A reimanging of the Bridge Scene in Oliver
Notes: Pip PIP Cheerio I just completed a summer community production of Oliver. I am not a fan of sad endings and so after seeing a status update by a fellow cast mate and subsequent responses I decided to write this.. I am not the hugest fan of violent onstage death so I rewrote the ending so Nancy survives.
"Who is this man?" Maybe I can help you."
Mr. Brownlow's words echoed in Nancy's ears as she walked down the cobblestone street. This man obviously cared for Oliver and his well being as much she did. She felt guilt rise in the pit of her stomach for getting him in middle of her messy relationship with Bill Sykes. She was beginning to realize that she would have been a lot happier if she had left him a long time ago.
"He's mine and i'm his.'
It was a stupid excuse and she didn't have an ounce of doubt in her mind that that indeed was true. She had grown up with group a of pickpockets.. it was how she'd met Bill in the first place. Her parents had died several years before and she knew she would not be happy with the way her life had turned out.
'I'll take him to bridge at midnight and he''ll be happy with Mr. Brownlow. That's all I really want for him. It's what I always wanted for myself. but never got.'
So dutifully at midnight she took Oliver to the bridge to meet Mr. Brownlow. He had not arrived yet and who should happen to show up but Bill.
"What are you doing with the boy?" Sykes sneered
"The rightful thing. Mr. Brownlow should be here any minute."
"He belongs with us." Bill said referring to Fagin and the gang of pickpockets.
"Hell he does."
Bill raised his hand and smacked Nancy clear across the face. Oliver recoiled in shock having never seen this.
"That's a horrible thing to do sir." Oliver said.
"Shut your mouth boy." Bill said.
"Hush Oliver, he might hurt you next." Nancy whispered.
The last thing Nancy wanted was for Bill to do something to Oliver.
'Oh, Mr. Brownlow please hurry up.' Nancy muttered under her breath.
"What did you say?" Bill said.
"She said she wants Mr. Brownlow to hurry up and get here." Oliver said.
"And what do you suppose he'll do?" Bill asked
"Take me away from you because you are a horrid man." Oliver said mater of factly. Not really caring at all what Noah Claypole had said to him at the funeral home about cheeking his superiors.
Bill turned toward Oliver and raised his fist.
"Bill, don't hurt him. All he's doing is being honest." Nancy said.
At that moment Nancy had a moment of clarity that all along she had never been honest with herself.,
Bill slapped Oliver and turned around and advanced on Nancy raising his cudgel.
"Two figures emerged from the shadows... Nancy breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Bet and Dodger.
"Why aren't you two back at the hideout? The cops will find you here." Bill demanded.
"We're worried about Oliver. We don't think he deserves to see how horrible are to Nancy Bill ." Bet said.
'It's a bit late for that." Nancy thought to herself.
Nancy looked at Bet and Dodger worriedly. " Can you two keep Oliver safe? Get back in the shadows . Mr. Brownlow should be here soon. You'll be going home now Oliver."
Dodger looked at Oliver. "Don't you want to be with us though Oliver?"
"You all have been good to me but so has Mr. Brownlow. I probably should have told you that I was running an errand for him and didn't steal those books."
Nancy was shocked. "So you never told him about us?"
Oliver shook his head. "I did not say a word. Would it have mattered if I did? You all can't stay in hiding forever you know. You'll be found out sooner or later."
"Say that last phrase one more time." Bill sneered.
Oliver stared Bill straight in the face. ""You can't stay in hiding forever."
Bill lunged at Oliver with a clenched fist. "You little brute!"
"Bill, don't! Nancy and Bet both screamed.
"I'll do what I want." Bill said and then he advanced on Nancy and once again raised his cudgel.
"Actually, no you won't" Another voice called out from the shadows. Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin emerged.
Nancy breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank goodness you've come Mr. Brownlow."
"Is this the man you were telling us about?" Mrs. Bedwin asked.
Nancy nodded. "Yes, indeed m'am. It is."
"You will not raise your hand to the boy again! " Mr. Brownlow boomed.
"And what if I do?" Bill said
"The Bow Street runners have been called.. they are raiding Fagin's lair now. I'm having them all arrested and I am afraid you'll be next. I won't have you hurting the woman anymore either do you hear?" Mr. Brownlow asked.
Bill did not say anything.
"Who are these two?" Mrs. Bedwin indicated Bet and Dodger.
"We know Fagin but we're friends with Nancy too and we've been awful worried about her." Bet said
Dodger nodded. "We're awful worried for her well being and we've been worried about Oliver too.. her relationship with Bill is not a healthy one at all."
"You're not going to arrest them too are you sir?" Oliver asked turning toward Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin"
"Of course not. They seem to be caring individuals. This scoundrel deserves to be locked up."
Within moments the Bow Street Runners arrived on scene and arrested Bill.
"Mr. Brownlow, do you think it would be okay if Nancy, Dodger and Bet came to live with us?" Oliver asked.
"I don't see why not."
And the group of five departed from London Bridge. Nancy was relieved that Bill was out of her life for good and she could finally be happy.