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Authors: Arthur Ransome

Swallows and Amazons

BOOK: Swallows and Amazons
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SWALLOWS
AND AMAZONS

adapted by

HELEN EDMUNDSON

with songs by

NEIL HANNON

based on the novel by

ARTHUR RANSOME

NICK HERN BOOKS

London

www.nickhernbooks.co.uk

Contents

Title Page

Production Note

Original Production

Characters

Act One

Act Two

About the Authors

Copyright and Performing Rights Information

Production Note

Imagination is at the very centre of
Swallows and Amazons
. The children in the story are given the freedom to act out an ambitious, enthralling, imaginative game. And that proved to be the key to this adaptation, and to the staging of it. No need for real boats on real water, no need for owls and cormorants, no need, even, for children (they were played by adults in the first production, although I would love to see children perform it). If the imaginative world is established from the start, the audience will understand and enjoy the fact that boxes can become boats, and feather dusters can become parrots. The only required truth is in the emotions of the Swallows and the Amazons, as they negotiate their way through this extraordinary adventure.

Helen Edmundson

This stage adaptation of
Swallows and Amazons
was first performed at the Bristol Old Vic on 1 December 2010, with the following cast:

NANCY BLACKETT

Celia Adams

PEGGY BLACKETT

Amy Booth-Steel

SUSAN WALKER

Rosalie Craig

TITTY WALKER

Akiya Henry

JOHN WALKER

Stuart McLoughlin

ROGER WALKER

Stewart Wright

MOTHER

Alice Barclay

MR JACKSON

Trevor Michael Georges

POLICEMAN

Fionn Gill

OLD BILLY

Pieter Lawman

CAPTAIN FLINT

Richard Standing

PIRATE

Kyra Williams

Adapter

Helen Edmundson

Composer

Neil Hannon

Director

Tom Morris

Director of Movement

Toby Sedgwick

Set and Costume Designer

Robert Innes Hopkins

Musical Supervision/Arrangements/Orchestrations

Sam Kenyon

Lighting Designer

James Farncombe

Sound Designer

Jason Barnes

Additional Arrangements

Andrew Skeet

Additional Musical Material

Sam Kenyon

Co-Costume Designer

Liesel Corp

Casting Director

Alison Chard

The National Theatre in association with the Children's Touring Partnership presented the Bristol Old Vic production of
Swallows and Amazons
at the Vaudeville Theatre in London's West End, on 15 December 2011, with the following cast:

NANCY BLACKETT

Celia Adams

TITTY WALKER

Akiya Henry

JOHN WALKER

Richard Holt

SUSAN WALKER

Katie Moore

PEGGY BLACKETT

Sophie Waller

ROGER WALKER

Stewart Wright

CAPTAIN FLINT

Greg Barnett

FATHER/YOUNG BILLY

Neal Craig

MR JACKSON/PIRATE

Adrian Garratt

PIRATE

Alison George

MOTHER

Hilary Tones

POLICEMAN/OLD BILLY

Jon Trenchard Francesca Bradley

Adapter

Helen Edmundson

Composer

Neil Hannon

Director

Tom Morris

Director of Movement

Toby Sedgwick

Set and Costume Designer

Robert Innes Hopkins

Musical Supervision/Arrangements/Orchestrations

Sam Kenyon

Lighting Designer

James Farncombe

Sound Designer

Jason Barnes

Additional Arrangements

Andrew Skeet

Additional Musical Material

Sam Kenyon

Co-Costume Designer

Liesel Corp

Casting Director

Alison Chard

The production subsequently toured to Chichester Festival Theatre; Festival Theatre Edinburgh; Theatre Royal, Nottingham; Belgrade Theatre, Coventry; Wycombe Swan Theatre, High Wycombe; Malvern Festival Theatre; Civic Theatre, Darlington; West Yorkshire Playhouse; Liverpool Playhouse; Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury; Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield; Cambridge Arts Theatre; Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton; Theatre Royal Plymouth and New Theatre, Cardiff.

Characters

Swallows

TITTY WALKER

ROGER WALKER

JOHN WALKER

SUSAN WALKER

Amazons

NANCY BLACKETT

PEGGY BLACKETT

Grown-ups

MOTHER

MR JACKSON

CAPTAIN FLINT

CHARCOAL BURNER 1

CHARCOAL BURNER 2

PIRATE 1

PIRATE 2

POLICEMAN

ACT ONE

Scene One

The attic of an old house. A very old lady
(TITTY),
enters. She is carrying a feather duster in her hand. She looks about her. She has not been up here for a long time, and, slowly, she reacquaints herself with her old possessions: a cabin trunk, an old-fashioned typewriter, a stuffed parrot, a whistling kettle, pots and pans, blankets. She sits down and takes up an old photograph album. She blows the dust from the cover and opens it. As she turns the pages, the photographs she is looking at come to life. There are two of young men in Naval uniform
(JOHN
and
ROGER).
One is of a very smartly dressed, intellectual-looking lady
(SUSAN).
The last is of a kind-looking lady, arm in arm with a Naval Commander
(MOTHER
and Father
). TITTY
smiles
.

