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A Long Way

Gone:Memoirs of a
Boy Soldier
A New Musical
Plot Summary
A Long Way Gone follows the
journey of Ishmael Beah, a
young boy soldier during the
war in Sierra Leone as he
embarks on a journey from boy
to man and learns that
forgiveness can still be found in
List of Characters
Ishmael Talloi The
Beah Gibrill Lieutenant
Young a Gasemu
Ishmael Kaloko Leslie
Middle Khalilo Laura
Ishmael u Simms
Junior Uncle
Beah Tomm
Kanei y
Character Descriptions
Ishmael Beah: The protagonist of the show and
also the narrator told from a first person point of
view. The character of Ishmael Beah would be
divided into 3 actors who would play Ishmael
during different times of his life. There would be a
young Ishmael, middle Ishmael and Ishmael.
Ishmael Beah would begin the show when he is 26
years old reflecting on a time in highschool when
his friends were asking why he left Sierra Leone.
He would then end the show with the bantu
proverb The eye never forgets what the heart has
Character Descriptions
Young Ishmael: He should be around 12-14
years old, should be able to rap and dance hip hop,
black, and athletic while still looking skinny. Young
Ishmael would be the boy soldier for the Sierra
Leone Armed Forces.
Middle Ishmael: Should be around 16-18 years
old, have similar features as the person cast as
Young Ishmael and Ishmael. Middle Ishmael would
be responsible for the rehab scenes, Uncle Tommy
Character Descriptions
Uncle Tommy: He is Ishmaels uncle and is a
struggling carpenter living in Freetown. He has
three kids and a wife and is a kind man who loves
to laugh and help others. Uncle Tommy and his wife
are the only ones who know about Ishmaels past
but, they forgive him and take him in as their own
son. He later dies of sickness.
Character Descriptions
Esther: Ishmaels nurse at Benin House whom
develops a friendship with Ishmael. She treats
Ishmaels wounds and encourages him to talk
about his experiences. She gives Ishmael a
walkman with a Run-DMC cassette and later buys
him a Bob Marley cassette. Music triggers a
breakthrough through Ishmaels therapy and he
begins to tell her stories and process the pain.
During Ishmaels period of time at Benin House, he
admits that he loves her, but never sees her again.
Character Descriptions
Mohamed: Ishmaels best friend from his home
village and later reunited at the UNICEF
rehabilitation center where Ishmael has already
been for several months. He is an important part of
Ishmaels emotional journey back from the war. He
and Ishmael attend school together in Freetown
and Ishmael calls Mohamed his brother.
ChARACTER Descriptions
The Lieutenant: He acts as a fatherly figure in
the Sierra Leone Armed Services. He trains the
boys and leads them into battle against the RUF.
He and Ishmael bond over their love of
shakespeare and Ishmael looks up to him as a role
model. He hands over the boys to UNICEF which
makes Ishmael feel betrayed and angry. He is an
important part of the family that Ishmael declares
loyalty to during the war.
Character Descriptions
Laura Simms: She is a storyteller in NYC and
bonds with Ishmael when he visits the United
Nations to share his story of being a boy soldier.
Laura represents an outsider who truly cares about
the fate of children in war torn countries. She
teaches them how to share their stories with the
world. When Ishmael returns to Sierra Leone, he
and Laura stay in touch and eventually Laura
becomes his foster mother when he escapes the
country. Laura helps Ishmael regain his trust and
Ishmael Beah would begin the show when he is 26 years old
reflecting on a time in highschool when his friends were asking why
he left Sierra Leone. While high school Ishmael answers his friends
questions, the audience then would see the stage being transformed
into Ishmaels village with a West African/ hip hop musical
underscore. Ishmael, Junior and Talloi would be seen walking from
their village of Mogbwemo to Mattru Jong for a rap contest. They
dance and sing rap music along the way (The Three Musketeers)
During their stay the RUF attacks Mattru Jong and the same three
flee the village without the rebels following them (Attack). Any
attacks in this show will be choreographed as dance/ fight scenes
Synopsis Continued
Ishmael, Junior and Talloi decide to set out and try to find their
families according to an old man who said the villagers fled to a
village on the Sierra Leone coast (Follow the Water). On their way
they encounter other villages and help with the daily chores such as
farming (Work Song). After months the village is attacked and the
group ends up splitting up (Lost). Ishmael ends up roaming for a
while until he meets up with another group of travelling boys that
