The play centers around William Beech and Tom Oakley. Early in World War II, William is billeted with Tom in rural Dorset. Oakley, a reclusive curmudgeon, has been a solitary resident for 40 years since he became a widower and lost his infant son. Beech is an illiterate, bruised, and starving Deptford evacuee. Oakley nourishes Beech physically and emotionally until Beech’s mother calls for his return to London.
In the second act, Beech is back in Deptford as the Blitz continues around him. With no father figure (his father died several years earlier), his mother, a “militant Christian of the fire-and-brimstone variety,” again influences his emotional demise as she abusively raises a “found” baby daughter.
The play deals with the idea of love and how it can both heal and destroy. It also discusses how art can help to heal those with psychological damage.
Billeting Officer – efficient, no-nonsense female
Tom Oakley – 60’s, a loner
William Beech – around 10 years old, deprived evacuee
Sammy – a black and white collie dog (we will require a cast member to be a puppeteer)
Charlie Ruddles – ARP Warden
Mrs. Fletcher – housewife and mother
Doctor Little – the local doctor (could be male or female)
Mrs. Anne Hartridge – school teacher
David Hartridge – her husband, trainee RAF pilot
Carrie – a redheaded twin, around 11 years old, an academic
Ginnie – her twin sister, same, practical
George Fletcher – 10 years old, youngest son of Mrs. Fletcher
Miss Thorne – local librarian and amateur dramatics producer
Zach – around 11 years old, Jewish evacuee, from a theatrical family
Mr. Miller – proprietor of the post office/stores (could be Mrs. Miller)
Miss Miller – who helps her father in the shop. Late teens, early 20’s (could be Mr. Miller, husband of Mrs. Miller