The Tinner of the Redbrook Verse Play

The Tinner of the Redbrook

A verse play written by Boasley Cross, Hatherleigh and Northlew pupils
(based on the Dartmoor myth and created during workshops with MED Theatre, January-February 2011)


Scene 1: on the moor

Enter Narrator

Narrator:  It is early spring-time

                   On the moor,

                   Where thick clumps

                    Of luscious green grass

                    Flood the fields

                    Like a vast green blanket

                    Over the hill tops.

                    Daffodils are blooming

                    Like a golden valley of corn

                    And sheep are giving birth

                    To their precious lambs

                    That jump for joy

                    As they celebrate their new-found life. 

Enter Garth

                   Garth the tin miner

                   Works hard at the local mine

                   To support his three year old son,

                    Hael, whom he loves dearly

                   As his wife had recently

                   Been lost.

                   He’s now hunting with his dog

                   Trying to catch a hare.

Dog catches hare

Garth:       Well done boy!

Garth walks back towards his house. Enter witch.


Witch:       You have killed me, miner. 

                   I forever put a curse on you

                   And your child. 

Garth:       Aren’t we cursed enough witch,

                   What with Mary dead?

Witch:      At least give me the body to bury. 

Garth pushes roughly past

Witch:     You are cursed miner. CURSED!!

Exit Garth

Exit Witch another way

Scene 2: at the mine

Hooves and screams. Garth enters with Hael. Hael is at the side of the stage. 

Garth:      (To himself) I work all day long ‘till my hands are raw

                  Chipping through the rock like a woodpecker’s beak.

Hael:         Dad, Dad, come quick look what I’ve found. (beckoning)

Garth:       What is it,  my young son?

Garth follows Hael to the side of the stage. Enter Melys wrapped in a cloth of Venetian silk

Hael:          It’s a little girl, as pretty as a rose bud,
                   But someone has tried to pick this rose
                   And put her where she is not meant  to be…

Garth:       Who are you, stranger?

Melys:       Me Melys.

Garth:       Where did you come from, stranger?

Melys:        Me Melys, me Melys. 

Hael:          I think we should get Melys inside, Father. 

Hael, Garth and Melys leave

Villagers (and Garth) enter holding lanterns and posters

Villagers:    We have a little girl as sweet as cherries. 

                      Speak up! 

There is no reply. Villagers leave and Garth is alone.

Garth:          I’ll have to be her Dad. 



Scene 3: by the Redbrook

Enter River

River:     I am the river, I flow and flow day by day,

                I am calm but sometimes rough.

                Hael and Melys grew up and gradually fell in love…

                They were like two strangers at first

                But then as they get to know each other 

                They’re now like two peas in a pod. 

                They come and sit to watch me flow,

               They paddle their feet and eat and sleep. 

Enter Melys and Hael

Melys:    I remember when we were little

              We used to play pooh sticks on the old bridge

              Above the fast flowing silver snake:

              Its rough tongue licks the side of the bank,

              Quickly and quietly it washes the sand and rocks,

              The stones and the fish, disturbingly further and further

              Down the river right to the end…

Hael:      Yes and now we don’t play anything

               But we talk about girls so pretty as flowers

               And boys as muddy as dogs, 

               Wildlife, animals, and villages 

               As beautiful as the world is.

               Do you ever miss or even think now about your father?

               I know we are very close – but hang on…

               Where did you come from, who are you?

Melys:    …Well I miss him a little, 

                 But I’d rather be here with you!

                 I think I lived in the far away valley.

Hael:      But who what where why when how? 

Melys:    I am sorry Hael, I don’t know,

               That’s all I know. 

Hael:      Oh!

               But who’s your mother?

Melys:    I can’t remember fully

               But I have a faint memory.

Hael:      What?

Melys:    Her sweet sour smile. 

                I can’t remember much else 

               But one thing. (Breath) 

               Oh I am sorry, it makes me feel bad,

                I can’t say and I can hardly remember.

Hael:      Oh – OK. 

Hael and Melys finish talking and walk back home from the river

River:     Hael and Melys’s relationship goes on

               As I flow and flow day by day. 


Scene 4: the same

Enter Hael and Melys

They sit by the river

River:    Sat by the stream

              Like two entwined rocks

              Glistening in the moonlight

              Were Melys and Hael. 

              They held hands

              By the water’s flow

              To the sound of the waterfall. 

Melys:    Oh Hael, oh Hael,

               I’ve much enjoyed 

               These years we’ve spent together.

Hael:      And Melys

               I am sure that

              We have far from

              Grown apart. 

              Just think of us

              As this river running

              Along its banks. 

              Soon it will meet another

              And then grow some more inside 

              Ever closer to its destiny of the sea. 

Melys stands, she knocks a leaf of a willow tree by accident

Melys:  (Picks up leaf) This leaf is soon to be free

               As the wind will gust it off,

               Off to a new era of freedom and life. (She throws leaf to the sky)

               Go in safety

               As you seek tranquillity. 

Hael stands. They stare into each other’s eyes.

Melys:   Perhaps we were

              Made for each other.

Hael:     And fate drew us as one. 

Melys:   I think…

Hael:     I know…

Gradually they walk to each other

Melys:    What’s happening, could this be?… 

Hael:       It is…

Hael & Melys: LOVE!

They fall into each other’s arms and kiss. Trees block scene from view. 

Love song

Melys:    We’re sat by the river on this gracious night

                Hand in hand under the moonlight

                The shine in your eyes makes me feel so fine

                But I must tell you in good time.

               Love will find a way, 

               Love will find a way I have to say

               Love will find a way, some day

Hael:       I look to your eyes and I see your gorgeous grin 

                Shining on your face from your hair to your chin. 

