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Assumption Eve by Michael W. Thomas
AuthorTHOMAS, Michael W. - Other Plays by this Author - Contact Author
FormatFull-length.
SynopsisAssumption Eve: a play in four acts by Michael W. Thomas, 2006. This is, allegedly, a true report of a miracle which occurred in the vicinity of Worcester in the opening years of the thirteenth-century. It is inscribed in the annals of St. Wulfstan, Worcester’s patron saint. I am grateful to Mr. Charles Mundy, Heritage Information Officer at Worcester Museums, and Dr. Richard Holt, for providing me with the outline of the miracle and for commenting on drafts of the play. The central character is Thomas of Eldersfield, a free tenant in of the manor of Eldersfield, near Tewkesbury. He was raised at Tirley, and his father, Estmer, lives with the rest of the family at Northway, near Ashchurch. Act 1 introduces Thomas and his family, but also introduces the event which drives the whole action: Thomas’s affair with the wife of Lord Robert of Northway. We follow Thomas’s life and see how he, his family and his livelihood are imperilled by his persistence in the affair. For two years it is the staple of gossip in the locality. But finally, under pressure from his family, Thomas formally declares all to his confessor. But the Lady of Northway, whom I have named Isobel, will not be cast aside so easily. In Act 2, on the death of Lord Robert, she strives to reopen the affair, declaring that there is now no bar to marriage between Thomas and herself. Though at the mercy of conflicting passions, Thomas holds to his resolve to have nothing further to do with her. Spurned, she finds her love for him turning to hatred. She marries another man, George, who--finding his fortunes giddily elevated by the match--plays the role of Lord with an arrogance that befits his ego. He too conceives a loathing for Lady Isobel's former lover. Born of envy, it makes him a biddable pawn in her game of revenge. The climax of the Act occurs on Whit Sunday, 1217. George and Thomas encounter each other at a tavern (which I have set in Tewkesbury). Goaded by Lady Isobel's new husband, Thomas finally retaliates, striking George a minor blow with his axe. Inevitably, George wastes no time in proclaiming that Thomas acted with malice aforethought, with dire consequences for the free man. In Act 3, Thomas is tried at Worcester in 1221 before a local jury and in the presence of the King’s circuit justices. The jury, well bribed by the new Lord of Northway, find in his favour, and--as was the custom of the times--the real trial is then decided on: in this case, a duel between George and Thomas. This occurs a few days later. George is triumphant in the duel, gravely injuring Thomas. This is not through any expertise on his part. Instead, having accused Thomas of a felony after the tavern brawl, he has been able to throw him in prison numerous times between that episode and the arrival of the King’s justices. Each time, Thomas has found it more difficult and costly to have himself freed. Fearful for his family, tormented by all that has happened since his affair, he is an easy prey for proud George. The climax of the Act sees George--in a viciously ironic display of mercy--deciding to have Thomas castrated rather than killed. In Act 4, Thomas, barely alive, is removed to the precincts of St. Wulfstan’s Hospital (now the Commandery Civil War Centre, Worcester). Niceties of morality being what they were at the time, his offences (adultery and attacking the Lord of Northway) mean that he cannot be taken in and cared for. However, a lady takes pity on him and tends him where he lies, inside a rough-and-ready tend constructed by his father, Estmer. On ‘Assumption Eve,’--the feast of the assumption of the Virgin Mary--Thomas has a wondrous vision, involving the Virgin and St Wulfstan together. It is then that the miracle occurs--and Thomas experiences a full ‘restoration.’ As for what befalls the Lady of Northway and her preening Lord--that, too, will be revealed. Michael W. Thomas, 2006 Characters (including age guidelines): The Monk from Brookvale Abbey: the play's 'chorus.' 40 years-plus. Thomas of Eldersfield. 20s. Sir Geoffrey Fitz Peter, Lord of Eldersfield Manor. 40 years-plus. Estmer of Northway, Thomas's father. Late 40s / early 50s. Betsy, his mother. Late 40s / early 50s. Alfred, his younger brother. 10 to early teenage. Celie, his young sister. Pre-teenage. Isobel, Lady of Northway Manor, wife of Sir Robert. Amour of Thomas. 20s / early 30s. William of Ashchurch, a blacksmith. 50s. His wife 50s. Joan, their daughter, later Thomas's sweetheart, then wife. 20s. George of Northway, later husband of Isobel; Thomas's rival. Late 20s / early 30s. Brother Palfer from Brookvale Abbey, Thomas's confessor. Late 40s / early 50s. Brother Harold from Brookvale Abbey, priest at Tirley; occasional assistant to William at his forge. Early 40s. Tirley Sally of the 'Badger' Tavern, Tewkesbury; popular comforter'in the shire of Worcester. Late teenage / early 20s. Chief Justice and two assistants. 40s / 50s. Twelve jurors. Various ages--youngest, 20s. Julia, Thomas's helper at St Wulfstan's hospital. 30s. Assorted villagers, townsfolk, high-day hawkers, players and other entertainers in Tewkesbury and Worcester. Various ages.
