by Richard Stuart Dixon
© Richard Stuart Dixon, 2005

(Note: Performance of this play requires the author’s permission. Please contact Good School Plays for details.)

Production Notes:

• running time: approx. 45 minutes.
• style: ensemble tragedy
• suitable for general audiences
• 18 characters (11 female, 7 male)
• black-box staging (no set required)

Summary of Script Content:

• The citizens of the village of Winterfall gather to tell a tale of a dark event. There has been an insurrection in the capital. The village has been inevitably drawn into the conflict, with tragic results.

(This play was first performed on January 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, in the year 2005, at Gleneagle Secondary School in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.)

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Character List

Scene 1
Scene 2
Scene 3
Scene 4
Scene 5
Scene 6
Scene 7
Scene 8
Scene 9
Scene 10
Scene 11
Scene 12
Scene 13
Scene 14
Scene 15
Scene 16
Scene 17
Scene 18
Scene 19
Scene 20
Scene 21
Scene 22
Scene 23
Scene 24

CHARACTERS:

Private Storm Valley
Private Chase Valley
Grace Valley, their mother

Sky Nightingale, a political officer from the capital
Major Rain Starrett, a political officer from the capital

Pastor Vale Evensong
Amber Evensong, his wife
Marigold Evensong, their daughter

Doctor Gray Fielding

Mayor Forest Greenleaf
Ivy Greenleaf, the mayor’s wife
Holly Greenleaf, the mayor’s daughter

Dale Northwind, a storekeeper
Lorna Northwind, his wife
Lily Northwind, their daughter

April Stillwater, a widow
Rose Stillwater, her sister, also a widow

Hazel Browntree, an elderly recluse

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 1:

(All the VILLAGE characters are on stage in tableau, grouped according to family ties. They are telling the story of a tragic event in their village. Sometimes, characters move downstage and act out parts of the story)

DOCTOR FIELDING
I am the doctor in the village of Winterfall, the one who works to heal the injuries and illnesses that befall my gentle neighbours.

PASTOR EVENSONG
God bless our doctor who lives to give our lives the blessing of good health.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
God bless our doctor, who labours long to keep us well.

AMBER EVENSONG
My husband is the pastor, the one who works to help God heal the injuries and sickness in our souls.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
I am his daughter. I must be careful what I say and I must watch what I do.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We must be careful what we say. We must watch what we do.

AMBER EVENSONG
God listens to our words and looks upon our deeds.

PASTOR EVENSONG
God loves us all…he suffers when we sin.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
God suffers when we sin.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
I am the mayor of this village.

IVY GREENLEAF
My husband is mayor of Winterfall…he must uphold the law.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
My father makes our neighbours pay their taxes.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
The mayor makes us pay. He keeps our village clean.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
A clean and lawful village does not invite investigation.

IVY GREENLEAF
My husband works to keep our village safe from the government’s inspectors.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
The government has inspectors. The government is suspicious.

DALE NORTHWIND
Every village needs a store. I stock my shop with many things.

LORNA NORTHWIND
My husband brings in luxuries, and common items too.

LILY NORTHWIND
My parents teach me thrift and industry. We have hard-earned wealth.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Every village needs a store. We make its keeper rich.

APRIL STILLWATER
I am growing old in the village of Winterfall.

ROSE STILLWATER
I watch my sister give way to age, and I know I too grow old, for she is my mirror.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
The two old sisters…widows of the war, their husbands long since dead.

HAZEL BROWNTREE
I am oldest in the village, living life alone.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Hazel Browntree’s eighty-one, and waiting for her death.

GRACE VALLEY
Two boys have I, soldiers both, on leave from duties far away.

STORM VALLEY
Winterfall is quaint and small, not splendid like the capital.

CHASE VALLEY
Our village is a place of rest…no barking sergeants or endless marches through the snow.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Two soldiers home on leave; their uniforms are symbols of despair.

(SKY NIGHTINGALE and MAJOR STARRETT have been standing some distance from the VILLAGERS, to indicate they are not from Winterfall.)

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Far away, the capital burns, the fires of insurrection.

MAJOR STARRETT
In flames and smoke and ashes, the government collapses.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
My comrade and I work for the revolution.

MAJOR STARRETT
We work to fan the flames of change.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Our orders are to leave the chaos of the capital.

MAJOR STARRETT
We must make the long trek to the village of Winterfall.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
And there we must work to make the villagers embrace the revolution.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Far away, the capital burns, the government collapses.

End of Scene 1.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 2:

(PASTOR EVENSONG and MAYOR GREENLEAF go downstage.)

MAYOR GREENLEAF
Pastor Evensong, I’ve received news of an insurrection in the capital.

PASTOR EVENSONG
Has the government fallen?

MAYOR GREENLEAF
Yes.

PASTOR EVENSONG
How should we proceed?

MAYOR GREENLEAF
You must host a meeting at your church so we can all discuss this development.

PASTOR EVENSONG
Do you think we should support the new government, Mayor Greenleaf?

MAYOR GREENLEAF
What other choice do we have?

PASTOR EVENSONG
Perhaps the old government will regain its power.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
We cannot hold onto false hopes. We must support whoever holds power, or be destroyed.

