid no attention to Grandfather's words. Boys like Peter are not afraid of wolves.
>But Grandfather took Peter by the hand, led him home and locked the gate. [Music ends]

JUDGE
Hmmm . . . this is all very interesting. Mr. Wolf, would you like to cross-examine before we proceed?

WOLF
I certainly would.

JUDGE
Very well then, call your first witness.

WOLF
I call to the stand . . . the woodwinds. The oboe, the flute, the bassoon, and the clarinet.
[Orchestra tunes to cover woodwinds crossing to witness stand. WW line up, from stage right: Clr., Bsn., Flt., Ob.]

JUDGE
[Raps gavel] Order in the orchestra. [Orch quiets] If you can't manage to keep quiet I'll try this case with a piano reduction. [To woodwinds:] Raise your right hands. Do you solemnly swear to play the notes, the whole notes, and nothing but the notes?

WOODWINDS
We do.

JUDGE
Proceed.

WOLF
Thank you, your honor. Now then . . . You play the OBOE, right?

OBOE
Yes.

WOLF
Let's hear you play something.

[OBOE plays bit of DUCK THEME]

(WOLF)
Now I take it you are supposed to be the DUCK in the story of Peter and myself?

OBOE
Yes.

[Note: if oboist is wearing tux or tails, wolf can say: "That's interesting . . . You look more like a penguin in that get-up!". Otherwise, use new dialogue below:

Hmm. A duck, huh? A duck. Hey, isn't a duck also known as . . a waterfowl??

OBOE
I suppose so.

(WOLF)
Well that would certainly account for the fowl sounds you're making! [laughs]

DA
Your honor, I object, the Wolf is badgering the witness!

JUDGE
Well, you have to admit, it was pretty funny . . . (ALT: Hey, if the shoe fits . . . )

DA
Your honor . . .

JUDGE
Oh, all right all right. Mr. Wolf, let's please move it along.

[OBOE moves to other end of line, FLUTE moves over to WOLF.]

WOLF
Yes, your honor. All right then. Now, YOU play the flute, is that right?

FLUTE
Yes.

WOLF
Would you please play the BIRD theme for us?

[Flute plays BIRD THEME, briefly]

(WOLF)
Thank you. Now then: Would you tell the court just what sort of instrument is the flute, I mean, how would you classify this instrument?

FLUTE
The flute is a woodwind instrument.

WOLF
I see. And what is this flute made out of?

DA
Objection. Irrelevant.

JUDGE
Overruled. I've always wondered about that myself. Witness will answer.

FLUTE
It's made of metal.

[FLUTE can ad lib specific alloys; WOLF can ad lib response, i.e., "Silver? Nickel? Gold? Well, that's METAL, isn't it?" etc.]

WOLF
Made out of metal? I see. A WOOD wind instrument . . . made out of metal! Can you tell the difference between wood and metal? Can you tell the difference between RIGHT and WRONG? Can you tell the difference between the TRUTH and AN OUTRIGHT LIE??!!

JUDGE
[Applauds] That was beautiful oratory, Mr. Wolf.

DA
Your honor, I object to this line of questioning.

JUDGE
Don't interrupt. It's not nice. Continue, Mr. Wolf.

[FLUTE moves to other end, BASSOON moves to WOLF]

WOLF
Yes, your honor. Now then . . . You are the bassoon?

BASSOON
Yes.

WOLF
Would you please play something for us?

[BASSOON plays part of Grandfather theme]

(WOLF)
Thank you. Now then . . . You are the Grandfather, is that right?

BASSOON
Yes.

WOLF
Would you mind telling us just exactly how many GRANDCHILDREN you have?

DA
Objection, Objection. Your honor, the Wolf is confusing the witness. The bassoon is not a grandfather!

JUDGE
But he just said that he was.

PETER
Your honor, can I say something?

JUDGE
Certainly, Peter.

PETER
Your honor, the bassoon is the grandfather only in a METAPHORICAL sense.

JUDGE
In a meta-WHAT? What are you talking about?

DA
Yes, a metaphorical sense; he means, your honor, that the bassoon merely REPRESENTS the character of the grandfather because the bassoon can play such low notes.

JUDGE
I see. I think. A meta-what?

PETER
Metaphorical, your honor.

JUDGE
Uh . . . Sustained. Mr. Wolf, would you please limit your questioning to musical material? This is supposed to be an educational . . . concert . . .?

WOLF
Yes, your honor. Now then: You are the clarinet, and . . . [optional: "metaphorically speaking . . . "] you are the Cat?

CLARINET
Yes.

WOLF
How many hours a day do you practice??

