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]