Characters: Three storytellers, Little Mermaid, 5 mermaids, King, Granny, Sea Witch, Prince, Prince’s fiancée, 4 people.
Storyteller 1: Once upon a time, deep down in the ocean…
Storyteller 2: …there lived a king who was a widower. He lived with his old mother and six beautiful daughters.
Storyteller 1: The six princesses were mermaids. The littlest mermaid was the prettiest of them all.
Mermaid 1: Come everyone, let’s play.
(The six mermaids are all on stage. Two of them are playing with a ball, one is skipping, one is reading a book and two of them are playing a game of tag.)
Mermaid 2: I have an idea. Let’s swim up to the surface of the water so we can see the outside world.
Mermaid 3: That would be so exciting and fun.
Mermaid 4: We are not allowed.
Mermaid 5: We must be in our fifteenth year before we can venture up to the surface.
Little Mermaid: I know, we can ask Granny to tell us stories from the outside world.
Little Mermaid: Granny, please tell us about the outside world. What’s it like?
Granny: It is amazing. There is air to breathe and big ships that glide on the ocean full of humans.
Little Mermaid: What’s a human?
Granny: They are like us, but they have two legs instead of tail.
Mermaid 2: They walk instead of swim. Isn’t that right, Granny?
Granny: Yes, my dear.
Mermaid 3: Do they live for 300 years like mermaids?
Granny: Oh no, dear. They might live for 70 years if they are lucky.
Mermaid 4: What happens to them when they die?
Mermaid 5: Do they turn into foam on the waves like us?
Granny: No, when they die, their body dies but their soul lives on forever.
Little Mermaid: Oh, I wish I was fifteen so I could swim to the surface and see the wonderful outside world.
Storyteller 1: One by one, the mermaids turned fifteen.
Storyteller 2: One by one, they swam to the surface and saw the wonderful world.
Storyteller 3: And one by one, they came back and told their sisters about their adventures.
(Each mermaid takes it in turn to swim to the surface and return and mime telling their sisters about their adventures. This could be a movement sequence or a dance. Music can be played in the background. Everyone leaves the stage except the Little Mermaid.)
Little Mermaid: My sisters are so lucky they have all gone to the surface except me. I can’t wait to be fifteen.
Storyteller 1: Eventually, the Little Mermaid turned fifteen. (King, Granny, and her five sisters enter the stage carrying a birthday cake and some presents.)
Everyone: Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday, Little Mermaid.
Happy Birthday to you.
Little Mermaid: Thank you, everyone, and thank you for all the presents.
King: The best present is yet to come. I give you permission to swim to the surface of the ocean.
Little Mermaid: I’m so excited.
King: Off you go, but remember to be back before dark.
Storyteller 1: The little mermaid swam to the surface.
Storyteller 2: She burst through the surface and gasped for air.
Storyteller 3: She couldn’t believe her eyes.
Little Mermaid: Oh my goodness, the world is more beautiful than I imagined.
(A ship floats by with people laughing and dancing inside it. They are eating and drinking.)
Little Mermaid: This must be a boat. My sisters told me about them. (She swims over and peers in the window.)
Person 1: (Raises his glass.) Happy birthday to the prince.
Person 2: Have some more birthday cake. (He cuts some cake and gives it to the prince.)
Little Mermaid: That must be the prince. He is so handsome. He has the same birthday as me.
Storyteller 1: The mermaid watched the party continue into the night.
Little Mermaid: It is dark. I should leave, but I don’t want to leave the handsome prince.
(Thunder and lightning noise.)
Little Mermaid: What’s that noise?
Prince: (Looks up into the sky.) There looks like a storm brewing.
Storyteller 2: The wind started to blow really strong, the rain came down in buckets, there was a loud clap of thunder and the lightning lit up the sky.
(The partygoers look scared and they move side to side.)
Storyteller 3: A huge wave tipped the boat over on its side. Everyone was thrown into the sea.
Everyone: Help, help.
Person 3: Where is the prince?
Person 4: He was next to me.
Person 1: Look, he is going under the water.