PASTOR EVENSONG
What if the new government does not allow the worship of God?

MAYOR GREENLEAF
Then, Pastor Evensong, you might have to turn your church into an inn and serve rum instead of religion.

VILLAGERS
(in unison) Who will we worship? Who will we serve?

(The mayor and pastor return to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 2.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 3:

(SKY NIGHTINGALE and Rain Starrett go downstage.)

MAJOR STARRETT
Miss Nightingale, I have received orders from the central committee of the provisional government.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
I’m ready to carry them out, Major Starrett.

MAJOR STARRETT
We are to proceed to the village of Winterfall.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
And when we arrive, what are we to do?

MAJOR STARRETT
As political officers, it is our duty to make sure the villagers comply with the laws of the new government.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
And if they resist?

MAJOR STARRETT
They will be punished for breaking the law. It’s as simple as that.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Simple but terrible.

MAJOR STARRETT
If you want to build a new world, you must not be afraid to destroy the old one.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Who will make the laws? Who will break them? Who will be punished?

(SKY NIGHTINGALE and MAJOR STARRETT exit so they are not present at the church meeting.)

End of Scene 3.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 4:

(The remaining cast form new tableaux to represent the meeting at the church. At first, they stand uncertainly.)

PASTOR EVENSONG
Please be seated, please be seated.

(The villagers sit down in their family groups.)

PASTOR EVENSONG
Mayor Greenleaf has called this meeting to inform you about the troubles in the capital.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
There has been an insurrection. The old government has been overthrown. A new government now rules.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
A new government now rules.

APRIL STILLWATER
What kind of government is it?

MAYOR GREENLEAF
A revolutionary government that wants to change the way we live.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
They want to change the way we live.

DALE NORTHWIND
And I suppose you expect us to obey the laws of this new government, Mayor Greenleaf?

MAYOR GREENLEAF
Would you rather be arrested and shot, Mr. Northwind?

LORNA NORTHWIND
What if the new government does not support private business?

IVY GREENLEAF
Then you may have to share your store with the rest of us as public property.

LILY NORTHWIND
That’s not fair! Mother, tell the mayor it’s not fair.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
Fair for whom, Lily Northwind? Perhaps its time you shared your wealth.

AMBER EVENSONG
Holly, Lilly…we must not fight amongst ourselves!

APRIL STILLWATER
Why fight now? There will be trouble soon enough.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
There will be trouble soon enough.

ROSE STILLWATER
You can be sure the new government will have already dispatched their political officers to our village.

APRIL STILLWATER
Rose and I lived through the last civil war, and the change of government that followed.

ROSE STILLWATER
And now war has come again…we will all suffer…it is inevitable.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We will all suffer.

APRIL STILLWATER
Trouble is coming…mark our words…trouble is coming.

DOCTOR FIELDING
If there is to be trouble, then we must prepare for it. We must reach an agreement with one another, and stick to it.

GRACE VALLEY
What sort of agreement, Doctor Fielding?

DOCTOR FIELDING
We must decide whether to resist the new government, or support it.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We must decide.

GRACE VALLEY
But my sons are soldiers…which side are they on?

MAYOR GREENLEAF
The army must obey the government.

STORM VALLEY
But what if the government is illegal? The army should not support an illegal government.

CHASE VALLEY
What difference does it make if the government is legal or illegal? It has taken power and it must be obeyed, or else there will be a civil war.

APRIL STILLWATER
There is nothing worse than a civil war.

ROSE STILLWATER
The last civil war took our husbands from us.

APRIL STILLWATER
The nation was afflicted with violence, starvation, and disease.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Violence, starvation, and disease.

STORM VALLEY
Nonetheless, if this government imprisons any of my comrades, I will fight it.

GRACE VALLEY
Storm, you must not talk that way. You’re only a boy in a man’s uniform. Your duty is to stay alive.

CHASE VALLEY
Don’t try to be a hero, Storm. Haven’t you learned anything in the army? Our job is to obey orders, not make up our own.

DOCTOR FIELDING
You must listen to me. We must come to an agreement right away. The government’s agents will soon be here, and we must be ready.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We must be ready.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
Doctor Fielding is right. And I say we must co-operate with the new government. How can we resist? We have few weapons, no training, and no experience in such things.

PASTOR EVENSONG
We must pray that the new government will not try to change us too much. Our way of life is gentle and harms no one.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We are gentle and harm no one.

HAZEL BROWNTREE
You are all fools. There has been an insurrection. And now there will be a civil war. Everything will change, and for the worse. It makes no difference which side you choose. Suffering and death await you either way.

AMBER EVENSONG
But we can still pray, no matter what, and praying will help us resolve our consciences and find peace within ourselves.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
What harm can there be in praying? It is the one thing we can do no matter who rules us or how little freedom we have.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
It is the one thing we can do.

STORM VALLEY
Pray all you want. But I will not trust prayer to guide my conscience. I will resist any government that gains power by insurrection and persecutes soldiers loyal to the old regime.

GRACE VALLEY
Those are fine sounding words, my son, but they will not stop the bullets of a firing squad.

