Ariadne Bells – a play in three acts

I wrote this as a play and subsequently embellished it with music and songs, including full choir which makes it a kind of opera.  The local players and an established director are willing to present it.  Unfortunately, the complexity and cost require funding which has not been forthcoming. The musical harmonies are sketched in and need to be corrected but the sound is adequate to obtain the effects.  The music writer program cannot enunciate the actual words to the songs, of course, and the text will need to be read in conjunction.  The mp3 sound is not the best, either.  I like it.  See what you think.

The Story

This is a story of triumph over adversity and of grief, followed by achievement.  It is set in Maryborough, Queensland, but the themes are common to the history of many parts of colonial Australia.  It is the story of two families, the Gilchrists and the Aldridges, their interrelationships and their places in local history.  The story begins with a convict ship bringing Maria Steele to Australia and the love story of her and Edgar Aldridge (their meeting has been translocated from Sydney to Maryborough where they subsequently moved).

Events leading up to the emigration of Edward and Elizabeth Gilchrist in the area of Kildonan, Sutherland, Scotland, are then depicted.  They start with the early Highland Closures which are known collectively as “the burnings” in which the people were evicted from their traditional lands in favour of sheep grazing by their lairds, or chiefs, who had assumed ownership of the land.  Many of the dispossessed were shipped under terrible conditions to the American colonies as labourers.  Amongst the highlanders ousted from their clan holdings by the factor of Lord Sutherland was a lowland family of Gilchrists who were tolerated amongst them, possibly because of two factors.  The title of Laird of Airlie was held by the Gilchrist line before lack of a male successor saw the title pass to their cousins, the Ogilvies.  Reference is made to the lordly aspect in the text when Duncan Gilchrist adopts the role of spokesperson against the factor’s actions.  Gilchrists also fought at the Battle of Culloden, with the highlanders, in 1745, and were respected for this.

Nathan Gilchrist, Duncan’s son, was subsequently exiled from the highlands and married Mary O’Hara in Dundee (this part of the history is truncated in the play).  The family moved to Leeds for work in the cotton spinning and weaving industry when the jute weaving industry declined in Scotland.  The unsanitary conditions under which they were obliged to live subjected them to recurrent epidemics of the Asian cholera and other gastrointestinal diseases.  Mary eventually succumbed to these maladies.  Nathan died in a workhouse near Edinburgh (this has also been simplified in the play).  His son Edward married Elizabeth Anderson at Inverness in 1862 and immediately embarked on the “Ariadne” for Australia, due to the encouragement offered by the business people of Maryborough, Queensland, where an acute shortage of labour existed.  Edward later settled near Tiaro, near Maryborough, and his son Edward (Young Edward in the play) became a shire councillor (his claim to fame is said to be that he, against all protocol, shook the hand of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, during the royal tour in 1920).  The experiences and feelings of the main characters during these events are described in the music.

Edgar Aldridge was a wealthy businessman who owned a public house, among other interests, in Maryborough.  The immigrants are depicted as being welcomed and assisted by him and his wife Maria, giving rise to friendships which feature in the story.  Maria had been transported to New South Wales as an indentured servant (this was actually Maria’s second marriage in Australia, and did not occur soon after arrival, as is depicted in the play).  When Maria died in 1886, Aldridge donated the 25 metre bell tower and chime of nine bells, a rare and valuable gift, to St. Paul’s Church of England in Maryborough as a memorial in the following year.  In the story, Edward Gilchrist, by then a successful landowner, lends support to his friend.  As noted on the inscription on the bell tower, Maria Aldridge “was … a peacemaker, ever forgiving and doing good and helping all who were in trouble, distress or affliction”.  The final Act describes Maria’s attributes; the sound of the bells, as experienced by those living in the area; and the jubilation on the return of the bells from their original foundry of manufacture at Whitechapel, England, after their refurbishment in 2012, celebrated with jubilant choral music.

The contemporary Gilchrist character is representative of the author, whose family history has been used as a basis for the story.  As noted, the story has been summarised in places for the sake of brevity but the main characters are authentic.

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The best way to hear and read each scene is to start the sound track and then find the text in the libretto at the page indicated while the musical introduction is being played.  The accompaniment is simulated as piano.  Alternatively, you can hear my orchestration of the first two scenes.


ARIADNE BELLS

A Local Opera, an Historical Pageant, in Three Acts

By Warren James Gilchrist PhD – gilstamp@aol.com – 07 41253216

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Dedications:

  1. To my hometown, the city of Maryborough, Queensland
  2. To the 2012 sesquicentenary of the arrival of the barque “Ariadne”, the first ship to bring settlers directly to Maryborough, Queensland, in 1862
  3. To the 125th anniversary of the installation of the bells of St. Paul’s Church of England, Maryborough, in 1887 and their refurbishment at the foundry of origin in London in 2012
  4. To my forebears, Edward and Elizabeth Gilchrist and their descendents whose contribution to the development of the region should not go unremarked
  5. To my wife Fran who has supported me in all my endeavours

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DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Narrator, in Victorian garb

Duncan Gilchrist, a highland clansman (tenor)

Nathan, his son (baritone)

Mary, Nathan’s wife (soprano)

Mary, Nathan’s daughter (alto)

Edward, Nathan’s son (tenor)

Elizabeth, Edward’s wife (soprano)

Boy and Girl, children of Edward and Elizabeth

Factor, agent of Lord Sutherland

Ruffians, accompanying the Factor

A highland constable

Clanspeople of Kildonan

Jamie, a Clansman (bass)

Jamie’s Wife

A Clansman

Male and Female Convicts, on board a naval vessel

Three male Convicts

Convict Woman

Sergeant of Marines

Guards, British Marines, supervising convicts aboard ship

Captain of the “Ariadne”

Seaman, on board the “Ariadne”

Passengers, emigrating to Australia on the “Ariadne”

Townsfolk of Maryborough, Colony of Queensland

Edgar Aldridge of Maryborough, entrepreneur (baritone)

Barnes, Aldridge’s Yardman

Maria, Edgar’s wife (soprano)

A Soldier (Sergeant) in British Red Uniform

Young Edward, Edward Gilchrist’s Son (bass)

Three aboriginal prisoners

The Prince of Wales (bass)

Aide-de-Camp to The Prince of Wales

Mayor of Maryborough 1887 (bass)

Mayor of Maryborough 1920 (bass)

Police Sergeant (bass)

Squad of Police

Male churchgower

Female churchgower

Churchgowers

Mr. Bailey, a former Shire Chairman

A contemporary Gilchrist (tenor)

A Nineteenth Century Rector of the Church of England

A contemporary Rector (tenor)

Choir (SMATBB)

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SETTING

This is a story of triumph over adversity and of grief, followed by achievement.  It is set in Maryborough, Queensland, but the themes are common to the history of many parts of colonial Australia.  It is the story of two families, the Gilchrists and the Aldridges, their interrelationships and their places in local history.  The story begins with a convict ship bringing Maria Steele to Australia and the love story of her and Edgar Aldridge (their meeting has been translocated from Sydney to Maryborough where they subsequently moved).

Events leading up to the emigration of Edward and Elizabeth Gilchrist in the area of Kildonan, Sutherland, Scotland, are then depicted.  They start with the early Highland Closures which are known collectively as “the burnings” in which the people were evicted from their traditional lands in favour of sheep grazing by their lairds, or chiefs, who had assumed ownership of the land.  Many of the dispossessed were shipped under terrible conditions to the American colonies as labourers.  Amongst the highlanders ousted from their clan holdings by the factor of Lord Sutherland was a lowland family of Gilchrists who were tolerated amongst them, possibly because of two factors.  The title of Laird of Airlie was held by the Gilchrist line before lack of a male successor saw the title pass to their cousins, the Ogilvies.  Reference is made to the lordly aspect in the text when Duncan Gilchrist adopts the role of spokesperson against the factor’s actions.  Gilchrists also fought at the Battle of Culloden, with the highlanders, in 1745, and were respected for this.

Nathan Gilchrist, Duncan’s son, was subsequently exiled from the highlands and married Mary O’Hara in Dundee (this part of the history is truncated in the play).  The family moved to Leeds for work in the cotton spinning and weaving industry when the jute weaving industry declined in Scotland.  The unsanitary conditions under which they were obliged to live subjected them to recurrent epidemics of the Asian cholera and other gastrointestinal diseases.  Mary eventually succumbed to these maladies.  Nathan died in a workhouse near Edinburgh (this has also been simplified in the play).  His son Edward married Elizabeth Anderson at Inverness in 1862 and immediately embarked on the “Ariadne” for Australia, due to the encouragement offered by the business people of Maryborough, Queensland, where an acute shortage of labour existed.  Edward later settled near Tiaro, near Maryborough, and his son Edward (Young Edward in the play) became a shire councillor (his claim to fame is said to be that he, against all protocol, shook the hand of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, during the royal tour in 1920).  The experiences and feelings of the main characters during these events are described in the music.

Edgar Aldridge was a wealthy businessman who owned a public house, among other interests, in Maryborough.  The immigrants are depicted as being welcomed and assisted by him and his wife Maria, giving rise to friendships which feature in the story.  Maria had been transported to New South Wales as an indentured servant (this was actually Maria’s second marriage in Australia, and did not occur soon after arrival, as is depicted in the play).  When Maria died in 1886, Aldridge donated the 25 metre bell tower and chime of nine bells, a rare and valuable gift, to St. Paul’s Church of England in Maryborough as a memorial in the following year.  In the story, Edward Gilchrist, by then a successful landowner, lends support to his friend.  As noted on the inscription on the bell tower, Maria Aldridge “was … a peacemaker, ever forgiving and doing good and helping all who were in trouble, distress or affliction”.  The final Act describes Maria’s attributes; the sound of the bells, as experienced by those living in the area; and the jubilation on the return of the bells from their original foundry of manufacture at Whitechapel, England, after their refurbishment in 2012, celebrated with jubilant choral music.