Person 2: Someone must help him.
(They struggle to save him but they can’t reach him.)
Little Mermaid: I must save the handsome prince.
(She dives down into the ocean and brings him to the surface. She uses all her strength to hold his head up.)
Little Mermaid: He is still alive. I must get him to the beach.
Storyteller 1: She arrived on the beach with the prince. He was still sleeping.
Storyteller 2: Some people saw him on the beach and ran to his rescue. The Little Mermaid swam off before she was seen.
Little Mermaid: He is safe now. I can go home.
(She swims underneath the water.)
King: Where have you been? I was so worried. (He hugs her tightly.)
Little Mermaid: I got stuck in the storm. I’m home now.
(King leaves the stage and the Little Mermaid looks sad and forlorn.)
Storyteller 3: The Little Mermaid felt very sad. She longed to see the handsome prince again.
(Enter her five sisters.)
Mermaid 1: What’s the matter, Little Mermaid?
Mermaid 2: You look so sad.
Mermaid 3: We thought you would be happy now that you are allowed to swim to the surface of the ocean.
Mermaid 4: You should be happy and excited.
Little Mermaid: Swimming to the surface of the ocean was all I ever wanted, but…
All Mermaids: But what?
Little Mermaid: When I went to the surface, I met the most handsome prince, but I will never be able to see him again. That’s why I’m sad.
Mermaid 5: Well, I have an idea. You could visit the Sea Witch and ask her for her help.
Mermaid 1: That’s not a good idea at all.
Mermaid 2: The Sea Witch is evil.
Mermaid 3: She won’t do you a good turn for nothing.
Little Mermaid: What choice do I have? I’m desperate to see the prince again.
Storyteller 1: Little Mermaid swam towards the Sea Witch’s house. The journey was long and treacherous. She had to fight her way passed sharks and avoid whirlpools and some very dangerous mermaid-eating plants.
Storyteller 2: Eventually, she arrived at the Sea Witch’s castle
Sea Witch: Hello, Little Mermaid. I was expecting you.
Little Mermaid: (Bows, looks scared.) You were?
Sea Witch: Yes, I see everything in my cauldron. I will change your fish tail into legs so you can walk on land, but every step you take will be extremely painful. It will be like walking on sharp swords.
Little Mermaid: I’ll do anything to be with the prince again.
Sea Witch: This comes at a price. I want you to give me your voice.
Little Mermaid: I’ll give you anything.
Sea Witch: If the prince marries you, you will become a proper human. If he marries someone else, you will die and become the foam of the waves. Either way, you will never return to the ocean and your family again.
Little Mermaid: I’ll do it. Here, take my voice.
Storyteller 3: The Sea Witch took the voice and in return gave her a bottle with a potion in it.
The Little Mermaid swam towards the surface. She swam towards the beach. When she arrived, she drank the magic potion. It didn’t taste good and she fainted.
Storyteller 1: The next day, the Little Mermaid was lying on the beach. She opened her eyes and the prince was bending over her smiling.
Prince: Who are you? Where did you come from?
Little Mermaid: Shakes her head and points to her mouth.
Prince: You have no voice? Here, let me help you?
Storyteller 2: The prince helped the Little Mermaid to walk, but every step was more painful than the last.
Prince: Come back to my palace. I’ll take care of you. You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.
Storyteller 3: As the days passed, the prince and the Little Mermaid became closer and closer. The Little Mermaid longed to tell him that she loved him.
Storyteller 1: One day, the Little Mermaid heard some bells ringing.
(The prince comes in.)
Prince: I’m getting married today. My father arranged for me to marry a princess from a nearby kingdom.
(Enter the Prince’s fiancée.)
Prince’s fiancée: You must be the beautiful girl that the prince found on the beach. Please come to our wedding. We are getting married on the big boat out there.
Little Mermaid: (Nods her head.)
Storyteller 2: Everyone celebrated the wedding on the big boat. As the first ray of dawn lit, the Little Mermaid threw herself into the sea and her body dissolved into foam.
For more plays based on Hans Christian Andersen’s stories, click here.