CHASE VALLEY
Now that you’re a trained soldier, you think you’re as strong as any man, Storm. But you’re not facing a single opponent…you’re challenging

an entire government.

STORM VALLEY
If suffering and death are inevitable, I want to suffer and die upholding the truth as I see it.

GRACE VALLEY
I suffered to bring you into this world, my son, and I will suffer again when you leave it.

DOCTOR FIELDING
Mayor Greenleaf…Pastor Evensong…you must lead us…you must bring us together. Staying together as one people is our only hope.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
I do not know how to proceed.

PASTOR EVENSONG
Our village is in the hands of God. We must pray for his mercy.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We must pray for his mercy.

(The Villagers return to their old positions.)

End of Scene 4.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 5:

(GRACE VALLEY goes downstage with Chase and Storm.)

GRACE VALLEY
Storm, why don’t you listen to your brother? He is older than you, and in many ways wiser.

STORM VALLEY
I’m old enough to think for myself, Mother.

CHASE VALLEY
I don’t see why you must upset Mother with your foolish ideas about resisting the new government. You could at least keep your thoughts to yourself.

GRACE VALLEY
No. It’s better that he speak his mind. Then at least I know the truth.

STORM VALLEY
Look, Chase…you served with the men in our regiment too. You know some of them won’t support this new government because it took power illegally. How can you sit back and watch them treated like criminals, persecuted for upholding the law?

CHASE VALLEY
Our family is more important than the army, Storm. And our village. In the end, this village is where we must live our lives.

GRACE VALLEY
You mustn’t fight with each other. Everyone’s doing too much fighting. You must stay quiet and wait for your orders from the headquarters in the capital.

STORM VALLEY
I will not obey orders from an illegal government.

CHASE VALLEY
You must obey the orders of your commanding officer, Storm, no matter what they are. That is a soldier’s duty.

GRACE VALLEY
First and foremost, you must do what you can to survive, both of you, so that you can live out your days here in the village with your neighbours and your family.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
In the end, this village is where we must live, and where we must die.

(The VALLEYS return to their positions upstage.)

End of Scene 5.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 6:

(MAYOR GREENLEAF, his wife IVY, and daughter HOLLY go downstage. They are joined by SKY NIGHTINGALE and Rain Starrett.)

MAYOR GREENLEAF
(to his wife)
My dear, this is Miss Nightingale and Major Starrett. They are political officers from the capital.

IVY GREENLEAF
Welcome to Winterfall, Major Starrett and Miss Nightingale.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
This is my daughter Holly. She is an admirer of women who make their own way in the world, Miss Nightingale.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
One day I shall leave the village to attend university.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
That is very admirable, Miss Greenleaf.

MAJOR STARRETT
Mayor Greenleaf, we appreciate your hospitality, but I must speak plainly with you.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
By all means.

MAJOR STARRETT
We are here to make sure the village complies with the laws and regulations of the new government.

IVY GREENLEAF
Let my husband summon the villagers. Explain your rules to us, and we shall obey, Major.

(The other actors go to new positions as if at a meeting.)

MAYOR GREENLEAF
Good people of Winterfall: this is Major Starrett and Miss Nightingale.

IVY GREENLEAF
They are representatives of our new government.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
They will explain to you a few simple rules that you must follow until the nation returns to a state of normalcy.

MAJOR STARRETT
There is to be a curfew from six in the evening to six in the morning.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Nighttime is a dangerous time. It is best that you do not venture out after dark.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
There is to be a curfew. Nighttime is dangerous.

MAJOR STARRETT
Yes. And there are to be no more church services for the time being.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Some leaders of the church are opposed to the new government, so all churches are to be closed until further notice.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
No longer can we worship in our church.

MAJOR STARRETT
For now. Also, the village store is henceforward the property of the government.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
We are in a state of national emergency, and all food, clothing, medicine, tools and machinery, etcetera, must be accounted for and rationed by the government.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We are in a state of national emergency. Everything is rationed.

MAJOR STARRETT
And finally, you must be warned that any resistance to the new government will be met by immediate retaliation and punishment. I’m sure you understand.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Your new government will soon bring you a new and better life. But you must be patient. You must not fight us. You must trust us.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We must be patient. We must trust.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
Thank you, Major Starrett and Miss Nightingale. Now you must all go about your business.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
This village is where we must live, and where we must die.

(Everyone returns to their former tableau positions, as in Scene 1.)

Scene 7:

(PASTOR EVENSONG goes downstage with Amber and Marigold.)

PASTOR EVENSONG
What am I to do now that the church is closed?

AMBER EVENSONG
The political officers said there will be rationing. We will receive enough to live.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
How can they close the house of God? Surely God will punish them?

PASTOR EVENSONG
God allows us to make mistakes. We punish ourselves well enough without his help.

AMBER EVENSONG
We must continue to pray. No government can stop us from praying.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
But now we must pray alone instead of together. It’s not the same.

PASTOR EVENSONG
This is a lonely time in the life of our village, Marigold.

VILLAGERS
(in unison.)
We must pray alone instead of together.

(PASTOR EVENSONG and his wife and child return to their upstage positons.)