DA
Objection, your honor. This clarinetist is a professional musician, and the court can assume that he arrived here today knowing his part.

WOLF
I don't assume anything. A professional musician, huh? Does that mean you're getting paid to be here today?

CLARINET
Not enough.

WOLF
But doesn't it also mean, in a broader sense, that you're an expert at playing this instrument?

CLARINET
Well, I guess so.

WOLF
You GUESS SO? We're paying you to be here, and you GUESS SO? Well then, Mr. Professional Expert, would you mind playing the cat theme for us?
[Clarinet plays theme; hits obvious wrong note(s), perhaps taps foot clumsily to establish beat each time]]

CLARINET
[If single note error:] Oops. [If multiple errors:] Darn it, I had it last night.

WOLF
Hey, wait a minute. That doesn't sound like the Cat Theme. What are you trying to pull?

CLARINET
I'm sorry. I got lost. I'm nervous.

DA
Your honor, I object. Music is a means of artistic expression, and you have to allow for an occasional wrong note.

WOLF
Wrong note? Wrong note? Whaddaya mean, wrong note??

DA
Everybody plays a wrong note once in a while. It's not that big a deal.

WOLF
Oh, but I think it IS a very big deal. This is a court of law, you know, not some kiddie concert! [To other WW's:] Did any of YOU play any wrong notes?

[Woodwinds say these lines all at once:]

CLARINET
Well, if we'd had more time to practice, and besides, my mouth hurts . . .

OBOE
There's a lot of sharps and flats in this piece, and besides, these reeds are hard to make . . .

FLUTE
Nobody's perfect, this key here sticks sometimes . . .

BASSOON
I was in tune with somebody, I can't see very well without my glasses . . .

WOLF
Your honor, by their own admission, the testimony of these witnesses is NOT 100% accurate. I move that this tainted testimony be stricken from the record.
[Woodwinds return to orch]

JUDGE
Sustained. The audience is instructed to ignore the testimony of the woodwinds.

DA
But your honor, you can't do that! This is preposterous! I . . .

JUDGE
I don't wanna hear about it.

DA
But your honor, that's not right! That's not fair! I object!

JUDGE
OVERRULED! [Hits DA on head with gavel; tympani plays upward gliss to accentuate hit, with birdcalls for dizziness] Continue with the narrator's affidavit.

DA
Yes, your honor. [Orchestra plays #l9-#28 as written, with DA narrating]

>No sooner had Peter gone out of the meadow than the Wolf came out of the forest.
>In a twinkling the cat climbed the tree.
>The duck quacked, and in her excitement, jumped out of the pond.
>But no matter how hard the duck tried to run . . . (>) she couldn't escape the Wolf.
(>) He was getting nearer . . . (>) nearer . . . (>) catching up with her . . .
>And then he got her, and with one gulp, swallowed her.
>And now, this is how things stood: the cat was sitting on one branch,
>The bird on another . . . (>) not too close to the cat.
>And the Wolf walked around and around the tree looking at them with greedy eyes. [Music ends]

WOLF
Aw, that's a lot of hooey. I never laid a paw on that duck.

DA
Well, then, what were you doing in the meadow?

WOLF
Oh, well, I was uh . . . I was uh . . .

DA
Well, what?

WOLF
Hey, since when is that any of your business?! Get off my case. [Etc.; Orchestra plays duck theme (reh. #24, Ad lib). Wolf stops suddenly, holds his stomach, groaning]

JUDGE
Mr. Wolf, are you all right?

WOLF
Oh . . . Oh yeah, your honor . . . It's a . . . It's a . . . [Thinks of it:] I have a heart murmur. I . . . I'm very frail, you know. [Fans himself] All this excitement.

DA
I don't suppose you might also be suffering a little indigestion . . . from having swallowed that duck WHOLE?

WOLF
You can't prove that! I don't have to take this, ya know. I got rights! [Ad lib denials, until music ends] Oh, that's better.

JUDGE
Mr. Wolf, if you're not too ill to proceed, would you call your next witness?

WOLF
Yes, your honor. I call to the stand--THE STRINGS. [All Strings Stand]

JUDGE
Mr. Wolf, we can't possibly fit them all on the witness stand. There must be at least [Number] [alt: (counts on fingers) well, there are a whole lot . . . ] of them.

WOLF
Well, in that case, just the principal players.

[Principal string players come to the stand. WOLF moves chair, for cellist. Orchestra tunes to cover crossing.]

