Kate Haggerty, A bully and racketeer
Clarissa Yardley-Fairbank, Her lieutenant
Trixie Pilkington-Witherspoon, An orphan and victim
Mollie Aherne, Leader of the gang
Ella Butterworth, Bit of a joker
Daisy Potherington-Twaddle, A humanitarian
Henrietta Trumpington-Trumpington, Headmistress
Frank Yardley, Caretaker
Tom Jefferies, Gardener/Ghost
Ivy Nutthall, Matron
Miss Broome, Cookery Mistress and Head of Upper Third
Mr Pinney, Boys’ Master
Tristan Potherington-Twaddle, Daisy’s brother
Peter Jones, Tristan’s best friend
Patrick, Baker’s Errand Boy
Juliet, Nicole and Harry, Spectators at hockey match
Act 1, Scene 1
The Upper Third Dormitory
THERE IS ONE ENTRANCE/EXIT FROM THE DORM TO THE CORRIDOR AND ONE LONG WINDOW, DIVIDED INTO SEVERAL SASHES OF THE OLD-FASHIONED TYPE,PAINTED WHITE. ALONG THE UPSTAGE WALL IS A ROW OF BEDS WITH IRON FRAMES AND BEDSTEADS. BESIDE EACH ONE IS A SMALL CUPBOARD, EACH WITH PHOTOS OF SIBLINGS AND PARENTS ON THE TOP. ON EACH BED IS ONE STUFFED TOY. AT ONE END IS A FIREPLACE, STANDING NEXT TO WHICH IS A VERY OLD-LOOKING GRECIAN-STYLE VASE.
SONG 1 ST TABITHA’S
Saint Tabitha’s, Saint Tabitha’s your buildings stand so bold,
Saint Tabitha’s, Saint Tabitha’s your story must be told.
Saint Tabitha’s, Saint Tabitha’s you weave a powerful spell,
For stranger far than fiction is the truth these walls could tell.
Our bathroom was a dairy and our dormitory a gunnery,
The pantry was a hospital, the refectory a nunnery.
Established by Dominicans then blown up by the Puritans,
Ransacked by the Cavaliers who walked off with the chandeliers.
The priest holes in the chimney and the trapdoors in the captain’s chest,
And hidden doors and secret drawers and tunnels leading under floors.
Now doorways in the panelling and bricked up chambers were the thing,
Tapestries with secret flaps concealing ancient treasure maps.
Then came along the great war and secondment to the flying corps,
The lawn was flattened in a day and turned into a runaway.
The kitchen garden saw a change when it became a firing range,
Radishes and greens and beans quite soon were shot to smithereens.
The final chapter plays out as the hordes of females shriek and shout,
Exploring every stair and tower, teasing secrets from its bowels.
The building shudders in defeat, when pounded by a hundred feet,
Assaulted by these brats hostile, it may not pass this final trial.
ENTER MATRON, CLAPPING HER HANDS IN AN ATTEMPT TO RESTORE ORDER. GIRLS STAND IN SILENCE BY THEIR BEDS AND FACE HER.
MATRON: Now, now, girls, there is far too much frivolity in this dormitory. You are supposed to be tidying your areas are you not? TRIXIE: Please Miss, what’s fivrolity?
MATRON: Frivolity, my dear Trixie, is what is being exhibited by your dorm-mates as I speak, and it is most unseemly for young ladies of your class.
TRIXIE: Please Miss, what’s exhitibed?
MORE SNIGGERS FROM THE GIRLS.
MATRON: To exhibit, my dear Trixie is to show or display publicly. And this public display of ill manners is quite intolerable.
TRIXIE: Please Miss, what’s…
MATRON: Trixie! I have not come here to give you an English lesson. That is the privilege of Miss Sprout, the English mistress.
ELLA: Brussel Sprout! MATRON: Enough! I shall return in ten minutes – and if this dormitory is not scrupulously tidy – there will be no supper.
SILENCE ENSUES. DAISY PUTS HER HAND OVER TRIXIE’S MOUTH, WHO IS ABOUT TO ASK FOR A DEFINITION OF SCRUPULOUSLY.
MATRON: Do you understand? GIRLS: Yes, Miss Nuthall!
EXIT MATRON, STRUTTING WITH HER NOSE IN THE AIR. THE GIRLS IMMEDIATELY SLOUCH AND LOUNGE AROUND, SIGHING AND TUTTING.
