The Bare Cove Demos

by Jillie Mae Eddy

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about

An original folk opera written for five actor-musicians, THE GIRL FROM BARE COVE follows a family in crisis as they face the near-loss of one of their own. With songs inspired by the folk sounds of New England and a story rooted in the ghostly traditions and fairy tales of that place, this modern-day fable invites us to explore the communities we share and the worlds we build for ourselves. Or, in the opening words of our narrator: “This is the story of the girl from Bare Cove, and of her mother and her father, and of the boy she loves, and of her sister…and of the voices she hears in her head.”

For more information on this project, please visit: thefolkland.tumblr.com


SYNOPSIS

Early February...

SISTER, our narrator, introduces the story and its characters: GIRL, BOY, MOTHER, and FATHER. The setting is Bare Cove, a small shipbuilding village somewhere on the New England coast (“Bare Cove”). Sister tells us of the town’s enthusiasm for its history and of its yearly celebration of that history: Founders’ Day. As the present-day descendants of one of the town’s founding families, Sister and her kin are prominent and highly visible figures in their community, and every year they are expected to play a central role in organizing the Founders’ Day festival and in reenacting the discovery of Bare Cove for the festival’s pageant.

And so the story begins. Girl has just arrived back at the family home after an unspecified stay in the hospital; seemingly alone, she laments the loss of the young man she loves: Boy (“My Medicine”).

To their horror, her family discovers that Girl will not speak and seems to be completely unaware of her surroundings.

Girl has receded into a world of her own, and she is soon lured even farther away from her family and from reality by a group of VOICES who imply they might know a way to find Boy (“Blood and Water and Wine”).

Mother and Father unofficially sequester Girl in the house while they consider their position in the town (“Our American Family”) and what could be ailing their eldest daughter. Sister reflects upon her childhood memories of Girl and of Bare Cove; she remembers Girl’s last year starring in the Founders’ Day pageant opposite their cousin JUNIOR. In the face of her parents’ helplessness and Girl’s persistent silence, Sister determines that she must be the one to go after Girl and bring her back to the reality (“Bring Her Home”).

Meanwhile, in Girl’s head, she explains to the Voices how she lost Boy and why she needs to get him back; she revisits a happier time in their relationship (“Two Pilgrims”).

Back in the real world, Sister tries to get through to Girl, and she devises a plan: find the right story, find the way to bring Girl home.

In her search for Boy, Girl encounters a new voice. THE BAD VOICE taunts her: he asserts that he knows where Girl can find Boy but suggests that when she does, she may not be happy with what she finds. The Bad Voice reminds Girl that Boy left her and states that he left for a reason; Girl sends The Bad Voice away and revisits the pain of Boy leaving (“Penelope”).

Time passes, and Mother and Father take Girl to the best doctor in the state. The visit proves unhelpful, and, as they consider what options are left to them, each parent expresses their separate despair (“Doctor,” “A Simple Man”).

Sister tells Girl the story of “The Sleeping Beauty” (“Long Ago #1).

Girl becomes increasingly catatonic as she travels deeper and deeper into the spectral world of the Voices. Suddenly, the voices tell her that they can lead her no farther; in order to find Boy, Girl must travel back in her memory to her final Founders’ Day pageant (“Find the Time”). Once there, Girl finds The Bad Voice again, and he asks if she recognizes him. He claims that he’s the one she’s been looking for. Girl insists that The Bad Voice cannot be Boy, and The Bad Voice sings her a lullaby as she tries to fight through her confusion (“Don’t Say a Word”).

Mother and Father continue trying to hide Girl’s condition and wonder what the future holds for their little family. Sister tells Girl the story of “The Snow Queen” (“Long Ago #2).

Girl fights back against The Bad Voice and says he can’t frighten her (“You Don’t Know the Night”). The Bad Voice tells her Boy isn’t real; Girl says she knows. She says she also knows who The Bad Voice really is and where he’s been trying to lead her: it’s somewhere she’s been before.

