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ACT ONE  scene 5 Schoolroom.  Dotheboys Hall.



Nicholas and the new young arrivals from London are introduced to the boys.  (Author's note:  in a mixed cast the boys’ parts are also played by girls)  They look more like sewer rats than human beings and are clearly scared of Mr. Squeers.



Song 8:  Dotheboys Hall



After this introduction to the school which shows how it works to the obvious advantage of the Squeers Family, it is time for the pupils to be fed – on milk and water. They have a brief moment of opportunity to drink from the milk jug as it is passed round.  Squeers calls out their number as each boy comes to his turn.



Song: Reprise of Doing Things By Numbers



After supper, Mrs. Squeers tells the boys that it is time for bed and reminds them that if she so much as hears a sound, they will each get a beating like they have never known.


ACT ONE  scene 6 The Squeers’ Parlour. Dotheboys Hall.


(Author’s note: as suggested earlier, a quick lighting change and possibly overhead screen or placard announcing The Squeer’s Parlour is preferable to a lengthy scene change.)


With the boys in bed, the Squeers family and Nicholas sit down to dinner. It is evident that Fanny is quite attracted to Nicholas and she makes eyes at him all through the meal. Smike serves them the meal and continues to be treated horribly by the whole family. Smike asks Squeers "Has nothing been heard about me?" but is dismissed with disdain.


When Nicholas asks him about Smike, Squeers simply says that no one knows, including the boy, where he comes from or where he belongs. Smike lives as a slave to the Squeers family. As the Squeers eat a delicious dinner, Nicholas comments how badly he feels eating a meal that so many, including the boys at Dotheboys, go without. Squeers tries to reason that they prepare the boys for a life in the real world. Smike belatedly returns with a cask of ale and is beaten by Squeers until he is left in a heap on the floor. Nicholas watches this with mounting anger.


After finishing dinner, the Squeers family retires for the night and tells Nicholas to sleep in their living room until more permanent arrangements can be made. Once they are upstairs, Nicholas hears Smike huddled at the bottom of the stairs reflecting on his situation.



Song 9:  Parents/Better Off The Way I Am



(Author’s note: in the original Music Sales lyrics the last line of the chorus is “Ooh by golly I’m better off the way I am”.  On the current Smike CD however the line has been replaced by “Don’t need you, I’m better off the way I am” which works better.)



Nicholas approaches the boy and tries to console him. While talking with Nicholas, Smike speaks of the boy who died not that long ago at the school. Smike was with him at his death and remembers how the boy saw faces from home floating all around him. What troubles Smike most is that there will be no faces to smile on him when he dies. Nicholas reassures Smike and tells him  that there always is hope.



Song 10:  Don’t Let Life Get You Down



ACT TWO scene 1  Dotheboys Hall.  Classroom (also used as Dormitory in opening sequence)



Song 11:  Instrumental Dawn Music / In The Warm Light Of A Brand New Day.



The next morning, as dawn breaks, Smike awakes with a newfound feeling of optimism.  He and the boys rise to prepare for school.



Suddenly a voice is heard asking, "What's all this noise going on here?" and the boys scatter, terrified that it is Squeers. Instead, it is Bolder (one of the boys) who enters mimicking Squeers. Once the boys see this, they join in the laughter as he continues to poke fun at Squeers.



Song 12:  Dotheboys Rock



Once again, a voice calls out "What's all this noise going on here?"  However, this time it really is Squeers. One of the boys, Graymarsh, still thinking it is another boy mimicking Squeers yells out "Oh shut up!" Hearing this Squeers approaches Graymarsh and slaps him across the face. The boys fall into lines. Mrs. Squeers and Fanny now triumphantly enter with a bottle of brimstone and molasses, which they prepare to spoon to the boys to help purify their blood. Mrs. Squeers confesses that the brimstone helps spoil the boys’ appetites, making it cheaper to feed them.

synopsis page 3

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