JUDGE
Order in the orchestra! You know, the [name of competing local performing arts organization] never misbehaves like this. (Responds to Orch hissing:) Well they don't. [alt: Do you think you could behave a little more like them?] [Low hiss from ORCH; Judge ad libs gavel hits*] [to principal strings:] You swear to play the notes, the half notes, and nothing but the notes? Proceed. *(Note this gag is very new and may not be written in the orch parts yet. it is NOT in the translated versions yet either --JL)

WOLF
Now, let me get this straight. You guys, as a group, represent Peter, is that correct?

STRINGS
Yes, uh-huh, that's right, [etc.]

WOLF
Could you play a little bit of Peter's theme for the court?

STRINGS
Sure. [They play the beginning of the piece; Wolf interrupts after first statement of theme.]

WOLF
Thank you, you needn't repeat it, by this time I'm sure everyone knows how it goes. Now. Think carefully before you answer. Are you all in agreement as to Peter's version of what happened in the meadow?

STRINGS
[They look around] Yes, we're all agreed.

WOLF
You're absolutely certain?

STRINGS
Yes.

WOLF
Isn't that nice [Sneers]. Peter and his widdle fwends. [To Peter] You might not be so brave if you didn't have so many pals with you.

DA
Objection.

JUDGE
Sustained.

WOLF
Excuse me. Now, you said you were all agreed on Peter's version of the story, right? [To 2nd violinist] Now-- are you the first violinist?

FIRST VIOLIN
No, no, he's not the first violinist. He's the second violinist. I am the first violinist.

WOLF
Oh, excuse me. Then you are the first violinist?

FIRST VIOLIN
That's right. I'm also called the concertmaster.

WOLF
[Ad lib disgust, "well goodie for you," or "pardonnez moi," etc.] Would you please play once just by yourself?

FIRST VIOLIN
You mean . . . a solo?

WOLF
Yes. Solo. That is, all by yourself.

FIRST VIOLIN
[1st violin plays either Bach Partita #3 or something flashy from concerto repertoire, with orch accompanying. In parts: Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Letter "L." If playing a concerto excerpt that starts with orch tutti, 1st Violinist says to ORCH:] Hit it!

WOLF
Hold it, hold it! [Whistles, stops orchestra. First violin continues for a few bars. Wolf stops him.] I meant, would you play PETER'S THEME all by yourself?

FIRST VIOLIN
Oh, that's easy. [Plays]

WOLF
[After one bar:] Now add the second violin--
[After one more bar, ad lib] Now the viola--
[After one more bar, ad lib] Now the cello--
[After two more bars, ad lib] And the bass.

WOLF
Well, we've heard enough I think. [End music] Your honor, the strings have claimed under oath that they agree on Peter's version, and yet they all seem to be playing different notes at different times. I move--

DA
Your honor, I must protest. The strings are simply playing in harmony with one another. It makes the piece more interesting that way.
[Strings return to orch]

JUDGE
Perhaps it is more interesting, Mr. Attorney, but hardly admissible as evidence in a court of law.

PETER
But your honor, you don't understand! The strings only represent me in a METAPHORICAL sense!

JUDGE
Don't tell me I don't understand. A Meta-what?

DA
Metaphorical, your honor, meaning--

JUDGE
Mr. Attorney . . . irregardless of the . . .

WOLF
Uh, excuse me, your honor. "Irregardless" is not a word.

JUDGE
Don't talk when I'm talking. Mr. Attorney, irregardless of the . . . of the . . . of the metaphorical-ness of the situation, the testimony of the strings is self-contradictory. The audience is instructed to ignore their testimony.

DA
Your honor, I object!

JUDGE
Overruled! [Gavel on head, with tymp gliss/birdcalls]

DA
Given these circumstances, your honor, all I can do at this time is continue with the narrator's affidavit.

JUDGE
Proceed.

DA
[Orchestra plays from reh #28 to reh. #38, With DA narrating]
>As the Wolf ate the duck, Peter, without the slightest fear, stood behind the closed gate watching all that was going on.
>He ran home, took a strong rope and climbed up the high stone wall.
>One of the branches of the tree around which the Wolf was walking, stretched out over the wall.
>Grabbing hold of the branch,
(>) Peter lightly climbed over on to the tree.
(>) Peter said to the bird: "Fly down and circle around the Wolf's head, only take care that he doesn't catch you."
>The bird almost touched the Wolf's head with her wings while the Wolf snapped angrily at her from this side and that.
>How the bird did worry the Wolf! How he wanted to catch her! But the bird was cleverer, and the Wolf simply couldn't do anything about it.
>Meanwhile Peter made a lasso and carefully letting it down,
>Caught the Wolf by the tail and pulled with all his might.
>Feeling himself caught, the Wolf began to jump wildly trying to get loose.
>But Peter tied the other end of the rope to the tree,
(>) and the Wolf's jumping only made the rope around his tail tighter. [End music]

JUDGE
Mr. Wolf, call your next witness.

