FREEDOM TRAIN Written by Marvin Gordon with traditional music Freedom Train sings of the corageous journeys of Hariet Tubman and the Underground Railroad which smuggled slaves to freedom prior to the American Civil War - aided by men, women, Northerners, Southerners, slaves and free at great personal risk. Born a slave, Harriet Tubman embodies the fortitude and perseverance personifying a great moment in American history. With warmth and humour, Theatreworks' longest-running musical sings of the American legend who smuggled more than 300 slaves - including her aged parents - to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Using traditional songs of the period "Freedom Train" recounts a powerful and inspiring tale of courage, dedication, perseverance and the strength of the human spirit. The poignancy of the play left an indelible impression on the students' hearts and minds. As one student put it, 'I could really feel what it was like to be a slave.'" - Micki Joseph, Anne Hutchison School STORY As Harriet Tubman enters, the entire cast sings about being led to freedom. ("Drinking Gourd") Harriet begins by telling her story. She talks of the past, back before the north won the Civil War. She was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a special, secret train. It was what she calls "A Freedom Train to the North." Harriet was born on Master Broda's plantation in Maryland. He was a rich master who owned many things. She saw two sisters sold and sent south and her older brothers hired off to neighbouring farms. The scene fades back to this time. The overseer is reading the laws to the slaves. They are not to learn to read, may not study the bible, may not congregate without the presence of a white man and may not set foot on the highway without a pass. He and Master Broda convene and discuss how to handle runaways and to enforce the laws. A Georgia slave trader is due any day and the master expects to get some good money for his slaves. Ben, a slave and Harriet's father, passes by and greets the master. The master assures him he is going to sign papers to set him and his family free. The master calls Ben a good and honest man but warns that he must get his boy David under control. Harriet, who is a little girl, is being sent to a neighbouring plantation to learn to do housework. The whole family talks about their future. Rit, Harriet's mom sees housework as a great opportunity, but David is trying to put ideas about escaping and heading north into everyone's heads. Harriet is now at the Cook plantation. Mrs. Cook is resting and Mr. Cook is overwhelming Harriet with responsibilities which are clearly too much for one person at one time. While this goes on, Rit, who has sent her baby out to work, sings a spiritual about Mary and her baby. ("Mary Had a Little Baby") When Harriet cannot keep up Mr. Cook scolds her and tells her she deserves to be whipped. Harriet runs back home. Back home with her family, Harrie's mama worries what will happen to her if she can't prove her worth, while her brother is proud that she ran. Ben is optimistic about being set free, while David is angry and speaks of how there is no such thing as freedom for a slave. He has every intention of running away to freedom in the north. The family of slaves is out in the cornfields. David is still talking about his escape and Harriet has decided she is going to marry John Tubman, a slave who was freed. The overseer shows up and tells them the slave trader from Georgia is there looking for strong field hands. He threatens that David will be sold. Meanwhile, Ben is still hopeful that they will all be freed by the master. David decides he must make a run for it right then. He and Harriet take off running. The overseer manages to catch them though, and pistol whips Harriet. The scene ends as the family cries out helplessly as offstage David is being beaten.