The contemporary Gilchrist character is representative of the author, whose family history has been used as a basis for the story.  As noted, the story has been summarised in places for the sake of brevity but the main characters are authentic.

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Synopsis

1,  The stage is set in Maryborough when Maria Steele is transported to Australia (SceneI/I) and is indentured as a servant to Edgar Aldridge, whereupon they establish a relationship (Scene I/II).

  1. The Gilchrists are evicted from their land in Scotland (Scene I/III). Their children succeed them in Leeds in England, Edward marries Elizabeth and arranges passage to Australia (SceneI/IV).
  2. Edward and Elizabeth travel to Australia (Scene II/I) where they meet and befriend Edgar and Maria (Scene II/II). They establish themselves on the land (Scene II/III) and achieve social status (Scene II/IV).
  3. Edgar is bereft when Maria dies and Edward supports his plan for a memorial (Scene III/I). The bell tower of St. Pauls Church of England is donated and built with bells (Scene III/II).
  4. Edward’s son has an encounter with the Duke of York when a councillor (Scene III/III).
  5. A contemporary Gilchrist reminisces about the bells through the years and commends their refurbishment in 2012 while the choir celebrates the contribution that the bells have made to the life of the city (Scene III/IV).

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Note

The recitative entries are preferably produced as such but may be optionally spoken, as feasible.

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Notes on music

The music has been written in keeping with the times depicted progressively in the scenes of the play and with the mood of each occasion described, with some concession to modernity.

In the more complex vocal parts within the action, other than solos, the actors should be assisted by the choir.  The choir should be partly visible in the wings throughout.  In the final scene, the choir is featured on stage.

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ORDER OF PERFORMANCE:

(1:51’00” without incidental music, 2:04’00” with music)

Overture (Orchestra or Piano)

“Hope Springs Eternal” (3’00”)

ACT I – The Gilchrists and the Aldridges (44’30”)

Scene I – Transported

Maria as a convict bound for Australia (6’30”)

Scene II – Colonial Town

Aldridge and Maria find each other (8’15”)

Scene III – The Highlands

The Highland Clearances and the beginning of the odyssey of the Gilchrists (11’45”)

Scene IV – Victorian Industrial City

The demise of a generation and the decision to emigrate (18’00”)

Incidental Music (Orchestra or Piano)

“Ordo ab Chao” (7’00”)

ACT II – Emigration and Establishment (30’45”)

Scene I –  At Sea

The voyage to Australia (10’15”)

Scene II – Colonial Town

The arrival in Maryborough, welcome and the meeting of Aldridge and Gilchrist (10’30”)

Scene III – Bush Camp

Establishing themselves on the land (4’00”)

Scene IV – At the Church

Accomplishment of local status (6’00”)

INTERVAL

Incidental Music  (Orchestra or Piano)

“Happy Days” (3’15”)

ACT III – The Bells (35’40”)

Scene I – Victorian House

Maria’s death, Gilchrist supports Aldridge and his plan to build the bell tower (11’45”)

Scene II – Bell Tower

The reality of the completed bell tower (6’15”)

Scene III – Official Reception

An incident involving Young Edward and the Duke of York at the official review of the Shires of the Commonwealth in 1927 (8’30”)

Scene IV – Celebration

Musical Introduction:  “Freudentanz” (1’40”)

Joy on the restoration of the refurbished bells on their 125th anniversary (7’30”)

Finale (Orchestra or Piano)

Excerpts, “Bell Tower Suite” and “Ariadne Suite”

_______________________________   

Overture (Orchestra or Piano)

  1. Gilchrist, Orchestral Suite, “Triumph Over Adversity”, First Movement, “Hope Springs Eternal” (3’00”)

 

(the music is triumphant, in keeping with the hope that is maintained by the principal characters throughout their odyssey and their brightened prospects when they travel to a new land after the hardships of their former lives)

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Ariadne Bells

Libretto

(The narration occurs before curtain rise.)

Narrator (spoken):  This is the story of two families and their involvement in the development of Maryborough and district.

Edward and Elizabeth Gilchrist came from England on the “Ariadne”, the first boat carrying settlers directly to Maryborough in 1862.  Their family had been evicted from the Scottish highlands during the Clearances and had suffered in the cholera epidemics in the industrial towns of northern England.

Edgar and Maria Aldridge were early entrepreneurs who helped sponsor the immigrants to assist the development of the region.  Maria had been a convict of the oppressive justice system in England and was transported to Australia.  Edgar later donated the Church of England bell tower and bells as a memorial to Maria.

This is a celebration of victory over adversity and achievement through endeavour by people who were refugees in their day and who were able to contribute greatly to this country.

(a Marine Sergeant enters)

Narrator (spoken):  Good day, Sergeant.

Marine Sergeant (spoken):  Maria Steele is being transported to Australia on a convict ship to serve a sentence as an indentured servant.  We hope that her experience will help her to see the error of her ways.


Audio (to be heard in conjunction with reading the libretto):

Act I – Scene I (page 11, piano):

OR

Act I – Scene I (page 11, orchestra):

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ACT I

Scene I – Transported

Duration: 6’30”

Time: 1837

Location:  At sea, on board a convict ship.

Backdrop:  A seascape with grey, cloudy sky and moderately rough waves; a British naval ship is depicted in the left half of the piece (this backdrop is also used in Act II, Scene I; the other side of the picture which is an emigrant merchant ship is covered by an extension of the seascape); alternatively, a stage set would depict a deck on board ship.

Tableau:  Convicts, sitting and lying on deck in abject attitudes, the men in chains

Note on costume:  The convicts are in rough grey clothing with “POME” and excise arrow emblems inscribed; the guards in red British Marine uniform of the period; Maria in more distinctive and whiter clothing.

Mood:  Sombre

Instrumental Introduction :  (the curtain is raised after the introductory fanfare passage when the music slows at the pause in bar 14)  The music is suggestive of the rhythmical wash of the water past the bows of a sailing ship.  The fanfare-like passage at the beginning evokes the military nature of the voyage, transporting convicts.

Action:  A ship’s bell sounds eight times in pairs of strikes, indicating 4.00pm.  Maria and another convict woman meet and converse.

A Sailor (recitative):  Eight bells and all’s well!

Convict Woman (recit.):  Mornin’, Maria.  I do wish this voyage would end, what with the sickness and the heat and all; but what is at the end of it?  Much worse, I expect.

Maria (recit.):  Yes, I am sick at heart that this is where my life is taking me.

Maria’s song: 

What will become of me?

My only crime is that which sought

To ensure my survival.

Is this journey the end of life

And negation of all that I am?

 

What will this new land bring,

What roughness be, what perils come

To test our endurance?

Can I find true love to ease my pain

And a future that now does not seem?

 

Is all that we can see

The end of all that is to be?

Can we but find a way

To escape from suff’ring and pain?

Is my life and love all in vain?

A convict (recit.):  We are headed for New South Wales; to what life, we know not.  We know only that the chances of seeing our loved ones again are slight and that a life of hardship and  suffering is all that lies before us.  But we shall have to make the best of it!

Choir, a capella (representing the convicts):

Cruel destination:

We know not what our lot must be.

Torn from our homeland

To go to lands unknown.

(stage lights are dimmed and an orange glow may be projected on to the backdrop at this point to suggest the evening of the day when the next line is sung)

A westering sunset:

Do thus our lives sink out of ken,

Condemned to legal durance vile?

(lights focus on three male convicts, crouching together on the deck)

Convict 1 (recit.):  What did you do?

Convict 2 (recit.):  I stole a shirt.  I was cold and had no money to buy one.

Convict 3 (recit.):  I took a loaf of bread.  We were hungry. 

(to Convict 1, recit.):  What was your crime, anyway?

Convict 1 (recit.):  I forged a cheque.

Convict 3 (recit.):  Oh, a man of talent!  You will go far where we are going.  Yes, to Australia, the land of opportunity, for some.

Sergeant of Marines (recit.):  Get along there then, you scurvy dogs!

(the group of convicts disperses)

Choir, a capella (resuming song, more subdued):

Carried in bondage,

Will we e’er meet our kin again;

Familiar places, and those where we have grown?

In far distant places,

Is existence still possible?

While there is life, then there is hope.

(Music and Curtain)

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Act I – Scene II (page 14, piano):

OR

Act I – Scene II (page 14, orchestra):

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Scene II – Colonial Town

Duration: 8’15”

Time: 1847

Location:  Maryborough, Queensland

Backdrop:  Colonial town on a river, with a public house with “Bush Hotel – Edgar Aldridge, Esq., Licensee” on the fascia and a general store beside it

Tableau:  Aldridge, a stout man, stands in front of his hotel and general store

Note on Costume:  Mid-Victorian colonial working garb, except for Aldridge, who is waistcoated .and somewhat gentrified in appearance

Mood:  Confident, then joyful

Narrator (spoken):  Edgar and Maria find each other when she is escorted by soldiers to Edgar’s tavern as the servant that he has requested.  They immediately realise a mutual attraction.

Instrumental introduction:  The music is bold and heroic in the nature of the entrepreneur Edgar Aldridge in his self-built surroundings.

(curtain rises)

Action:  Aldridge sings.

Aldridge’s Song:

I am the victuallor.

I dally in all things,

Supply of cloth and tools and nails

Has made me what I am.

But if one came to share it,

My life would be complete.

O, Lords of life, can you but know

What is in store for me,

What life has planned for me?

(a jingling as of horses’ harness is heard)

Aldridge (recit.):  But what is that I hear?

Troopers’ Song (a Male Chorus, heard in the wings):

We are troopers of the Queen

And will defend our great Empire.

Our might is known from east to west,

Our name does fear inspire.