As Sister prepares for another attempt to bring Girl back, we learn that Girl’s hospital stay and current state were the result of a suicide attempt—an act no one in her family can explain. The Bad Voice forces Girl to relive the final hours leading up to her attempt (“River”), pushing her to the brink; The Bad Voice wants her to try again. But, in the final hour, Sister tells Girl the one story she hasn’t already tried: their story, and Girl—ripped from her fantasy world by her Sister’s expression of desperation and pain—finally speaks.

Mid-December...

Nearly a year passes, and Girl is doing much better: she’s seeing a therapist regularly, and she’s stopped talking to imaginary voices. The family celebrates the coming of Christmas and Girl’s good health (“A Christmas Hymn”), but Sister informs the audience that the story isn’t over yet.

On December 26 the family celebrates the start of the Founders’ Day festival with the rest of the community, and, for the first time since she spoke, Girl hears The Bad Voice. The Bad Voice asks if Girl had forgotten him and mocks her for believing that he wouldn’t come back (“Oh My Darling”). Girl has a very public relapse in front of the whole town.

As the Founders Festival continues, Girl’s mental state bas become the talk of the town. With their worst fear realized, Mother and Father affirm that the love they have for their daughter is of greater value to them than their family’s reputation in the community. They urge Girl to be strong in the face of public judgment (“You Can’t Let It Burn You”).

Girl is now straddling the divide between the world in her head and the world of her family. Suddenly, alone in her head, Girl finally hears Boy, but, while she is happy to find him, she reminds Boy that he’s not real. She made him up, invented him to be her perfect companion. Boy asks if that really matters to her; he tells her that, if she chose to, Girl could stay in this world with Boy forever, but he warns that she would never be able to see her family again (“Made for You”). Sister interrupts their conversation.

Still caught between two worlds, Girl asks if Sister is there to tell her another story. Sister, gently determined to bring Girl back to reality for good, says she’d rather hear a story from Girl; she asks whom Girl has been talking to.

Out of love for her sister, Girl starts to tell her the real story behind that final Founders’ Day performance—the one with Junior. As the story continues, it becomes clear to the audience that Girl is now telling her parents as well (“Founders’ Day”).

Mother and Father pray for the future and for the strength to help their daughter (“Not in My Home”).

Confronted with Girl’s revelation, the family reflects upon the past and on their newfound feelings of guilt, but Sister encourages them to take action rather than dwell on looking back. The family resolves to keep out of the Founders’ Day festivities this year and to spend the time together, away from Junior and the rest of their extended relatives.

Girl, relieved of her secret, reflects upon Boy’s offer. She knows that if she chooses a life with Boy that she’ll be without her family forever; she also knows that in order to truly escape the voices, she must be without Boy forever. She reflects upon her imaginary love and her fear of being alone (“Take Me to the Mountain”). Strengthened by her family’s love and support, Girl decides that she must let Boy go and choose to live with what’s real.

Sister closes out the story. She explains that while this isn’t the happiest of endings, it’s at least the hope of one. The family comes together to reaffirm their devotion to one another and to remind Girl that she’s never alone when she’s at home (“Go On”).

credits

released April 15, 2013

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all rights reserved
Track Name: Bare Cove
There’s a town: a little village set beside the sea
Where our kin have been for centuries
Where memories like melodies
Resolve all tension into harmony

Let’s go down to the sheltered shoreline we know so well
Little girl, the world is giving you hell
So stay a spell, let your fears dispel
And we’ll drop a penny in the wishing well

Oh come around, you’re always welcome back in old Bare Cove
You’ve got a place that you can call your own
You’re not alone, never alone
Lordy, lift my feet, I’m going home
Track Name: My Medicine
Well, here I am
Alone again
Another heartache
Another end
He was my lover
He was my friend
Bring me back my medicine

He’s on my lips
He’s in my bed
The arms, the eyes, the touch I can’t forget
He’s every prayer
Every amen
He’s the too-tight crown of thorns biting into my head

I know it’s easier to leave me
And he’s not the first I’ll do without
But, Lord, you know, the pain won’t go
Show mercy on me now

I’ll drink no wine
White or red
Just bring me back my medicine
Track Name: Blood and Water and Wine
They say blood is thick
Water is fine
But those who share your blood
Don’t always share your mind
So you can come with us
And leave your troubles behind
We’ll turn your blood into water
And that water to wine

