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Directed by Miriam Eunice Andrews

Publication Date



Gorham, ME


Theatre, University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre, Theatre Program


Arts and Humanities | Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History



When the lovely Princess Briar Rose was born to the King and Queen of Lorovaine, there was great rejoicing. But because the thirteenth fairy, the wicked Renaulda, was not invited to the christening feast, she decreed that Briar Rose should die at the age of fifteen by the prick of a spindle. The gentle Fairy Queen, whose gift had been forestalled by Renaulda's curse, mitigated the dreadful doom by decreeing that Briar Rose should sleep for many years. The King ordered all spinning wheels within the kingdom to be burned.

On the Princess' fifteenth birthday Prince Florizel of Tuscany, with whom a marriage had been arranged for Briar Rose, came to Lorovaine. He was accompanied, among others, by Drago, son of the evil Renaulda, and her tool in carrying out her designs on Briar Rose. In the guise of a gardener, Florizel won the love of Briar Rose, allowing Drago to assume his personality. Because of her love for the supposed Beppo (Florizel), Briar Rose refused to plight her troth to the Prince, and aided by her faithful jester, Jorian, she fled from the betrothal.·.Beppo, too, :flees to escape the King's wrath. Returning to the garden late at night, Briar Rose is induced by Drago, who pretends that, as Florizel, he has abandoned his suit for her hand, to climb to the ramparts for a word with Beppo. She comes upon the Tower Room, and a little old woman, spinning at the only wheel left in the kingdom. Having coaxed the Spinning Woman to let her have a try at the wheel Briar Rose pricks her finger, and so fulfills her doom, falling at once into a deep slumber. At the same time, every living creature within the palace walls· succumbs to drowsiness.

When the children who had rejoiced at Briar Rose's christening were middle-aged and grey-haired, Florizel, kept magically young and handsome by the power of the Fairy Queen, returns to the garden, now isolated behind a thorny hedge, to essay, at a charmed moment, to find his way to his sleeping love. Again Renaulda intervenes by the help of Drago, who sets the villagers on Florizel, claiming he is a bandit. Florizel fatally wounds Drago. With his death Renaulda's spell is broken, and Florizel, still aided by the magic of the Fairy Queen, makes successful venture of the thorny wall, just as the matin song banishes the powers of darkness and evil.

Entering the Tower Room, Florizel restores Briar Rose to life with a kiss. The whole household awakens from its long sleep, and rejoices with Briar Rose in life, and love.

Location: Box 13, Folder 3

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Briar Rose: An Opera Fantasy and Prologue in Three Acts



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