are from his village. They end up traveling together to a village on
the coast and eventually leave. Ishmael then hears from a woman
from his old town that Junior, his younger brother Ibrahim and his
family is safe in another village (Rumors). Just before they reach the
village they meet a man named Gasemu. Gasemu, who Ishmael
knows from Mattru Jong tells Ishmael that indeed his family is safe.
He then asks the boys to help him carry bananas back to the village.
Synopsis Continued
After searching through the burning houses it is clear that the
bodies can not be found and Ishmael, devastated, assumes they are
dead. He then blames Gasemu for delaying him to get to his family
on time (Blame). Ishmael then attacks Gasemu, but is stopped by
the other boys. The boys are then chased into the forest by the
remaining RUF soldiers (The Chase) and Gasemu dies from being
shot. The boys then settle in another village protected by the army.
The Lieutenant in charge of the troops in the village then announced
that the RUF was beginning to assault the village and that for order
in the people to survive, they must contribute to the war effort by
enlisting in the army (The Order). There is no option and Ishmael
becomes a junior lieutenant for his skill of executing prisoners of the
war (AK-47). As part of the brainwashing process so the boys dont
feel or have emotions, Ishmael is introduced to drug usage such as
Synopsis Continued: Act 2
The month and year is now January 1996 and members of the
UNICEF during roll call round up several boys and takes them to a
shelter in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone where they are sent
to rehabilitation centers (A New Start). However, the children cause
much troubling for the volunteer staffers due to the adjustment of
drug withdrawal and the trauma of being a boy soldier (High). A
nurse, Esther, starts to take an interest to Ishmael and wants to
learn more about his childhood rap music. She then starts buying
him cassettes and a walkman (More to the Boy). Ishmael eventually
turns away from his violent self and starts to heal his mental wounds
(Its Not your Fault). Eventually Ishmaels case worker, Leslie, makes
Synopsis Continued: Act 2
During his stay, Ishmael is chosen to speak to the United Nations in
New York City about his experiences as a boy soldier and the other
problems that are affecting his country (New York Its Me). While at
the UN meeting Ishmael meets Laura Simms, his chaperone, who is
also a storyteller and his future foster mother. After the trip to New
York, Ishmael returns to Sierra Leone where Freetown is invaded by
a combination of the RUF and the Sierra Leonean Government Army.
Uncle Tommy eventually dies due to the malady (The Third Attack).
Ishmael then believes that he can not stay in Freetown for fear of
being recruited to being a soldier again or of being killed by his
former army friends if he refused. He then gets in contact with Laura
Synopsis Continued: Act 2
He crosses the border into Guinea, where he then eventually makes
his way to the United States and begins a new life (Clean). He would
then end the show with the bantu proverb The eye never forgets
what the heart has seen as the characters who died enter slowly
like ghosts as the moon silhoutte illuminates the stage with the
characters shadows (The Moon).
The whole inspiration for this musical was based on
Lin Manuel Mirandas New Musical Hamilton. I was
inspired to create a rap/ hip hop musical where the
attacks and violence that are seen would be
portrayed through breakdance and other dance
choreography. The songs First, Second, and Third
Attack would be constructed as breakdance
numbers. Dance would also be used in the
beginning to capture Ishmaels childhood and his
love for rap music. The main cast would be
The role of the Concept
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, A New
Musical would be constructed as a concept musical.
The theme that would link the music together in
this musical would be the theme of forgiveness
while telling a coming of age story from boy to
man. Forgiveness is the main lesson of this book,
and therefore I thought it should also be the lesson
the audience gains from watching this production.
Forgiveness is a relatable subject, and although


Coming of Age

Education towards the world about the atrocities

of how war affects children

Musical Numbers
1. The 11. 1. A New 8.
Three The Start Breakin
Muskete Order 2. High g Free
ers 12. AK- 3. More to 9. Clean
2. Attack 47 the Boy 10. The
3. The 13. 4. Its Not Moon
Storm Drugs Your End of
4. Follow in Our Fault Act 2
the Veins 5. Welcom
Water End of e to the
5. Work Act 1 Family
Song 6. New
6. Lost York
7. Rumors Its Me
8. The 7. The