End of Scene 7.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 8:

(DOCTOR FIELDING goes downstage with APRIL STILLWATER and ROSE STILLWATER.)

APRIL STILLWATER
Soon, you will run out of medicine, Doctor Fielding.

DOCTOR FIELDING
We will make do with what I have, and resort to remedies from nature, if necessary.

ROSE STILLWATER
It will be necessary. Doctor. As the days, weeks, and months go by, we will have less and less of everything, and more and more of nothing.

DOCTOR FIELDING
I know the last civil war was terrible, but history does not have to repeat itself.

APRIL STILLWATER
That’s what people said the last time, but history did repeat itself.

ROSE STILLWATER
And now the horrors of the past are back to torment us once again.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
The past returns to torment us.

(April, Rose, and Dr. Fielding return to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 8.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 9:

(MAYOR GREENLEAF goes downstage with his wife and daughter.)

IVY GREENLEAF
There will be those in the village who will hate us for taking the side of the new government.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
Like Storm Valley. He will hate us now. Perhaps he will try to harm us.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
A mayor and his family always have enemies.

IVY GREENLEAF
But there is a difference between political opposition and outright hatred.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
Why must I be hated? I’m still a child and I’ve done nothing.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
There is no such thing as innocence, Holly. You’ve enjoyed the benefits of my position, and you must bear the burden, too.

IVY GREENLEAF
In dangerous times, the more power you have, the more vulnerable you become.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
There is no such thing as innocence.

(The mayor and his family return to their positions.)

End of Scene 9.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

bScene 10:

(DALE NORTHWIND goes downstage with his wife Lorna and daughter Lily.)

DALE NORTHWIND
The new government has taken our store…the store my grandfather built.

LORNA NORTHWIND
Don’t give up hope. Your grandfather lost the store before the last civil war, and got it back again.

LILY NORTHWIND
But we might not get our store back for years. How are we to live?

DALE NORTHWIND
We must trust our neighbours to help us.

LILY NORTHWIND
But some of them hate us because we were the wealthiest family in the village.

LORNA NORTHWIND
Now we have lost everything, they no longer have a reason to hate us.

DALE NORTHWIND
Yes. Let’s hope their hatred is directed against the new government that has brought this suffering to us.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
When everyone has lost everything, who shall we hate?

(The Northwinds return to their former tableau positions.)

End of Scene 10.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 11:

(HAZEL BROWNTREE goes downstage with GRACE VALLEY.)

HAZEL BROWNTREE
Are those two boys of yours still fighting about the new government, Grace?

GRACE VALLEY
Of course. Neither of them is right. One wants to think for himself and die fighting the government, and the other doesn’t want to think at all, and will die following some officer’s foolish order.

HAZEL BROWNTREE
I’ve lived a long time and I’ve seen lots of people suffer and die.

GRACE VALLEY
And yet you go on living, Hazel Browntree. What’s the secret of your survival?

HAZEL BROWNTREE
I expect nothing from this world. Then everything I get seems like a wonderful gift.

GRACE VALLEY
My sons seemed like a wonderful gift, but what was given can be taken away, and then I will be alone and hopeless.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
What was given can be taken away.

(Hazel and Grace return to their former positions.)

End of Scene 11.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 12:

(STORM VALLEY goes downstage MAJOR STARRETT.)

MAJOR STARRETT
You don’t like us, do you, Private Valley.

STORM VALLEY
I’m a soldier. My opinion does not matter.

MAJOR STARRETT
No need to hide your opinions from me, Private Valley. I enjoy a good debate.

STORM VALLEY
Then why do you support a government that does not allow debate?

MAJOR STARRETT
Now we’re getting somewhere. The new government will allow debate again when the nation is secure and stable.

STORM VALLEY
And what makes you think the nation will ever again be “secure and stable”, Major?

MAJOR STARRETT
I am always hopeful, Private Valley. I must be hopeful, or I could not do what I do.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We must be hopeful, or we could not do what we do.

(MAJOR STARRETT and STORM VALLEY return to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 12.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 13:

(CHASE VALLEY and SKY NIGHTINGALE go downstage.)

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Are you looking forward to returning to your regiment, Private Valley?

CHASE VALLEY
I believe in following orders, Miss Nightingale.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
What do you think of the new government?

CHASE VALLEY
If the government is able to gain the trust of a clever young woman like you, I must do my duty and support it with all my heart.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
It’s no use trying to romance me, Private Valley. I’m much too careful to fall prey to that sort of thing.

CHASE VALLEY
But Miss Nightingale, you are a revolutionary, and all revolutionaries are romantics, for they must believe in a beautiful dream in the midst of violence and death.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Such clever words from a simple soldier who only wants to obey orders! I’ll have to keep my eyes on you.

CHASE VALLEY
What more could I ask?

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
A beautiful dream in the midst of violence and death.

(CHASE VALLEY and SKY NIGHTINGALE return to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 13.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 14:

(The actors now change positions, forming a new tableau as if at a meeting called by the political officers. SKY NIGHTINGALE and MAJOR

STARRETT go downstage.)

MAJOR STARRETT
We have called you together to bring you news from the capital.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
There has been trouble with some elements in the national army.

