The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of Promo Image

Here’s something exciting: The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of is finally ready to share with the world!

This play has been 6 years in the making* and is without a doubt the most complicated thing I have ever attempted to write** but, dang, it was worth it. How I love this weird and wild little piece of theatre! And while I sat on this for a long time trying to decide exactly how I wanted to make it available, I’m pleased to say that you can now pick up the eBook version starting July 8, 2019. (And depending on what kind of Amazon memberships you have, you might be able to read the whole thing for free!)

*= I started the research for this play in early 2013 to distract myself from the terrible post-natal insomnia I got after the birth of my oldest daughter.

**= Three totally different versions of six different fairy tales, two different frame stories, and three translations of 60 fairy tales *sobs quietly to self, rocks back and forth*.

Because this project is so complicated and because I’ve been teasing it for a while, I’m going to do a big FAQ below of all the questions I’ve gotten the most often about this project and hopefully cover everything you might be wondering up front. I’m also going to give you the full official description and all the details but first… the cover reveal!

Cover Reveal

One of the particularly cool things about this is it’s the first time I’ve gotten a book cover that was actually a surprise to me too! Usually, traditionally published scripts have very simple solid color covers that get the job done but are not very exciting or I do the covers for the books I distribute myself. But this time I got the total thrill of seeing what someone else would design to showcase my word baby and, control freak that I can be, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it.

So the design was ready and I was opening the email with like half an eye open because I was so nervous it would be awful and… well…

Wanna see it?


Here is it!

The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of cover image

*sighs dreamily* Isn’t it awesome? I love it so much I am talking to the designer to see if I can get a matching one for The Love of Three Oranges since the marketing image I have for that show is kind of terrible.

Meanwhile, you’re over there like, “So there’s a pretty cover, blah blah, I still don’t have a good idea of what the heck this play even is??”

Fair enough. Let’s talk about it. First, here are the official details:

A funny, flexible fairy tale comedy with something for everyone!

It’s bedtime bedlam when a washed up clown tries to sell three unruly princesses on something other than their fairy tale favorites. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty… these are just a few beloved classics that Truffaldino will NOT be reading tonight because you’ve heard them a zillion times already and, frankly, he’s sick of them. Instead, he’ll be dusting off four of the weirdest, wildest and downright hilarious fairy tales you’ve never even heard of. But will his new spin on these old tales be enough to get his sneaky nieces asleep in time? This funny and flexible adaptation of Giambattista Basile’s classic, The Tale of Tales, is told in the slapstick tradition of classic Italian theatre with a modern twist.

• Comedy / Fantasy / Adaptation
• Full Length
• 100-120 minutes (60 minute option also available)
• 25 w 12 m 11 any (11 to 60+ performers possible)


• Large cast! (Though you can do it with as little as 11 performers, there are over 60 speaking roles even without counting the ensemble and silent roles)
• Flexible staging and casting (+ majority female roles)
• Variable length: productions can omit a tale to perform without intermission in just about an hour
• Source material was recently adapted into an award winning movie (The Tale of Tales starring Selma Hayek and John C. Reilly)
• Educational tie in: The Tale of Tales itself is an important collection historically because it’s the one the Brothers Grimm based theirs on and this is first time these tales have been adapted for the stage
• Can be performed in masked commedia dell’arte style if desired (or not!)

One Act Plays

There are also standalone one-act versions of the four fairy tales Truffaldino tells, each the perfect length for competition! They are…

• The Myrtle: 30-40 minutes, 5 m 8 f (6-20+ performers possible)
• Goosed!: 25-35 minutes, 2 m 6 f 8 any (11-20+ performers possible)
• Arm Candy: 35-45 minutes, 2 m, 4 f (5-7+ performers possible)
• The Fourth Orange: 20-30 minutes, 4 m, 6 f, 5 any (7-20+ actors possible)

Looking to perform this show?

Bulk pricing for printed and electronic scripts is available for theatres and schools doing the show either to perform or for classroom use.

Photo by Scot Whittman, Rutgers Prep.


I still don’t get it.

It’s a flexible, funny length fairy tale comedy for the whole family with a huge cast that’s particularly great for high schools or community theatres looking for lots of roles to get everyone involved. Majority female roles, a large ensemble with plenty to do and simple staging make it easy to perform just about anywhere with almost any group. You can also adjust the length of the play as needed.

Oh so, it’s a huge customizable full length comedy. Cool. Will there also be a one-act version for competitions and classroom use?

The play is a frame story interwoven around four fairy tales. There is a one-act version in the sense that the play simply titled The Fourth Orange is only one act and is the perfect length for competition or classroom use. But there are actually standalone, one-act versions of every fairy tale of the same length.

What fairy tales from The Tale of Tales are part of The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of?

The Myrtle, The Goose (presented as Goosed!), Pitosmauto (presented as Arm Candy), The Merchant (presented as The Fourth Orange). But there are references to many more of the tales if you’re paying attention!

What happened to the play you had called The Tale of Tales?

Here’s where it gets confusing. The Tale of Tales was the title I gave to a mix ‘n match collection of one act fairy tale plays that I offered starting in 2017. They were all fairy tales of variable lengths adapted from The Tale of Tales collection that could be performed in any order. Whatever plays you chose were strung together into a full length play by connecting pieces of narration by Truffaldino as well as opening and closing scenes. It has had a bunch of awesome productions so far including one I was fortunate enough to attend at Rutgers Prep (though, ironically, the line up at that production was the same as The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of so I consider them the premiere of that show).