But to the Empire’s citizens

We are protectors of the freedom

To produce and trade

For our prosperity!

 

We are troopers of the Queen

And will de …

Sergeant (heard in the wings):  Ha-alt! Dis-mount!

(Barnes, the yardman, enters)

Barnes (recit.):  Mr, Aldridge, sir, a squad of mounted troopers is approaching.

Aldridge (recit.):  I hear them, Barnes.  Good! Good!  They will require stabling and supplies on Her Majesty’s warrant, no doubt. 

(a bell is heard, rung twice)

Aldridge (recit.):  That’s the yard bell.  Take their horses and show them to the store.

Barnes (recit.):  Yes, Mr. Aldridge.

(Barnes exits and returns immediately)

Barnes (recit.):  Mr Aldridge, sir, a soldier is in the yard to see you.

Aldridge (recit.):  Oh, yes.  This may be the business I was awaiting.  Show him in, Barnes.

(enter the sergeant with Maria in convict garb and downcast)

Sergeant (recit.):  Mr Edgar Aldridge Esquire, Sir!

Aldridge (recit.):  Yes, Sergeant?

Sergeant (recit.):  Your indentured servant is hereby delivered into your custody.  Take care!

Aldridge (recit.):  Thank you, Sergeant.  And here is your receipt for same.

(Aldridge gives the sergeant a paper)

Sergeant (salutes):  Suh! (retires)

(Maria gives an abbreviated curtsy)

Aldridge (recit.):  What is your name, my dear?

Maria (recit.):  My name is Maria.  I am at your service, sir.

(Aldridge and Maria look at each other for the first time and realise an immediate attraction)

Aldridge (soliloquy aside, recit.):  Who has come to my door?  Her beauty  is a revelation in this place.  Her voice is soft, not harsh.  Is this my help meet come in mysterious ways?

Maria (soliloquy aside, recit.):  Is this a spark of love I see?  Oh, if prayers were to be answered!  But I should not presume although he is handsome and not a stern man.

Aldridge (recit.):  My dear, you are a woman of quality.  You steal my heart.

Maria (recit.):  And you, sir.  I am captivated also.

Aldridge’s Song: 

The gods have sent me

An angel, Maria.

Her beauty and manner

Are fulfilment to me.

I give you my love

And I ask you to join me

To share life and be all to me.

Maria’s Song:

My dearest wish is granted

That my desired partner

Is here with me in my hour of need,

Is here with me and here to stay.

My love, I give my all to you

And I will be a help to you

To forge a life of solidarity

For all and for time to come.

Aldridge and Maria (Duet while facing and holding hands):

If this be a new life,

We are one as in Elysium.

This is heaven for us;

We see in this colony

A future we can mould

And we will persevere and we will prevail.

(Aldridge and Maria dance a fast waltz)

(the curtain falls during the second time through the waltz music)

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Act I – Scene III (page 18, piano):

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Scene III – The Highlands

Duration:  11’45”

Time:  1819

Location:  Kildonan, Scottish Highlands

Backdrop:  A bucolic scene in the highlands of Scotland with mountain backdrop and thatched, stone cottages.

Tableau:  Clanspeople, preparing to hold a ceilidh (pronounced “cay-ly”), a traditional recreational activity of song and dance.

Note on Costume:  Under the conditions of occupation after the Battle of Culloden in 1745, the Scots were forbidden to wear the kilt and the tartan and to play the bagpipes in order to suppress their nationalism, hence the reference in the dialogue.  In 1819, when these events occurred, the prohibition was no longer in force.  Scottish culture and emblems were being publicised and promoted at the time by Sir Walter Scott.

Mood:  Courageous, then tragic

Narration by Jamie (spoken):  The location changes to the Scottish highlands at Kildonan where a scene of merriment is rudely interrupted by the factor of the Duke of Sutherland who is evicting the traditional tenant farmers to prepare the land for sheep farming.  This was the time of the Highland Clearances.  Nathan and Mary Gilchrist depart to the north of England where industrial employment might be obtained.  Prepare for some harrowing scenes.

Instrumental introduction:  The music features snatches of musical figures in the typical styles of highland song and dance, interspersed with ominous tones presaging the trouble to come.

(curtain rises)

Action:  Gilchrist and a Clansman walk together towards the assembled clanspeople.

Jamie, a Clansman (recit.):  Ho, Duncan, ‘tis a bonnie day for a ceilidh.  But what do you think of the threat by the laird Sutherland to throw us off this land?

Gilchrist (recit.):  Aye, Jamie, it is too grand a day to allow ourselves to be cowed by threats to our freedom.  We will deal with it when the time comes and affirm our traditional rights.  The tartan and bagpipes and kilt may be  banned, but we shall live!  Och aye!

Male Voices (in harmony):  Aye!

Gilchrist (recit.):  Let us forget for a while and be happy.  Nathan, my boy, bring out the whisky!

Nathan (recit.):  Aye, father.

Clansmen (chorus):

Och aye!  And let us be happy!

Clan Song, with Choir, a capella (1):

We have lived in our fastness for e’er, for e’er;

And our laird is our master, o’er all.

Long may we live, with peace and our toil,

To honour our history!

 

Though our life here is dour and times can be hard,

We have friends who can help when in need.

Gardens and farms provide us our needs

And give us stability.

(the people form a circle, women alternating with men)

A Clansman (recit.):  Let us dance a reel!

(People’s Dance [The Circassian Circle, to jig, “The Irish Washerwoman” (trad., arr. W. Gilchrist) which was often used in Scotland], with exclamations of glee [as suggested, or with abandon])

(Enter Lord Sutherland’s factor, a constable and a body of men)

A Clansman (recit.):  Hold!  Who comes?

Factor (recit.):  By the proclamation of Lord Suth’land and the notice that was given, I order you to leave this place within one day!

Clanspeople (chorus):

We will not go!

We will not go!

Never!

Gilchrist’s Song (1):

Our family were rulers of all this land and kings.

Only lack of heirs prevented us from being your own liege.

I beg you, sir, desist and do not act cruelly.

Take pity on the weak in wintry times.

Factor (recit.):  You are nothing! Kildonan is for sheep!  You are worth less than they!

Gilchrist’s Song (2):

These lands are shared and our laird is the custodian.

Our contribution to defence and tithe are our obligation.

Do not disrupt this age-old tryst.

The honour of Scotland we must maintain!

Factor (recit.):   Constable, arrest this man!  Burn the houses!  They will never come back!

Constable (spoken, loudly):  Duncan Gilchrist, I arrest you in the name of the Lord Sutherland.

(the factor’s men rush about, putting torches to the thatched rooves of the houses; those who resist are overpowered)

People (chorus):

No! No! Heresy and Murder!

No! No! We are doomed to die!

(Darkened backdrop with flickering red light and music suggestive of conflagration)

(Gilchrist is led away by the constable)

Clan Song, with Choir, a capella:

Tragedy! Tragedy! Exile and pain!

Humanity, where is thy grace, thy grace?

No mercy shown  to me, to us.

Jamie (recit.):  We canna’ fight this injustice.  We will have to go!

Jamie’s Wife (recit.):  Oh, No! Not this!

(Jamie holds his wife to comfort her)

Jamie (spoken):  My dear, we must be strong.

Jamie’s Song:

There is something deep in man,

The dread of things unknown.

If once confirmed, the heart is stilled

And all seems lost.

The fog must clear before the light is seen.

 

That primal fear of beasts or earth,

If commandeered by man,

The cause of all injustice is

And must be fought and seen!

(the people depart dejectedly with meagre belongings)

Oh, Adam Smith, your words have been

So sorely wronged and see:

The welfare of man is the first aim

Of economy!

All that man does is chaff before the breeze.

 

Let everything sustainable

Be unhindered and the

Result will be long-lasting good

And strong community!

Choir, a capella:

Tragedy! Tragedy! Exile and pain!

Humanity, where is thy grace, thy grace?

No mercy shown  to me, to us.

( Nathan and his wife Mary and their two small children remain and stand looking at the scene of destruction)

Nathan (recit.):  There is nothing here for any of us now.  Father will be transported to the American colonies as we will surely be if we remain.  There is nothing that we can do for him and I am bereft.  Come, Mary and you bairns.  We must go to where we can find a better life.

Nathan’s Song:

All that we have known is now laid to waste;

Now all drack and bitter the reality.

In this merciless clime, we have no place to bide,

The devil before us, the devil behind!

 

Our life here is ended; the English have won;

The ghosts of Culloden have ravished our land;

We’ll go off to the south, the industrial new,

To finance a living and escape from pain.

(music and curtain)

Scene III – The Highlands

Duration:  11’45”

Time:  1819

Location:  Kildonan, Scottish Highlands

Backdrop:  A bucolic scene in the highlands of Scotland with mountain backdrop and thatched, stone cottages.

Tableau:  Clanspeople, preparing to hold a ceilidh (pronounced “cay-ly”), a traditional recreational activity of song and dance.

Note on Costume:  Under the conditions of occupation after the Battle of Culloden in 1745, the Scots were forbidden to wear the kilt and the tartan and to play the bagpipes in order to suppress their nationalism, hence the reference in the dialogue.  In 1819, when these events occurred, the prohibition was no longer in force.  Scottish culture and emblems were being publicised and promoted at the time by Sir Walter Scott.

Mood:  Courageous, then tragic

Narration by Jamie (spoken):  The location changes to the Scottish highlands at Kildonan where a scene of merriment is rudely interrupted by the factor of the Duke of Sutherland who is evicting the traditional tenant farmers to prepare the land for sheep farming.  This was the time of the Highland Clearances.  Nathan and Mary Gilchrist depart to the north of England where industrial employment might be obtained.  Prepare for some harrowing scenes.

Instrumental introduction:  The music features snatches of musical figures in the typical styles of highland song and dance, interspersed with ominous tones presaging the trouble to come.

