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SING TO THE DAWN Music by Dick Lee; Book by Minfong Ho and Stephen Clark; Lyrics by Stephen Clark; Based on the book Sing To The Dawn by Minfong Ho SYNOPSIS The frustrations, hardships and political injustices of everyday life in a village in Southeast Asia are dramatically revealed in the story of Dawan, a young Thai girl who seeks the opportunity to continue her education at a city high school by competing against her for a scholarship award. When she wins she faces the disapproval of her father, who accuses her of betraying her brother and forbids her to accept the scholarship. A touching story of reconciliation and acceptance, with a beautiful score by Dick Lee. STORY Act One The story is set in and around a rural village in Thailand. As the first glimmer of light begins to spread across the sky we see a family sleeping beneath their mosquito nets in a small house. Taking care not to wake her father (Somchai), her mother (Somsri) and her grandmother (Rachanee) a young girl, Dawan, quietly gets up. She then looks over to her brother, Kwai. He too is waking up and together they creep out of the house and then run across the fields to a small bridge. As they sit side by side on the bridge the sun begins to rise and Dawan, as she does every morning, sings to the dawn. Kwai and Dawan talk excitedly about what is about to happen that day. It is the day that the winner of the annual scholarship is announced. Whoever wins the scholarship goes to the city school to continue their studies. Kwai has been top of his class for the last three years and everyone knows he will win. Dawan is thrilled for him and as they walk to school they talk about what he will do when he's in the city. On the way they meet other children on their way to school, including Vichai who is clearly jealous of Kwai's immanent victory. At the schoolroom, before he announces the result, the teacher, Chalardchai, talks to the class about the responsibility that comes with winning the scholarship. He sees it as a way of giving someone the education and status that will help them to do something about the injustices he sees around the village — the high rents, the loan sharks and the poor standard of health care. Kwai is very keen to try to change all these things. It is something he and Dawan have always talked about on their bridge. And then Chalardchai announces the result. And the winner is . . . Dawan. Everyone, including Dawan, is stunned. A girl has never won the scholarship before. Kwai, bitterly disappointed and humiliated, runs out of the classroom.sttd-cd Back at the house Somchai, Somsri and Rachanee are anxiously waiting for the children to come home so they can hear the result. Somchai is very proud of his son and is already excited about what rewards Kwai's scholarship will bring to the whole family. Somsri has heard that Vichai is very interested in Dawan and is looking forward to seeing her daughter settle down and raise a family of her own. Somsri has already invited Vichai and his parents around for a meal so that the families can get to know each other better. Somchai is delighted by the prospect of Dawan marrying Vichai as his family are the richest- in the village. Dawan comes home alone. She tells them the news. Somchai is appalled. He is furious with her for betraying her brother and forbids her to accept the scholarship. Somsri feels it is pointless for a girl to have such ambitions and tells her to stop dreaming and accept her place, as a wife, in the village. Only Rachanee says how proud she is and encourages Dawan to make her own choices. Meanwhile Vichai and some other village boys are teasing Kwai about what has happened. Not only did he not win, but he was beaten by his own sister! Kwai is desperate, his dreams are shattered, and he doesn't know what to do. Then the teasing becomes more serious and they point out to him that if Dawan is allowed to go then it will give their sisters ideas and before they know it the girls will be in charge and the boys will be left with the housework. Vichai tells Kwai to do something about it, and that he could start by finding out how he