Overture: Location – curtains closed stage. The overture is played against an eerily lit curtain of slowly dancing blues and greens, which sets the mood more than location of the beginning of this story.
Opening: Location – Emily Aronnax’s study / the implied Nautilus at sea. As the curtain lifts, we are presented with a black stage. Slightly off to one side is an old desk, covered with papers and a gas-lit lamp. At the desk sits Emily Aronnax. This first song tells the audience the story of the loss of her father when she was a child, how the memory has haunted her, and how her determination has grown to find answers to what happened to him. The crescendo of her line leads back to the music heard in the overture. Mist fills the stage, and as the “Nautilus” theme is played we see an eerie glow from beneath; almost an outline of the top of a Victorian-era submarine (all we really see is the glow and some of the superstructure). As the music builds a strange light begins to emanate from the dorsal surface of the vessel, as a hatch opening and pure bright white with almost a hot intensity comes pouring out. When the “Nemo Theme” begins, a figure mysteriously steps into the light. This figure is dressed in what looks like an antique (to our eyes) diving suit and helmet. As the figure faces the audience, it removes the helmet (still against the bright light) and disappears “into” the vessel leaving only the shining light. This is the first mysterious glimpse of Captain Nemo.
Past The Horizon (Aronnax’s Song): Location – Emily Aronnax's study. This jaunty and energized song takes place in Emily’s study (for which the set now is in full view). The song portrays Emily’s enthusiasm and determination, as well as relaying more of the story and mystery of the loss of her father, as well as her desire to explore the world.
Sinking the Lincoln: Location – night on the open ocean, with the side of the Lincoln stage left, and the implied lighting of the Nautilus stage right in the mist. The stage is filled with mist again as this scene takes place during the night at sea. On one side is the stern of the Lincoln ship, the other open water. Lanterns on the side of the ship’s deck, as well as light cast from a full moon dimly light the Lincoln. Ned Land and the crew stand watch. Finally Ned sees something off the ship’s port side. They believe it to possibly be the creature that they are hunting. The creature seems to slowly start to move toward the ship. The crew sounds the warning bell, and Ned Land readies his powerful harpoon… always ready for a fight. The “creature” steadily increases speed toward the Lincoln (still slowly on stage, moving from the back of stage right forward. The illusion can be enhanced by having metal superstructure of the Nautilus move forward as well as increasing in size). The music swells fatalistically against the jagged rhythms, which create an unsettling feeling that reaches a peak when the Nautilus rams the Lincoln. The Lincoln sinks and her crew is lost, with the exception of Ned Land and Emily Aronnax who are thrown from the ship’s deck.
Welcome to the Nautilus: Location – Nautilus Brig. During the attack and sinking of the Lincoln, Ned Land and Emily Aronnax are tossed from the ship into the ocean. Against his better judgment, Nemo surfaces the Nautilus and plucks the duo’s unconscious bodies from the ocean. The two characters awake in the Nautilus’ brig, alone in this new strange environment without any clear recollection of what has happened. Ned Land is immediately suspicious and feels they are prisoners. Aronnax, being steeped in science, begins to try and gather evidence and assess who may have rescued them and why.
A World All of My Own: Location – Nautilus’ Bridge / Nemo’s study. This is Nemo’s aria, a song he sings to Emily Aronnax. The song expresses his past, the pain of his wife’s loss, and his determination to make a new life for himself away from the “surface world”. The song also flirts with the first glimmer of attraction between the characters, but it is only loosely implied. Nemo’s obsession with the life he has created for himself consistently draws him back to his unwillingness to return to the “surface world”.
My Heart (Aronnax’s Love Song): Location – Nautilus’ Bridge / Nemo’s study. After Nemo shows Emily the Nautilus and the world he lives in, she is struck by his vast knowledge, sensitivity to life, and devotion to reason, logic, and fairness to his crew. His crew enjoys an intellectual freedom and capacity for self-realization that she craves from a world which has severely limited her opportunities. Despite her best efforts, she begins to fall in love with the mysterious Nemo. But her heart is also one that does not fully understand his determination not to return to the surface world. This song is largely about her growing love for Nemo, and the freeing effect he has on her.
Find In Me: Location – On board the Nautilus. This is is a duet sung by Emily Aronnax and Captain Nemo that comes at a point in the show where these two characters have realized and finally are admitting their love for one another. Nemo now feels he can free himself from his self-imposed exile, while on the other hand Aronnax clearly sees the hurt, yet beautiful soul behind Nemo’s cold facade.
The Destruction of the Nautilus and Finale: Location – Nautilus’ Bridge / Nemo’s study. Another ship has been dispatched to investigate the loss of the Lincoln. Due to Ned Land’s attempts to sabotage the Nautilus, Nemo and his crew have been forced to surface. An explosion that rocks the interior of the Nautilus begins the song. Nemo attempts to fight back, but the Nautilus’ torpedoes are damaged and unable to fire. Nemo’s only concern is that of the Nautilus being boarded, his life’s work falling into the wrong hands, and his dream of a life away from the surface-world destroyed. Nemo decides to blow up the Nautilus instead of taking the risk of it being taken from him, even though he, his crew, Ned and Emily will all die. Furious and driven by anger, Ned lashes out at Nemo while also trying to convince Emily to free him (he has been tied up due to his many attempts to sabotage the Nautilus) so that they can attempt to escape. Emily instead tries to reason with, and eventually begs Nemo to not destroy the Nautilus. She thinks that the other ship can be reasoned with and that she and Nemo could start afresh rather than perish in the deep. Nemo however, in a break from reality, blames Ned and Emily for the situation, and continues his plan to destroy the Nautilus. Finally, he throws the lever and the self-destruction of the ship begins as the other ship’s crew begins to board. The music crescendos to the explosion and destruction of the ship. The set recesses into the darkness of the stage. The only thing left afterward is a solitary light on Nemo’s diving helmet resting on the stage (in the same place as Emily’s solitarily lit desk at the beginning), with the slowly dancing blue and green lighting flickering around it, representing the deep abyss.