WOLF
Thank you, your honor. I call . . . The percussionist.

[Orch tunes to cover crossing; percussionist brings tympani with him. Judge raps gavel]

JUDGE
Order in the Orchestra. [Orch quiets] Keep this up and you're all going to bed without any per diem. I mean it.

[PERC hands wolf an envelope/ piece of paper.]

WOLF

WHat the- ? Fifty Bucks for cartage?? I Object! [Perc shrugs, reverses direction] Okay, Okay. [PERC continues setting up Tymp.]

WOLF
Alright then . . . so you are the percussionist, and you represent the HUNTERS in the story of Peter and myself, is that correct?

PERC
Yes.

WOLF
I see. Now. Would you tell the court just exactly what it is that QUALIFIES you to be a character in a symphonic fairy tale?

PERC
I'm qualified to be here because I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours practicing.

WOLF
I see. Well, then, would you mind playing something, to give us a demonstration of your extraordinary technical expertise?

PERC
Sure, I don't mind. [With considerable preparation (like a matador), Perc plays one note on tympani. Perc then graciously bows for applause.]

WOLF
Again, just to be sure?

DA
Your honor, I fail to see the purpose . . .

JUDGE
Oh, sit down and be quiet. This is fascinating!

WOLF
Thank you, your honor. Now then, once more?
[Perc plays one note on tympani, again, with much preparation]

WOLF
May I? [Takes stick (imitates perc prep?), plays one note, laughs sneeringly] Hey, who are you trying to kid? This is easy. Do you expect me to believe that it takes hundreds of hours of practice to do this?

DA
Your honor, if I may point out, while it may look simple to play a single note, playing percussion instruments is a very complex task. Besides having to play very complex rhythmic patterns, a percussionist has to be able to play literally hundreds of instruments, such as:

[Note, in the parts, there is a fairly complicated bit of choreography for the second percussionist, which is designed to imply that he is completely unprepared to do a grand multiple instrument "demo." He plays each of the following instruments as listed (you can also make up your own list if need be); this segment should move quickly, (NARR-- make him hurry!) [with the percussionist exhausted at end. Choreography is in Perc II part.] NOTE it might also work to have the second percussionist come out in a Harpo Marx trench coat and have him magically pull various small instruments out of various pockets and play them briefly-- just an idea.]

Chimes, xylophone, cowbell, tambourine, woodblock, whistles, flexatone, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, tam tam, [Consult with percussionists as needed to make this list; it may be more practical to use smaller instruments] and of course, the tympani. Tympani are particularly difficult because they are a "pitched" instrument.

JUDGE
What do you mean, a "pitched" instrument?

DA
I mean, your honor, that the tympani are "tuned" to a specific note. By pushing up or down on the pedal, the tympani player changes the tension on the HEAD of the drum. As the tension increases [Perc demonstrates], the pitch goes up; when he lifts up the pedal, the tension on the head of the drum decreases, and the pitch goes down.

JUDGE
Hmmm. I see. Sustained. Mr. Wolf, do you have any other questions for this witness?

WOLF
Just one, your honor. Since you are the hunter, would you mind showing us your LICENSE?

PERC
What license?

WOLF
Why, your HUNTER'S LICENSE, of course. Surely, you weren't out hunting without a license . . . That's illegal.

JUDGE
Well, where's your hunting license?

DA
Your honor, I must protest. This man is not on trial.

JUDGE
He is now. So how about it?

PERC
Your honor, I didn't know I needed a license. I don't have one.

PETER
But you honor, this is ridiculous. The percussionist is only a hunter in a METAPHORICAL sense.

JUDGE
A Meta-what?

DA & PETER
[Exasperated] Metaphorical!

JUDGE
Well, metaphorical or not, ignorance of the law is no excuse. [Gavel] Thirty dollars or thirty days.

DA
Your honor, I object!

JUDGE
Overruled! [Gavel on head; perc plays gliss/birdcalls; DA looks at him suspiciously. Perc exits with tymp]

DA
Very well, your honor. I would like to continue with the narrator's affidavit.
[Orchestra plays from reh. #38 through to reh. #43]

>Just then . . .
>The hunters came out of the woods,
>Following the Wolf's trail and shooting as they went.
>But Peter, sitting in the tree, said: "Don't shoot! The bird and I have already caught the Wolf! Now help us take him to the zoo."

[End music]

DA
At this time, your honor, I would like to call a group of hostile witnesses to the stand.