TRIXIE: What’s scrupulously?
ELLA: Oh, do be quiet, Trixie. It’s one thing being ignorant but quite another to advertise it.
TRIXIE POUTS AND SITS DOWN HEAVILY WITH HER BACK TO THE OTHERS.
DAISY: Go easy on her, Ella. She is new here and you know what it’s like to be a new girl. It’s not easy.
MOLLIE: Don’t be so soft, Daisy. We were all new once and we survived.
DAISY: It’s alright for you, Mollie. You’ve always been the tallest. No-one would dare pick on you.
MOLLIE: Physical height alone does not make great leaders. Look at Napoleon. He was five feet nothing in his socks.
ELLA: When did you ever see Napoleon in his socks?
MOLLIE: And did you know that Joan of Arc was only four feet eleven.
ELLA: No wonder she always had her photograph taken sitting on her horse.
DAISY: Don’t be daft, Ella, they didn’t have cameras in Noah’s day.
MOLLIE: Saint Francis of Assisi was five feet one inch.
ELLA: He only had his photograph taken with animals.
DAISY: How tall are you anyway, Trixie?
TRIXIE: Four feet six – but I’m still growing. One day I’ll overtake you all – you’ll see.
LILY: Mollie, what about the cookery lesson? You said you had a great idea. Please tell us about it, do.
GIRLS GATHER AROUND MOLLIE.
MOLLIE: Well, Lily, it’s a sort of scientific experiment, you see. It’s to do with states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, that sort of thing.
LILY: Give us another clue, Mollie.
MOLLIE: Miss Broome let it slip that we would be making meringues this week.
MAISIE: Sounds like a recipe for disaster!
THE GIRLS HUSH MAISIE.
MOLLIE: What’s the main ingredient of meringues?
LILY: Sugar? MOLLIE: No, Lily, eggs.
ELLA: She’s never going to let us crack eggs again after what happened last time.
MOLLIE: Apparently, she is. And when she demonstrates the method, she will get such a surprise.
ELLA: What are we going to do, Mollie? Blow the eggs?
MOLLIE: She’s not daft – she’ll realise they’re too light. No, we shall hard boil them.
REACTION FROM GIRLS, LAUGHTER AND CHEERS.
MOLLIE: But not the ones we shall use ourselves. I have better plans for those.
THE DOOR BURSTS OPEN AND THE BULLY KATE ENTERS, FOLLOWED BY HER SIDE-KICK, CLARISSA. THE LAUGHTER EVAPORATES AND THE GIRLS FREEZE IN ALARM. EVEN MOLLIE APPEARS AFRAID.
KATE: Oh look, Clarissa, the babies are having a little meeting. Can we join in?
MAISIE: Certainly not, go back to your own dorm.
REALISING THE FOLLY OF SPEAKING OUT, MAISIE RUNS ROUND AND HIDES BEING MOLLIE FOR PROTECTION.
KATE: (In a sweet and menacing tone) But this is our dorm, Maisie. You see, as Lower Fifth we own the school. Do you understand? We can go where we wish, do what we wish, (pulling Trixie’s hair) treat anyone how we wish.
TRIXIE: We can tell Miss Broome of you. She’s head of Upper Third. She told us we could go to her with our problems.
THE OTHER GIRLS PUT THEIR HEADS IN THEIR HANDS IN UTTER RESIGNATION AT TRIXIE’S OUTBURST.
KATE: Your problems are just beginning, you snivelling little creature. Clarissa, note this brat’s name. She will pay extra tax.
TRIXIE: You know my name. Why do you pretend you don’t?
CLARISSA: Now look here, if Kate says note your name, I shall note your name. Do you understand?
MOLLIE: Do everything she says do you? Don’t you have a mind of your own?
CLARISSA: Shut up, Mollie! Stay out of this. (Turning to Trixie, who is now crying) I said, I wanted your name, you snotty-nosed brat.
DAISY: Trixie is her name and you know it. Trixie Pilkington-Witherspoon.
KATE: (Grabbing Trixie by the ear and making her stand) I want to hear it from her.
DAISY: Go on Trixie, say it, please!
KATE TWISTS TRIXIE’S EAR AND SHE CRIES OUT IN PAIN.
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St Tabitha's Score Sample
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