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THE SCARLET LETTER Musical in 2 acts. The Scarlet Letter is a collaborative work of five co-authors: Stacey Mancine, Daniel Koloski, Simon Gray, Michael Bahar, and Eric Braverman. Presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - August 2001 SYNOPSIS ACT ONE 1630. A terrible storm tosses a ship sailing for Massachusetts Bay. The following morning, sun illuminates the crowded deck of the ship Arabella as the coast of the New World is sighted. It has been a long and perilous journey from England and the passengers are weak and exhausted. As the craggy shores grow closer, their powerful leader, John Winthrop, unites them all in a glowing vision. 1642. Twelve years later, the town of Boston is thriving. Townspeople are tilling the soil, making clothing, hunting animals, felling trees. Their lives are harsh and unrewarding, but they have succeeded in building a society amidst the wild. A town crier announces the trial of Hester Prynne, a woman accused of adultery and bearing an illegitimate child. The whereabouts of Hester’s husband are unknown and he is feared shipwrecked. The shadowy Mistress Hibbins loudly speculates who the father of Hester’s child might be, reveling in the gossip she creates. The town elders, led by Governor Winthrop and Hibbins’ brother, Governor Bellingham, arrive in the town with the town clergymen, Reverend John Wilson, and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale. The townspeople gather to watch the trial as Hester is led from jail, with the baby in her arms, to her place on the scaffold. A stranger, Roger Chillingworth, arrives and he and Hester see each other as she is interrogated by Winthrop and Dimmesdale. When she refuses to offer the name of her secret lover, Winthrop sentences Hester to one final night in prison and to an eternity of public indignation-- the permanent wearing of the Scarlet Letter “A”. The crowd prays for the Lord’s mercy and His guidance of the colony. Later that same day, dusk is falling and the elders gather to discuss the day’s events. A mysterious figure walks quickly by, but is stopped by Governor Winthrop. After tepid conversation, the elders learn that stranger’s name is Roger Chillingworth, and that he is a doctor. Dimmesdale, appearing distant, is called into the conversation and soon invites the stranger to stay in the empty room in his home. When night falls, Hester is led back into her jail cell. Her marble façade begins to crack in the solitude, as her baby cries in a makeshift crib by the only window. Agitated, distressed and flooded with agonizing questions, she eventually tosses her scarlet A to the floor (HESTER IN JAIL). When she looks up, however, Roger Chillingworth is at the door. He has gained entry under the guise that he is a doctor sent to administer to the mother and child. When they are alone, they have a tense confrontation during which it is revealed that Roger is Hester’s long lost husband who has finally returned to her after being shipwrecked and living with the natives for several years. Roger is outraged at Hester’s indiscretion and demands the name of the child’s father. Hester refuses and Roger vows to stay in Boston until he roots out her lover. They swear not to reveal that they know each other. Roger leaves the trembling Hester. Eventually, a ray of moonlight shines through the bars of the window onto the face of her sleeping daughter. She is drawn to her child, and begins to experience a comfort, a purpose, and a resolve. She will be free AT THE BREAK OF DAY, but she knows her sentence has only begun. 1642-1649. Hester is a figure of hate among the resentful Townspeople who treat her with bitter disdain and outbursts of petty violence. Roger Chillingworth is welcomed as the town physician, and takes up residence in an available room at the home of Reverend Dimmesdale. As the years pass, the colony grows in size and certain free-thinking individuals threaten to undermine the singularity of Winthrop’s vision. We see further evidence of the colony’s merciless treatment of its deviants. Governor Winthrop is ailing in his old age, but remains a cherished leader in the community, aided more and more by the blustery Bellingham and the sternly pious Wilson. Dimmesdale has firmly established himself as the premier orator of the town (HYMN). In time, Hester establishes herself as an expert seamstress and provides the hypocritical and jealous