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Besse: Water, Rye and Hops – programme

Halloween special production for Dig Brew Co on 01/11/2019.

Music by Daniel Blanco Albert
Libretto by Roxanne Korda
Design by Infinite Opera, Oliver Webb and Karina Cabanikova 


  • Director: Infinite Opera
  • Besse: Roxanne Korda
  • Camille: Jared ice
  • Old woman: Olivia Thornber
  • Inquisitor: Hannah McDonald
  • Plague death 1/Cat/Tree: Dalma Sinka
  • Plague death 2: Sara De Visser
  • Visions: Oliver Farrow & Hannah McDonald
  • Angriest witch hunter: Ivonne Porras
  • Angry customer: Tina Fung, Oliver Farrow
  • Town Drunk: Si Paton


  • Conductor: Daniel Blanco Albert
  • Violin: Maja Pluta
  • Viola: Nicholas Fidler
  • Cello: Aaron Billson
  • Clarinet: Kaethe Uken
  • Percussion: Simon Arriola
  • Harpsichord: Róza Bene

  • Tech: Edwin Podolski & Karina Cabanikova
  • Camera: James Abel
  • Sound Tech: Thomas Whitehead

  • With many thanks to:
  • Oliver Webb for building the stage and believing in the project
  • All the staff at DigBrewCo for contributing hours of work to design and promotion
  • The REP costume and props department
  • The Hinrichsen Foundation for their support
  • BCMG for helping with technical equipment
  • Aleksandar Dundjerovic for providing consultation during rehearsals


Act 1 – Water

Sc. 1: A hen party arrive to celebrate at Camille and Besse’s inn. They are at first saddened but then highly angered to find the beer has run out. Camille tries to calm them with a song. They soon turn on him and are only stopped when Besse arrives to diffuse the situation. She tells Camille the only beer she has left has gone off and smells awful. He demands that they serve it anyway and the customers drink up the foul beer.    

Sc. 2: Besse, upset that she has been forced to serve lower quality produce, goes to the old woman in the woods for advice. The old woman tells her that laws are being passed which will stop women from having any control over the sale of their alcoholic produce – unless they are widowed. She then gives Besse a herb which in small doses will make you mad, and in large doses can kill.   

Act 2 – Rye

Sc. 3: Besse decides to put some of the herb into her husband’s beer. Just as she is doing this the customers return to blame death for their plagued states. In an attempt to prove his wife’s innocence, Camille drinks a beer to show it is not poisonous – however this one has just been poisoned! He starts to hallucinate as all the customers around him succumb to their plaguey deaths.   

Sc. 4: Besse is in a state of panic and goes to visit the old woman again. Just as she is asking for help Camille is heard calling to her. He is hallucinating and doesn’t really know if he is seeing Besse or one of his visions. He asks for help from Besse and seeing him in a softened state she agrees to help in exchange for a signed division of the inn. Unfortunately when she goes to make the contract the Old Woman steps forward and gives Camille a poison which kills him.     

Act 3 – Hops:

Sc. 5: In the inn the inquisitor has arrived to assess the cause of death. She is surrounded by an angry band of witch hunters. After much process and divining she decides it was indeed witchcraft and the witch hunt must begin.   

Sc. 6: In the forest Besse mourns the loss of her husband. She asks the Old Woman what to do next. The Old Woman suggests making a cure for the plague to win over the rest of the village. Just as this is happening  the witch hunters arrive and trap Besse. The inquisitor demands them to carry her away.   

Sc. 7: In the inn Besse is now on trial. The inquisitor sings of the ways to discern if Besse is a witch. The Old Woman is there serving a poisoned beer. She sneaks up to Besse and hands her both the poison and the antidote. As the witch hunters start to die around her she shows the antidote to the inquisitor and says she can cure the crowd. One witch hunter is chosen and she is revived by the antidote immediately. However this only proves Besse’s guilt and seals her fate. Seeing no other way out Besse decides to drink the poison herself – leaving what is left of her inn to the Old Woman. 

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