Ooh

The family tree
Is known by the vine
But if you can’t toe
The family line
You’ll be the rotten fruit
That nobody buys
And if you keep to the tree
You’ll surely wither and die

Ooh

So come on in, Girl,
The water is fine
You can count on the friends
That you keep in your mind
And you can come with us
And leave your troubles behind
We’ll turn your blood into water
And that water to wine

Ooh

It’s only water and wine
Blood and water and wine
Blood and water—
Blood and water and wine
Track Name: Our American Family
Descended from Vikings, from Pilgrims and Puritans
Old as the hill that we made our home
A family of the finest, upstanding Americans
The salt of the earth and the light of the world

Born into a legacy of hard-work and discipline
We measure men’s worth by the sweat on their brows
A family of faithful, industrious Americans
Our fathers and forefathers built this town

Community pillars of peerless comparison
Wholesome and humble as apple pie
A family of the foremost, modest Americans
Proud of our stock but ne’er sinful in pride

Holyoke women and Ivy-League gentlemen
Conservative of manner, liberal of mind
A family of first-rate, Kennedy Americans
Our blood is as blue as the hues of our eyes

Mother and Father to two perfect littluns
Clever and gentle, never made a fuss
A family of fair-haired, Rockwell Americans
How in the world could this happen to us?
Track Name: Bring Her Home
Dig deep
It’s all down to you now
All you can do now
Is leap

Let go
You know she needs you
So take the lead
You can bring her home

She’s gone
Too far to stop now
You’re all she’s got now
Go on

No one
Will do it for you
She’s there before you
So bring her home

Just remember all your stories
Be the hero but heed the warnings

You’ve got
To find a way now
To keep her safe now
She’s lost

Who knows
Where this might take you
Don’t let it break you
Just bring her home
Bring her home
Bring her home
Track Name: Two Pilgrims
I could never love another
The way I do love you
My heart is true
And I’d be so blue
If you weren’t mine anymore

Say you’ll never love another
The way you do love me
Say you’d swim the sea
Or climb the tallest tree
And I’ll be yours evermore

I am sailing in the shadow of your grace
Through the channel of your warm embrace
To the rosy coast that frames your face
A pilgrim in this holy place

Could I really risk revealing
The scars I hid from you?
You say your heart is true
But I’d be so blue
If you weren’t mine anymore

If you could really risk revealing
The scars you hid from me
Then I’d swim the sea
And climb the tallest tree
To be with you evermore

I am sailing in the shadow of your grace
Through the channel of your warm embrace
To the rosy coast that frames your face
A pilgrim in this holy place
Track Name: Penelope
Take me to the place you go when you’re alone:
Somewhere behind your eyes, your home away from our home;
Tell me where do you go when you go away?
So far away from me—where do you go?

Some days you disappear and you’re lost to me for hours:
You’re a figure for a still-life, a single painted flower;
Tell me who is this ghost you leave behind you?
He’s an outline of life, and I’m not sure that he is mine.

I’m in love with a sailor on a spectral sea
Sailor, sail back home
Sailor, come home to me
I’ll be the girl in the lighthouse that leads you to shore
Sailor, won’t you come, or aren’t you mine anymore?

I used to treasure you for the way your soul ran so deep,
But I can only float above the life you live in half-sleep;
I’ve tried to shake you and to wake you with a thousand kisses,
But you’re no fairy tale; I don’t know what you are.

Still I never leave, though I can say there have been others
Boys who live and breathe and say they’d die to be my lovers
But love’s never easy, love is cruel
It’s love that lashed me to you, to wait, forever to wait

I’m in love with a sailor on a spectral sea
Sailor, sail back home
Sailor, come home to me
I’ll be the girl in the lighthouse that leads you to shore
Sailor, won’t you come, or aren’t you mine anymore?

I’m in love with a sailor on a spectral sea
Sailor, sail back home
Sailor, come home to me
I’ll be the girl in the lighthouse that leads you to shore
Sailor, won’t you come, or aren’t you mine anymore?