Suddenly the feather duster sits up and squawks
. TITTY
stares at it in astonishment, then remembers
.

TITTY. Polly?

The duster is transformed into a parrot. It squawks again, and flies to her. It lands on her hand
.

Polly.

She strokes its feathers. After a moment
, TITTY
begins to sing
.

Song – ‘Like Robinson Crusoe'

Since I was three I've longed to be like Robinson Crusoe,

Making my home all on my own like Robinson Crusoe,

This is my own Pacific isle, no one around for miles and miles,

It's rather frightening,

One little wave follows another,

One tiny bird dives for its supper,

One buzzing bee flies through the heather,

One perfect day to last for ever.

Polly flies off. In her mind
, TITTY
returns to the Peak in Darien
–
the promontory in the Lake District from where she and her siblings liked to gaze out across the lake to the island
.

(
Speaking
.) Look at it. A desert island. Waiting for us to discover it.

A little boy
(ROGER)
runs in. He has a telegram in his hand. He runs round and round the stage, imitating a sailboat
.

ROGER. Dispatches! Dispatches!

TITTY. Roger? Roger!

ROGER. Dispatches! Dispatches!

Scene Two

Summer 1929. The peak of a hill in the Lake District
(
Peak in Darien
). TITTY
is suddenly a girl again. Beside her is her brother
, JOHN,
who is stoking a small fire. Her sister
, SUSAN,
is sitting on a rock making marmalade sandwiches
. TITTY
springs to her feet as
ROGER
runs up
.

ROGER. Dispatches! Dispatches!

TITTY (
jumping up
). The telegram from Daddy!

SUSAN. At last.

ROGER
reaches them
.

TITTY. What does it say?

ROGER. Mother hasn't opened it. She says John should.

JOHN
takes it and opens it quickly. He reads and smiles
.

SUSAN. Well?

TITTY. What?

ROGER. What does it say?

SUSAN. Read it aloud.

JOHN. It says, ‘Better drowned than duffers if not duffers won't drown.'

ROGER. What?

TITTY. ‘Better drowned than duffers if not duffers won't drown.'

JOHN. Good old Daddy.

SUSAN. But what does it mean?

TITTY. It means yes.

ROGER. Yes? For me too?

JOHN. All of us. We can all go and camp on the island.

ROGER. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! It's because I'm not the youngest any more.

JOHN. We can take
Swallow
and sail her across.

SUSAN. Can I see?

SUSAN
takes the telegram
.

ROGER. Fat Vicky can't come because she's the baby.

TITTY. Good old Daddy.

SUSAN. But what are ‘duffers if not duffers'?

JOHN. It doesn't say that.

TITTY. It says that if we're duffers…

ROGER. What's a duffer?

SUSAN. A fool.

TITTY. Then we'd be better off drowned. Then it stops and starts again, and says that as we aren't duffers…

JOHN. ‘
If
'.

TITTY. Yes –
if
we aren't duffers we won't be drowned.

SUSAN. Daddy put that in to comfort Mother.

JOHN. This is marvellous. I thought it was never going to come. I thought it would be too late and the holiday would be over.

SUSAN. It did have to come all the way from Daddy's ship.

JOHN. Let's make Ship's Articles.

He sits, and takes a scrap of paper and a pencil from his pocket. He writes –

Sailing vessel – ‘
Swallow
'. Port – ‘Jackson's Farm'. Owner…

SUSAN. Mr Jackson, the farmer, I suppose

JOHN. Master – John Walker, aged twelve. Mate?

SUSAN. Susan Walker, aged eleven.

JOHN. Able Seaman?

TITTY. Titty Walker, aged nine.

JOHN. Ship's Boy?

ROGER. Me! Roger Walker, aged nearly eight.

JOHN. Aged seven.

Now, you all have to sign opposite your names.

ROGER. Can we go now?

SUSAN. Of course we can't go now. A lot of preparations must be made for a voyage.

TITTY. But if we hurry…

JOHN. We can go tomorrow – if there's a wind.

SUSAN. There's no wind at all today.

JOHN. If there's no wind we won't be able to sail, and we'll have to wait.

ROGER. Wait?

TITTY. But we can't wait any longer. (
Gazing out across the lake to the island
.) Look at it. Our island.

SUSAN. We've waited for three weeks already. A day or two more won't do any harm.

TITTY. We'll have to make the wind come. We'll have to whistle for it.

BOOK: Swallows and Amazons
12.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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