Jack Point

Courtney M Eckhardt cme at MIT.EDU
Sun May 7 00:40:17 EDT 2000

Oh, gosh, I remember this now!  I went to a performance of Yeomen of the
Guard given by the GIlbert and Sullivan Players here.  Jack Point has a
heartbreaking solo at the end.... I was very stricken by it.  If anyone's
interested, my impressions of the love plot are below. Mild spoiler alert
here, but there's certainly more to the play than the love plot.  It was
just what struck me the hardest, through a combination of good acting and
the effects of (then) recent experiences in my own life....

Near the beginning of the play, Jack and his girlfrind (betrothed?  I
can't remember) Elsie show up at the castle where everything takes place-
they're traveling performers who singe and tell stories and do mime acts
and minor drama and you-name-it. They're obviously very deeply in love,
and there's a beautiful love song that they sing together, partly as a
duet and partly as a dialog.  Elsie is a beautiful young woman, and none
of the men understand why she's so in love with this seemeing clown of a
man, but she obviously is.

Shortly after they arrive, one of the higher-ranking castle occupants
starts flirting with her; she's not having any of it, and his flirting
starts to get rude, suggestive, and forceful.  At this point in the play
you've only seen Jack's public persona, a clownlike, gentle, slightly
clueless mask, and you expect him to slink away and let this guy have his
way with Elsie (the aggressor obviously expects this too).  But Jack steps
forward and defends her, and the aggressor gets annoyed and goes away (I
think the guards had something to do with that part, but I don't remember
very well).

Later on, Elsie meets the "hero" of the play (insert false accusations and
several layered cloak-and-dagger plots here :).  She's quite taken with
him, and near the end of the play she has to tell Jack that she has chosen
the other fellow.  Jack's heart is shredded, he cries and begs her to
change her mind.  Finally he accepts her choice in utter despair; he sings
at her the love song they used to sing together, slowly, haltingly, in a
minor key- it's become a heartbreaking lament.  In the performance I saw,
he stabs himself and dies at her feet, where she stands with her new love.
It was almost enough to make me cry right there- I couldn't believe that
when the lights came back on on stage a few minutes later and the actors
were bowing the rest of the audience was in a mood to clap and cheer.  

Looking at it now... had Alanna chosen Jonathan, it could easily have been
the Jack Point scenario, as George would not have survived it well.  But
somehow, even at the (tender) age I was when I first read the books, it
was obvious to me that Jon was lonely and while he needed Alanna as a
friend and vassal it was not *Alanna* he needed as a wife, and that he
would get on all right if she refused him.  My not-at-all humble opinion,
of course, and if Melissa disagrees, well... I'll just have to show my
belly and surrender. :P

Courtney, feeling somewhat misty-eyed and sentimental

In message <382599098.957665611821.JavaMail.root at web193-iw>, Mary Ann Dimand wr
>I'm not a Gilbert and Sullivan person, but here goes. Jack Point is in their
>Yeoman of the Guard.
>According to http://diamond.idbsu.edu/GaS/yeomen/html/yeomen_home.html
>"Colonel Fairfax, sentenced to die in an hour on a false charge of sorcery,
>marries Elsie Maynard, a strolling singer. But then he escapes, causing
>complications. At the end Elsie's boyfriend, Jack Point, dies of a broken
>heart. Or does he? The nearest that G&S came to grand opera."
>There is a longer synopsis at
>Jack Point is a jester who Does the Right Thing Nobly. Lord Peter Wimsey
>mentions him at one point, by the way, which is where I initially
>encountered him.
>Mary Ann
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