(curtain rises)

Action:  Gilchrist and a Clansman walk together towards the assembled clanspeople.

Jamie, a Clansman (recit.):  Ho, Duncan, ‘tis a bonnie day for a ceilidh.  But what do you think of the threat by the laird Sutherland to throw us off this land?

Gilchrist (recit.):  Aye, Jamie, it is too grand a day to allow ourselves to be cowed by threats to our freedom.  We will deal with it when the time comes and affirm our traditional rights.  The tartan and bagpipes and kilt may be  banned, but we shall live!  Och aye!

Male Voices (in harmony):  Aye!

Gilchrist (recit.):  Let us forget for a while and be happy.  Nathan, my boy, bring out the whisky!

Nathan (recit.):  Aye, father.

Clansmen (chorus):

Och aye!  And let us be happy!

Clan Song, with Choir, a capella (1):

We have lived in our fastness for e’er, for e’er;

And our laird is our master, o’er all.

Long may we live, with peace and our toil,

To honour our history!

 

Though our life here is dour and times can be hard,

We have friends who can help when in need.

Gardens and farms provide us our needs

And give us stability.

(the people form a circle, women alternating with men)

A Clansman (recit.):  Let us dance a reel!

(People’s Dance [The Circassian Circle, to jig, “The Irish Washerwoman” (trad., arr. W. Gilchrist) which was often used in Scotland], with exclamations of glee [as suggested, or with abandon])

(Enter Lord Sutherland’s factor, a constable and a body of men)

A Clansman (recit.):  Hold!  Who comes?

Factor (recit.):  By the proclamation of Lord Suth’land and the notice that was given, I order you to leave this place within one day!

Clanspeople (chorus):

We will not go!

We will not go!

Never!

Gilchrist’s Song (1):

Our family were rulers of all this land and kings.

Only lack of heirs prevented us from being your own liege.

I beg you, sir, desist and do not act cruelly.

Take pity on the weak in wintry times.

Factor (recit.):  You are nothing! Kildonan is for sheep!  You are worth less than they!

Gilchrist’s Song (2):

These lands are shared and our laird is the custodian.

Our contribution to defence and tithe are our obligation.

Do not disrupt this age-old tryst.

The honour of Scotland we must maintain!

Factor (recit.):   Constable, arrest this man!  Burn the houses!  They will never come back!

Constable (spoken, loudly):  Duncan Gilchrist, I arrest you in the name of the Lord Sutherland.

(the factor’s men rush about, putting torches to the thatched rooves of the houses; those who resist are overpowered)

People (chorus):

No! No! Heresy and Murder!

No! No! We are doomed to die!

(Darkened backdrop with flickering red light and music suggestive of conflagration)

(Gilchrist is led away by the constable)

Clan Song, with Choir, a capella:

Tragedy! Tragedy! Exile and pain!

Humanity, where is thy grace, thy grace?

No mercy shown  to me, to us.

Jamie (recit.):  We canna’ fight this injustice.  We will have to go!

Jamie’s Wife (recit.):  Oh, No! Not this!

(Jamie holds his wife to comfort her)

Jamie (spoken):  My dear, we must be strong.

Jamie’s Song:

There is something deep in man,

The dread of things unknown.

If once confirmed, the heart is stilled

And all seems lost.

The fog must clear before the light is seen.

 

That primal fear of beasts or earth,

If commandeered by man,

The cause of all injustice is

And must be fought and seen!

(the people depart dejectedly with meagre belongings)

Oh, Adam Smith, your words have been

So sorely wronged and see:

The welfare of man is the first aim

Of economy!

All that man does is chaff before the breeze.

 

Let everything sustainable

Be unhindered and the

Result will be long-lasting good

And strong community!

Choir, a capella:

Tragedy! Tragedy! Exile and pain!

Humanity, where is thy grace, thy grace?

No mercy shown  to me, to us.

( Nathan and his wife Mary and their two small children remain and stand looking at the scene of destruction)

Nathan (recit.):  There is nothing here for any of us now.  Father will be transported to the American colonies as we will surely be if we remain.  There is nothing that we can do for him and I am bereft.  Come, Mary and you bairns.  We must go to where we can find a better life.

Nathan’s Song:

All that we have known is now laid to waste;

Now all drack and bitter the reality.

In this merciless clime, we have no place to bide,

The devil before us, the devil behind!

 

Our life here is ended; the English have won;

The ghosts of Culloden have ravished our land;

We’ll go off to the south, the industrial new,

To finance a living and escape from pain.

(music and curtain)

————————————————————-

Act I – Scene IV (page 23, piano):


Scene IV – Victorian Industrial City

Duration:  18’00”

Time:  1840

Location:  Leeds, Yorkshire

Backdrop:  Industrial city, factories, smoking chimneys, river, rows of tenements.

Tableau:  Nathan, Mary, small son Edward and daughter Mary are standing, looking at their new location.

Note on Costume:  Mid-Victorian poorer garb, shawls, etc.

Mood:  Hopeful

Narrator (spoken):  The family arrives in Leeds with great hope for the future but a reminder of the precariousness of fate is soon sounded.  Nathan and Mary succumb to the Asian cholera epidemic, leaving the future of the family to their children, Edward and Mary.  Mary goes to live in Manchester.  Edward marries Elizabeth Anderson and obtains passage for them to Australia on the bark “Ariadne”.

Instrumental Introduction:  The music expresses pressing on and daring to hope in the face of uncertainty, ending on a querulous note.

(curtain rises)

Action:

Nathan (recit.):  Here’s to a new start!  Look, children, here is our new home.  We will have work and our family stay together; we have each other and we help each other.  Everything will be better here.

(1) Nathan’s Song:

We will make a new start,

Face the world, the unknown.

We have strength to endure

When all seems lost.

There is nothing to fear

When prepared to survive.

And life will reward us

In good times to come.

(2) Nathan and Mary (Duet):

We will not be shaken

And our resolve broken.

Faith we have in our selves

To persevere.

We will do our utmost.

Only death can stall us.

We shall not be thwarted

For this is our way.

Nathan (recit.):  We will be able to find work here and support ourselves, I am sure.

Nathan (spoken, music playing):  Do not worry, Mary.  Together, we and the children will get through this difficult time.

Choir. a capella:

Another start, new hope;

Escape from want, new life;

Disease and crime, poverty and death!

(lights become very dim)

(THE BACKDROP IS CHANGED TO THE INTERIOR OF A COTTAGE)

(Edward and Mary as small children exit to the left.  Edward and Mary as young adults enter from the right.  Nathan and Mary adopt darker clothing and recline on sickbeds)

Choir, a capella:

Tragedy! Tragedy! Exile and pain!

Humanity, where is thy grace, thy grace?

No mercy shown  to me, to us.

(lights become bright)

Nathan (spoken, music playing):  We have been here for ten long years.  Life here has not gone well for us.  We are very ill.  I cannot see a future for our children in this place.

Nathan and Mary (Duet):

Our family has grown, but all around we see

Disease and death, the cholera.

Our bitter cup we hold.

We cannot bequeath a better  life, we fail.

What will our children do?

Where will our children find relief?

 

Our lives have come to this, our children carry on.

The hope of better times for them

Is all that we can wish,

A place far from this city

Where they can be secure

And live with health and happiness

In chosen liberty.

Nathan (spoken, music playing):  My children, we cannot give you the life we wanted for you.  Our force is spent.  Go and find that better life which has evaded us. And our blessing go with you.

Mary (the daughter, spoken):  My Mr. Pickford has asked me to marry him and I have accepted his proposal.

Mary (the mother, spoken):  O, my daughter, I am so happy for you.

Family (Quartet):

Another start, new hope, to survive;

Escape from want, new life, to survive!

Poverty and crime, disease and death;

Poverty and crime, disease and death,

Again is our lot, poverty again is our lot!

Tragedy! Tragedy! Exile and pain!

Humanity, where is thy grace, thy grace?

No mercy shown  to us, to me!

(the lights dim; Nathan and Mary, the mother, lie down as in death; the lights come up)

(Mary, the daughter, is weeping)

Edward (spoken, music playing):  Eternal rest, father and mother.  It is time to make a life together with a true partner in a new place.  I will ask my beloved Elizabeth to marry me.

(Edward and Mary embrace)

Edward (spoken):  Goodbye, my sister, and take with you my best wishes for your new life.

(Mary departs)

(Elizabeth enters)

Edward (recit.):  Elizabeth!  How happy I am to see you.

(Edward and Elizabeth face each other while holding both hands)

Elizabeth (recit.):  Edward, I am so sorry for you in your great loss.

Edward (recit.):  Thank you, my dear Elizabeth.  My parents have passed on to me their hopes for the success of this family and I have great things to share with you.

Edward’s Song:

I know not how the world will end

And until I do

And until such time befalls

My heart belongs to you.

Elizabeth’s Part:

My heart has known your inner wish

It speaks of bliss for two

This will be all that I shall crave

I see no one but you.

Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

We’ll seek prosperity,

Our hearts in tune

And until ends may be

Give fate its due.

 

We see no other life

Than us entwined.

Our future is foretold

By our love now.

Edward (spoken):  Elizabeth, dear heart, will you face the future together with me as my wife?  I have plans which will enable us to be our own masters.

Elizabeth (spoken):  Yes, Edward, I will marry you, for better or worse.  Our enduring love will enable us to overcome all difficulties.

Edward’s Song:

We will conquer all the world together,

We and the bairns in that life.

Think of all the dreams we had together;

Give us true happiness.

Elizabeth (sings):

We will always have one life

And we always will have love.

Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

Think of all the dreams we had together;

Give us true happiness.

Think of all the dreams we had together;

Give us true happiness.

Edward (spoken):  I think that we will be able to avoid the problems that our parents have faced.

Elizabeth (spoken):  Edward, You give me such confidence in the face of all our difficulties.  But, pray, what is the source of your newfound hope?

