Set in the 1690s, Francis Nurse prepares an appeal on behave of his wife Rebecca Nurse who was wrongly convicted of witchery and publicly hanged by Judge Hawthorn, influenced by the Deputy Governor Danforth, both known more for hanging than providing justice.
The appeal papers are collected from Francis Nurse and delivered to the court by two young clerks, Blythe Danforth, the grandson of Deputy Governor Danforth, who sits in judgement, and a witness, Osmond Truman. Unknown to Francis Nurse his two older sons, working on the edge of legality, devise a devilish plan to expose the unjust judiciary, and the Reverend Hale, whose self preservation rides where the wind suits, by adorning a blood dripping sheep skin to pose as the devil. After delivering the papers young Blythe and Osmond accidentally witness the judiciary talking with what they believe to be the devil before he disappears in a flash of light. Frightened by what they have witnessed they take to their heels straight to Francis Nurse’s farmhouse a few miles from town. Not waiting for an invitation to enter they burst into the living room where Francis, Adger Rising, his solicitor, the two younger sons, Nathan and Breca Nurse, were discussing the appeal. Shocked by the uninvited intrusion Breca and Nathan restrain the intruders. Shaking in the brother’s grasp they shout out the sight they witnessed.
On hearing the boy’s story Adger Rising, a well-respected solicitor and friend of the Governor Gourlie, has never lost a case, recognises how this can work in the appeals favour, offers to take the boys to the Governor. As they leave the mother of Blythe enters worried to why her son has not returned home after delivering Nurse’s appeal. Francis tried to reassure her both Blythe and Osmond, had already left and are in good hands and health. The words not long passed his lips when Goody Truman, the mother of the young Osmond, entered screaming at the top of her voice demanding to know the whereabouts of her son. At Goody Truman’s request following not far behind is the Marshall Herrick, to ascertain the whereabouts of the boys. Francis continually refuses to divulge the boy’s whereabouts leaving Marshall Herrick no choice but to arrests him for kidnapping, at great protest from Breca and Nathan.
In the courtroom Francis, to the annoyance of Judge Hawthorn, refuses to answer to the case until his solicitor arrives. It was only at the end of the courts patience Adger Rising arrives with the Governor Gourlie, who dismisses the court and puts Judge Hawthorn, Deputy Governor Danforth, Reverend Hale, and Cheever, the court recorder, on trial. Adger Rising calls witnesses from Rebecca Nurse’s trial who testify that Deputy Governor Danforth and fellow accused held dread over them, should their testimonies not lean towards Rebecca’s guilt. Governor Gourlie threatened the defendants with removal from court if there continual interruptions did not cease. Finally found guilty and sentenced to the gallows. Francis Nurse, a man of God, had no stomach for more public hanging and intervened suggesting a sentence of banishment, without nourishment or weapons of defence, to a place where devil worship and witchery were a way of life, so that they either converted the people to the Good Book, or joined inhabitants in the ways of the Devil. Only time would tell if they truly repented or had indeed adopted the ways they have been found guilty of.
22 male,11female Cast ages from 70years to 15 years
Available for performance
Please contact the Author: William J Adger (for other licences please contact the Author)