Our 2009 Production will be

The Weaver's Wedding
music by Bernard Hughes
libretto by William Radice
based on a Bengali story by Upendrakishore Raychaudhuri

Auditions October 4, 5, 11, 12, and 13, 2008
Performances March 28th and 29th, April 4th and 5th, 2009

The Story

Act One

Listen to the Opening Chorus (Story Teller and Company)

The Story Teller spins a tale to interest five children, and so we meet Rajah the Weaver. Rajah is no use at multi-tasking. He knows he should weave his cloth, cut his crops and milk his cow, but he gets confused. When his scythe gets hot, the clever Jackal advises him: "Dip your scythe in the water - That will make it cooler".

This advice works well, until Rajah plunges his cow into the pond to cool her down and drowns her, to the mortification of his neighbors in the village. To make amends, the Jackal promises to help Rajah find the ideal wife: a princess! The neighbors are doubtful but intrigued, as is Rajah. The Jackal tells him to "take a bath and brush your hair - Weave some beautiful clothes to wear", while he, the Jackal, is to go and meet the King, returning in three days time. Fortunately for Rajah, his friends the Weavers, Washerwomen, Milkmaids, Children, Village Elders and Peacocks are willing to help him.

Listen to The Marriage Proposal (Story Teller, Jackal, King, Queen, The Five Children, Myna Birds)

Once at the palace, the Jackal impresses the court with his confident appearance (not to mention his very special and expensive shoes). Now while 'rajah' means king, our Rajah is a mere weaver. Without telling a single lie, the jackal makes him sound so impressive that the King and Queen are quite won over, as are the advisers from the Prime Minister all the way down to the Deputy Deputy Deputy Deputy Deputy Deputy Prime Minister. Besides the King needs a male heir, and the Princess is getting rather expensive. The Jackal is given a purse of gold with which to greet his master and begin to arrange the marriage.

Act Two

The Peacocks, Myna Birds, Koel Birds and Doves, Frogs, Jackals and Mosquitoes are under orders from the Jackal to make as much noise as possible outside the palace, and the King is understandably alarmed. The Jackal explains that this is his master's wedding procession: "No bridegroom's train was ever larger!" It takes another bag of gold to buy some peace so that the King can get dressed without being deafened.

As the Jackal is weighing the purse of gold with satisfaction, Rajah arrives, magnificently attired. Knowing that his rustic tones would give him away, the Jackal instructs Rajah not to say a single word. Sure enough, the Weaver's dignified silence impresses the court deeply. A feast is prepared and the Jackal shares some of the gold with the Birds and the Beasts; Rajah and the Princess arrive together, Rajah smiling broadly but the Princess looking cross.

Listen to The Wedding Night (Rajah, Princess, Mosquitoes)

After the wedding, it becomes clear that the Princess is very angry to have been married to as man who refuses to speak. Rajah, meanwhile, cannot work out how to get into the marriage bed - literally! He wrecks the mosquito net, and as the dreaded insects invade, Rajah forgets his vow of silence. In a moment he has revealed his true identity.

The Princess is furious, but even in her rage, she comes up with a plan to get rid of the Mosquitoes. Rajah falls in love with her for being so clever and vows to obey her. Meanwhile, she decides to make the best of things by organizing his education in reading, dancing, music, fencing and archery. The results are stunning! So popular does Rajah become that the King is persuaded to declare him his heir-apparent. Chincha-Chancha Cooroo!

Listen to The Prime Ministers (Prime Minister Chorus)