MAJOR STARRETT
The Fifth Infantry Regiment launched a rebellion against the new government.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
The rebellion has been crushed. Some soldiers in the regiment have deserted and fled from the capital.

MAJOR STARRETT
Others have been placed under arrest and will face trial for mutiny and treason.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
We know that two young men of the village, Privates Chase and Storm Valley, are members of the Fifth Infantry Regiment.

MAJOR STARRETT
However, they are deemed innocent, as they have been here on leave throughout the rebellion.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
We must warn you all, however, that you are not to harbour deserters from the Fifth Regiment, if they should seek safe haven here in Winterfall.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
No safe haven in Winterfall.

(The cast goes offstage, except for the actors in Scene 15.)

End of Scene 14.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 15:

(STORM VALLEY goes downstage with MARIGOLD EVENSONG and LILY NORTHWIND.)

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
The government closed my father’s church, Storm.

LILY NORTHWIND
And they stole my father’s store.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
And now they’ve put your soldier friends in jail.

STORM VALLEY
I know all that. What’s the point of talking about it?

LILY NORTHWIND
Don’t you want to help your comrades?

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
You know the government will shoot them in the end.

STORM VALLEY
Of course I want to help my friends, but they’re far away in the capital.

LILY NORTHWIND
Those two political officers…Major Starrett and Sky Nightingale.

STORM VALLEY
What about them?

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
Lily and I will find a way to get them to go to the church.

LILY NORTHWIND
You can hold them hostage and make the mayor take a message to the government in the capital.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
And you can make the government let your soldier friends go free.

STORM VALLEY
The government won’t make deals with hostage takers.

LILY NORTHWIND
You don’t know that unless you try. Are you a coward, Storm?

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
You’re always talking about resisting the government, but you never do anything.

LILY NORTHWIND
If Marigold and I are brave enough to help you take hostages, you should be brave enough to do your part.

STORM VALLEY
You’re crazy. You’re just a couple of kids. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
We know your brother Chase is in love with Sky Nightingale.

STORM VALLEY
That’s a lie.

LILY NORTHWIND
We’ve seen them walking together down by the river.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
And doing other things together, too. Where do you think Chase goes every evening after curfew?

LILY NORTHWIND
He meets her in secret. If you don’t believe us, ask Holly Greenleaf, the mayor’s daughter.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
Sky Nightingale lives in the mayor’s house. Holly Greenleaf sees her sneak out almost every night.

STORM VALLEY
My brother is weak. He brings disgrace upon my family, and our village.

LILY NORTHWIND
Yes…so get your revenge…take his lover and her companion hostage…do something to help your comrades…

STORM VALLEY
How will you get them into the church?

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
We’ll use the mayor’s daughter.

LILY NORTHWIND
She’s full of guilt. She’ll be easy to use.

STORM VALLEY
I’ll be inside the church waiting after curfew. Don’t double-cross me, or I swear to God I’ll find a way to punish you.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
We’re on your side, Storm…can’t you see that?

LILY NORTHWIND
Our families have lost everything, Storm….and so, we’ve nothing to lose.

(STORM returns to his tableau position.)

End of Scene 15.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 16:

(HOLLY GREENLEAF joins MARIGOLD and LILY downstage.)

LILY NORTHWIND
The government took my father’s store, Holly.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
And closed my father’s church. Your father supports the new government, Holly.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
It’s not my fault.

LILY NORTHWIND
Nobody said it was your fault. But you’re the mayor’s daughter, and he’s a traitor.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
We understand why you must feel guilty.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
I didn’t do anything. I don’t want to hurt anyone.

LILY NORTHWIND
Then help us.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
How can I help?

LILY NORTHWIND
Sky Nightingale and Major Starrett live at your house. Make them go to the church tonight.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
Make them think that someone wants to meet them there.

LILY NORTHWIND
You better do what we say, or something bad will happen to your father.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
Something bad?

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
There are lots of people in Winterfall who hate your father, Holly.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
But I don’t know what to say to those political officers. How can I get them to go to the church?

LILY NORTHWIND
Tell them there’s a deserter from the Fifth Regiment hiding in the church.

MARIGOLD EVENSONG
Tell them he wants to confess, to trade informationn for clemency.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
What if they don’t believe me?

MARIGOLD EVENSONG You better be a good liar. Your father’s life depends on it.

(They return to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 16.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 17:

(CHASE VALLEY enters with SKY NIGHTINGALE.)

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Chase, it’s getting more and more dangerous for you to meet with me.

CHASE VALLEY
No, it’s getting more and more important that I meet with you, because life has no meaning without you, especially in these dangerous times.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
We’re just escaping from the world with this silly romance. We’re fools to think we can keep going this way.

CHASE VALLEY
Why are we the fools? Love isn’t foolishness…hate is the emotion of fools.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
But there are people in this village who hate me, and if they knew about us, they’d hate you too. I don’t want that. I don’t want anyone to hate you.

CHASE VALLEY
You’re too late to stop my brother from hating me.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Why does he hate you?

CHASE VALLEY
You too intelligent not to know the answer to that.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Your brother must be careful. I won’t be able to stop Major Starrett from arresting him if he insists on criticizing the new government at every opportunity.

