Appledorn 

  The unit set for Appledorn (1m playing two parts, 4w, but parts may be doubled), a part of the Pendragon cycle, consists of a few platforms, some steps, furniture, and a round wooden table DR.  The action takes place in Armitage, Ohio, from early to late 19th century.  In darkness we hear French Annie singing “Au clair de la lune” as lights come up on Blossom Appledorn Wolf, 73, in 1883.  Blossom, who becomes younger and then old again in the course of the play, tells us that Appledorn was the name of a “wonderful village” her family came from before they moved to Ohio, but all she can remember is looking down a very steep staircase and her father warning her about falling.  She says that people called her simple-minded because of the fever that took her parents and because she was taken in as a five-year-old by French Annie to live in the Indian Caves out by Grim Lake.  French Annie continues singing softly as Blossom tells us that her stepfather, Jonas Grey Wolf, moved to the caves when he was old enough because he wasn’t comfortable about the half of him that was white.  When a trapper came by with Annie, she decided Jonas was the man she wanted and, after watching the trapper beat her, Jonas slit the trapper’s throat and took Annie to the caves.  Annie keeps singing softly in French as Blossom tells us she got along with their daughters but that the boy, John Paul, who was five years older than she was, wanted her.

     She tells us that when she was sixteen she went to pick blackberries on Ghost Hill and was struck by lightning.  We see a bright flash and then darkness and a huge thunderclap.  She says she had a vision of Appledorn but then realized she was back in the cave.  French Annie says she will not die but will live a long time and do wonderful things.  When Blossom began throwing up in the morning and began showing, Annie told her she was carrying a baby and so she married John Paul on whom she had taken pity once or twice, but she knew the child was not his but had been created by the thunderbolt.  Her narration is punctuated by Crow repeating the line, “Don’t fall down the steps.” She says John Paul didn’t want to marry her and never touched her again.

     She named her son James Jonas Wolf, and when he grew up he married Cally Murphy, and they had a son named John Arthur.  Blossom’s son was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864 and she grieved until she had a dream about the rain barrel.  Crow tells her to look in the rain barrel and when she does she sees her son being shot from behind by a man in a blue coat.  As she says she was visiting her son’s widow, lights come up on Cally.  T. H. Grim (played by the same actor who plays Crow) walks in and Blossom says she knew he was the man who killed her son.  Grim says that Cally’s husband died in his arms, making him swear to take care of her.  Blossom knows it was Grim’s face she saw in the rain barrel and realizes he shot his friend to get his wife.  When Grim leaves, Cally tells Blossom that he asked her to marry him.  Blossom tells Cally that she can’t marry Grim because he killed her husband.  Blossom says that the crow that whispers in her head since she was struck by lightning told her to look in the rain barrel.  Cally, angry, tells Blossom to get out of her house and stay away, telling her she should be locked up in a padded cell.

     Blossom tells us that Cally did not marry Grim and that he married Mary Louise Frost whose father had property that Grim wanted.  When the father threatened to disinherit Mary Louise if she married Grim, the father was found dead in a field with his neck broken.  When Grim started lusting after Mona, a cousin of Arthur’s, Blossom hears the crow whispering to her again to look in the rail barrel.  In the rain barrel, Blossom saw Grim doing things in the woods to Mona.  Blossom tells Mary Louise that her husband killed her father, her husband, probably his own parents, and plans to kill her.  Mary Louise doesn’t believe her and calls her a crazy old woman.  Blossom tells her to follow her husband to Witch Hollow where she will find Mona and Grim under the sumac tree.  Blossom tells us that Mary Louise did so and found them together.  We hear the sound of a ticking clock as Grim enters and Mary Louise appears with a large bowl of mashed potatoes containing her mother’s secret ingredient—love.  She puts gravy on the potatoes and agrees with Grim that she put rat poison in them.  She sits and eats some potatoes and then, as the light fades on them, Grim begins eating.  They remain in shadows as Blossom tells us they were found dead the next morning.  She says the whispering stopped but then started again, and we hear Crow warning her about falling and French Annie singing.  Blossom says she thought she saw Grim following her and she went to the top of the staircase and felt a cold hand push hard on her back and then she was falling.  Crow and French Annie repeat their refrain and Blossom says she was a young girl again in Appledore where everything smelled of apples.  French Annie sings the last quatrain of the song and the lights fade out.

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