Document 14268027

Readers Theater Play
literatwork of
u re
a twisted tale of greed, glamour, and tragedy
By Guy de Maupassant; Adapted for Scope by Mack Lewis
*MARCEL: the chimney sweep
who helps with the narration
*Large speaking role
MAUPASSANT: Ah, here comes
MAID: Oui [hwee], Madame?
Monsieur Loisel. Madame wishes
MATILDA: Marie-Claire, do try to
he were royalty or a wealthy man.
straighten up before the master gets
He is neither, but tonight, he does
home. Everything looks so shabby!
have a gift.
MAID: But, Madame, you have such
LOISEL: Dear Matilda, have I got
a beautiful home.
a surprise for you!
MATILDA: Nothing but faded
MATILDA: What’s this?
wallpaper and dilapidated furniture.
LOISEL: An invitation to the
How it tortures me to live here!
Ambassador’s Ball. I went to a
MAUPASSANT: As I was saying,
great deal of trouble to get it.
MAUPASSANT: Oh, hello there. Or
Madame is charming. She also
Matilda (angry): What would I
should I say, bonjour [bohn-
has rich tastes.
want with this?
ZHOOR]. After all, we are in Paris.
MATILDA: Make it better, Marie-
LOISEL: But this is such a big event!
The year is 1875. And this is the
MATILDA: What do you think I own
home of Madame Matilda Loisel, a
MAID: Madame?
that I can wear to such a fancy affair?
young lady as charming as she is
MATILDA: Dust, Marie-Claire!
LOISEL: Why, how about that dress
discontent. Here she comes now.
Straighten! Fluff!
you wear to the theater? It’s
Matilda (distressed): Marie-Claire?
MAID: Yes, Madame. Right away.
pretty enough!
Check It Out
as you read, Look for:
The Moral of the Story
The lesson to be learned from
a story or an experience is called
a moral. What is the moral of
The Necklace?
Scholastic Scope
Time Life Pictures/Mansell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
*MAUPASSANT [maw-pahSAWN]: the narrator
[lwa-ZEL]: a young woman
Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)
is the author of this famous
story. His full name is “Henri
Renè Albert Guy de Maupassant.”
Try saying that five times fast!
MATILDA: The dress I wear to the
MAUPASSANT: Matilda and a case
lady you have there, young man.
theater?! Are you mad?
full of jewels? This could take a
MARCEL: So she’s a hit!
LOISEL: Please don’t cry, Matilda.
while, so allow me to advance the
MAUPASSANT: See for yourself.
What’s wrong?
story. It seems nothing in the case
Gentleman: Excuse me. May
MATILDA: Nothing. Only I can’t go.
will satisfy Matilda’s tastes—until
I have this dance?
Give the invitation to someone
she discovers the necklace. Her
MATILDA: Certainly!
whose wife is better dressed than I.
heart skips a beat. Her hands
Gentleman: You’re the prettiest
LOISEL: Don’t be sad. How much
thing here.
would a new gown cost?
MATILDA: Would you lend me this
MATILDA: You undoubtedly say
MATILDA: Well, I don’t know exactly.
diamond necklace? Only this?
that to all the women.
I should think 400 francs [frahnks]
FORESTIER: Certainly! Now go
Gentleman: Only when they are
ought to do it.
enjoy the ball.
as lovely as you!
LOISEL: Very well. I will give you 400
francs. Do try to get a dress you’ll be
MAUPASSANT: Matilda spends
the evening in a cloud of happiness.
happy with.
MARCEL: So she’s going to the ball?
It is four in the morning before
MAUPASSANT: Poor Loisel. He looks
MAUPASSANT: She’s already there.
Loisel can convince her to leave.
a little pale.
MARCEL: Wow, look at that! Wealth,
MATILDA: We must hurry out
power, beauty—it’s all here, isn’t it?
before someone sees my coat.
But how did I get here?
LOISEL: No one will notice your coat,
MARCEL: Wait a minute!
MAUPASSANT: You’re not here.
MAUPASSANT: This is Marcel, the
You’re merely telling the story.
chimney sweep. Marcel, if MarieClaire knew you were traipsing
around the house covered in soot,
she’d wallop you with her dust mop.
MARCEL: Dust mop, shmust mop.
Now listen, you mean to tell me that
MARCEL: I am? Really? Well,
Like Matilda, Maupassant
was a social climber.
His success as a writer
propelled him into Paris’s
high society—where he
got ideas for many of his
stories, including this one!
then, so Matilda arrives
at the ball.
And who is this
Monsieur Loisel is going to empty
elegant young lady?
his savings account and work
LOISEL: Call on your friend, Madame
invitation and buy me a dress.
overtime just so Matilda can buy a
MATILDA: Something’s not right.
Forestier! She will certainly lend
FORESTIER: The Ambassador’s Ball!
new dress?
MAID: Madame?
you some jewels.
You must be thrilled.
MAUPASSANT: We’re already in
LOISEL: Not right? What could be
MATILDA: C’est vrai [seh vray]!
MATILDA: Yes . . . and no. I’m
Scene 2, Marcel, so I suspect he
I hadn’t thought of that. We must
ashamed to say I haven’t any
I’d like you to
already has.
Matilda (crying): Oh, no. Oh, no!
go at once!
jewelry. My husband means well,
meet my wife.
MARCEL: Does he honestly think a
What am I to do?
but after all, he’s merely a clerk.
new dress will make her happy?
LOISEL: What is it, Matilda?
May I borrow some from you?
