Bryan D. Leys

The White Witch of Rosehall

Synopsis

The White Witch of Rosehall is a tale of voodoo, romance and passion, based in historical fact, with a thrilling story and a melodic, reggae-influenced score. It’s a coming-of-age tale set against a background of mystery and horror where pride is treacherous, love is deadly and black magic is very real

In 1831, Robert Rutherford, a young Englishman seeking adventure, takes a position at Rosehall, a sugar plantation in Jamaica. There he finds a private kingdom where slave labor is kept in line by white voodoo. Upon his arrival, Ashman, the plantation overseer, warns Robert that a slave revolt is brewing and to tread carefully. But instead, handsome Robert allows himself to be seduced by the owner of the plantation, the mysterious Annie Palmer, who lives with the echoes of her three dead husbands in a mansion of secrets and deceptions. Over the course of a tropical night, bewitched by Annie’s magic, Robert promises to become her latest husband, rousing the deadly jealousy of Ashman. The following morning, regaining his senses, Robert encounters Millie, the granddaughter of Takoo, a local voodoo priest. Millie is a free island girl who charms him with her vitality and humor. Soon he finds himself caught in a furious tug of war between the two women.

Inflamed by Millie’s insolence, Annie strikes her down with a voodoo curse and Robert commits himself to the girl’s recovery. However, while trying to save the innocent woman, Robert still finds himself captivated by the evil one. As he finds himself drawn deeper into the world of voodoo ceremonies and fantastic apparitions, Robert’s only ally is a fallen ex-minister who has succumbed to despair and drink, but who may yet find redemption. In the end, Annie’s magic angers Takoo and the slaves break free. Robert’s adventures lead him to maturity while others pay the ultimate price in the baleful shadows of Rosehall.

Cast of Characters

Two actors who play Pompey and other plantation workers. Psyche also doubles as chorus member. Chorus may be augmented if desired.

Robert Rutherford A Early 20's, an English gentleman, handsome, exuberant, fancies himself heroic.
Richard Rider Late 30's, a droll ex-reverend whose loss of faith has led him to drink.
Tom Burbridge 31, a bookkeeper. Cockney, a pragmatist who avoids conflict.
John Ashman Mid 30's, the plantation overseer, muscular rough, attractive but arrogant.
Psyche 17, Tom's cleaning girl and mistress, polite, smart, devoted to her English masters.
Millicent (Millie) 18, a free woman of color, pretty, aware of her attractiveness, bright and vivacious.
Annie Palmer 30's-40's, The White Witch of Rosehall, brusque, manipulative, with a strange seductive magnetism.
Takoo 50's, grandfather of Millicent, an Obeah-Man, dignified, with an aura of power.

Music Excerpts

Music by Balint Varga