Note: I work with high school students, directing a ~15-20 minute story adaptation every spring. For the last few years, I’ve been trying to find a good LGBT story to work with them, but nothing felt exactly right. I had the support of the both artistic director and my fellow teachers, but the theatre isn’t LGBT-focused; I needed something that would work well on its own merits. A co-teacher pointed me to The Blue Rose, the original of which is available online. There are other versions out there, if you Google them. As you can see, it didn’t need many tweaks to function really beautifully.
Sharing this with my students was an incredible experience, one I wasn’t anticipating. First, I’ve worked with many of them for years. They knew I’d been looking for an LGBT story. When I said I’d found one, the entire class buzzed with excitement – they were excited about an LGBT story, too. When they actually read through it – particularly the song near the end – it sent chills down my spine. I am so eager to work with them on this, and wanted to share the draft version with you. I know how hard it was for me to find a good LGBT fairy tale, so hopefully this will be of use to someone else. So here it is!
The Blue Rose
By Maurice Baring
Adapted by Rebecca Kling
Once upon a time there lived a wise and kindly Emperor, whose daughter was remarkable for her perfect beauty. Her smile was the most captivating in all the world; her eyes were as bright as brown onyxes; and when you heard her laugh it was like listening to a tinkling stream, or to the chimes of a silver bell. Moreover, the Emperor’s daughter was as wise as she was beautiful, and she recited the verse of the great poets better than anyone in the land. The Emperor was old in years; his son was married and had begotten a son; he was, therefore, quite happy about the succession to the throne, but he wished before he died to see his daughter wedded to someone who should be worthy of her.
Many suitors presented themselves at the palace, as soon as it became known that the Emperor desired a son-in-law, but when they reached the palace, they were met by the Lord Chamberlain, who told them the Emperor’s daughter had placed a condition upon her suitors: Only the one who found and brought back the Blue Rose should marry his daughter. The suitors were much puzzled by this order. What was the Blue Rose, and where was it to be found? In all, a hundred and fifty suitors had presented themselves, and out of these, fifty at once put away from them all thought of winning the hand of the Emperor’s daughter, since they considered the condition imposed to be absurd. Continue reading 'The Blue Rose – a queer fairy tale'»