The Musical (World Premiere)
Directed by Heather Daley and Mark Prokes
Musical Direction by Emily Eng
Friday March 10 8pm
Saturday March 11 8pm
Sunday March 12 4pm
(at Needham Presbyterian Church)
The musical Precious Bane is an adaptation of the celebrated 1926 novel by Mary Webb. (link to web bio) The story takes place in the early 1800s on a farm in Shropshire, England. Precious Bane is essentially a love story, but it is also the story of a sister and brother, Prue and Gideon Sarn, who are both strong and intelligent and determined, but who have very different values and approaches to life.
PRUE SARN: (Mezzo) G below middle C to F (2 above middle C): Prue is "strong as a man" and intelligent, but loving kindness-- a characteristic she shares with her meek Mother-- is the core of her nature. Born with a harelip, (cleft palate) she seems fated never to be a wife and mother. Books and Nature are her solace.
GIDEON SARN: (Baritone) A (2 below middle C) to F# above middle C: Prue's older brother, is also intelligent as well as strong and handsome, but he pairs his father's hot temper with a ruthless strength of will. He believes that he has it in him to rise to riches and power, and intends to do it or die.
WIZARD BEGUILDY: (Bass/Baritone) 2 below middle C to F above middle C: He is one of the few literate people in the parish, and though he resorts to tricks and fraud enough of his predictions come true for him to have a high opinion of his magical power and sagacity.
JANCIS BEGUILDY: (Soprano) Bb below middle C to G# (2 above middle C): She is a romantic like her mother, is the most beautiful girl in Shropshire. She idolizes Gideon, but her father is set on profiting from his daughter's beauty.
MISSIS BEGUILDY: (Mezzo) G below middle C to D (2 above middle C): She is as a romantic young woman, married the learned Beguildy with no glimpse of what would be in store for her as the wife of a preached-against wizard.
MOTHER SARN: Bb below middle C to D (2 above middle C): She is a small bright kindly bird-like woman, at a loss as to how to guide or nurture the outsize lightning-in-their-blood Sarn family she has married into.
KESTER: Baritone. A (2 below middle C) to F# above middle C: He is a strong but gentle Weaver who is new to the county, loves books and all nature's creatures. Prue gives her heart to him at first sight.
Featured Characters: (Vocal range varied) (can also be part of the ensemble)
FATHER SARN is a fiercely proud man, filled with rage because his life is tied up in farming and fatherhood -- roles for which he has neither talent nor inclination.
PREACHER is minimally literate, and it is difficult for him to rise to his position as Christian leader of this superstitious community, but has a good heart and tries.
MISSIS PREACHER is good-hearted too -- unless the welfare of her family is threatened. Then she will do whatever it takes to protect them.
TIVVY relishes her position as Preacher's daughter, but rebels against the meek and pious behavior people expect from her. She is sensual, scheming and selfish; a bully when she gets her way and a whiner when she doesn't.
Supporting Roles (can be doubled and tripled, and will be in the ensemble)
HUGELET, a huge-bodied loud-mouthed bully who loves dog fighting.
GRIMBLE, a rich farmer from out past Lullingford: tight-fisted, sly and sadistic.
MISSIS GRIMBLE, a wife after Grimble's own flinty heart.
SQUIRE CAMPERDINE and his flirtatious sister DORABELLA are Lullingford gentry, popular because they enjoy being on good terms with those beneath them.
FELINA, a sensual free spirit, and her open-minded HUSBAND tend sheep on a mountain on the far side of Lullingford.
CALLARD and MISSIS CALLARD, kindly neighbors, friends of Prue and her Mother.
SUKEY and MOLL, silly but sweet sisters ages 12 and 13.
SAMMY, Preacher's good son, has a puppy-love fondness for both Prue and Jancis.
ENSEMBLE of Ghosts, Mourners, Villagers, Farm Hands, Maids, etc. (can also play supporting roles)