JUDGE
Proceed.

DA
I call . . . THE HORNS.

[Horns to stand. Orch tunes to cover crossing]

JUDGE
Order! Order! [Orch quiets] Since you're all so eager to play something, maybe we should all rehearse "Stars and Stripes Forever."

ORCHESTRA
[ad lib loudly] No! no! not that, not us, huh-uh (etc).

JUDGE
[Shrugs sarcastically] You've been warned. Proceed.

DA
You are the horns, are you not?

HORNS
Yes.

DA
And you represent the Wolf in the story of Peter and the Wolf, do you not?

HORNS
Yes.

DA
Would you play the Wolf's theme for us?

[Horns play Wolf theme (reh. #19)]
Now, did you not, in the meadow, play this most frightening theme in a minor key AND in the lower register, frightening the duck, causing her to jump out of the pond, whereupon the Wolf grabbed her and swallowed her with ONE GULP???!! Well, didn't you? Didn't you?? DIDN'T YOU??!! No further questions.

JUDGE
Your witness, Mr. Wolf.

WOLF
Your honor, the prosecution says the horns frightened the duck by playing in a minor key . . . in the lower register. BUT . . . can't you also play . . . in a MAJOR key?

HORNS
Oh, Yes.

[Horns play part of Wolf theme in major key.]

WOLF
And perhaps in a higher register?

HORNS
Yes.

[Horns play part of theme in higher register and in major key]

WOLF
In fact, is it not possible that the horn can be a delightful, fun, friendly, playful instrument?

HORNS
Sure! [The three horns play the trio from the Eroica symphony, with orchestra accompanying.]

DA
[NARR-- This gag does not work as well if you wait more than a few bars to interrupt.]Stop! Stop! Stop that! [HORNS I&III and ORCH gradually stop, HORN II continues for an extra few bars, is embarrassed by attention focused on him and stops as DA stares at him.(end music).]

DA
Objection! Objection! Your honor! That's Beethoven, not Prokofiev. Totally inadmissable. The Wolf is trying to manipulate the audience.

JUDGE
Sustained. Mr. Wolf, at the very least, please limit your questioning to 20th century music.

WOLF
Sorry, your honor. No further questions.
[Horns return to orch]

DA
Your honor, I would like to conclude my presentation of the narrator's affidavit and the original music.

JUDGE
Proceed.

DA
[Said as one:]
>And there . . . Imagine the triumphant procession: Peter at the head, and after him, the hunters leading the Wolf.
[Orchestra plays #49 to 1st beat of #51, ending on C in the Cello & Bass. (Music & Narr of #43-49 and #51-53 is cut.][End music]

JUDGE
Mr. Attorney, do you have any other testimony to present?

DA
Yes, your honor. I call to the stand . . . PETER.
[Orchestra tunes; Peter to witness stand. DA moves music stand out of way of Peter's face.]

JUDGE
Order! Order! That's it. I don't want to hear one more peep out of you. [OBOE plays "peep" on detached reed; Judge glowers.] You're pushin' it. Proceed.

DA
Now Peter, you're a nice little boy, aren't you?

PETER
Oh, yes.

DA
And you wouldn't tell a lie, now would you?

PETER
Oh, no. It's wrong to tell a lie.

DA
It certainly is. And everything we've heard in the original narration is the absolute truth, isn't it?

PETER
Yes. Absolutely.

DA
Peter, I understand you're a Boy Scout, is that right?

PETER
Yes.

DA
No further questions. Your witness.

WOLF
A Boy Scout, eh? Hmmmm. So "Boys like Peter aren't afraid of wolves," eh? Heh, heh, heh . . . [Pause] BOO!! [Peter is visibly shaken] Not afraid of wolves, huh? I'm SURE. Do you really expect anybody to believe this trumped up pack of lies? You've got quite an imagination, you little creep. And besides--the real reason why the duck got eaten was because YOU left the gate open!

DA
There, your honor-- he admits it!

WOLF
I didn't admit anything. That was just a slip of the teeth . . . I mean . . . I mean of the tongue! And, your honor, given a lack of a corpus delectable . . .

DA
You see? He admits it!

WOLF
I didn't admit anything. I was . . . I was . . . I was just speaking in a METAPHORICAL SENSE.

PETER
Metaphorical . . . . (?)(!)

DA
Metaphorical . . . . (?)(!)

JUDGE
A meta-WHAT?

ORCHESTRA
METAPHORICAL!

WOLF
You keep out of this! Nothing has been proven here. All right, you little brat-- did you SEE me eat the duck? Huh? Huh? HUH?

PETER
Yes, I did. You chased her and chased her and then you ate her with one gulp. I saw you.

