A North Cambridge Family Opera Company
April 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th and 13th, 2003.

The Puzzle Jigs

by David Haines
Adapted and Directed by David Bass
Choreography by Deborah Mason

Puzzle Jigs CD's now available!!

The North American premier production of this original opera was performed April 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th and 13th, 2003 at the M. E. Fitzgerald School in North Cambridge, Massachusetts.

See the cast lists


Act I

Indented links play MP3 recordings

One evening, a girl named Elvira is playing with her two best friends and her little sister Samphyre. They all begin to put together Elvira's new jigsaw puzzle, but it soon becomes clear that Samphyre is too young to contribute, and her mother gently suggests that she leave the older girls alone for a while. Samphyre, frustrated and left out, speculates that this kind of injustice would never occur in a jigsaw puzzle world. She falls asleep.

© 2003 Jon Chomitz


The puzzle jigs (the puzzle pieces who inhabit the magical Puzzle World) appear, also asleep. Then one jig, the "Missing Piece," arises and prepares to leave the Puzzle World. She is the only jig of her kind and feels like she doesn't fit in. She leaves for the Real World in hopes of finding other jigs like herself.

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

The Puzzle Jigs Enter / Strange Cold World

The other puzzle jigs then awaken and begin to assemble into a puzzle.

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

Dawn / Dance Of The Jigsaw Puzzle

Samphyre awakens and find herself in the midst of all this activity in the Puzzle World. She watches in awe, and the jigs encourage her to take her place in the puzzle.

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

What Is This
When Samphyre tells them she's not a puzzle piece, the jigs are confused and anxious. A bellicose people jig named the Secretary of Jigland Security and his two lackeys give a xenophobic voice to the other jigs' uncertainty by branding Samphyre a threat to the puzzle jigs' way of life. The jigs are worked into a frenzy, and a terrified Samphyre runs off and hides.

© 2003 Paul Raila

She Does Not Fit / You Do Not Belong

Piece Activist, a kindly sky jig, and her two attendants have second thoughts about how they have treated Samphyre.

© 2003 Paul Raila


The jigs again begin to assemble, but as the puzzle nears completion, they discover that one piece is missing. The Secretary of Jigland Security accuses Samphyre of causing this calamity by kidnapping the missing piece. The jigs descend into despair.

© 2003 Paul Raila

Dance Of The Jigsaw Puzzle (2) / We Cannot Complete / Its All Her Fault

Piece Activist suggests that Samphyre not only may be innocent, but might be able to help if she has seen the Missing Piece leave. Piece Activist recommends the jigs all search for Samphyre, but the Secretary of Jigland Security suspects Samphyre may be armed and dangerous, so only the best jigs should comprise the search party. He tells each group of jigs to present their qualifications, so he can select the best team.

© 2003 Paul Raila

Excuse Me / Search Party Mission

Each group of jigs - doggie jigs, tree jigs, people jigs, earth jigs, sky jigs, and water jigs - present their qualifications, but each is shouted down as unsuitable by the other groups.

© 2003 Paul Raila

Doggie Power / Unsuitable

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

The Trees / Unsuitable (2)

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

A Theory / Unsuitable (3)

© 2003 Paul Raila

We're The Ground / Unsuitable (4)

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

Sky / Unsuitable (5)

© 2003 Paul Raila


The jigs then argue fiercely with each other. A few of the jigs begin to realize that a change has overcome them, that they are now bickering and fighting instead of cooperating. Soon all the jigs are aware that the fabric of their compulsively cooperative society has been ripped asunder. They collapse in despair.

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

Act I Finale

Act II

In the Real World, Elvira and her friends near completion of the puzzle, while Samphyre continues to nap. Elvira's friends dance joyfully as Elvira fits in the last few pieces. Suddenly, Elvira discovers that there is a piece missing from her puzzle and throws a temper tantrum. Her mother tries to calm Elvira down, but to no avail.

© 2003 Paul Raila

Prelude Act II / Tantrum

Back in the Puzzle World, Piece Activist, echoed by her assistants, presents the bright side of the puzzle jigs' present predicament. If they can't find the Missing Piece, she reasons, they no longer have a purpose in the Puzzle World, so they should all go to the Real World to search for Samphyre and the Missing Piece. If they fail in their search, they can stay and find their place in the Real World. With renewed optimism, the puzzle jigs all leave for the Real World.

© 2003 Paul Raila

Interlude / The Real World

Samphyre, who has observed all of this from her hiding place, is sad that she feels as left out in the Puzzle World as she did in the Real World, and she predicts the puzzle jigs won't fit in any better in the Real World. The Missing Piece, who has just returned and overheard, tells Samphyre that she has learned from her journey to the Real World that there really is a place for everyone. Samphyre and the Missing Piece hear the puzzle jigs returning and hide.

© 2003 Paul Raila

Strange Cold World (2) / The Missing Piece Returns

Alas, none of the puzzle jigs has found acceptance in the Real World. Samphyre and the Missing Piece are both hesitant to come out of hiding, fearing that the puzzle jigs will be angry with them. Finally, Samphyre works up the courage and emerges. The puzzle jigs, sadder but wiser from their Real World experience, apologize for having treated Samphyre poorly.

© 2003 Paul Raila

Cardboard Cutouts / We're Sorry

Samphyre calls out the Missing Piece, who tells the jigs that the world is a giant jigsaw puzzle. There is a place for everyone, but it's not always clear where everyone goes, and some must wait on the outside until they find their place. The Missing Piece reveals herself to be the sun, a one-of-a-kind piece, and the jigs joyfully begin to assemble their puzzle.

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

The Sun

In the Real World, Samphyre is awakened by her mother, and discovers that she has fallen asleep clutching a puzzle piece. They go to Elvira's puzzle, and Samphyre fits the final piece in place. At the same time, the puzzle is also completed in the Puzzle World, as the sun, the final piece, finds its place.

© 2003 Jon Chomitz www.chomitz.com

Dance Of The Jigsaw Puzzle (3) & Finale

About the Composer

Composer David Haines lives in Devon, England, and has composed 13 stage works for a variety of professional, amateur and youth companies. His songs and song cycles have been broadcast on BBC Radio, and he has composed incidental music for Shakespeare and Dickens productions. His music has been performed in the Wigmore Hall, and the Purcell Room in London, and the Carnegie Recital Hall, in New York.

David received his degree in Music from Bristol University followed by two years studying composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Buxton Orr. David completed his training with two years on the Music Theater program at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada.

See photos from the past (UK) productions of The Puzzle Jigs