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TREEMONISHA A Folk Opera. By Scott Joplin. Uris Theatre, Broadway - 21 October, 1975 (64 perfs) SYNOPSIS "Joplin's opera triumph of artistry, human spirit," headlined one critic and a telegram concerning the Houston production suggests the popular appeal. It read "Final night of Treemonisha played to standing ovation from twenty-five thousand people. Finale repeated three times!" Scott Joplin, who refused to accept the limitations imposed on a man born son of a slave, became "King of Ragtime" and then, at the height of his popularity, turned to serious music. He gave the prime of his life to creating this opera which America was then unwilling to consider. His blazing talent frustrated, Joplin died with his major work unpublished. Discovered by Vera Brodsky Lawrence, who recognised Joplin's genius, Dramatic Publishing is especially proud to be the publisher. Harold Schonberg, music critic of the N. Y. Times described the plot as " the forces of ignorance and superstition against liberalism and education as represented by a lady named Treemonisha . . . it refuses to leave the mind." It played to capacity business at Kennedy Center and then played nine weeks on Broadway! STORY The action is set in 1884 in Arkansas, northeast of Texarkana, on a plantation surrounded by dense forests. ACT ONE The conjuror Zodzetrick tries to sell Monisha a bag of luck, but her husband Ned and daughter Treemonisha intervene.Treemonisha and her friend Remus accuse Zodzetrick of having incited fear and superstition among their neighbours for many years for his own profit. But Zodzetrick will not be put off and threatens to return again soon. The Corn Huskers enter to begin work. They pause for a ring dance. Treemonisha notices that the other girls are wearing in their hair wreaths made from leaves, while she has only a bonnet. With her friend Lucy she goes over to a nearby tree to pluck leaves to make a wreath of her own. But Monisha urges her to take the leaves from another tree. Monisha explains her strange request by relating Treemonisha's origins. Eighteen years ago she found the girl as a newborn under that "sacred tree", whose leaves had sheltered the foundling from the heavy rains and the burning sun. Treemonisha is amazed to learn that Monisha is not her natural mother. The Corn Huskers are also surprised at the news. When Treemonisha was seven years old, Monisha continues, she and Ned had her educated by a white woman because there was no school in the neighbourhood. Monisha does not know who Treemonisha's natural parents are. At first she named her after herself, but then - because as a little girl she so loved to play under the "sacred tree" - she gave her the name of Treemonisha. The itinerant preacher Parson Alltalk enters. He exhorts the people to respect truth and the love of one's neighbours as great virtues. Lucy comes back without Treemonisha, gagged and with her hands tied behind her. Monisha unbinds her and Lucy tells her what has happened. Zodzetrick and another conjuror named Luddud have also bound and gagged Treemonisha. Lucy was only able, with great effort, to free herself. The men decide to rescue Treemonisha, and Remus disguises himself as a scarecrow to frighten the conjurors away. ACT TWO Conjurors' meeting place in the woods: the magician Simon recites a list of things that bring trouble, and the assembled crowd superstitiously confirms his words. Zodzetrick and Luddud arrive with the bound and gagged Treemonisha. They insist that she should be punished for not being superstitious and, still worse, for trying to discourage superstition in the others. Dance of eight bears