JUDGE
But Peter . . . unless you can produce a witness who agrees with you, I shall have to find the Wolf not guilty. Given the fact that the Wolf is an ADULT, and YOU are just a CHILD, well, I have no choice but to believe his side of the story.

PETER
But your honor, this is a fairy tale, and the Wolf is always guilty in fairy tales.

JUDGE
I know that. But we have to follow the rules.

WOLF
A most delicious, er, I mean, judicious judgement on your part, your honor. [To Peter]: And when I catch up with you back in the meadow, you little twerp, I'll settle the SCORE.

PETER
The score . . .

WOLF
I'll have to have you for dinner sometime! [Laughs]

PETER
The score . . . the score . . .

JUDGE
Well, Peter, if you have nothing more to say . . . [Gavel in air]

PETER
Just a moment, your honor. I would like to ask for a short recess. [Peter runs over to conductor, borrows the score, takes it back to DA. During this:]

JUDGE
Recess? Oh boy. I love recess.

WOLF
Your honor, I object.

JUDGE
To recess? OVERRULED! [Gavel on Wolf's head, with Tymp gliss/birdcalls.]

DA
Your honor, if it please the court, I would like to present some additional evidence: this is the SCORE of "Peter and the Wolf." The score contains all of the notes that all of the different instruments play.

WOLF
Aw, what's that got to do with anything?

DA
If you examine the score carefully, your honor, you will note that besides the instruments that we have already heard from, there are two other instruments in this piece that have yet to come forward. I would like to call them to the stand to present their testimony.

JUDGE
Very well, call your witnesses.

DA
Thank you, your honor. I call . . . The trumpet and the trombone.
[Trumpet and trombone come to the stand (in spotlight?). They are dressed like someone who has "no character," e.g., gangsters or bikers. Principal bass/perc play walking jazz line as they cross to witness stand (orch does not tune). PERC: ad lib to follow their movements. Note, stage director: your option to continue dialogue over the bass/perc entrance music, or wait and play up their entrance with ad libs. Feel free to fade bass/perc music as timing/taste requires.]

WOLF
[Offers various ad lib objections, verbal or physical during tpt/tbn entrance.]
Hey, wait a minute. You can't call them. They're not in the story.

JUDGE
Hmmm . . . That's true, Mr. Attorney. They're not in the story. I'm not sure I can allow them to testify.

PETER or DA
But your honor, they ARE in the story. They just don't have any character.

WOLF
You can tell they don't have any character just by looking at them. I object.

JUDGE
Well, this is very strange, but . . . we are here to seek the truth. Proceed.

DA
[ad libs distaste at their presence, "thank you your honor, ahem, Now . . ." etc.]
Please tell the court just exactly what happened in the meadow, in your own notes. [TBN hands DA a crumpled piece of paper] Also, your honor, I would like to present some additional narration which has just come to light.

JUDGE
Proceed.

DA
AHEM.
[DA narrates as trumpet and trombone play a dixieland version of various themes. Bass and perc join in.]

Well, it was kinda like this, see-- [dixieland music]

See, like, first the duck, she jumped out of pond [drums, briefly]

Yeah, and the Wolf, he chased her into the woods ["Sing Sing Sing"]

And then like we heard this scream sort of [short raucous noise]

And then there was this wicked awesome gulping sound ["Gulp"]

And then, like, ya know, the Wolf, he came back [trombone, 3 bars]

But there weren't hardly no more duck. [Taps] [Music ends]

(DA)
No more questions, your honor. Your witnesses.

WOLF
Well, I'm starting to understand why Mr. Prokofiev left you out of the original version. Hey, wait a minute. [To COURT REPORTER:] Read that back to me.

COURT REPORTER
[Reads from steno machine:] Ahem. Early one morning, Peter went out on the big green meadow. [Sings "Peter's Theme:"] Dum, dum, ta dum dum dum (etc.)

WOLF
NO, NO, skip ahead from there. [Tears paper] Ah. Here it is. You said that you HEARD me eat the duck. Did either of you actually SEE me eat the duck?

TRUMPET & TROMBONE
Uh . . . no.

WOLF
Well then how can you be so sure I ate her?

TRUMPET
Because we got really good hearing.

WOLF
Oh, I see! Can you explain just exactly why is it that you "got" hearing that is so much better than the hearing of everyone else in the orchestra?

TROMBONE
Because we don't have to sit in front of the brass section.

WOLF
This is ridiculous. Your honor, due to a total lack of evidence, I move that this entire case be dis--
[Orch plays reh. #53-54 (Duck theme)]

TRUMPET
Hey, wait a minute. Do you hear that?