CHASE VALLEY
It could get worse than that. He might go beyond criticism.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
That’s more than I want to know, but since you’ve told me, I must tell you that my superiors are ruthless in the suppression of dissent. If they think your brother is capable of inciting rebellion, they’ll torture him for information, and then kill him.

CHASE VALLEY
How can you work for people like that?

SKY NIGHTINGALE
My parents were arrested and killed by the old government for the simple crime of writing essays about political reform.

CHASE VALLEY
I’m sorry.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Out here in Winterfall, you don’t feel the cruelty of life in the capital. You’re protected by time and distance.

CHASE VALLEY
I’m in the army, remember? I’ve seen my share of cruelty.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
And so we spend these few moments together, you and I, risking everything and nothing for love.

CHASE VALLEY
Everything and nothing?

SKY NIGHTINGALE
It’s worth risking everything for love, and in the end everything else is nothing compared to love, so there’s really no risk at all.

CHASE VALLEY
Like I said, you’re a very intelligent woman.

(They embrace and go back to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 17.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 18:

(April and ROSE STILLWATER enter.)

APRIL STILLWATER
That young man Chase Valley has taken a fancy to the pretty young political officer.

ROSE STILLWATER
That’s obvious to anyone with eyes to see, April.

APRIL STILLWATER
Down through the years, I’ve seen it time and time again….people falling in love no matter what’s going on around them.

ROSE STILLWATER
We fell in love with our husbands as a war was breaking out.

APRIL STILLWATER
And the war took them away from us and they never came back.

ROSE STILLWATER
People fall in love; then something terrible happens and their dreams lie in ruins.

APRIL STILLWATER
Chase Valley and Sky Nightingale cannot hope for a happy ending.

ROSE STILLWATER
Does it really matter, April? We take must take our brief moments of happiness as we find them.

APRIL STILLWATER
Yes. Better to be happy for a moment than never to be happy at all.

ROSE STILLWATER
Perhaps its worth risking death in the search for love. And yet you and I chose never to search for love again after the deaths of our husbands.

APRIL STILLWATER
Yes. It’s remarkable how a little happiness at the start of life is all one needs to go on living for years afterward.

ROSE STILLWATER
And now dark moments have found us again, with civil war brewing its poison.

APRIL STILLWATER
I fear that Chase Valley’s love for Sky Nightingale will inspire his brother Storm to hate him with a passion that is dangerous to us all.

(They return to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 18.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 19:

(PASTOR EVENSONG, AMBER EVENSONG, DALE NORTHWIND, and LORNA NORTHWIND enter.)

PASTOR EVENSONG
Our daughter Marigold has been restless of late.

AMBER EVENSONG
She is bitter about the closing of the church.

DALE NORTHWIND
She has found company for her misery with our daughter Lily.

LORNA NORTHWIND
The two of them are full of dangerous anger.

PASTOR EVENSONG
It is a shame that children should be pulled into the dark conflicts of their elders.

AMBER EVENSONG
We are responsible for that, with our complaining and condemnation and endless blaming of ourselves and others.

DALE NORTHWIND
Yes, we do not set a good example. But we have much to complain about, do we not?

LORNA NORTHWIND
Our livelihood stolen from us…the descent into poverty…the shame of losing our status with our neighbours…we have much to complain about.

PASTOR EVENSONG
But we have a sacred duty to love our children. We should never burden them with our own bitter thoughts.

AMBER EVENSONG
Too late. Marigold is out there with her anger, and we shall be made to pay for our poor judgment.

DALE NORTHWIND
And Lily, too young to keep herself from acting on her impulses…what will become of her?

LORNA NORTHWIND
The children bear the burden of our sins. They become the active agents of our anger.

PASTOR EVENSONG
God bids us to love our children, and we do, but it’s not enough to love.

AMBER EVENSONG
Feeling love is easy; but transforming love into acts of true kindness is more difficult than balancing a stone on the head of a pin.

DALE NORTHWIND
It’s easy to be generous with love when we are wealthy and well-fed.

LORNA NORTHWIND
But when we are poor and hungry, love becomes a miracle as rare as warm sunshine in mid-winter.

PASTOR EVENSONG
God bless our poor children, alone in their fear and anger.

(They return to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 19.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 20:

(DOCTOR FIELDING, GRACE VALLEY, and HAZEL BROWNTREE enter.)

DOCTOR FIELDING
You do not look well, Grace.

GRACE VALLEY
My sons will be the death of me, Doctor Fielding.

HAZEL BROWNTREE
I never had children, and seeing how you suffer makes me glad I didn’t.

DOCTOR FIELDING
Why did your sons join the army, Grace?

GRACE VALLEY
They wanted to get away from our little village. And now they wish they’d never gone.

HAZEL BROWNTREE
Lost their innocence, did they?

GRACE VALLEY
An army is a cruel device for turning children into murderers.

DOCTOR FIELDING
Your sons have murdered no one, Grace.

GRACE VALLEY
The murdering is yet to come, Doctor Fielding, but it will come, mark my words.