InformationBased on real people/events
Cast12M, 7F plus actors in crowd and trial scenes (minimum 20)
'Assumption Eve': A play in four acts by Michael W. Thomas. Characters (including age guidelines): The Monk from Brookvale Abbey: the play's 'chorus.' 40 years-plus. Thomas of Eldersfield. 20s. Sir Geoffrey Fitz Peter, Lord of Eldersfield Manor. 40 years-plus. Estmer of Northway, Thomas's father. Late 40s / early 50s. Betsy, his mother. Late 40s / early 50s. Alfred, his younger brother. 10 to early teenage. Celie, his young sister. Pre-teenage. Isobel, Lady of Northway Manor, wife of Sir Robert. Amour of Thomas. 20s / early 30s. William of Ashchurch, a blacksmith. 50s. His wife 50s. Joan, their daughter, later Thomas's sweetheart, then wife. 20s. George of Northway, later husband of Isobel; Thomas's rival. Late 20s / early 30s. Brother Palfer from Brookvale Abbey, Thomas's confessor. Late 40s / early 50s. Brother Harold from Brookvale Abbey, priest at Tirley; occasional assistant to William at his forge. Early 40s. Tirley Sally of the 'Badger' Tavern, Tewkesbury; popular comforter'in the shire of Worcester. Late teenage / early 20s. Chief Justice and two assistants. 40s / 50s. Twelve jurors. Various ages--youngest, 20s. Julia, Thomas's helper at St Wulfstan's hospital. 30s. Assorted villagers, townsfolk, high-day hawkers, players and other entertainers in Tewkesbury and Worcester. Various ages. 'Assumption Eve': A play in four acts by Michael W. Thomas. Characters (including age guidelines): The Monk from Brookvale Abbey: the play's 'chorus.' 40 years-plus. Thomas of Eldersfield. 20s. Sir Geoffrey Fitz Peter, Lord of Eldersfield Manor. 40 years-plus. Estmer of Northway, Thomas's father. Late 40s / early 50s. Betsy, his mother. Late 40s / early 50s. Alfred, his younger brother. 10 to early teenage. Celie, his young sister. Pre-teenage. Isobel, Lady of Northway Manor, wife of Sir Robert. Amour of Thomas. 20s / early 30s. William of Ashchurch, a blacksmith. 50s. His wife 50s. Joan, their daughter, later Thomas's sweetheart, then wife. 20s. George of Northway, later husband of Isobel; Thomas's rival. Late 20s / early 30s. Brother Palfer from Brookvale Abbey, Thomas's confessor. Late 40s / early 50s. Brother Harold from Brookvale Abbey, priest at Tirley; occasional assistant to William at his forge. Early 40s. Tirley Sally of the 'Badger' Tavern, Tewkesbury; popular comforter'in the shire of Worcester. Late teenage / early 20s. Chief Justice and two assistants. 40s / 50s. Twelve jurors. Various ages--youngest, 20s. Julia, Thomas's helper at St Wulfstan's hospital. 30s. Assorted villagers, townsfolk, high-day hawkers, players and other entertainers in Tewkesbury and Worcester. Various ages. 'Assumption Eve': A play in four acts by Michael W. Thomas. Characters (including age guidelines): The Monk from Brookvale Abbey: the play's 'chorus.' 40 years-plus. Thomas of Eldersfield. 20s. Sir Geoffrey Fitz Peter, Lord of Eldersfield Manor. 40 years-plus. Estmer of Northway, Thomas's father. Late 40s / early 50s. Betsy, his mother. Late 40s / early 50s. Alfred, his younger brother. 10 to early teenage. Celie, his young sister. Pre-teenage. Isobel, Lady of Northway Manor, wife of Sir Robert. Amour of Thomas. 20s / early 30s. William of Ashchurch, a blacksmith. 