The Gingerbread House – Mark Schultz


First pro­duced at the Rat­tle­stick Play­wrights The­ater in New York, open­ing April 11, 2009.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Stacey (30s)                                                                              Sarah Paul­son
Brian (30s)                                                                                Jason But­ler Harner
Marco (30s)                                                                               Bobby Can­navale
Fran (40s)                                                                                  Jackie Hoff­man
Collin (20s)                                                                                Ben Rap­pa­port
Cur­tis (very young boy, son of Stacey and Brian)                     L.J. Foley
Mag­gie (even younger girl, daugh­ter of Stacey and Brian)       Clare Foley

Direc­tor:  Evan Cab­net
Set Design:  John McDer­mott
Light­ing Design:  Ben Stan­ton
Cos­tume Design:  Jes­sica Wegener
Sound Design:  Zane Bird­well
Video and Pro­jec­tions:  Richard DiBella

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Schultz, Mark. The Gin­ger­bread House. Drama­tists Play Ser­vice, Inc. 2010. Drama Library, PS3619. C4784 G56 2010

Set­ting:  Var­i­ous.  There should be a win­dow float­ing some­where onstage onto which images and titles can be pro­jected.  Oth­er­wise, the stage should be as bare and min­i­mal as pos­si­ble.  Time, the present.

Lan­guage:  Con­tem­po­rary. Peo­ple speak in stac­cato rhythms. Text in paren­the­sis is not spo­ken. (Note:  in the pub­lished play, the unspo­ken text is in brackets.)


It’s not oh, please, it’s true. It’s fuck­ing true. And I feel bad. (A lit­tle.) I do. For even say­ing it. But. More than that. I feel. We have to be hon­est. With our­selves. Okay? Can we do that? Can we be hon­est? (Beat.) We’re shitty fuck­ing par­ents. Stacey.

Genre/Style:  Dark com­edy

Plot:  Brian and Stacey con­tem­plate sell­ing their chil­dren.  As hinted at by the title, this is a con­tem­po­rary take on Hansel and Gre­tel, in which both par­ents are cul­pa­ble for their actions.  There are no wicked step­moth­ers in this ver­sion, just two very self­ish indi­vid­u­als who are tired of being respon­si­ble for their children.


Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  (Long mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.)

p.14–15:  Dar­ren is try­ing to con­vince Stacey that sell­ing their kids, instead of putting them up for adop­tion, is a great idea. 


You don’t get paid. When you give up your kids. For adop­tion. No one pays you. For giv­ing up your full-grown. Kids. but this isn’t about the money. (At least not entirely.) Because. Adop­tion? They’re put into some sys­tem. They get shoved into some sys­tem. Fos­ter homes. It’s all dragged out. They get fucked. For life. And is that really what we want? For them? I mean this isn’t just about mak­ing us happy. This is about them. Too. ‘Cause I’ve given this a lot of thought. I may hate them. But I don’t wanna hurt them. [Lines cut]  We’ll think of some­thing. When the time comes. If we have to. And. So. (Beat.) We can do this. It’s the best we can do. All things con­sid­ered. (Beat.) I miss you. Is all. (Beat.) What do you think?

p.19:  Marco gives a sales pitch; Brian’s line can be cut.


Okay. These are the facts. Cold hard facts. A: Kids know when they’re a bur­den. They know. And it’s fucked up, I gotta say. And B: You got an oppor­tu­nity here. To make things bet­ter. For every­one involved. Brian’s told me all bout it. (Beat.) Se, I know what’s going on here, Stacey. I’ve seen it before. Lots of peo­ple. Lots of moms. They set­tle. For what­ever. Lit­tle. Crumbs. Life gives them. But you got a hus­band. Who’s will­ing to dream big for you.


That’s right. That’s true.]


[Lines cut] Because I know you want to believe me. This is the truth. Sim­ple as I can make it: They will be loved. By some very wealthy peo­ple. They’ll have a great time. Every­body wins. That’s all there is to it.

p.52–53:  Brian finds out that Stacey has kid­napped Marco’s chil­dren in an attempt to get their kids back.


You’re shit­ting on me. Let’s be hon­est. And you’re shit­ting on us. Which is worse. And it’s a really fuck­ing hor­ri­ble thing. It is. To real­ize. After all my work. After every­thing I’ve done. Tried to do. That you never. Never. Ever. Really. Wanted. Me. [Lines cut] You don’t deserve them. And frankly. Really. Quite frankly. your behav­ior here. Today. Recently. Shows. You don’t deserve me either. So. Let’s just say. That. The woman I mar­ried is gone. Right? Let’s just say that she’s gone. And let’s just say that. In here place. Is this old fuck­ing hag. This child-selling fuck­ing vam­pire hag. Who wouldn’t know what moth­er­hood was. If you hit her over the head with it. (I mean. If you could do that. With motherhood.)


Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:

p.9–10:  Brian brings up the idea of sell­ing the kids. Starts with


(I) Got an idea.

and ends with


It does.

p.22–23:  Stacey’s at work try­ing to sell a cruise ship vaca­tion to a cus­tomer.  Starts with


I’m really inter­ested in the Fan­tasy Cruise?

and ends with


The Fan­tasy Cruise. If there’s a cruise that’s more.  Fan­tasy. Fan­tas­tic. What­ever. If there’s a more Fan­tasy Cruise than the Fan­tasy Cruise, then it’s not really much of a Fan­tasy Cruise, at least not as much as the Cruise that’s more Fan­tas­ti­cal (Pause.)


Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.

Ish­er­wood, C. (2009, Apr 22). Chaotic house­hold? sell the kids. New York Times. [Review of Rat­tle­stick Play­wrights The­ater pro­duc­tion in NY]

Rosen­berg, David A. The Gin­ger­bread House. Back Stage, 4/23/2009, Vol. 50 Issue 17, p29-29. [Review of Rat­tle­stick Play­wrights The­ater pro­duc­tion in NY]

Soloski, Alexis. No Kid­ding. Vil­lage Voice, 4/29/2009, Vol. 54 Issue 18, p33-33. [Review of Rat­tle­stick Play­wrights The­ater pro­duc­tion in NY]

The Gin­ger­bread House. The­atre World, 2008–2009, Vol. 65, p175. [Review of Rat­tle­stick Play­wrights The­ater pro­duc­tion in NY]

Thiel­man, Sam. The Gin­ger­bread House. Daily Vari­ety, 4/21/2009, Vol. 303 Issue 11, p22-23. [Review of Rat­tle­stick Play­wrights The­ater pro­duc­tion in NY]

Voss, Bran­don. Drama Queen. HX Mag­a­zine, 5/1/2009, Issue 921, p54.  [Review of Rat­tle­stick Play­wrights The­ater pro­duc­tion in NY]


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