I’m going to a place where you can’t come with me
I’m leaving for a world that I can see but you can’t see
Tell me why did you leave me, what were you after?
And after I’m gone, will you come looking for me?
Sailor, I’m gone—are you looking for me?
Track Name: Doctor
I watch her fade
Farther and farther away
And why? No one can say—except maybe her

Who does she see?
When she stares through me?
Is it someone that I’m supposed to be?

Doctor, can you tell me anything?
Just a few words from you—
Just a few words would do—

Doctor, are you even listening?
Just a few words from you—
Tell me, Doctor, what can I do?
Track Name: A Simple Man
I’ve always been a simple kind of man
Simple dreams and simple plans
Nothing lofty, nothing grand

And I thought if I had the house, the car, the wife
The kids and the job that my life
Would be harbored from storms and from strife

What can a simple man do?

I’ve never asked for much from God or the world
I’ve worked hard for each penny, each pearl
But now I’m asking for help for my girl

Lord, she’s hurt, and I don’t know which way to turn
Which way to get through to her
She and I’ve never been much for words

What can a simple man do?

What can a simple man do when words are far and few?
When the doctors are as lost as you?
When your family is coming unglued?

What can a simple man do?
What can a simple man do?
What can a simple man do?
Track Name: Long Ago #1
Long, long ago in a land apart
Lived a prince a’ pining for a hole in his heart
For high in a tower
Rising from the briar
Laid his love under spell and under guard

He cried: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no

Long, long ago in a land away
Laid a princess asleep for (who knows how many?) days
High in tower
She dreamed through the hours
And in her slumber wondered how long would she wait?

She cried: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no

Long, long ago in a land afire
Set a dragon a’waiting like a bird on a wire
He was high on a tower
And he burned to test his power
When he saw our prince come to raise his heart’s desire

He cried: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no

Long, long ago in a land afar
Laid a dragon slain with a hole in his heart
And high in a tower
Pretty as a flower
A princess kissed awoke to her lover’s open arms

She cried: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no
Track Name: Find the Time
Oh me, oh my, how the time goes by
And it’s hard to turn it back
But dig deep
And follow the fleet
To the sweet sounds of the past

Oh me, oh my, how the days do fly
And girls grow up so quick
And boys are bold
With a hand to hold
And a pretty little cousin to kiss

What you need
Is what you’ll find
You could set yourself free
If you could just find the time

Oh me, oh my, how the sands run dry
And memories fade to dust
But if you spring a leak
You can take a peak
Through the cracks that come with the rust

Oh me, oh my, how the eve comes nigh
When you’ll have to turn that bend
And it’s hard to know
Where you’ve got to go
But you’ll get there in the end

What you need
Is what you’ll find
You could set yourself free
If you could just find the time

What you need
Is what you’ll find
You could set yourself free
If you could just find the time
Track Name: Don't Say a Word
It’s not your story, girl
Don’t say a word
No heroes, no glory, girl
Don’t say a word

It’s not your story, girl
Better learn to behave
Go on be good for me, girl
Better learn to behave

It’s not your story, girl
Not your tale to tell
This is my story, girl
It’s not yours to tell
Track Name: Long Ago #2
Long, long ago in a land abloom
Lived a boy with a garden that grew in his room
Then down from sky
A curse in his heart and his eye
Two small specks of dust reflecting rust and ruin

He cried: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no

Long, long ago in a land aloft
Ruled a bright white queen and her kisses were soft
Down from the sky
She came to the boy in the night
And in her snowy sleigh together they rode off

She cried: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no

Long, long ago in a land o’frost
Was a girl who willed to have her way at any cost
Bring down from the sky
The boy who belonged at her side
Though now she knew sometimes the price of love is loss

She cried: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no

Long, long ago in a land asleep
Wept a girl whose tears set a frozen boy free
When down from the sky
Came the silver scraps of ice
That ‘round their feet fell to the word ‘eternity’

They cried: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no
Track Name: You Don't Know the Night
Oh I could fight
Kick you around ‘till you learn to do right
But I won’t
No, I won’t

Oh I could scream
So you would hear me and know what I mean
But I won’t
You know I should, but I won’t

Oh go on, hurt me
Just like you done before
I am no lady
And you’ve been doing this since I’s a real little girl

But you’re nothing special to me
No different from the dogs and cat-calls on the street
From the boys who call me baby
And blondie
And fuck me