Edward (spoken):  Oh, something I heard about.  And when opportunity knocks, we must grasp it with both hands.  I will tell you when I have found out more.

Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

Together we can win over

The trials of life and take heart.

We must face new challenges

And obstacles before us.

Our love will give us strength to overcome

And be our own.

(Edward and Elizabeth face the audience while holding hands)

This land has punished us enough,

Us and our kin, their demise.

We must look elsewhere,

Take a chance, and embrace new vision:

That we may seek the fruit of toil

And escape poverty.

(they kiss and Edward leaves the stage)

Elizabeth (spoken):  I believe that we are entering a wonderful new stage in our lives.

Elizabeth’s Song:

My trust is founded

On love alone.

My faith is boundless

In his vision.

In all our wan-der-ings

I will be strong

And will tarry

Where’er he is.

(Edward returns to the stage)

Edward (spoken, music playing):  I have just learned that a ship has been commissioned to take assisted settlers to Queensland.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Where is that?

Edward (spoken, music playing):  On the other side of the world, far enough away to forget all the pain of England.  I will enquire whether places are available.

(Edward leaves the stage)

Choir, a capella:

We can find a new land, can take a kind hand

To go overseas to take the promised land!

Tragedy no more will take of its toll

And our fate will be ours to decide as we will.

Free settlers, new start, clean waters and

Our escape from want, to prosper.

We will be free to labour and grow!

(Edward returns)

Edward (spoken, music playing):  I have been able to reserve places on the ship.  It is called “Ariadne”.  This is our chance to make a good life.  Will you come with me?

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Yes, I will go with you.  There will be many dangers on the way but the risk is worthwhile.  We will be able to grow our own fresh food in a new land.  Won’t it be wonderful?

Edward (spoken, music playing):  Yes, dear Elizabeth, I want to see you in that happier life.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Edward, you have done well for us!

Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

O, Ariadne, sweet goddess,

Please carry us  to safety

And let us live with confidence

That somewhere values toil,

That we may see the fruit of work and

Live without suff’ring.

 

We venture into the unknown

To escape the privation

That binds us all if we do not

Have faith in what can be.

We long may live and find a future

Full of happiness!

Choir, a capella:

Leave sorrow behind and seek a place, our own!

(curtain)

————————————————————–

Incidental Music

  1. Gilchrist, Suite for Chamber orchestra, “Triumph Over Adversity”, Second Movement, “Ordo ab Chao” (7’00”)

(the music illustrates the chaotic events depicted in Scotland, the sufferings in England and subsequent change of fortune and jubilation of the Gilchrists on their migration to Australia)

————————————————————–

Act II

Act II – Scene I (page 31, piano):

————————————————————–

Act II

Scene I –  At Sea

Duration:  10’15”

Time:  1862

Location:  At sea, on board ship

Backdrop:  A three-masted barque, with “ARIADNE” inscribed on the prow, at sea under a cloudy sky (the right hand side of the original scenery with the other side covered by a panel showing seascape).

Tableau:  The captain of the ship and some passengers are assembled as on deck.

Note on costume:  Mid-Victorian travelling wear.

Mood:  Endurance

Narration by Captain of the “Ariadne” (spoken):  The voyage to Australia on the bark “Ariadne” has the usual privations of ocean journeys of the period, with storms, harsh food and dangers.  But it has its lighter moments.

Instrumental Introduction:  The music suggests the gentle rise and fall of the waves at sea, introducing a relaxed choral theme, descriptive of the experience:

(curtain rises)

Passengers’ Song (Choir):

Calm it is and songs are sung and memories are lit.

We are going to the land of plenty.

(the curtain opens during the choral rendition)

Action:  Attention is focussed on Edward and Elizabeth and the Captain.

Captain (spoken):  The wind is freshening.  It looks that a storm is behind it.  You had best seek shelter soon.

(the captain departs and the passengers retire to a small superstructure  on deck)

(music suggestive of wind)

(the passengers look out tentatively)

A Passenger (spoken):  The wind has dropped but the storm is closer now.

Passengers’ Song (Choir):

Wind is fair, sea has grown;

Is this calm before storm?

Edward (spoken):  Here comes the storm!

(the ship’s alarm bell is rung)

Captain (shout:)  All hands on deck!

(flickering and flashing lights on the backdrop simulate lightning flashes over the ship and the music is suggestive of thunder; some passengers scream)

Passengers’ Song (Choir):

The storm has passed and calm is restored

And we can take a moral here:

Life is strong after strife.

(Edward and Elizabeth emerge from their refuge)

(sailors are scurrying about with rope and pieces of sail)

Edward (spoken, music playing):  Fortunately, it seems that no real damage was done.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing): I was concerned for our safety during the storm and feeling very ill on top of all the other discomforts of our journey.  But one thing may help to brighten our days.  I packed some bread and cheeses to add to the ship’s food.  I will get it, now that we are allowed access to our luggage.

Edward (spoken, music playing):  That was thoughtful of you, my darling.

(Elizabeth goes to their trunk and opens it.)

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Oh, Edward, everything is damp and the bread is mouldy!  We cannot eat it.

Edward (spoken, music playing):  Oh well, it is hard tack for us, then.

(Edward puts his hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder in a gesture of support)

Don’t worry, lass.  We shall win through.

(1) Elizabeth’s Song:

What will our life be like

When we at last debark

And we can see the place we have sought?

My hidden destiny, our future domicile,

Will be all that I can give.

(2) Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

Will all our produce spring

Like phoenix from the ground

And round good health attend all our joys?

Will we be able to meet troubles that arise

With the same resolve as now?

Elizabeth (to Edward, spoken, music playing):  I am really worried about our future.  I can’t help thinking about how we are going to live.  Do I have enough faith?

Edward (spoken, music playing):  I have been assured that settlers can obtain land grants and that our sponsors will assist us to become established.  I shall do my utmost to help us succeed.

(1) Edward’s Song:

I will be always here for you only.

I love only you.

(2) Elizabeth’s Song:

And I will live only for your tender touch.

(3) Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

And we always shall know

That our fondest dreams are shared

And we go onward

To show all the world that we are

What we set out to be:

Our own.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Thank you, Edward.  You have helped me to see the way ahead.

First Woman Passenger (spoken, music playing):  Look!  There are porpoises playing in the water.

(passengers flock to the side of the ship with much chattering)

Second Woman Passenger (spoken, music playing):  Ooh!  How graceful!

A Male Passenger (spoken, music playing):  The sight of them reminds me that life is there to be lived and, like them, every moment to be enjoyed, even in this uncomfortable situation.

Male Passenger’s Song:

When all around us is difficulty

And we are feeling perplexed,

We see all around us the beauty and life;

Replace fear with joy and goodwill!

 

Tomorrow may not come after all but

What is the reason to care?

Our feelings and vision are here and now.

The future is nothing to fear!

 

The sun sets and rises wherever you are

And we can rely on it too.

While we have life, we have hope, it is true,

When seeing the best of  all things!

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  That is a good rule to remember.  I can make myself feel better by thinking about the positive aspects of a situation.  I will try always to do that.

(Edward and Elizabeth stand looking out with heads together for some seconds)

(a bell sound is heard eight times in succession)

A Sailor (recit., loudly):  Eight Bells and all’s well!

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  The water is so calm after the storm.

Edward (spoken, music playing):  We shall not make much headway today.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  But it is beautiful.  I am not afraid of the perils of this voyage with you beside me, Edward.  You give me courage.

Edward (spoken, music playing):  We are stronger for having lived in difficult times.

(1) Edward’s Song:

We have seen perils and come through tribulations

Which we could not always see through.

Yet here we are as in a different world.

It’s a wonder to me.

 

Our way will open for us wherever we are

If we but remember this rule:

What does not destroy us will make us strong

To fight another day!

(Edward and Elizabeth hold both hands and dance around in circles while singing the chorus)

(2) Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

What doesn’t destroy us will make us strong

What doesn’t destroy us will make us strong

What doesn’t destroy us will make us strong

To fight another day!

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  On another matter which has exercised my mind, Edward, and while we are talking seriously—I don’t mean to be rude but—wasn’t your father caught for stealing?

Edward (spoken, music playing):  Yes, it is true.  Poverty and desperation lead to alternative occupations, it seems.  Stealing a shirt when you are cold and your family has just been evicted from the highlands is understandable although it cannot be condoned, of course.  He was my father, after all, and he had my sympathy.

It’s ironic, though, isn’t it, that, but for the differences in Scottish law, he could have been transported as a convict and been in Australia before us.

Edward’s Song:

This voyage is a step

Of faith in the unknown

And difficulty where only hope

Can see a way ahead, can justify the pain

And allow us to be free.

A Seaman (recit.):  Land ho! Land ho!

Passengers (cheering):  Hooray! Hooray!  Relief at last!

Passengers’ Song (Choir, a capella):

Hark! The ending is near;

Land is seen.

Hail to our guides,

Carry us through!

(curtain)

—————————————————————-

Act II – Scene II (page 38, piano)

—————————————————————-

Scene II – Colonial Town

Duration:  10’30”

Time:  1862

Location:  Maryborough, Queensland

Backdrop (as before):  Colonial town on a river, with a public house

Tableau: Tables with immigrants and townsfolk

Note on Costume:  Mid-Victorian colonial garb.

Mood:  Joyful

Narrator (spoken):  On arrival, the immigrants are welcomed at Edgar Aldridge’s tavern with a public reception and much singing and dancing.  A lifetime friendship is begun.

Instrumental Introduction:  The music is suggestive of several well known Australian melodies and presages the celebratory mood to come.

(curtain rises)

Action:  Aldridge is standing to address the new arrivals who are gathered in front of his public house.

Immigrants’ Song (Choir):

Bless our arrival in this land;

We kiss the ground that will bring forth our bounty

And the promises of life.