50s. His wife 50s. Joan, their daughter, later Thomas's sweetheart, then wife. 20s. George of Northway, later husband of Isobel; Thomas's rival. Late 20s / early 30s. Brother Palfer from Brookvale Abbey, Thomas's confessor. Late 40s / early 50s. Brother Harold from Brookvale Abbey, priest at Tirley; occasional assistant to William at his forge. Early 40s. Tirley Sally of the 'Badger' Tavern, Tewkesbury; popular comforter'in the shire of Worcester. Late teenage / early 20s. Chief Justice and two assistants. 40s / 50s. Twelve jurors. Various ages--youngest, 20s. Julia, Thomas's helper at St Wulfstan's hospital. 30s. Assorted villagers, townsfolk, high-day hawkers, players and other entertainers in Tewkesbury and Worcester. Various ages. 'Assumption Eve': A play in four acts by Michael W. Thomas. Characters (including age guidelines): The Monk from Brookvale Abbey: the play's 'chorus.' 40 years-plus. Thomas of Eldersfield. 20s. Sir Geoffrey Fitz Peter, Lord of Eldersfield Manor. 40 years-plus. Estmer of Northway, Thomas's father. Late 40s / early 50s. Betsy, his mother. Late 40s / early 50s. Alfred, his younger brother. 10 to early teenage. Celie, his young sister. Pre-teenage. Isobel, Lady of Northway Manor, wife of Sir Robert. Amour of Thomas. 20s / early 30s. William of Ashchurch, a blacksmith. 50s. His wife 50s. Joan, their daughter, later Thomas's sweetheart, then wife. 20s. George of Northway, later husband of Isobel; Thomas's rival. Late 20s / early 30s. Brother Palfer from Brookvale Abbey, Thomas's confessor. Late 40s / early 50s. Brother Harold from Brookvale Abbey, priest at Tirley; occasional assistant to William at his forge. Early 40s. Tirley Sally of the 'Badger' Tavern, Tewkesbury; popular comforter'in the shire of Worcester. Late teenage / early 20s. Chief Justice and two assistants. 40s / 50s. Twelve jurors. Various ages--youngest, 20s. Julia, Thomas's helper at St Wulfstan's hospital. 30s. Assorted villagers, townsfolk, high-day hawkers, players and other entertainers in Tewkesbury and Worcester. Various ages. 'Assumption Eve': A play in four acts by Michael W. Thomas. Characters (including age guidelines): The Monk from Brookvale Abbey: the play's 'chorus.' 40 years-plus. Thomas of Eldersfield. 20s. Sir Geoffrey Fitz Peter, Lord of Eldersfield Manor. 40 years-plus. Estmer of Northway, Thomas's father. Late 40s / early 50s. Betsy, his mother. Late 40s / early 50s. Alfred, his younger brother. 10 to early teenage. Celie, his young sister. Pre-teenage. Isobel, Lady of Northway Manor, wife of Sir Robert. Amour of Thomas. 20s / early 30s. William of Ashchurch, a blacksmith. 50s. His wife 50s. Joan, their daughter, later Thomas's sweetheart, then wife. 20s. George of Northway, later husband of Isobel; Thomas's rival. Late 20s / early 30s. Brother Palfer from Brookvale Abbey, Thomas's confessor. Late 40s / early 50s. Brother Harold from Brookvale Abbey, priest at Tirley; occasional assistant to William at his forge. Early 40s. Tirley Sally of the 'Badger' Tavern, Tewkesbury; popular comforter'in the shire of Worcester. Late teenage / early 20s. Chief Justice and two assistants. 40s / 50s. Twelve jurors. Various ages--youngest, 20s. Julia, Thomas's helper at St Wulfstan's hospital. 30s. Assorted villagers, townsfolk, high-day hawkers, players and other entertainers in Tewkesbury and Worcester. Various ages. Please see synopsis above
Production