MAUPASSANT: Why wouldn’t it?
MATILDA: I haven’t any jewelry.
Matilda (to herself): I do hope
FORESTIER: Why, of course! Here’s
What a radiant
MARCEL: Because she—
I shall look so poor!
Madame Forestier takes pity on me.
my case.
smile you have!
MAUPASSANT: Shhh. Tais-toi [tay-
LOISEL: You can wear some flowers!
FORESTIER: Matilda, how nice to see
MATILDA: Oh là là [oo law law]!
Come, darling,
twah], Marcel. They’re coming.
MATILDA: How embarrassing it
you! What brings you?
However will I choose? There are
let me show
MAID: Oh my, Madame, you look
would be to appear so shabby
MATILDA: It seems I’ve been invited
so many wonderful pieces!
you around.
simply beautiful.
amidst such opulent women. No,
to the Ambassador’s Ball. Loisel has
FORESTIER: Just trinkets, my dear.
LOISEL: Stunning, my dear.
I can’t go.
gone out of his way to get me an
Choose whatever you wish.
That’s a lovely
Scholastic Scope
The Necklace was
first published in a
French newspaper in
1884. It was a hit!
Maupassant gained
instant fame.
MATILDA: It’s old and unfashionable.
MAUPASSANT: Not quite, Marcel.
LOISEL: What? Did you have it when
MATILDA: Surely you can see we’re
Please, let’s hurry.
There’s still a lesson to be learned.
we left the ball?
LOISEL: At least let me call a cab.
Loisel (at home): I thought we’d
MATILDA: Yes, I felt it around my
Jeweler: Very well. I will accept
It’s chilly out.
never find a cab. I’m still shivering.
neck as we came out.
thirty-six thousand.
MATILDA: But we’ll be noticed. We
MATILDA: Oh, but it was worth it.
LOISEL: Perhaps it’s in the cab.
MAUPASSANT: They can’t begin
can walk down the street. A cab will
Do you know I waltzed with the
MAUPASSANT: Loisel searches the
to afford thirty-six thousand francs.
happen by sooner or later.
streets. He goes to the police and
So they borrow the money and then
LOISEL: Very well, if only to keep
LOISEL: I’m glad you enjoyed
to the cab offices.
spend 10 years paying it back. They
up appearances.
yourself, but I still have to report to
MARCEL: Does he find it?
have to fire the maid.
work this morning.
MATILDA: Darling, I’m so glad you’re
MARCEL: Not Marie-Claire! Oh, how
MATILDA: Just one more look.
home! Tell me you found it!
I love that old woman!
MARCEL: I don’t see what the big
MAUPASSANT: That’s when Matilda
Loisel (sadly): Tell your friend
MAUPASSANT: They move to a
deal is. She goes to the ball. She
looks into the mirror.
you are having the clasp repaired.
truly shabby one-room apartment.
has a great time. End of story.
MATILDA: The necklace . . . it’s gone!
That will give us time to find a
Loisel gets a second job at night.
Matilda takes in work as a
Scholastic Scope
MARCEL: They go on like that for
MARCEL: A replacement? They can’t
10 years?
afford a replacement. A diamond
MAUPASSANT: What else can they
necklace like that?
do? Not long after making the final
MAUPASSANT: After a great deal of
payment on their debt, Matilda
searching, they finally find a
bumps into Madame Forestier on
necklace just like it.
the street.
LOISEL: Excuse me, sir. May we have
MATILDA: Madame Forestier, good
a look at that diamond necklace?
Jeweler: Very well, but if you must
FORESTIER: Do I know you?
know, it is exceptionally expensive.
MATILDA: It’s me, Matilda Loisel.
I cater to a very exclusive clientele.
FORESTIER: My poor Matilda! How
it’s been for us to live in poverty for
Had you only come to me and
MATILDA: It’s nearly identical.
you’ve changed.
so long, but it is finally finished and I
told me the truth! My diamonds
We must have it!
MAUPASSANT: It is true. Ten years of
am decently content.
were fake. They weren’t worth
MAUPASSANT: Loisel swallows hard
hardship and exhausting work has
FORESTIER: You bought a diamond
but 500 francs!
and braves the question.
made Matilda haggard.
necklace to replace mine?
Marcel (after a pause): Boy, that
LOISEL: How much is it?
MATILDA: I’ve had some toilsome
MATILDA: Yes. They were exactly
is a hard lesson.
Jeweler: Forty-thousand francs.
times, and all because of you.
MAUPASSANT: Indeed, Marcel.
LOISEL: Would you consider thirty
FORESTIER: Because of me?
FORESTIER: Oh, my poor Matilda.
A lesson for us all.
Whatever do you mean?
Jeweler: As I said, we serve a select
MATILDA: Do you recall the diamond
necklace you lent me? Well, I lost it.
Today, Maupassant is best known for his
dazzling short stories (he penned more
than 300!), which often explore human
weaknesses. What “weaknesses” does
he explore in The Necklace?
FORESTIER: But you returned it
to me.
MATILDA: I returned another exactly
like it. It has taken us 10 years to pay
Think Matilda’s fate
is tragic? Maupassant
had it worse. He
contracted a disease
that drove him insane.
He died at the young
age of 42.
Writing prompt
A Lesson for Us All
At the end of the play, Marcel and Maupassant agree that Matilda learned a
hard lesson—and that it is a lesson for everyone. This lesson is the moral
of the story. Write a paragraph explaining what the moral of the story is
and how it applies to Matilda.
for it. You can understand how hard