                The shine in your eyes makes me feel so fine

               But I must tell you in good time

               Love will find a way, 

               Love will find a way I have to say

               Love will find a way, some day

Hael and Melys go out

Scene 5: outside a tin mine

Enter Garth and Hael

Garth:    Hael, go and get me a drink.

Hael:      OK.

Exit Hael


Enter Nobleman

Nobleman:   Excuse me sir, I was wondering

                        If you had seen a little girl? 

                        About thirteen years ago

                         I was travelling to Spain

                        To give my little daughter 

                        To her grandmother to look after. 

                        I was on my horse with Melys 

                       When it stumbled over a rock.

                        I hit my head and was unconscious.

                       Melys must have run away

                       But when I woke up I was on my boat

                       With the soldiers and it couldn’t turn back. 

                       She was wrapped in a Venetian silk cloth.

Garth:    Yes I think I know where she is. Hael!

Enter Hael

Scene 6: same place

Garth takes Hael to one side

Hael:    Who is this stranger, Father?

Garth:   This is Melys’ father, a nobleman.

               He has been looking for his daughter for many years. 

               Now he can be reunited with her. 

Hael:    Father, what have you done?

              You know I love Melys.

              Now I won’t be able to see her again

              Because her father is a nobleman 

              And he won’t want his daughter

              To marry a tinner’s son. 

Suddenly Garth realises his mistake

Garth:   Oh what have I done?!

               Quickly hide Melys

               And I will tell the nobleman

              That I can’t find her.

Hael:     No, we would be telling a lie.

              We must give Melys back to her father. 

All exit


Scene 7: the tinner’s house

Nobleman enters with Hael

Melys is wearing the cloth of Venetian silk round her shoulders. Hael is sulking

Melys:   Garth, what’s going on?

Garth:    (Taking his hands away from Melys’ eyes) Tadaa!

Melys:    Who is this man? 

Garth:     Why, Melys this is your father –

                 Though your mind has been withered with time

                 And all your memories have gone!

Melys:    (Realising) Oh father!

                Is it really you?

               You are so old and wrinkled

               Like an old oak tree. 

               But I still love you. (Running into his arms)

Nobleman: Now I will take you to my castle. 

Melys & Hael: Nooooooooooo!

All exit

Scene 8: split setting – the castle and the tinner’s house

Enter Melys at the castle, and Garth and Hael on the other side of the stage at their house

The castle

Melys:     I wish my love

                That I could see you once again. 

The house

Garth:     My son,

                 So still,

                So calm,

                So silent.

Hael:     (Whispers) My joy,

              My delight,

              It was all in her. 


Hael:     Alas my love you do me wrong 

              To cast me off for your father 

              For I have loved you so long

             Delighting in your company.

Melys:   Hael was all my joy

Hael:     Melys was my delight

Melys:   Hael was my heart of gold

Hael:     Who, but my lady Melys? 

Melys:   I wish my love that I could stay

             But my father wants me back home.

             I’ll cry all night and I’ll cry all day,

             Until I can come back to thee.

Melys:   Hael was all my joy

Hael:     Melys was my delight

Melys:   Hael was my heart of gold

Hael:     Who, but my lady Melys? 

Outside the castle, enter to centre stage Snow

Snow:    I am snow,

               A man of ice 

               And death.
               The girl has been

Wailing all night
At the castle.

Enter Nobleman

Melys:   My love!

       No Father, take me back to them. 


Hael:     I cannot live without her. 

Lights down on Garth and Hael

Nobleman: What is the matter?

       I have not seen you in thirteen years.

       And you do not want me,

       For you love Garth and Hael. 

Nobleman leads out Melys

Scene 9: split setting – tinner’s hut and the hawthorn path

Garth and Hael are still on stage

Enter River as narrator

River:    For hours and hours

      They watched the fire

      Like a great owl

      Watching the endless night

      Go by. 

Hael:    Father,

      I’m going for a walk 

      Through the Hawthorn Path. 

Garth:   OK my son

      But don’t be long.

Hael gets up and walks around stage

Enter River as narrator

River:   Hael soon left his

      Hillside house
And trod
The Hawthorn Path.
As he came beside
The sixth hawthorn bush

     The snow soon heard

     His echoing cry

     From his broken heart. 

Enter Snow

Snow:  Hael, we feel your hurting pain

     And we know your heart is forever breaking,

     For your dear Melys is now gone

     From where she will never return.

     So come with us

     To a world 

     Where you will feel 

     No more pain. 

Snow swarms around Hael and drags him to the sixth hawthorn bush

Hawthorn: My poor poor Hael,

     You have now entered a 

     World of peace and tranquillity

     Where you will be reunited

     With your long lost relatives

     And meet the majestic lord. 

Enter Witch

Witch:  Your father has done this 

    To you, child. 

    He had killed me,

    So it is now his time to pay the price. 

Evil laugh. She exits.

Scene 10: the same

Garth in the house alone, is still sat by the fire

Garth:  I wonder where Hael has got to.

     He’s been gone for ages and… 

Snow: Garth goes out to see 

     Where Hael has got to. 

     The snow was cold and white, 

     White as a swan on a clear night. 

     The snow was also damp,

     Too cold to sit in. 

He tramples round in circles trying to find Hael. 

Garth:   Nooo!

Snow:    Hael is dead! He is sat next to a hawthorn tree. 

Melys appears

Melys:    (Thinks to herself) I’m here, I feel great. 

        I feel burning inside me,

        I feel free, I feel wonderful. 

        (To Garth) Where’s Hael?

Snow:     Garth points to Hael 

         Dead under the hawthorn tree. 

         Melys starts to cry. 

Villagers appear

Snow:      The villagers get quite choked up.