Townsfolk’s Song (Choir):

O welcome, brave folk

Who left all to come

As we did before you

To build up a nation and a home.

Aldridge (recit.):  A hearty welcome to you all.  We are relieved that you have come through with good health.  Your place here is assured and you will help to build this settlement and prosper.

Aldridge’s Song: (signature melody as in Act I, Scene II, Aldridge’s Song)

I am a man of commerce.

My interest is so:

To seek prosperity for all

And share in the results.

Prosperity needs people

Whose ethic is to strive.

I see it as investment to

Help you settle here

To farm and build and grow!

Aldridge (spoken, music playing):  We have long sought to bring settlers here.  The “Ariadne” is the first ship to come directly here with new arrivals.  We are proud of our involvement in organising it.  You will be glad that you took the opportunity to take up a life here, as we all did.

Aldridge and Maria (Duet):

We sponsored you good people

To give you all a home

And contribute to building

This town into a city.

We’ll wish you all good fortune

And help you settle here.

 

The trials of moving to here

Will not have been in vain.

The benefits of this land

Accrue to those who are bold

To venture and to chance

On natural bounty!

(tables are moved away)

Passengers’ Song (Choir, a capella):

(all dance a rough colonial jig, Edward with Elizabeth and Edgar with Maria))

Rejoicing and dancing, the music expresses

The joy that we all feel;

The realisation of all that we have dreamed

Will carry us to overcome!

 

We will work all hours given to us

To justify fortune in bringing us to such a place

Of beauty and verdure!

Let us dance and sing and be thankful

For our deliverance.

(All disperse to tables)

May we always find true happiness in life!

We always find true happiness in life!

(All sit at tables with tankards)

Edward (recit.):  Good people, we have had faith to endure the voyage here, as many of you also have done.  Your welcome has proved that our faith was justified and that we have landed amongst friends.  I propose a toast!

Townsfolk (in harmony):  A toast!

(all taste their drinks)

Edward’s Song:

A toast to our new friends,

Who have pioneered this region,

Who provided a place for us,

Who assisted our passage

And have pledged to us their help!

No better friends could we have,

Could any newcomer have,

Could any new chum have!

A Townsman (spoken):  Good on you, matey!

Other Townsfolk (spoken):  Hear,hear!

Passengers’ Song (Choir, a capella):

(all dance a rough colonial jig, as before)

Come, our friends and let us celebrate,

The righteous and mighty have little to say to us

Now that we are through!

Here is opportunity, here land  for the settler,

Here freedom to work, here all we hold dear!

Here land for the settler, here all we hold dear!

Elizabeth (spoken, aside to Edward, music playing):  Perhaps we could do well here, like Mister Aldridge and some of these other people.

Edward (spoken, to Elizabeth, music playing):  He did not do it by scratching in the ground!  But I have heard that the soil is rich around here and we should be able to build a good life.

Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

We have come to this land to till ground

And husband its resources,

To multiply and prosper and to rejoice;

To be free of scourge and want and of domination.

Our children will know not of tyrants nor thrall.

Elizabeth’s Song:

Our children will not see cruel mills;

Their heritage will be what love and care can give,

And greatness will result, you’ll see!

Passengers’ Song (Choir):

The old world is gone and in its place is golden opportunity!

The benefits of work will be our own.

We will sacrifice in gratitude when duty calls our name,

When duty calls our name, when duty calls our name!

When duty calls our name, our name!

(curtain)

——————————————————————–

Act II – Scene III (page 43, piano):

——————————————————————–

Scene III – Bush Camp

Duration:  4’00”

Time:  1865

Location:  A clearing in the bush.

Backdrop:  Bush setting with tall trees and thick vegetation, a clearing with a colonial house but covered by a removable panel depicting a bush hut

Tableau: Edward with mattock (lightweight prop) and Elizabeth with baby, similar to McCubbin’s painting, “On the Wallaby Track”, as shown above

Mood:  Stoic

Narrator (spoken):  Edward and Elizabeth take up their allotment of land near Tiaro and work at establishing themselves there.  Edgar helps them when he can with business contacts.

Instrumental Introduction:  The music recalls the festivities of the previous scene and Scottish origins in the elements of a jig theme, merging into the harder reality of work to be done.

(curtain rises)

Action:  Edward swings the mattock in pace with the musical introduction to the opening song to establish the tempo, then straightens and sings.

Edward’s Song:

Work! Work! Work is the way that we

Know-will-be

Solidification establishing surely

Our foundation through the years.

 

Now-we-know that our freedom has

Come-to-us,

The realisation belatedly coming,

A precious possession indeed!

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Edward, do you feel that we are achieving what we wanted when we left England?

Edward (spoken, music playing):  My darling, we are achieving that and more because our work is our own.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  I know that too and I am glad to hear you say it.

 (1) Elizabeth’s Song:

This land is all that we hoped

And will be our stand against all that comes.

(2) Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

We stand together

And our world is in each other’s paradise.

(3) Edward’s Song:

Our lives have come to this pass where we only

Can provide our sustenance.

(4) Edward and Elizabeth:

Dearly we work for each other’s welfare

And our family’s rise.

(three aboriginal people in chains are led past by troopers)

Elizabeth (spoken):  Edward, why are those people being taken away?

Edward (spoken):  The authorities say that they are criminals because they opposed their land being taken.  It reminds me that our people were also dispossessed in the highlands.

Elizabeth (spoken):  Is it right, then, that we should benefit by their loss?

Edward (spoken):  It is in the hands of the authorities.  My father told me about how his father and others who resisted Lord Sutherland’s men were exiled to the colonies like slaves.  There is nothing we can do.

Elizabeth (spoken):  We have no way to assist the native people ourselves.  I know that Maria is able to help the poor people of all kinds who come to her door.  We must be content with that, it seems, although it is no compensation.

(the stage is darkened temporarily while Edward folds the removable panel down to reveal the house on the backdrop; two older children enter)

Edward (spoken, music playing):  In spite of all the hardship, just look at the progress we have made.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Yes, Edward, and I am happy.  We are having difficulty in finding a buyer for this year’s crop, though, and I wonder how we will fare.

Edward (spoken, music playing):  A solution will present itself.  It usually does.

Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

Flood and fire and pestilence have come and we endure.

The land brings forth a blessing which is all that we could need

And our world is complete with our family and our own home.

We can look to the future with some confidence.

(Aldridge enters)

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Dear Edgar!

Aldridge (spoken, music playing):  I have come to see how you have been getting on and to invite you both to our house this evening to have dinner with us.  I want you to meet some people who would like to do business with you.  Maria will love to see you.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Oh, thank you, Edgar.  You have been looking out for us again.  We will love to see you and Maria at home.

Aldridge (spoken, music playing):  It is the least that I can do, dear Elizabeth.

Edward’s Song:

Our friend has stood beside us

And has been there when in need.

In any way we can repay, we will do.

Our survival, and those around us too,

Are dependent on what each of us can do.

(curtain)

————————————————————–

Act II – Scene IV (page 47, piano):

————————————————————–

Scene IV – At the Church

Duration: 6’00”

Time:  1885

Backdrop:  St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Maryborough, with the Bell Tower covered by a removable panel showing trees

Tableau: Church-goers gathered, including Edward and Elizabeth in their finest clothing, and a rector

Note on costume:  Late Victorian formal clothing (Edward and Aldridge have greying hair).

Mood:  Happy

Narration by nineteenth century Rector (spoken):  Edward and Elizabeth establish themselves socially and discover the esteem in which they and Edgar and Maria are held when at their church in Maryborough, St. Paul’s Church of England.  Edgar and the parishioners praise Mary for her good works in helping the less fortunate.

Musical introduction:  The music and a singer introduce an air of pleasantry.

(curtain rises)

Action: The curtain opens during the singing.  The church-goers are immobile until the song ends.  General chatter begins.  Edward and Elizabeth greet other parishioners

Edward (spoken, music playing):  Good morning, rector.  What a nice day it is.

Rector (spoken, music playing):  Edward and Elizabeth, thank you for coming.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Hello, Mr. Bailey.  It is good to see you again.

(shakes Mr. Bailey’s hand)

And Marjorie; it is lovely to see you.

(hugs Marjorie)

Jean!

(hugs Jean, daughter of Mr. Bailey and Marjorie)

Edward (spoken, music playing):  Mr. Bailey, this is my son. Young Edward, we call him, for obvious reasons.  He is a candidate for selection as a shire councillor.

Mr. Bailey (spoken, music playing):  I wish you good luck, my boy.  I remember the days when I started in the position with great fondness.

Young Edward (spoken, music playing):  Thank you, sir.  I want to keep up the solid tradition you have set.

Edward (spoken, music playing):  Hello, George.  Nice weather, isn’t it?

(Edward shakes George’s hand and shakes hands of several others in succession before he and Elizabeth withdraw a little from the crowd)

Edward and Elizabeth:

We are now the pillars of this society,

Landowners and respectability.

This means so much to us,

Compared with the place where we began.

 

Our success is something that we hardly believe,

But results of toil and prudence, it is true,

Do accrue if you do but try,

Using resources you have.

A  Male Churchgower (spoken, music playing):  Our friends, Edward and Elizabeth, you are always in our thoughts.  We wish you the best.

Men’s Chorus:

They came and they have multiplied their increase;

They paid their due.

They earned respectability and honour

From us all here.

Their works are such as help and heal the needy

And it is true

That we can rely on them too.

(Aldridge and Maria arrive)

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Thank you, everyone.  It is so good to know that we have friends who think so much of us.  Good health to you all!

Edward (spoken):  Here are Edgar and Maria.

Aldridge’s Song:

Maria has, as usual, been taking in waifs and strays.

I applaud her for her good works, and in this company.

Maria, you are an example to the rest of us.

Come, all you kind people, and sing with us

For the life we have here!

