The plots of fictional stories sometimes turn on facts that lie outside the real world. For example, Achilles is invulnerable except for his heel. Kryptonite robs Superman of his powers. Dont feed Gizmo after midnight or youll be plagued by gremlins. Say Beetlejuice three times and hell appear.
If an audience is to make sense of a fantasy universes mythology, any arbitrary rules and their consequences have to be spelled out.
In Lerner and Loewe's 1947 musical Brigadoon, set in Scotland, the necessary exposition is delayed almost until the intermission. This adds an element of mystery.
Richwood High School presented Brigadoon on April 9, 1965, when I was a senior. I wasnt part of the cast, but I knew most of the people who were, and I hung around during many of their after-school rehearsals.
At one point I stopped by the projection booth in the back row of seats. The spotlight operator was aiming her beam at Nick Taylor onstage as he sang his solo, Ill Come Home to Bonnie Jean. Inside the thick walls of the booth we could barely hear him except when he hit his extended high note, Ill.
While most of the show was shot in a studio like a drama from the Golden Age of Television, or like a soap opera even today, there were a few outdoor sequences performed on a sunny southern California hillside. The skies were blue, not sable as the chorus claimed, and it didnt much resemble Scotland.
At least ABC sent a truck out there with an electronic camera and a video tape recorder. British productions (even Fawlty Towers a decade later) would shoot their occasional exteriors on film a jarringly different look from the rest of the scenes, shot with real TV studio cameras.
You can watch the 1966 show here. Ill Come Home to Bonnie Jean is performed not by Nick Taylor but by a singer Id describe as an Irish tenor, beginning at the 16:14 mark.
The story goes like this: Two Americans have stumbled across a Scottish village called Brigadoon. Its not on any map, and its inhabitants are completely unaware of the modern world.
This peculiar situation is explained halfway through the show. In a scene beginning at 41:56, village elder Mr. Lundie reveals to the Americans that because of a miracle, the town exists for just a single day every century. When it reappears 100 years later, its inhabitants perceive it as only one day later. Outsiders can come and go; but if a citizen ever departs, the town will disappear forever.
In the Richwood High School Mixed Chorus production, Terry Rockhold wore a green kilt to play Mr. Lundie. Unfortunately, on the night of the performance he mistakenly omitted a sizable portion of his speech, leaving the audience uninformed about the no-exit rule.
In the next scene, after a sword dance, a disgruntled citizen (I canna abide) shouts that hes leaving. Everybody joins in a desperate chase to prevent him. But, one might wonder, why the desperation? Why do they care? Good riddance.
Our high school cast, realizing its audience didnt know the rule, had to add some dialogue. I think it was Ed Olson who ad-libbed something like We must stop him! If he leaves, our village will vanish, never to return!
The village is saved. (What a day this has been!) Then it disappears for a hundred years.
Four months later, however, it rematerializes briefly for a romantic happy ending. Huh? In the final line of the show, Terry explained that the rules could be bent: You shouldna be too surprised, lad. When ye love someone deeply enough, anythin is possible. Even miracles.