Book by Chantal Bilodeau
Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein
Music by Peter Melnick
Alight, Arise, Return is a musical based loosely on the history of the Cottingley Fairies. In 1917 in Cottingley, England, two girls who were cousins took photographs of what they claimed were real fairies. The photos immediately became a sensation – gaining the support of public personalities such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – and for the next 60 years, generated much media attention in England and abroad. Toward the ends of their lives, one of the cousins finally held a press conference to reveal that the photos had been images of beautifully drawn paper faeries - a hoax. The other cousin maintained to her death that one of the photos captured the likeness of a genuine faerie.
Alight, Arise, Return is about memory, magic, friendship and betrayal, and finally, the power of belief. We meet the girls in 1917, the year they photographed… whatever it was they photographed, and we get to know their elderly selves as well. We see how the girls’ actions had huge repercussions on everyone around them, leading to the eventual disintegration of their friendship. We also get to know the elderly cousins sixty years later, as they struggle with the consequences of having kept their secret for so long, and try to find resolution, both with the fairies and with each other.
- Residency at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, July 2015