In a big old house, Ashgirl lives huddled deep in the protection of an ashy hearth. With her mother dead and her father away, she lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters. When the invitation to the ball arrives from the prince, Ashgirl finds the strength to go with the help of her friends, some of whom come from unexpected places. When she gets home, Ashgirl realizes that in order to regain the fleeting happiness she found in the arms of the prince, she must fight the monsters who have slithered and insinuated their way into her heart and mind. She must believe in herself for others to do so. "An ambitious play with hints of the Brothers Grim, medieval allegory and anthropomorphism…it has a quirky originality… [Ash Girl] is prey to self-doubt and is under the thumb of her stepmother, while her prince is an exiled Asian isolated and unhappy in his new country. Wertenbaker's biggest innovation is to suggest that the forest en route to the palace is populated by an animalized version of the Seven Deadly Sins, which are out to destroy humanity. She even adds a further allegorical figure, Sadness, who tries to tempt Ashgirl towards death, and battles with the Fairy in the Mirror for her soul. The result is like a mix of C.S. Lewis and Sondheim's Into the Woods: an eclectic fairy-tale anthology. Where Wertenbaker scores is in her eye for detail." (The Guardian, London)
- Type of Show Full-length Play
- Product Code AA2000
- Cast Size 21
- Min. Royalty Rate $100/perf
- Cost $10.95
- Approx. Run Time 120 min
- Target Audience Middle School | High School | College and Adult
- Performing Group Middle School | High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre | Professional Theatre | Dinner Theatre
- Genre Comedy | Drama
- ISBN(13) 9781583421604
- "A wonderful approach to a classic storyÑprovides interesting and challenging roles for entire ensemble. Juicy roles for six women. Provides a wonderful opportunity for physically able character types to shine as the sins. Appealed to our audiencesÑgreat response and standing ovations."
- Review by Karen Stitely, Catoctin High School, Thurmont, Md.
- "Ash Girl was a great success. Having the Seven Deadly Sins be unseen and unheard by the other characters in the play was a very effective device. Initially, I was afraid the audience wouldn't "get it," especially the younger kids, but they did and they loved it."
- Review by David Ely, Lincoln School, Providence, R.I.
- "I love how it takes a familiar story and adds new light and creativity! It is so much more than a fairy tale! I produced The Love of the Nightingale a few years ago and was thrilled to do another Timberlake Wertenbaker play!"
- Review by Drama Director, Ocean Lakes High School, Virginia Beach, Va.
- "My high-school students readily identified with the characters and conflicts. Audiences raved about this new take on a familiar tale. Easy to produce; simple set pieces were all that was required."
- Review by Karie Sedman, Henry Wise Wood High School, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- "One of the most well received, successful shows we have ever done. There was lots of opportunity for character development, and our rehearsal discussions were very thought provoking."
- Review by Kathleen Tissot, Oregon High School, Oregon, Wis.
- "Audiences were intrigued by this unusual retelling of the Cinderella story and felt it was our best spring show in years. The message for adolescentsÑthat one must not be defeated by self-doubt or sadness, which leads to a negative cycle of self-imposed isolation, but must find the courage to reach out for supportive relationshipsÑis very important."
- Review by Debra Dion Faust, Ipswich High School, Ipswich, Mass.
Hints, Tips, and Tricks
- "We decided to utilize a Greek convention in our design and created periaktoi for our set changes. It was an easy solution."
- Tip by Steve Olson, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- "Projecting the image of the carriage using lights is an easy way to create the illusion of turning the walnut into a carriage."
- Tip by Katrina Lacey, St. Mary's High School, Phoenix, Ariz.
- "Don't be too literal. This play calls for lots of imagination, especially with costumes and set."
- Tip by Gail Howard, Poolesville High School, Poolesville, Md.
- "This was a good show for a large drama group with more women than men, as a number of the roles were gender neutral. Students enjoyed creating the characterizations of the seven deadly sins morphed into insects and animals."
- Tip by Debra Dion Faust, Ipswich High School, Ipswich, Mass.