1975 - 1976
14th century England, on the road to Canterbury…
Resting at the Tabard Inn, Geoffrey Chaucer falls in with a group of Pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Thomas à Becket. Their host, Harry Bailey, decides to join them as guide and, to make the journey more pleasurable, suggests that each tell a tale, with the best storyteller to be rewarded with a meal paid by all.
The Priest is interrupted from telling his story by the drunken Miller who is allowed to tell his in order to keep the general peace. In the tale, Nicholas, a lusty Oxford student, and Absalon, a Parish Clerk, try to seduce young Alison, the wife of an old carpenter. Nicholas succeeds, but not before Absalon gets revenge for being the loser. The Reeve, a former carpenter, feels insulted by the Miller's tale and repays him with a similar tale about a thieving Miller whose wife and daughter are both seduced by two Cambridge students.
As the journey continues, the Wife of Bath gives her views on marriage, of which she has had the experience of five husbands and is now on the lookout for number six. The Merchant tells a tale of the dangers of an old man marrying a young pretty girl and of how women usually have the last say in marriage. In his tale, the aging January marries a virgin, May, and, to keep younger bloods away, continually has her by his side, especially after he mysteriously goes blind. In his private garden, however, his young servant, Damian, man- ages to lure May into a pear tree. The god Pluto restores January's sight at an awkward moment, but Pluto's wife, Proserpina, grants May a valid explanation of the goings on, thus enabling her to save herself from January's wrath.
The Wife of Bath then tells the tale of how a young knight is bid to find out what women most desire. With the help of an old hag, he is reprieved from an impending death sentence when he answers:
… desyren to have soverentyee
As wel over hir housbond as hir love,
And for to been maistrie him above;
this is your moste desyr.
As the Pilgrims approach the steps of the Cathedral, it falls to the courtly Knight to provide the solution as to whom should dominate in marriage. The secret is mutual love and respect. All agree with this dictum and that, indeed, "Love will conquer all”.
Director: Joseph L. Shaver
Musical Director: Rod Holmes
Choreographer: Wilf Dubé