Shows S

townspeople with finely woven linens and articles of clothing. She works hard to provide for her daughter, Pearl, who is growing into an active and ebullient child. As Pearl gets older and more uncontrollable, her impish ways arouse the ire of the colonists. She is the elf-child. As the years pass, Mistress Hibbins tries to entice Hester into the forest to join her sisterhood and develops a special fondness for Pearl whom she considers to be a kindred spirit. Against all this, the townspeople ostensibly reaffirm their vision of the City Upon a Hill, and Hester fears she may never earn acceptance. Seven years after he arrived in Boston, Roger has become bitter with his failure to track down the man who has stolen his wife. He hatches a plan to root out the culprit by urging the removal of the child from her mother and observing who, if anyone, comes to their aid. Eventually, his musings and machinations are cut short by news that the increasingly frail Dimmesdale has fainted. Roger hurries to the home they share and administers a potion. The two men share a warm camaraderie based on their mutual longing for lives left behind in England. As they reminisce, they contemplate why they have come to the New World and where their journey will take them. Left alone and unable to write his sermon, Dimmesdale daydreams of Hester and Pearl. Pearl, now seven years old, plays capriciously in the woods, singing a strange and free-spirited song while ignoring calls of her mother to return home. Mistress Hibbins, observing the young child, comes out of hiding and urges Hester to join her in the woods. When Hester declines, Mistress Hibbins reveals the secret she had overheard. The plot hatched by Roger is beginning to unfold. Hester races to the mansion to confront the elders In a tense meeting at the Governor's Hall, the elders decide that Pearl should be removed from Hester’s home and raised in a Christian environment, given the mounting paranoia from the community that several women, including Hester and Pearl, are practicing witchcraft. When Hester arrives with Pearl, a debilitated and aged Winthrop attempts to calm the mother with great diplomatic skill. The bumbling Bellingham, on the other hand, tries to placate her while the patronizing Wilson tries to examine the child. The desperation of Hester and the increasing agitation of Pearl frightens Wilson who pronounces that they must take the girl at once. In a desperate plea to Dimmesdale, the first words she has spoken to him in seven years, Hester begs the pastor to speak for her. Dimmesdale, touched by the sight of Pearl who seems instinctually drawn to him for protection, delivers a tender and heartfelt petition to the Governors that Pearl be allowed to stay with her mother. Winthrop is moved by Dimmesdale’s words, much to the chagrin of Bellingham and Wilson. The dying governor, knowing that this decision will be his last contribution to the colony, pays tribute to Hester’s hard work in the community and allows her to keep her child on condition she is brought up a God-fearing Christian. Roger notes to himself Dimmesdale’s heretofore unobserved compassion for Hester and her daughter. Hester is left alone and begins to wonder whether the heart of her child’s father might be changing and whether her own life might now take a turn (THE TURNING). Later that night, Dimmesdale, unable to sleep and frustrated by his inability to write his sermon, wanders out into the night, drawing closer with each staggered step to the scaffold on which Hester stood seven years earlier. Hibbins foretells of a nightmare about to unfold as Roger’s suspicions of Dimmesdale plague his mind (REVELATIONS). Before Roger can confront Dimmesdale he is called to the home of Governor Winthrop who is moments away from death. As word of the Governor's imminent death spreads through the town, Dimmesdale remains on the scaffold, tormented by visions of demons that are torturing his soul for the secret he keeps. Finally, he screams his confession, but to no avail: the town is silent except for the distant knell announcing the death of the Governor. The Reverend collapses on the scaffold, his secret remaining within. Hester and Pearl arrive from the Governor’s deathbed where Hester was measuring him for his burial robes. Dimmesdale thinks he is dreaming and calls Hester and Pearl to him. They join him on the scaffold, where Dimmesdale takes the child’s hand. The townspeople gather in the Town Square to mourn their Governor in a candlelight vigil as a terrific display of shooting stars streaks across the blackened sky. Bellingham delivers a passionate eulogy.. Roger arrives and, from the shadows, observes Dimmesdale on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl. He has at last found the culprit. (WHO IS THIS MAN?) As dawn breaks, however, Roger does not spring the trap, but rather sets a new one. Smiling warmly, he leads Dimmesdale from the scaffold by the