StatusAvailable for performance
DOWNLOADS - these do not include any performance rights
FileDateDescriptionAvailabilityPurchase
To Harbour the Harbourless Act 4 rev 2.rtfTue, 24th Oct 2006Full scriptAvailable to print: £0.00Download here
To Harbour the Harbourless Act 1.rtfTue, 24th Oct 2006Act 1 Assumption EveAvailable to print: £0.00Download here
To Harbour the Harbourless Act 2.rtfTue, 24th Oct 2006Act 2 Assumption EveAvailable to print: £0.00Download here
To Harbour the Harbourless Act 3 full.rtfTue, 24th Oct 2006Act 3 Assumption EveAvailable to print: £0.00Download here
To Harbour the Harbourless Act 4 rev 2.rtfTue, 24th Oct 2006Act 4 Assumption EveAvailable to print: £0.00Download here
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Tue, 24th Oct 2006 14:04Michael W. Thomas'To Harbour the Harbourless' is the play's subtitle
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Michael W. Thomas

Michael W. Thomas A Note on the Author: Michael W. Thomas is originally from Staffordshire, England, and lived in Canada for a number of years. He is a poet, fiction-writer, songwriter, musician and dramatist, with over twenty years' experience of publication and involvement with creative writing. His work has appeared in Stand, Iron, Other Poetry, Staple, The Interpreter's House, The Swansea Review (all UK), as well as in Grain and Alive Magazine (Canada), Irish University Review (Dublin) and The Antioch Review (USA); and he is due to be published in Albania! He also reviews for Other Poetry and Irish Studies Review (UK). Michael was awarded first prize in the 1998 'Housman Society' poetry competition, and has also gained recognition in the 'Stand Magazine' short fiction competition, the 'Yorkshire Open' competition, two 'Poets Anonymous' competitions and several others. He has recently written a novel, The Song of the Sun, which is due for publication; and his full-length play, Assumption Eve--a dramatization of 'the Miracle of St Wulfstan,' Worcester's patron saint--is to be performed as part of the Three Choirs' Festival, Worcester, in August 2006. His latest poetry collection, Port Winston Mulberry, was published by Silver Age Books in 2005. Michael was guest poet at the annual Robert Frost Poetry Festival, Key West, Florida, in Spring 2004, and has been invited to return in 2005. Michael also has extensive experience in running creative writing courses. He works regularly with writers' groups in the West Midlands, offering day and residential workshops on a wide range of topics, covering all literary genres. He also works with creative writing students at Birmingham University and in primary schools throughout the country. He is a member of the UK Society of Authors and the National Association of Writers in Education. For a chance to look at Michael's own writing, please visit his website: http://freespace.virgin.net/michaelw.thomas/ For a chance to see his Roman novel, 'Spatula: a Tribune's Life,' please visit the Worcester Museums website: http://www.worcestercitymuseums.org.uk/content/rostory/spatind.htm For a chance to find out about the Robert Frost Poetry Festival, please visit: http://www.heritagehousemuseum.org/html/frostPoetryFestival.htm As of April 2004, Michael is official 'Poet-at-Large' in the Navy of the Conch Republic, Key West.
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