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SMIKE Music and lyrics by Roger Holman and Simon May, book by Simon May and Clive Barnett Freely adapted from Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, this musical opens in a contemporary school where a new English teacher finds it difficult to gain the interest of his class. He overcomes this problem when he hits on the idea of turning the book they are studying, Nicholas Nickleby, into a musical. We are swept back in time to the misery of Dotheboys Hall, where life is a matter of survival; avoiding the leaden hand of Mr Squeers and the daily dose of brimstone and treacle! The story ends happily with the children overpowering their captors: we return to the present day and find the class has learnt many lessons from the exercise. Since its production on BBC TV, Smike has enjoyed tremendous popularity. Suitable for secondary schools and youth groups. The nightmarish world of Dotheboys Hall from "Nicholas Nickleby" is brought to vivid life for a modern class of rebellious students in this highly original pop adaptation of Charles Dickens' celebrated novel. An English teacher leads his class in a dramatic re-creation of the story of Nicholas, his friend Smike and the tyrannical headmaster Mr. Squeers to teach them a lesson about learning, standing together and good fellowship. STORY ACT 1 A young student, Smeeton, is sitting alone and still amid a classroom of empty desks. Boys file into the classroom and are followed by the Headmaster. Finally, Miss Grant, the drama teacher, enters and stands over the boys as they prepare for a test. The boys begin to take the test and answer questions that are asked by the Headmaster. Though the Headmaster is very serious about the questions, the boys are not very interested in their academic lives, and their thoughts are clearly wandering. As they finish the exam, each boy gives his paper to Miss Grant. Left alone, the boys tell how they really feel about school. The Headmaster and Miss Grant are busy examining the test papers when Nicholls, the new English teacher, enters. The Headmaster introduces him to the boys and to Miss Grant. The Headmaster continues flicking through the test papers and finds that Smeeton has a made a mistake on his margin ruling. He punishes the boy by making him rule a line a mile long, or one hundred and thirty-seven sheets of paper. Before storming out, he tells Nicholls to teach a lesson. In order for him to do this, Miss Grant first takes Nicholls out of the room to the book cupboard, telling the boys to be quiet while they are gone. The minute they are alone, the students begin teasing poor Smeeton and a fight ensues. It is only stopped when Nicholls comes back carrying a pile of books. Books are passed out, and when the boys see they are going to be reading Charles Dickens they are not happy. Nicholls pays no attention to their complaining. Instead, he tells them about the story of Nicholas Nickleby. It is a story of a young boy who loses his father and has to fend for himself. In the first part of the story, he is sent, by his uncle to teach in a terrible school run by a mean schoolmaster named Squeers who beats the students every day, The boys slowly become more and more interested in Nicholls’s narration. Very soon the boys are enjoying the tale and join in the celebration. sm-li The Headmaster and Miss Grant enter and inquire about the commotion in the room. They are shocked to learn that Nicholls has asked the boys to sing in an effort to help their learning. In fact, Nicholls explains that he was just about to make Nicholas Nickleby into a musical and was just about to give out parts. This further upsets Miss Grant who, as the Drama mistress, doesn't believe the students should express themselves and enjoy learning. Nicholls does not understand this mentality. It seems as if Nicholls' only option is to give up. He, however, quickly tricks the Headmaster into playing the part of Squeers (Headmaster of the school) and has convinced Miss Grant to play the part of the love interest, Fanny.