And I guess I could scream
And I guess I could fight
But it’s harder than you think, than it seems
Than you want to believe in the light

You don’t know nights
Like I do
No, you don’t know the night
Track Name: River
I’m going down to the river
I’m going down to the river
I’m gonna wash my hands of all my sins
Get clean for a God I don’t believe in
I’m going down to the river

God better up and deliver
God better up and deliver
He’s turned my life into the Book of Job
He took my love and he took my hope
God better up and deliver

Bring him
Into my arms again
Bring him
Into my arms again

I’m going down to the tavern
I’m going down to the tavern
I’m gonna get me a bottle of the strongest wine
Drink all day and drink all night
I’m going down to the tavern

You’re gonna get what you have earned
You’re gonna get what you have earned
You gave me love and then you took it back
You turned my red, red heart to black
You’re gonna get what you have earned

Pull apart
Can’t get you out of my heart
Pull apart
Can’t get you out of my heart

I’m going down to the surgeon
I’m going down to the surgeon
Surgeon’s gonna take out the half of my brain
Where memories of you are making me insane
I’m going down to the surgeon

Wrap me in blue like the virgin
Wrap me in blue like the virgin
I’m gonna take my troubles down to the shore
Down where I can’t be troubled no more
Wrap me in blue like the virgin

From you and me
I don’t want to be free
From you and me
I don’t want to be free

I’m going down to the river
I’m going down to the river
I’m going down to the river
Track Name: Not So Long Ago
Not so long ago in a land I know
Lived a girl with a sister who loved that girl so
And I’ll see to your scars
If you just let me know what they are
Come Hell or high tide I will never let you go

I’m crying: Would you let me go?
Would you leave me alone?
No, no, no
Track Name: A Christmas Hymn
Christmas is coming
And the New Year is nigh
And the snowflakes are falling
In a blanket of white
The tree’s in our parlor
And strung up with lights
And she sits in blue
On a blanket of white

Though the darkness has fallen
On our silent hill
We’ve candles a ‘burnin’
In our window sill
And the night is freezin’
And the night is still
And she sits in blue
By the window sill

Well the sea near froze over
In those darkest days
When the sun was no neighbor
And the sky was so gray
But now the melting ice
Looks like Belgian lace
And she sits in blue
With a smile on her face
Track Name: Oh My Darling
Did you really think
I would let you go?
Oh my darling, oh my darling
No, no, no

Did you think the dark
Came just before the dawn?
Oh my darling, oh my darling
Go on, go on

All that’s lost
All that’s gone
The things you’d never miss
Are never missing long

Did you forget my voice
In the time I was away?
Oh my darling, oh my darling
Hey, hey, hey

And did you forget
Your time is coming on?
Oh my darling, oh my darling
So long, so long

All that’s lost
All that’s gone
You might have moved me, Girl
But you never quite moved on

Come back, little girl
The riverbanks are high
Oh my darling, oh my darling
My, my, my

Come back to the night
You gave it all you had
Oh my darling, oh my darling
Too bad, too bad

All that’s lost
All that’s gone
For all the good you done
Well, it wasn’t good enough
Track Name: You Can't Let It Burn You
Listen to me, Joanie
Listen to me, Joanie
I’ve a story for you, every word of it true
Listen to me, Joanie, oh do

Was a pious, pretty maiden
Such a pious, pretty maiden
She was called from above to save the land that she loved
And that pious, pretty maiden, she won

But that maid, she was taken
Oh that maid, she was taken
They said the voices she heard spoke the devil’s own words
And that maid, she was taken and burned

For man is quick to judgment
Man is quick to judgment
When they name your sins, girl, you mustn’t give in
For man is quick to judge his own kin

They’ll make you into a story
They’ll make you into a story
You’ll be a small-town boast on the puritan coast
They’ll turn you to a storybook ghost

Don’t listen to it, Joanie
Don’t listen to it, Joanie
You’ve got to fight and be brave to keep the bad men at bay
But don’t listen to it, Joanie, no way

