by arrangement with JOSEF WEINBERGER LIMITED
Music by RIchaRD ROGERS
Book and Lyrics by OScaR haMMERSTEIN 2ND
Monday 12th – Saturday 17th of February 2007
7.30pm (Matinée on Sat 2.00pm)
at the Lyric Theatre Carmarthen
Contact: Carmarthen Youth Opera | Phone:
In the 1860’s, Anna Leonowens, a widowed British schoolteacher with a young son, was hired by the King of Siam to teach English and western culture to his wives and children. Margaret Landon turned this true story into a novel and later it became a film with Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne playing the leads. Gertrude Lawrence saw the film and knew it would make a great musical, with her as Anna and the music and lyrics supplied by Rogers and Hammerstein. The “King and I” was born and it has since become a classic both in the theatre and on the screen. Most will be familiar with Yul Brynner’s famous portrayal of the King and, more recently, the film ‘Anna and the King’ starring Jodie Foster. The core of the story is that the King of Siam is anxious to introduce western ideas to his country – at a time when eastern cultures are generally at odds with the west – particular with the Victorian Empire.
Anna’s key task is to teach western ways and the King promises to give her a house of her own as part of the contract. By not initially keeping to this part of the bargain, he soon realizes that he is dealing with a very proud and strong-willed woman, who refuses to be subjugated by the King’s strict regime. He is a mixture of royal strength and human “boyishness”, who secretly Anna finds both amusing and exasperating.
His head wife, Lady Thiang, who is the mother of the heir to the throne, is keen for Anna to help the King and also to teach their son, along with the King’s other children and wives. Anna soon develops a very strong bond with all of them, particularly the children. Whilst the King’s uncompromising attitude sways her decision to leave Siam, she finds it very difficult to do so. The friction between the two is complicated further as they try to comprehend the emotional ties which soon develop. Could it be love? Lady Thiang, however, persuades Anna to help the King, particularly with his plans to impress Queen Victoria’s various emissaries.
One such emissary is Sir Edward Ramsey, a romantically linked friend of Anna’s, who would have married her if she hadn’t been in love with Tom, his friend. When the King sees Anna dancing in Edward’s arms, he knows this is the way he wants to dance with her – perhaps we see the King’s royal strength starting towilt with love?. This gives rise to the famous ‘Shall We Dance’ scene, where the burgeoning, romantic feelings between the King and Anna reveal themselves for the first time.
The young lovers, Tuptim and Lun Tha, are doomed from the start. She, a present to the King from the King of Burma, is in love with Lun Tha. They are caught escaping from the palace and Lun Tha is killed. Tuptim is to be whipped and Anna’s intervention sees the King throwing down the whip, a broken man, who finds he is unable to behave as time-honoured tradition dictates. Thus we see a clash between western and far eastern cultures – with the King caught in the middle – complicated even more by his feelings for Anna.
Throughout the story the King’s Prime Minister, the ‘Kralahome’, resents Anna, her western culture and, one might assume, her growing ‘friendship’ with his King. He has an all consuming desire to serve the King and doesn’t want things to change. He accuses Anna of breaking the King’s spirit. Anna thus decides it is time to leave the Palace and Siam and it is not long before the day arrives when Captain Orton’s ship is due to sail. Lady Thiang brings Anna a letter from the King from which she learns that the King is dying. She goes to him and realizes in her heart that she cannot leave the children and her life is there in Siam. The King, a dying man, is made happy by the knowledge that he is leaving his son and heir, and the rest of his family, in the capable and loving hands of this enigmatic woman.
Cast:The King – Rhys Herridge
Anna Loenowens – Helena Harrison
Louis Leonowens – Cuan Wyn Rowlands
Lady Thiang – Rhiannon Herridge
Prince Chululongkorn – Iwan Williams
The Kralahome – Michael-Rae Formston.
Tuptim – Elin Wyn Williams
Lun Tha – Benn Williams
Captain Orton – Steffan Hughes
Interpreter – Thomas Young
Sir Edward Ramsey – Tom Goodridge
Phra Alack – Daniel Owen
Emily Davies, Nia Griffiths, Stephanie Hughes, Angharad Jones, Sophie Perry,
Cecilia Peru, Catrin Phillips, Anwen Price, Catrin Robinson, Emily Thane,
Lucie Thomas, Georgina Tipping, Rebecca Vowles
Royal Princes and Princesses
William Cervetto, Aled Evans, Alex Evans, Jack Evans, James Fox, George Parker,
Finn Radford, Noa Radford, Osian Radford, Ben Skinner,
Fergus Turtle, Rhys Young
Chelsea Axon, Ishani Basaran, Rosie Bowen, Ruby Bowen, Eleanor Coles,
Abbie Davies, Pattharra Douch, Serenar Douch, Chloe Eldridge, Hanna Evans,
Lucy Evans, Ffion Fox, Rhian Gravell, Georgia Green, Ffion Groom, Elicia
Hamid, Yasmin Hamid, Elizabeth Houghton, Amy Howells, Shania Hughes,
Carys Haf James, Catrin Johnson, Claudia Jones, Gabrielle Jones, Phoebe Jones,
Lara Lewis, Anna Parker, Jessica Perry, Emma Pope, Lilly Ramage, Emily Saddler,
Hollie Singer, Marcy Thomas, Bethany Williams Potter, Cerys Yeeles
Priests and Guards
Alexander Campbell, Rhys Davies, Huw Evans, Tom Goodridge, Steffan Hughes,
Daniel Owen, William Turrell, Thomas Vowles, Brendan Westhoff,
Tomos Yeeles, Thomas Young
Olivia Formston, Leela Hockedy, Rachael Houghton, Elizabeth King, Rebecca
Miles, Olivia Morris, Jasmin Owen, Holly Rhys-Ellis, Nia Tilley, Charlotte Tobias
Eliza – Rebecca Miles
Angel George – Olivia Morris
Uncle Thomas – Jasmin Owen
Little Eva – Holly Rhys-Ellis
Little Topsy – Nia Tilley
Simon of Legree – Thomas Young
Buddha – Ben Skinner
Dogs – Aled Evans, Fergus Turtle, Rhys Young, William Cervetto