Synopsis - Act II

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In No 16 – November the Fifth – Part One , the people of London light bonfires in celebration of the king’s deliverance. Meanwhile, in the Midlands, the conspirators celebrate the supposed success of their plot (No 17 – November the Fifth – Part Two ). Wintour rushes in to declare that Fawkes has been captured. The plotters flee to Holbeche House, where they believe they will be safe.

In the Tower of London, Cecil begins to torture Fawkes, but he reveals nothing. In No 18 – To Serve and Protect , Cecil expounds his philosophy.

Anne Vaux has heard of the failure of the plot and while she feels that she herself will be safe, she fears that Garnet and Owen may be suspected of being involved. The two men go into hiding (No 19 – Gone, Gone, Gone ) as Vaux and Finwood stand guard. Finwood sings of how her attitude to life has changed (No 20 – Just Once ).

On the rack, Fawkes finally gives in and tells Cecil the names of the other plotters, and that they will probably have gone to Holbeche. He continues to defend his faith in No 21 – A Traitor’s Death . The scene splits and Vaux sings of her fears. Cecil adds his point of view to make their duet a trio.

At Holbeche House, the plotters realise that the king’s men will soon find them. They prepare to make their last stand (No 22 – Freedom is Our Right ).

In their priest-hole, Owen and Garnet comically discuss what they’d like to eat if they were not in hiding (No 23 – A Little Fish ). Eventually, they decide to emerge in search of food. They, along with Vaux and Finwood, are arrested by the soldiers who have been lying in wait. The soldiers threaten Finwood, and Owen attacks them, giving her a chance to escape.

Holbeche House has been surrounded by soldiers, led by Sir Richard Walsh. They attack. Several plotters are killed or wounded. Finally, Catesby himself is shot and dies in Wintour’s arms (No 24 – The Last Stand ). The survivors are rounded up and taken to London.

A crowd of onlookers – amongst them Vaux and Finwood – begins to fill the square where the remaining plotters are to be hanged, drawn and quartered. In No 25 – Judgement Day , James addresses the crowd and then Cecil reads out the names of the plotters – echoed by the spirit of Catesby – as they are led to the scaffold. Fawkes, Owen, Garnet, Wintour and the others prepare to meet their fate.

At the moment of their execution, there is a blackout. The lights return to a modern crowd, quietly leaving the scene of the bonfire.


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