‘Cos you can’t let it burn you
No, you can’t let it burn you
When the first stone’s struck, you better learn how to duck
‘Cos you can’t let it burn you up
No, Joan
You can’t let it burn you up
My Joanie
You can’t let it burn you up
Track Name: Made for You
Come and fall into my arms
Girl, I know this world is dark
But I’ll keep you safe
‘Cos I was made for you

You can sleep by my side
In the never-ending night
You don’t have to be afraid
‘Cos I was made for you

And maybe I can’t give you
The wind whistling through your hair
But I can promise:
When you need me, I’ll be there

And maybe I can’t give you
Sand between your toes
But I know:
I was made for you

Now you’ve found me at last
Will you let this chance go past?
Please tell me you’ll stay
‘Cos I was made for you

I was made for you

I was made for you
Track Name: Founders' Day
Well, I’ve got a story
Not so far from one you know
About a child, a boy,
Who came upon a virgin cove

Maybe because he dreamed of power—
Maybe just ‘cos it was there—
‘Cos I was small or shy or---
Shit, guess I should lay the story bare

He colonized my body
Claimed it for his own
This false king of my country
Who shares my name and my home

And I’m sorry to tell you this way
But it burns me up inside, and I can’t wait another day
So please
Please
Please

Just listen to me
You don’t have to say a word
I don’t need you to talk
I just need to know you’ve heard

You know, you always said that family
Like it or not
Is all we’ve got in this world
Track Name: Not in My Home
All of the things I never said to her—
The words I bit back because they were only words—
Now what can I say? Now that I know what I know—
All I can think is: not in my home.

All of the times I wasn’t there for her—
If I could go back my back would never turn—
And how did I miss the signs I’m sure I was shown?
All I can think is: not in my home.

All of the talk I’ve heard about girls like her—
You just never think it could happen to you and yours—
Now what can I do? It seems like a lifetime ago
When all that I thought was: not in my home.

Give me the strength, Lord, to be brave for her
Give me the hands to tend to her where she hurts
Give me back those days or give me a way to let go
Give me any thought at all but: not in my home.

Not in my home.
Not in my home.
Not in my home.
Track Name: Take Me to the Mountain
‘Love me or leave me,’ he said,
‘I’ll never change’
Lord, I was lonely, so I said
We could arrange something

Take me to the mountain, roll me down
Don’t count on him to be around
I ask how much can I allow him
He says, ‘I can’t talk it through with you now’

Don’t leave me alone
Don’t leave me alone
Don’t leave me alone, whatever you do

I let him go
I let him come back
He’s in control, my soul—
I want it painted black and blue

Take me to the mountain, push me off
Don’t count on him to show no softness
Lord, I am petrified of losing
A man my fear keeps me from refusing

Don’t leave me alone
Don’t leave me alone
Don’t leave me alone, whatever you do

I’m in my head again
And going crazy
He’s in my bed again
And, God, I hate me

It takes a special kind of person
At twenty-two to be so certain
That they will die alone and loveless
Lord, does anybody else feel like this?

Don’t leave me alone
Don’t leave me alone
Don’t leave me alone, whatever you do

Take me to the mountain, roll me down
You can push me off, you can push me around
Just don’t leave me alone
Lord, whatever you do, don’t let me be alone forever
Can’t you see I’m scared as Hell I’m gonna be alone forever?
When this one goes, I know I’ll be alone forever
Track Name: Go On
There was a time when we were lost at sea
There was a time when you couldn’t recognize me
But the sun is setting and the story is old
Close the book and by sunrise we’ll be home

And I’m trying to find a way to go on with my life
Trying to find a way to breathe
‘Cos I’m swimming underwater and I’m swimming upstream
Hey, hey, hey

(Repeat first two verses over the following)
There’s a town: a little village set beside the sea
Where our kin have been for centuries
Where memories like melodies
Resolve all tension into harmony

Let’s go down to the sheltered shoreline we know so well
Little girl, the world is giving you hell
So stay a spell, let your fears dispel
And we’ll drop a penny in the wishing well

Oh come around, you’re always welcome back in old Bare Cove
You’ve got a place that you can call your own
You’re not alone, never alone
Lordy, lift my feet, I’m going home
Lordy, lift my feet, I’m going home
Lordy, lift my feet, I’m going home