A Woman Churchgoer (spoken):  Ladies, let’s show Maria what we all think of her!

Women’s Chorus:

She is a good example to us all here;

She has assisted all whose path she crossed.

The many who are better for her comp’ny

Will bless her too.

Our town is better for her presence

And will continue to

And we honour her here too.

Maria (spoken, music playing):  I help people because I was saved from a desperate situation too with dear Edgar.

Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Yes, we must always remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Choir, a capella:

To seek the good and help the needy,

This our legacy in time to come;

Peace and love and faith and hope

For all eternity!

(curtain)

 


INTERVAL

Incidental Music (Orchestra or Piano)

  1. Gilchrist, Orchestral Suite, “Triumph Over Adversity”:

Fourth Movement, “Happy Days” (3’15”).

——————————————————————-

Act III

Act III – Scene I (page 51, piano):


Act III

Scene I – Victorian House (Baddow House, Maryborough)

Duration:  11’45”

Time:  1886

Location:  Baddow House, Maryborough

Backdrop:  Baddow House, home of the Aldridge family, with headstone.

Tableau:  Aldridge stands over the headstone.  Edward is nearby (both with greying hair).

Note on Costume:  Late Victorian black mourning dress

Mood:  Grief

Narrator (spoken):  On the death of Maria, Edgar is distraught.  He needs to create a memorial to her and her legacy of good works.  The idea of a bell tower for the church comes to him.  Edward and Elizabeth support him in his hour of need and encourage the venture.

Instrumental Introduction:  The happy mood is continued but soon is changed to a more sombre tone, indicating that a grave event has occurred and leading in to the opening song of grief.

(curtain rises)

Action:

Aldridge’s Song (1):

My Maria is gone;

None better have I known.

She is my constant inspiration.

What can I leave to show my love

And keep her memory?

A tower of bells to sound o’er land

And be a true witness.

Aldridge (spoken):  A tower of bells! Yes!

Aldridge’s Song (2):

A reminder of virtue

And caring and love,

As she would have wanted;

Our gift to this town.

May it grow in peace and harmony

And prosper always.

May it grow in peace and harmony

And prosper always!

Edward and Aldridge (Duet):

In time of affliction we look to the future

And seek for the best that we can.

Old friends stay together to assist each other

And find common good!

We find our support where our friends prove their worth and

Are faithful in good times and bad;

Who understand that we find solace in company

And in time alone.

 

A reminder of virtue

And caring and love,

As she would have wanted;

Our gift to this town.

May it grow in peace and harmony

And prosper always.

May it grow in peace and harmony

And prosper always!

Aldridge (recit):  What shall I do without Maria?

Aldridge (spoken): Yes.  What will I do?

Aldridge (recit.):  She was my completion.

(Aldridge stands, downcast and looking dejected, while music plays quietly)

Aldridge (spoken, music playing):  It is as if half of me is gone.  My grief is overwhelming and my air of authority has evaporated like a whiff.  I am left like a puppy, too weak to stand.

Edward (spoken, music playing):  As one who has lost loved ones, I can empathise and we are here for you.  But tell me about your plans for a remembrance.

Edward (recit.):  A bell tower!  How grand!

Aldridge (spoken): Yes, but even that does not adequately express the extent of my loss.  I intend to inscribe on the memorial this tribute to my dear Maria:

Aldridge (recit):  “She was a peacemaker, ever forgiving and doing good and helping all who were in trouble, distress or affliction.”

Elizabeth (spoken):  Oh, how true of her!  I know that Maria would have loved to have been remembered in this way.

Choir, a capella:

Thy love doth conquer  all, yes all!

O death, where is thy sting, thy sting?

Our lives are but a breeze in all eternity,

A time to show our love and go in peace.

In peace and love we go onward

To leave a breath of faith and hope

For those we leave behind.

Aldridge (spoken, music playing):  I am a rich man but my spirit is now poor.  The church is without its voice as I am without my help meet.  This has a deep meaning for me.

Edward (to Aldridge, spoken, music playing)):  Maria was a great comfort to many.  We can see no better memorial to her goodness and kindness than the great gift you intend to bestow on the town and its people.  Musical bells will give messages of comfort and encouragement to all who hear them.

Edward’s Song:

In your time of loss and sadness

I am here to lend support.

I will assist in this your great project

To preserve her memory.

To preserve and love her memory

And to show the world you care.

All will find some solace from your gift

And you will find your peace in it.

Aldridge (spoken):  I must also count my blessings, having such companions in my hour of need.

Edward (spoken):  And we also.

(to Elizabeth) How good the years have been to us here.  We have achieved success undreamt of in our youth.

Elizabeth (spoken):  Yes, Edward.  It was indeed a wise decision to come to this country.  The health of our family is testament to that.  I hope that the future is just as kind.

Edward and Elizabeth (Duet):

Our own have passed away and our tribute to them

Has been to find life in a kinder place.

That we are here with you is testament

To faith in new beginnings and action.

Create your marvel and solidify the memory

Always with you.

Edward (to Aldridge, spoken):  Your dedication to the task is a great inspiration to us.  If only our parents could see this time and the great things that are happening.

Choir, a capella:

Inspire and help and sooth the mind.

The good will last amid suffering and amid strife.

To seek the good and help the needy,

This our legacy in time to come;

Peace and love and faith and hope

For all eternity!

(curtain)

——————————————————————-

Act III – Scene II (page 56, piano):

——————————————————————-

Scene II – Bell Tower

Duration:  6’15”

Time:  1887

Location:  Grounds of Church of England Bell Tower, Maryborough, Queensland

Backdrop:  Church and bell tower, using prior stage property with covering panel removed

Tableau:  Townsfolk assembled, Edward and Aldridge to the fore

Note on Costume:  Late Victorian street wear and cleric’s attire

Mood:  Pride

Narration by nineteenth century rector (spoken): At the dedication of the bell tower, grief is turned to rejoicing at the gift of such a fine structure, representing a reminder of selflessness.

Instrumental Introduction:  The music suggests restored serenity, featuring bell-like chords.

(curtain rises)

Action:  The ceremony to dedicate the bell tower begins.

Edward (to Aldridge, spoken, music playing):  This bell tower is the grand realisation of your dream, a glorious monument to faith and goodness!

Aldridge (to Edward, spoken, music playing):  Maria’s memory and my own closure are worth nothing less.

Choir, a capella:

In all our trials we find our strengths in faith and hope.

In all our trials we find strengths in faith and hope.

Our best memorial is that which can be used

To inspire faith and multiply the good that is our gift.

The memorial is best which can be used to inspire faith and multiply the good.

We find our strength in faith, our strength in hope,

To give that which multiplies the good.

We give that which will multiply the good.

Rector (recit.):  This tower of bells will last through time and broadcast the message of peace and hope throughout this town.  This time of dedication is an opportunity to reflect on the good things in life and particularly here in our time of prosperity and to be thankful.

Choir, a capella:

The building holds the instrument of strength and faith and love.

In all our trials we find our strength in faith and hope and love,

In faith, in hope, in love; in faith and hope and love;

To give that which is useful is our best memorial,

To give that which inspires faith in many,

Does multiply the good and is our best memorial,

A gift to spread the news and last through time.

A gift to spread the news, a gift to spread the news,

A gift to spread the news and last through time.

Mayor (spoken):  This is a fine and magnificent addition to our town.  We thank Mr. Aldridge for his vision and great generosity.  We will remember Maria always.

Mayor’s Song:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

In our lives and in our vicin’ty.

We are blessed by our benefactor here!

We will be justly proud

And our town will be enhanced by it!

We will remember our friend ever after;

Maria, a fine legacy!

All Sing (unison):

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

In our lives and in our vicin’ty.

We are blessed by our benefactor here!

We will be justly proud

And our town will be enhanced by it!

We will remember our friend ever after;

Maria, a fine legacy!

(curtain)

——————————————————————-

Act III – Scene III (page 59, piano):

——————————————————————-

Scene III – Official Reception

Duration:  8’30”

Time:  1920

Location:  Grounds of Church of England Bell Tower, Maryborough, Queensland

Backdrop:  As previous, Church and Bell tower with bunting across, reading “1920 Vice Regal Tour” and “We welcome our Prince”

Tableau:  A crowd of well-dressed citizens is gathered before a dais on which The Prince of Wales, the Mayor of Maryborough with chains of office, Young Edward as a shire councillor and other councillors, are seated. A sergeant of police is in attendance.

Note on Costume:  Formal wear and vice regal and mayoral ceremonial wear of the immediate post World War I period

Mood:  Formal

Narration by Elizabeth (spoken):  Edward has become a city councillor.  At the official reception of for the Duke of York on his Royal Tour of 1927, Edward causes some consternation.  The proceedings are interrupted by suffragettes protesting the lack of progress of female suffrage in England.  The police intervene but the message has been delivered.

Musical Introduction:  The jazz theme and a swing theme in the nature of 1920s music contrasts the formality of the official vice regal reception.

(curtain rises)

Action:  The mayor rises.

Mayor (recit.):  We welcome His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, and those present here on the occasion of the vice regal tour of postwar Australia to review the great progress that has been made in this country and this region since its inception.  His Highness has graciously consented to meet his people in cities and shires across this vast continent.

Mayor (spoken):  We welcome His Royal Highness and trust that his stay has been enjoyable and informative.

Young Edward (soliloquy, recit.):  I can’t believe that I’m actually meeting the Prince of Wales. 

Young Edward (soliloqy, spoken):  But we are not aristocracy!

Young Edward (soliloquy, recit.):  This shows what has been achieved in this country in social change and opportunity!

Young Edward’s Song:

When my family arrived in this region,

Seeking escape from death and privation,

No one would have seen the future

That has unfolded here.

None would have known

That one would become

A leader in the c’munity!