TROMBONE
Yeah.
[Tbn & Tpt stand on either side of Wolf, with ears to his stomach. Wolf groans with discomfort.]
I could swear I hear a duck in there. [Tpt & Tbn return to orch]

WOLF
[Holds stomach, in pain as long as music lasts] Ah, you're crazy. You're hearing things. Your honor, are you going to take the word of witnesses who have no character? I DEMAND THAT YOU FIND ME INNOCENT!

DA
And I demand that you find him guilty!

WOLF
INNOCENT!

DA
GUILTY!

WOLF
INNOCENT!

DA
GUILTY!
[Repeat ad lib]

WOLF
Well, your honor? What's your decision?

JUDGE
Well . . . I dunno . . . I can't seem to make up my mind. Hmmm . . . Before I render my decision, I would like to get the expert opinion of the audience. [To audience:] Does the audience think the Wolf is innocent or guilty? [Ad lib to crowd noise:] You know, that really doesn't help me much. Maestro [Conductor Name], does the orchestra have an opinion?

CONDUCTOR
We have, your honor.

JUDGE
What is it?

ORCHESTRA
Guilty!!!

JUDGE
Well, that's as good a verdict as any. Besides, I'm sick and tired of all this arguing. Mr. Wolf, this court finds you guilty as charged. I sentence you to life in the zoo. This concert is adjourned. [Gavel]

[Lights fade with the Wolf protesting his innocence. He is left standing in spotlight.]

WOLF
But your honor! I didn't do it! I didn't do it! I've been framed! I'm innocent! [Back to addressing audience, as in the beginning] You believe me, don't you?

AUDIENCE (hopefully)
NO!!!!

WOLF
Ahhh--what do you know. [note: If audience answers "yes" above, Wolf should say, "you do??"]

[Enter DA]

DA
Mr. Wolf! Mr. Wolf!

WOLF
OK, OK, I give up.

DA
But Mr. Wolf! Look! The Governor [name?] has decided that you are an endangered species, and he's commuted your sentence! You're a free Wolf! [Hands Wolf large official-looking paper marked "Parole"]

WOLF
A free Wolf?

DA
[***See below for alternate ending(s)] Yes. And I want to congratulate you for a brilliant defense. It was obvious from the start that you were completely innocent. So everything has turned out for the best. And-- I know you haven't been feeling well lately, so I brought you some STOMACH MEDICINE! [Brings out large bottle]

WOLF
Oh, really, that's not necessary, thank you . . .

DA
Oh, no trouble! [Forces it down his throat]
Down the hatch! Mmmmmmm! It's good for you! Next time you're in town, let's do lunch! See you later, Mr. Wolf! [DA should ad lib "ta ta, see you later," etc., until completely exited]

[Stage is black except for spotlight, which follows DA off stage right. Wolf is in total darkness. DA exits.

Tape cue: a tremendous burp. Spotlight reacts, shakes, comes back to Wolf. Feathers are floating down around him.]

[Simplified version: the DA gives Wolf a large paper marked "Parole," etc, and it contains a device/ basket for holding the feathers. When Belch sound effect occurs, the wolf briefly covers his face with the paper and lets the feathers fly. This is just as effective as the Spotlight plan above and much simpler, and my apologies for not thinking of this sooner.]

WOLF
So I was hungry!
[Exit Wolf]

[Attacca to music]

[Spot out; Main lights fade up on orch; Orchestra plays final tag of Peter and the Wolf (reh. #54- End)]

END

***ALTERNATE ENDING: While I do adore the original ending above, there are times when a spotlight is not available, hall cannot be darkened, some may find a belch in a major concert hall objectionable, etc. If this is the case, you can alter the ending somewhat. (credit to Stage director Cheryl Waal, Maestro Francis Wada, and the Charlotte (FL) Symphony for coming up with this:) After the Wolf is found guilty, the DA comes out and tells him (as above) that he is a free wolf, etc., and bids him adieu. The Wolf is left standing there, and asks himself, well, now what do I do? At this moment, a little girl dressed as red riding hood (i.e., BRIGHT red cape and red hood, carrying a wicker basket) goes skipping across the stage. The Wolf eyes her briefly, look at audience and ad libs a visual reaction, or perhaps says something like "A Wolf's work is never done," "It's almost lunchtime," "Can you say 'recidivism'?", or "So many fairy tales/grandmothers, so little time," (etc. etc.) and goes skipping after RRH as the orchestra plays the last bit of PATW. Note I DO think it is important to somehow do the feathers bit, as this answers the real question of whether or not the Wolf did in fact eat the duck. You can also do BOTH, i.e., the original ending AND include RRH skipping across. Note it would be helpful if the DA were to mention something about the Wolf being on probation and that he should not do anything naughty anytime soon. Feel free to ask me for custom dialogue.