For now, the option to perform The Tale of Tales play is still available. But I took the four most requested fairy tales from that option, trimmed them down, beefed up the frame story, and, viola! That is what became The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of now available for your theatrical consumption.

What will be the ultimate fate of that mix ‘n match play and the two remaining fairy tales plays not included in The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of (The She Bear and Vardiello)? Let me get back to you on that when I see how some things play out. One thing I can say for sure is that I have plans and once I know which way the chips fall on a few things I’ve set in motion, I’ll be able to tell you more. But, until then, they are all still available just as they always were and the release of this new play doesn’t change that.

Are you all done adapting The Tale of Tales now?

Hahahahahaha NO. No no no. Ha. Ha. Ha. *sobs quietly*

I will be adapting this monster in one way or another for my entire life, I suspect. I am still working on several plays inspired by this collection in various ways as well as a few more standalone adaptations in the vein of the ones featured in The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of . The adaptations all got longer than I originally planned and, while I am very happy with how they came out , it means I have some “leftover” plays that didn’t make it into this full length. This includes The She-Bear and Vardiello but also a few others that are not fully finished yet.

In other words, stay tuned! There’s plenty more where this came from!

You mention an eBook edition (Amazon Kindle format) above but what about other eBook retailers? Will there be a paperback version or printed acting editions?

For now, the title is Amazon exclusive as an eBook and the only way to get acting editions or paperback copies of The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of is through me. If you want one (or many, if you are doing a production) let me know and I will hook you up. Printed copies of the script, as well as printed and electronic copies of all the one-act versions, WILL be available publicly before the end of the year but see previous answer about chips falling, etc etc.

How does The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of tie into The Love of Three Oranges / The Green Bird?

Carlo Gozzi’s original play, The Love of Three Oranges, is a mash-up of several of the fairy tales in The Tale of Tales, including The Three Citrons. While the sequel, The Green Bird, is based on a fairy tale from a different Italian collection, there was enough of a connection that I will forever see those plays and these fairy tales as linked. Which is why I set my adaptations in the same world.

I have been joking that this play completes my Oranges trilogy because, in a lot of ways, it felt like I was writing The Love of Three Oranges / The Green Bird fan fiction. Though never spelled out in the play, the three princesses that Truffaldino is reading to are the children of Renzo and Barbarina and therefore Tartaglia and Ninetta’s grandchildren. This is actually why writing this play forced me to finally adapt The Green Bird… I wanted to make sure I knew the whole story of the family Hearts before I tried to show their future.

Barbarina’s two daughters are named for her mother Ninetta’s sisters (Nicoletta and Linetta aka the other two oranges) mainly because I really liked those names and wanted to actually get to use them for a character that said more than two lines. Renzo, of course, named his daughter Renza (which is actually the name of a heronine from one of the other fairy tales I didn’t adapt). And Truffaldino and Francheschina are still themselves.

Photo by Scot Whittman, Rutgers Prep.

Wanting to show the story of how Truffaldino and Francheschina met was one of the biggest reasons I started this play in the first place and that meeting happens over the course of the events of The Fourth Orange. The Fourth Orange itself is an adaptation of a fairy tale but interwoven with some characters from The Love of Three Oranges. Nothing about this play isn’t needlessly complicated, as you can see.

The Fourth Orange shows Creonta turning Ninetta and her sisters into oranges and then jumps ahead to the time period between The Love of Three Oranges and The Green Bird making it a very strange situation where it is both a prequel and sequel to The Love of Three Oranges while also being a prequel to The Green Bird. You could easily perform all three one-acts together as an evening now and tell the whole story in order. (TLOTO -> 4th Orange -> The Green Bird) But since the frame story takes place about a decade after the events of The Green Bird, that means the whole mess is both a prequel and sequel and… inquel (?) to each of those plays respectively.

When I tell you that this play took so long because I was constantly confused about what was what and where I left off, are you starting to understand now how that could have happened?

When you say this concludes your Oranges trilogy, does that mean you are never ever writing commedia again?

Let me answer this by telling you that I have said I’m done for good with both commedia and Carlo Gozzi about a dozen times and every time I get sucked back in. I have, at this exact moment, one period adaptation of a Gozzi play, one modern adaptation of a Gozzi play and one commedia parody based on a bunch of plays all in progress. At the end of the day, while I get sick of it, I am very drawn to this stuff and will probably always end up having elements of it in my work in one way or another, like it or not.

BUT, that said, I am trying to get more non-commedia and non-adaptation plays into the world in the future so that’s certainly not all that I’m working on.

Will I like this play?

Probably! It’s very likeable!

Also, if you liked my adaptations of The Love of Three Oranges and The Green Bird, it’s very much in the same vein.

Never even heard of? Ha! I have already heard of all of these!

*Gives you a congratulatory pat on the head*

Why is the title so long?

Because I thought it was funny and fit the tone of the show but, honestly, every single time I have to write the whole dang thing out I have some regrets. That’s why sometimes I just refer to it as “The Fourth Orange full length” even though that’s not entirely accurate.

Hey so I read this and… I love it! How can I get the rights to perform it?

Fill out the form here and we’ll talk!