 

I humbly give my tribute

To those who have gone before,

Who have given to us life

And the basis for our own growth.

Prince of Wales (spoken, music playing):  The Crown accepts your welcome and is pleased to see that the values of the Empire are preserved here.  I see before me a magnificent tower of bells.  It is a credit to your people.  The traditions of Britain are indeed in good hands!

Aide-de-Camp (spoken, music playing):  Your Royal Highness, may I present to you the mayor of this city, Alderman Isaac Bushnell, Esquire?

(the mayor bows)

Mayor (spoken, music playing):  Your Royal Highness.

Aide-de-Camp (spoken, music playing):  Your Royal Highness, may I present to you the city and shire councillors.

(the Prince proceeds along the line, stopping at Young Edward)

Prince of Wales (spoken, music playing):  Smashing day, don’t you think?

Young Edward (spoken):  Your Highness, welcome to the shire.

(Young Edward impulsively shakes the hand of the Duke while speaking)

All (in horror):  Ahhh!

Aide-de-Camp:  His Royal Highness is not to be touched!

Prince of Wales:  I have heard that Australians are impulsive.  We can allow this lapse of decorum.  It is indicative that change is upon us!

Prince of Wales’  Song:

In this age when styles are changing,

The world is faster than before.

The energy of these far dominions

Must be allowed their freest rein.

 

When change is upon us,

We must consider all the benefits to be gained.

We see that change can be beneficial

And those who embrace it are repaid!

Aide-de-camp (bows and defers):  Your Royal Highness.

Young Edward (soliloquy, spoken):  You have some way to go yet, Edward, old boy.

(enter a group of women suffragettes who sing their objections while with banners declaring “Votes for Women” and “Solidarity with our Sisters in England”)

Suffragettes’ Song:

This era is the best in our history!

This state is on the move,

A powerhouse of social change!

(expressions of approval show on official faces during the complimentary initial stanza but visibly change to frowns at “The rights we take for granted” in the second stanza)

Women’s suffrage we’ve had for thirteen years.

When will old England give

The rights we take for granted?

(the sergeant of police blows his whistle when criticism of England is heard.  Police start to appear and assemble in force during the remaining stanzas)

Workers’ compensation, for four years now,

In place to value all

But once again is not in England!

 

Social change has come and we hope the state

Will always do the same

For sake of future generations.

(the Prince of Wales and the Aide-de-Camp are hurriedly escorted out to safety during the last stanza)

Our people came, fleeing from suffering

And now we lead the way to

Relieve the burden of servitude!

Votes for women!

Votes for women!

(the sergeant of police intervenes in the women’s demonstration)

Police Sergeant (recit.):  Move along, then, ladies!

Suffragettes (together, recit.):  No!  We will not!  No!  We will not!

(the policemen form a line, with truncheons raised, between the women and the dignitaries)

(1) Policemen’s Song (tenors):

O good ladies, O good ladies, respect the status quo.

Trade and commerce, rank and personage

Are the powers that be.

 

Move on, ladies, mind your sewing.

This is not your best place;

This is not your place.

(basses, simultaneously with tenors):

Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp, … (continuously)

 

(policemen slowly advance on the demonstrators in a line, marching to the following theme)

(Note:  This scene contains some comment on society, politics and policing but is not a parody or a criticism.  Although some humour may be seen in the previous segment, parallels with portrayals in “Keystone Kops” or “Pirates of Penzance” should not be emphasised)

(2) Policemen’s Song (basses):

We are soldiers of the civil powers

And are bound to do their will

By the laws they make and by our payment too.

 (3) (basses sing these lines:)

O good ladies, O good ladies, respect the status quo:

Trade and commerce, rank and personage.

This is not your place!

(tenors, simultaneously with basses, these lines:)

We are soldiers of the civil powers

And are bound to do their will

By the laws they make and by our payment too.

Suffragettes (simultaneously with basses, the first line:)

Votes for women!

Votes for women!

Suffragettes (simultaneously with basses, the second line:)

Votes for women!

Votes for women!

(the policemen brandish their truncheons in the faces of the protestors on the last note)

(the women retreat with cries of indignation)

Suffragettes (shout):  “A land fit for heroes?  Hah!”

(curtain)

——————————————————————

Act III – Scene IV (page 65, piano):


Scene IV – Celebration

Duration:  7’30”

Time:  2012

Location:  Grounds of Church of England Bell Tower, Maryborough, Queensland

Backdrop:  As previous, Church and Bell tower, with removable panel showing a modern motorcar parked outside.

Tableau:  A contemporary Gilchrist, as a parishioner, and a contemporary rector stand outside the church with a group of townspeople.  The choir is on stage.

Note on costume:  Contemporary clothing and clerical garb;  the principal characters are in the dress of their respective periods for the final segment.

Mood:  Joyful

Narration by contemporary Rector (spoken):  The bells have been refurbished in England after 125 years of operation.  This is a choral celebration of the contributions of the pioneer families from 150 years ago to the present.

Instrumental Introduction (W. Gilchrist, Orchestral Suite, “Triumph Over Adversity”: Third Movement, “Freudentanz”):  Joyous dance variations, reflecting the celebratory nature of the scene (the curtain opens during the last eight bars of the music)

Action:  An open air concert to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the bells and the bell tower begins.

Contemporary Gilchrist (spoken): This wonderful structure, which was built by my great grandfather’s friend, Edgar Aldridge, has endured through time and is still here to inspire us.  Listen to the bells!

(Instrumental: “Ring Out”)

(Note:  the range of this piece and other accompaniments and introductory passages in this scene require two players if used as the piano reduction)

Choir, a capella:

Listen to the merry cadence!

Listen to the bells apealing!

Feel the joy of life unfettered!

Suspend all that inhibits you!

Come and sing with us of good things!

Joy is in the air!

Joy and peace and happiness!

Joy and peace and happiness, happiness!

 

These are the things that make life good,

And we will sing of joy and peace

And share our piece of happiness

With all who hear and listen too!

 

Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong!

 

“The sun is ruler of the day,

The silver moon of night;

The starry hosts adorn the sky

In ordered ranks of light!”*

 

Listen to the merry cadence!

Listen to the bells appealing!

Feel the joy of life unfettered!

Come sing with us of good things too!

Come and sing with us of good things!

Come and sing with us of good things!

All good things!

* Hymn Tune: ‘Dundee’ (Psalms, Edinburgh, 1615), from the Latin; trad., arr. W. Gilchrist

(Contemporary) Gilchrist(spoken, music playing):  The beauty of the sound of these bells has been with me all of my life.  We owe a lot to our pioneering forebears who built up our community and its facilities and allowed us to live as we do now.  I give tribute to my family, along with many others, who overcame great difficulties to eventually triumph.

(Contemporary) Gilchrist’s Song:

I have listened to these bells for all of my years.

They have been a source of inspiration.

They have chimed in service

For twenty-five years and a century.

Now that they have been refurbished,

We will all have joy in hearing

How enhanced the sound

And perfect for our senses!

(Contemporary) Gilchrist (spoken):  We are here for the celebration of the restoration of the bells on the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of their installation in this grand tower.  Here is the Rector of the church to speak to you.

Contemporary Rector(recit.):  Let us sing of joy in having had our bells refurbished and retuned and in remembrance of the achievements of those people who came here on that first immigrant ship so long ago.  That history consists of many personal stories and individual triumphs over adversity to inspire us in this day and age.

Choir, a capella:

Joy and praise and strength in all our lives

Ring out, ring out, all the messages!

Know ye that your needs, that your needs will be supplied!

The bells will ring, and the message is eternal:

We should love one another, our neighbours as ourselves,

Our neighbours as ourselves.

Our reward is manifold: a liberation from inward strife

And goodwill on earth.

May your friends bless you and the good that you do,

Our one opportunity.

 

Joy in the life of which we are a part,

Joy in communion, finding  true value in each one.

Joy in the life, find value, find true life, true life!

Happiness is our goal, for ourselves and all around.

Many will find renewal, given hope and a chance to heal.

 

Joy in the family, joy in the daily work,

Joy in nature, joy in each and every one!

Joy and gladness stay with you, stay with us all.

(The leading characters return to the stage progressively, each reviewing their part of the story, afterward joining a line for the bows)

Nathan and Mary (spoken, music playing):  We are glad that our children have been able to fulfil our hopes for them.

Edward and Elizabeth (spoken, music playing):  Our parents would be proud to see us now.

Aldridge and Maria (spoken, music playing):  Our friends have done us proud!

Gilchrist and Jamie (spoken, music playing):  Och, and to think that such grand things should come out of such a beginning!

Young Edward and Contemporary Gilchrist (spoken, music playing):  Big things from small beginnings grow.

Line of Actors (spoken, music playing):  Our tribute to all the pioneers of this region.

(the remaining cast assembles behind that line)

(the actors bow to the audience and execute a flourish during the next and last verse, emphasising the message of the text)

Choir and Actors:

We wish you good health and peace and harmony.

Take this with you.

(bows)

(curtain)

FINIS


Finale (or Orchestral or Piano or Choral encore)

  1. Gilchrist, excerpts, “Bell Tower Suite” (“Ring Out”) and “Ariadne Suite” (“Come, our friends and let us celebrate”)

——————————————————————

Requirements and Skills

  1. 15 male, 5 female Character Actors/Singers

(3 soprano, 1 alto, 3 tenor, 2 baritone, 3 bass)

  1. Extra players for larger groups
  2. Waltz Pair (soprano and baritone, playing Aldridge and Maria)
  3. Folk Dance Group
  4. Choir (SMATBB)
  5. Piano
  6. Violin
  7. Contrabass (if choir accompanied by piano)
  8. Orchestra (if incidental music and orchestrated accompaniment used)
  9. Tables and Chairs
  10. 7 Painted Backdrops, 4 with removable panels

 

——————————————————————

(c) Warren James Gilchrist