Anyway, I do like the original ending, as it settles the big question, and the Wolf evinces absolutely no remorse, which is very true to his core character as I envision him. However, I also thought the Red Riding Hood bit was quite clever too. -- JL

Did you enjoy reading this script? If so, we hope you will share it with your favorite orchestra conductor, manager, or musician! Word-of-mouth is our number one method of advertising and promotion! Thanks in advance-- JL

[Tpt/Tbn/Bass/Perc play dixieland music for bows]
Peter VS. the Wolf Copyright l985, 1986 Justin Locke.
Peter and the Wolf Copyright Prokofiev Estate reinstated in USA 1997
Peter VS. the Wolf

Production Notes:

    Length: Approximately 60 minutes

    Target Audience: Ages 3 & up

    Music for this production is the original music and narration of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, with some minor cuts. There are also some brief excerpts from the standard orchestral literature (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Beethoven 3rd Symphony). Complete rental set of score and parts available from JLP.

Dramatis Personae:

    The Wolf

    The District Attorney

    Judge Hangen

    Peter

    Court Reporter (optional)

    The Orchestra, the Conductor, and the Audience

Peter is played by a boy age 8-12. Judge Hangen can be either male or female. The Court Reporter can be either a boy or girl, although a girl is recommended to balance with Peter.

Technical requirements:

    Wireless Microphones for Wolf and DA, Desk/stand mikes for Judge, Witness Stand, Peter, and Court Recorder

    Tape deck/Sound system for microphones and two sound cues (cassette sound effects tape included in rental package)

    Spotlight

    Stand lights for orchestra (optional; only if required by staging)

    Costumes for Wolf (prison suit inc. in package), Peter, DA (suit), and Judge (black robe)

    Judge's bench / Various tables and chairs (a courtroom)

    Large gavel with foam rubber head

    A large "Maalox" bottle

    Feathers

There is a royalty fee for the use of this work.

"Peter VS. the Wolf" is published by:
Justin Locke Productions
One Randall St.
Waltham, MA 02130
781-330-8143

What people are saying about Peter VS. the Wolf:

"It seems difficult to imagine a sequel to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf that does justice to the original. But with Peter VS. the Wolf, Justin Locke has done just that-- and then some."
---Boston Patriot Ledger

"Peter VS. the Wolf is absolutely hilarious."
---Springfield (MA) Union News

"Our performance of Peter VS. the Wolf was an absolute smash!"
---Margaret Terry, Education Director, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra

"Peter VS. the Wolf is the liveliest introduction to orchestral instruments I've ever heard."
---Syracuse Post Standard

"Our performance of "Peter VS. the Wolf" set a new attendance record for our family concert series."
---Jonathan Martin, Spokane Symphony

"The Nashville Symphony has done the impossible. I never thought I would see seventh graders sitting on the edge of their seats totally enthralled by a symphony production. The Nashville Symphony's performance of Peter VS. the Wolf was so clever and so entertaining and of such quality that an audience of 2,000 upper elementary and junior high students were held motionless and spellbound."
---Mary Francis Short, Teacher

"Our performance of Peter VS. the Wolf was a tremendous success. Everyone involved, from musicians to actors to audience, had a great time . . . we certainly will be programming this again."
---Richard Decker, Syracuse Symphony

"Ticket sales were great . . . we had to turn people away. Producing the show was easy . . . it made a nice partnership with a local acting group, and we took advantage of marketing to their audience. The nature of the play offered all sorts of marketing avenues, including tie-ins to public school writing programs and information on wolves provided by the Museum of Natural Science. (We had one group of kids picket the rehearsal, with signs saying "Raleigh Symphony Unfair to Wolves.") We performed in two venues, and the show was adaptable to each. And it was great to have the parents really involved on the performance; they were yelling 'guilty' or 'innocent' louder than the kids."
---Virginia Zehr, Raleigh Symphony Orchestra

"Some standing ovations are obligatory and others are spontaneous and all at once. Peter VS. the Wolf certainly brought the latter. The crowd loved it and the orchestra members ate it up."
---Chuck West, Virginia Commonwealth University

"We had a terrific time with Peter VS. the Wolf. We are getting nothing but rave reviews from everyone. The musicians enjoyed it enormously, even up to the last show. We reached almost 2700 kids that had never heard a live orchestra before. Wow!"
--Lora Lynn Snow, Ohio Valley Symphony

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