DOCTOR FIELDING
I understand your fear. Your two sons have picked opposite sides in the impending civil war. I don’t see how any good can come of that.

GRACE VALLEY
Brother against brother…so many stories have been written about that.

HAZEL BROWNTREE
That’s because there’s sad truth to the story, as well you know.

DOCTOR FIELDING
I yearn to heal the sickness in the souls of your sons, but I am helpless and can only watch as the sickness grows and grows, until it manifests as fatal physical damage.

GRACE VALLEY
You know the truth and see the future just as clearly as I do, Doctor Fielding. I might as well order coffins for both my boys and be done with it.

HAZEL BROWNTREE
It’s a sad day when a mother must bury her sons.

(They return to their tableau positions.)

End of Scene 20.

Return to Scene List


Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 21:

(MAYOR GREENLEAF enters with IVY GREENLEAF and MAJOR STARRETT.)

MAYOR GREENLEAF
The merchant and the minister are bitter, Major Starrett.

MAJOR STARRETT
I’m well aware of that, Mayor Greenleaf. We have taken their way of living away from them. It is only natural that they should be angry.

IVY GREENLEAF
It is the children I worry about most. They are old enough to turn their anger into thought, and their thoughts into actions, but not old enough to act within the margins of good sense.

MAJOR STARRETT
Are you talking about your own daughter Holly?

MAYOR GREENLEAF
Holly has no reason to be angry. She is well-clothed, well-fed, and has money to spare.

IVY GREENLEAF
Sometimes you talk like a fool, Forest. You pretend ignorance so you can avoid discussing the truth with the major.

MAJOR STARRETT
Your husband is in a very difficult position in this village, Mrs. Greenleaf. I don’t blame him for sometimes playing the fool.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
I don’t mind admitting to my foolishness. Who else but a fool would try to be mayor of this village in times like these?

IVY GREENLEAF
Someone must lead.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
And sometimes leadership is impossible. I should give up my position and seek a simpler life.

MAJOR STARRETT
Too late for that, Mayor Greenleaf. You are thoroughly compromised and have enemies on both sides.

IVY GREENLEAF
Yes. There are those who hate you for working with the new government, and those who hate you for not doing more to gain the favour of our new rulers.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
My dear, why do you speak to me with such contempt? You have been my ally in all of this.

IVY GREENLEAF
It’s easy to despise others when one despises oneself.

MAJOR STARRETT
Come now, things are not so bleak as all that. The nation is on the brink of civil war, but even so there are still such things as friendship and nobility of purpose.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
You are mocking us, Major Starrett.

MAJOR STARRETT
I’m mocking myself, Mayor Greenleaf. As you said, who else but a fool would try to lead in times like these?

(MAYOR GREENLEAF and his wife return to their tableau. MAJOR STARRETT remains downstage.)

End of Scene 21.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 22:

(SKY NIGHTINGALE goes downstage.)

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Good evening, Major Starrett.

MAJOR STARRETT
Miss Nightingale, you have been very careless. Half the village is gossiping about you and that young private soldier.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
It’s not a sin to love a young man who supports the government.

MAJOR STARRETT
It’s a sin if his brother hates the government. You have invited disaster, Miss Nightingale.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
I appreciate that you have protected my lover’s family for so long, Major Starrett.

MAJOR STARRETT
I can no longer do so. The government is sending troops to the village. Their commanding officer will not be as understanding as I have been.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Yes. Well, my affair with the young soldier was bound to end badly, wasn’t it.

MAJOR STARRETT
I warned you against such foolishness before we came here.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
I’m sorry to have disappointed you.

MAJOR STARRETT
It might surprise you to know that you haven’t disappointed me at all.

(HOLLY GREENLEAF goes downstage.)

HOLLY GREENLEAF
Major Starrett, there’s somebody in the church.

MAJOR STARRETT
What do you mean, Holly?

HOLLY GREENLEAF
A man…he called to me through a window.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
What did he want, Holly?

HOLLY GREENLEAF
He said he wanted to talk to you and Major Starrett, Miss Nightingale.

MAJOR STARRETT
What does he want to talk to us about?

HOLLY GREENLEAF
About deserters from the Fifth Infantry Division.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Have you ever seen him before, Holly?

HOLLY GREENLEAF
No, Miss Nightingale.

MAJOR STARRETT
Then we must go and see what he wants.

SKY NIGHTINGALE
It could be a trap of some sort.

MAJOR STARRETT
Yes. Do you believe in destiny, Miss Nightingale?

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Yes.

MAJOR STARRETT
Then let’s go.

(He and SKY exit and HOLLY goes back to her position in the tableau.)

End of Scene 22.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 23:

(STORM VALLEY goes downstage with a pistol he has hidden.)

STORM VALLEY
There is nothing better for me to do than to stand in this church waiting for my enemies. My whole life has led me to this place. There is nothing better for me to do.

(SKY NIGHTINGALE and MAJOR STARRETT enter.)

MAJOR STARRETT
Storm. Holly Greenleaf told us someone was in here, but she said she didn’t know him.

STORM VALLEY
(taking out his pistol)
None of us really know each other. You two are my prisoners.

(SKY and MAJOR STARRETT hold up their hands.)

