Bronte - The Musical by BB Cooper & Peter Spafford
LIGHTS UP TO HALF-STATE. SIMPLE, ALMOST ABSTRACT SET, THE SALIENT
FEATURES OF WHICH ARE A LARGE WOODEN TABLE (CENTRE) AND A FEW
CHAIRS AROUND IT. THIS ROOM REPRESENTS THE BRONTE HOUSEHOLD AT
HAWORTH, YORKSHIRE. AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, THE DESIGN FOR THIS ROOM
SHOULD CONVEY A CLAUSTROPHOBIC INTENSITY FROM WHICH IT IS HARD TO
VARIOUS SHAPES AND COLOURS ARE SUGGESTED IN THE SET - FOR
INSTANCE, GRAVESTONES - AND ON A HIGHER LEVEL, THE ROLLING AND
CRAGGY OUTLINES OF HAWORTH MOOR. THERE IS ALSO AN AREA WHICH IS
LIT OCCASIONALLY TO REPRESENT THE GLOW OF A HEARTH-FIRE.
CHARLOTTE IS SITTING AT THE TABLE WITH A PEN IN HER HAND, LOOKING
DOWN AT A PIECE OF PAPER. THE TABLE IS LITTERED WITH SMALL
A STORM IS BLOWING UP OUTSIDE.
AS CHARLOTTE SITS, PEN POISED, A BRANCH TAPS ON THE WINDOW.
SHE TURNS HER HEAD ABRUPTLY AT THE NOISE, PUTS DOWN THE PEN.
THE SOUND OF THE GALE GRADUALLY MOUNTS.
CHARLOTTE GETS UP. DISTURBED, SHE STARTS TO WALK AROUND THE TABLE.
THIS BECOMES A REPEATED, ALMOST COMPULSIVE MOTION. GALE BUILDS,
WRITE A SENTENCE.
Just one sentence, one word.
SHE SITS, TAKES UP THE PEN AGAIN.
WRITE A SENTENCE.
SING A CADENCE,
MARK YOUR PRESENCE,
MAKE A SOUND AND BREAK THE SILENCE.
SHE DROPS THE PEN.
I can`t write.
TABBY HAS BEEN WATCHING.
Go to bed, Miss Charlotte.
I won`t sleep.
My publishers want this book by the end of the month but there`s nothing here, nothing
left. Everything inside me has turned to stone.
You will turn to stone sat there all night.
Tabby, I want them back.
Don`t talk stupid. Your sisters and brother are dead and gone.
Are they? Sometimes I wake from a dream and I can`t believe they`re not still in the
world. As though they`ve just gone for a walk on the moor. Back soon, back in a minute.
Just now, for instance, I turned
FLASH OF LIGHTNING. THEY BOTH TURN TOWA
TABBY GOES TO CHARLOTTE.
It`s hard to be left alone on this earth, Miss Charlotte. But I believe that if the dead do
look in on us, it`s only because they want to see us happy. And you could be happy, Miss
Charlotte. If you allowed yourself.
CHARLOTTE SMILES BITTERLY.
CHARLOTTE PICKS UP A LETTER, OPENS IT. LIGHT UP ON ARTHUR NICHOLLS.
CHARLOTTE READS THE LETTER. ARTHUR FACES OUT.
Miss Bronte. In the seven years since I have been your father`s curate here at Haworth, I
have seen you almost every day. I have watched your face and seen reflected in it many
changes: the change when you realized you could publish your book; the change when
you finally achieved that ambition; then the change engendered by the tragic passing of
your brother and sisters. But all the time, one thing has remained unchanged; my desire to
continue watching your face.
CHARLOTTE LOWERS THE LETTER. TABBY NODS, ENCOURAGES HER TO READ ON.
Your famous `Jane Eyre` is a grand love story. But I am no Mr.Rochester. I am a simple
curate and have little expectation of a happy ending. In the likely event of your declining
my proposal of marriage, I have therefore arranged to take up a missionary post in
Australia. If you accept, I will stay. If you decline, I must leave tomorrow. All I wish
from you now is a word, just a word. Miss Bronte, I only wish you to be happy
CHARLOTTE THROWS DOWN THE LETTER.
Happy! What right have I to be happy? My siblings are dead, each one a hundred times
more able and alive than I. I have always been cold inside, frozen, dead.
Then be alive now while there`s still time. If you`ve shut them out, let them back in.
NOW, FROM THE SHADOWS IN THE ROOM, THREE FIGURES EMERGE.
EMILY, ANNE AND BRANWELL.
In the beginning.
The story. Our story.
Remember! In the beginning there was.
Names, Tabby. Say their names.
WRITE A SENTENCE
SING A CADENCE
MARK YOUR PRESENCE
MAKE YOUR STAND AND BREAK THE SILENCE
YOU WILL HEAR AN ECHO BY AND BY
Once upon a time
Once upon a time there was a family
In a cold house
In a cold house
On a cold moor. Once.
THE SIBLINGS START TO CIRCLE CHARLOTTE.
THE CHANT BUILDS AS THEY CIRCLE CHARLOTTE
NOW CHARLOTTE JOINS THE CIRCLE AS THE CHANT REPEATS, GATHERING IN PACE AND INTENSITY.
THEY ARE WHIRLING ECSTATICALLY HAND IN HAND, THE WHIRL DRAWING IN TABBY AS WELL.
SHE CAN'T RESIST.
Alanna, Ashura, Ashantu, Aragua. Alanna, Ashura, Ashantu, Aragua.
Alanna, Ashura, Ashantu, Aragua. Benguela, Calabar, Dimdim Throne, Killala!
THE CIRCLE DISINTEGRATES IN LAUGHTER
IT'S AS THOUGH THE CHANT IS A GATE THROUGH WHICH THEY HAVE RE-ENTERED THE PAST
MUSIC FOR `BOOKS`.