A Great and Noble Enterprise

Both women quickly realise that they are in a situation from which neither can walk away. Controlling access to her husband, Anne stands in the path of Bridget’s fulfillment of the promise made to her father. As a daily witness to the war, Bridget is Anne’s sole means of searching its traumatic events for the one that has driven her husband into self-imposed exile from London and his silent withdrawal both from life and from her.

Though initially antagonistic towards each other, both women find themselves altered by their experience of reliving the war’s events. Anne’s grip upon her social position begins to relax, Bridget’s gentle perception slowly helping her towards a deeper understanding of her husband. At the same time, their consideration of Anne’s sense of loss releases within Bridget a recognition of her own: the loss of faith in those early republican dreams; the loss of her father.

Through the power of enacted recollection, the women travel back in time to observe the various events that shaped their present. In the process, their dialogue becomes steadily more mutually supportive as each woman finds an understanding of the other and of herself that runs far beneath political and social divide.

By the night’s end, Anne has not only come to an understanding of her husband’s isolation, but also of herself and thus the means by which she might now begin to reach towards him once again. Bridget has also begun the process of mending hurts. Now able to look beneath the rage and a readiness to blame she had always proudly taken for zeal, she sees the damage done to her by the loss that war inflicts. It is an understanding that allows the possibility of her leaving her father’s Bible in Anne’s safe keeping, trusting now in whose hands it will eventually be held.

Characters:

Sir Thomas Fairfax
Lady Anne Fairfax
The maids: Rebecca Danby, Sarah Hallam

Bridget Saltmarsh

Colonel John Blake
Kathryn Blake – his wife
Oliver Cromwell
Other officers:
Lambert
Fleetwood
A corporal

Corporal Mere
Captains Stroud, Challen and Rigg
Other staff at the Parliamentary army’s HQ

The Diggers:
Elisabeth Noyce
Peter Noyce – her husband
Anne Morrisy
Sarah Holtby
Richard Scarp

Other members of the Digger colony

All characters: 30s/40s