SKY NIGHTINGALE
I suppose you want to hold us as hostages?

STORM VALLEY
Yes. And I suppose you know why.

MAJOR STARRETT
It’s no use, Storm…the government will never free your friends.

STORM VALLEY
I must try to make them do it, even if they won’t. Then I can die with MY conscience at rest.

(CHASE VALLEY goes downstage, so that STORM doesn’t see him. He too is armed with a pistol, though he does not point it at STORM.  MARIGOLD EVENSONG goes downstage and exits.)

CHASE VALLEY
You’ve done what you have to do, Storm…now you can give up without any guilt.

STORM VALLEY
(turning to CHASE)
You’ve no right to interfere in this, Chase.

CHASE VALLEY
How can you say such a stupid thing when you’re holding the woman I love hostage?

STORM VALLEY
Keep out of this, Chase. I can think of no reason to stop myself from killing you. I’ve tried and tried to think of a reason, but I can’t. You’re a traitor to your nation, to your comrades in your regiment…to your family.

CHASE VALLEY
What’s a traitor? A man who refuses to pick sides in a fight that will bring terrible harm to his nation? A man who loves a woman in the most

natural and honest way? A man who tried to keep his brother out of harm’s way by gentle persuasion instead of threats?

STORM VALLEY
You’re too late, Chase. You’re just too late.

(He turns his pistol on MAJOR STARRETT and shoots him. SKY tries to support MAJOR STARRETT as he falls. In the same moment, CHASE shoots

STORM, who falls dead on the spot. Simultaneously, MARIGOLD enters, takes up STORM’s gun, and shoots CHASE. All this happens in an instant, like the collapse of a balloon punctured by a pin. In the aftermath, MARIGOLD is frozen in shock by what she has done, her gun still pointed at the body of MAJOR STARRETT. SKY carefully takes the gun from her, and goes behind her.)

SKY NIGHTINGALE
Do not blame me for this. If I let you go, they would soon catch you. And they would torture you. Do not blame me.

(she shoots MARIGOLD.)

SKY NIGHTINGALE
(addressing the audience)
Who but a fool would try to love in times like these?

(The DEAD rise up neutrally and exit. The LIVING assemble in a tableau behind SKY, who then addresses the audience.)

SKY NIGHTINGALE
I am instructed to inform you that the government has sent troops who have surrounded the village. There is no escape. Your homes will be burned, and you are to be placed in an internment camp pending a full investigation into counter-revolutionary activity in this region. Those of you who are deemed innocent will be relocated to other villages, where you will have a chance to begin again. Those of you who are found guilty will be punished in accordance with the law.

(She exits.)

End of Scene 23.

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Winterfall by Richard Stuart Dixon, Good School Plays.

Scene 24:

(The villagers sit in shock.)

DOCTOR FIELDING
I was the doctor in the village of Winterfall, the one who worked to heal the injuries and illnesses that befell my gentle neighbours.

PASTOR EVENSONG
God bless our doctor who lived to give our lives the blessing of good health.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
God bless our doctor who laboured long to keep us well.

AMBER EVENSONG
My husband was the pastor, the one who worked to help God heal the injuries and sickness in our souls.

PASTOR EVENSONG
Our daughter was not careful with what she said…she was not careful with what she did, and we are to blame.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
We were not careful with what we said. We were not careful with what we did.

AMBER EVENSONG
God listened to our words and looked upon our deeds.

PASTOR EVENSONG
God loved us all. He suffered when we sinned.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
God suffered when we sinned.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
I was the mayor of this village.

IVY GREENLEAF
My husband was the mayor of Winterfall…he upheld the law.

HOLLY GREENLEAF
My father made our neighbours pay their taxes.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
The mayor made us pay. He kept our village clean.

MAYOR GREENLEAF
A clean and lawful village does not invite investigation.

IVY GREENLEAF
My husband worked to keep our village safe from the government’s inspectors.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
The government had inspectors. The government was suspicious.

DALE NORTHWIND
Every village needs a store. I stocked my shop with many things.

LORNA NORTHWIND
My husband brought in luxuries, and common items too.

LILY NORTHWIND
My parents taught me thrift and industry. We had hard-earned wealth.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Every village needs a store. We made its keeper rich.

APRIL STILLWATER
I grew old in the village of Winterfall.

ROSE STILLWATER
I watched my sister give way to age, and I knew I too grew old, for she was my mirror.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
The two old sisters…widows of the war, their husbands long since dead.

HAZEL BROWNTREE
I was the oldest in the village, living life alone.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Hazel Browntree, eighty-one, and waiting for her death.

GRACE VALLEY
Two boys had I, soldiers both, on leave from duties far away. Our village was a place of rest…no barking sergeants or endless marches through the snow.

VILLAGERS
(in unison)
Two soldiers home on leave; their uniforms were symbols of despair.
Far away, the capital burned, the fires of insurrection.
In flames and smoke and ashes, the government collapsed.
Far away, the capital burned, just as our village now must burn.
In flames and smoke and ashes, our dreams collapse.

The end.
END OF THE PLAY.

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Published online by Good School Plays on May 7, 2015.