Note: This play is based loosely on elements of
It came about as a result of a series of dreams by the author.
Non-profit, educational and non-commercial organizations may produce this play for no fee. However, they must obtain written permission from the author or they are in violation of the law. All parties should contact me via e-mail. Just click on the e-mail address below to send me a message.
INTRODUCTION || C| O| P| Y| R| Characters: I| G| SETH: the hero, an executive in a multi- H| national, multi-billion dollar company. T| || SETH'S WIFE, LAURA: a loyal corporate wife 1| and mother. 9| 9| THE GHOST: dressed in a white robe with 7| leaves covering it's head, it is neither man or || woman. Under its robe is a skeleton suit. It B| resembles the Irish description of a Banshee. Y| || SETH'S SECRETARY, MOLLY R| CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD I| PSYCHIATRIST C| POLICE SERGEANT H| POLICEWOMAN A| (All of the above could be played by the R| same person, or one woman could play a couple D| of parts and one man could play the rest.) || d| THE CHORUS: e| OFFICE WORKERS G| BOARD MEMBERS A| PEOPLE AT POLICE STATION R| CRIMINALS IN JAIL I| (All of these are played by the same S| actors - I would suggest a minimum of four - || two women and two men.) D| The above groups act like a Greek chorus. O| They can speak the lines in unison or B| individuals in sequence can speak the lines. L| When the props are being changed the chorus E| members might change the sets. || A| Scenes: L| I : Seth's office - 9 AM. L| II : Meeting room at Seth's company - 3 PM. || III: Seth's home - 6 PM. R| IV : Psychiatrist's office - 9 PM. I| V : Police station - midnight. G| VI : Jail cell - 2 AM. H| VII: On a country road - dawn. T| S| The action takes place over a twenty-four hour || period. R| E| Note about production: S| The following remarks are meant as E| suggestions only. The author encourages theater R| groups to produce this play in any manner that V| they feel is appropriate. The following E| suggestions would allow this play to be D| preformed with minimal actors and props, thus || making it easier for production companies. || C| Lighting: O| Strong spot lighting at times. Some scenes P| with deep shadows. Y| R| Props and scenery: I| I would suggest the use of a rear screen G| onto which a slide is projected. There could be H| one slide for the office, one for the board T| meeting, one for the home etc. Minimal props || would include: a desk, a coffee table, a couch, 1| six chairs, and four cots (or bed rolls). Most 9| scenes only need a few props, the rest could be 9| mimed, i.e. doors, walls. See remarks before 7| each scene. || B| Music: Y| Music can be used. It is suggested that it sound a bit || like spoken words. At times the music might rise R| to dominate the action. At other times the I| music could fade into silence. Silence might C| be used for emphasis. H| Music with the appropriate theme A| (appropriate for the character currently R| speaking or the emotions currently being played D| out) could always in the background. Characters || might freeze sometimes while music continues. d| The play can be a bit stylized. It could feel e| slightly like a silent movie with music as G| background if a director wants to stage it that A| way. R| I encourage the use of original music, but I| there might be a number of themes that S| continue throughout and that interweave. Suggested || themes are: D| Themes: O| Seth's theme: his theme has a narrow range B| of only an octave, two at most when he is L| agitated. E| Seth's wife's theme: more octaves than || Seth, but not very flashy. A matter-of-fact A| theme with an element of pleading and L| comforting. L| Anxiety theme: Seth, the workers at the || company, Seth's wife all use this theme; minor R| key. Seth uses it especially when he worries I| about the ghost. G| Resolution theme: the counterpart to the H| anxiety theme is a resolution theme. It occurs T| when Seth thinks about being able to sleep or S| being free of his dreams and later when he || comes to terms with the ghost. It is also used R| at the end when Seth makes a decision; major E| key. S| Chorus theme: this theme is used by the E| workers, board members, people in police R| booking room, and prisoners. The theme has a V| whining character, a moaning and groaning feel E| to it. It is often nervous. D| Ghost's theme: a menacing, foreboding || theme. The theme should be also full of || sympathy for the ghost, because it was the C| ghost who was killed. O| Chairman of board, psychiatrist, sergeant, P| policewoman theme: this theme is no nonsense, Y| assertive, take charge. We'll call it the R| "taking-care-of-business" theme. I| Production of the music can be very G| simple. It could be taped beforehand or played H| with a single electronic synthesizer or with a T| small group of instruments. || 1| Dialogue: 9| The actor's speech should be, at times, 9| like singing (just as the music should be a 7| little like talking). Some actors and directors || may feel the need to repeat a line here and B| there that is not in the script. Please do so Y| if it will enhance the rhythm of the play. || The asides are especially important. Often R| the actor comes to the front of the stage where I| he or she is spotlighted while the rest of the C| action freezes in the shadows in the H| background. After the aside the actor or A| actress should return to the interaction with R| the others and the lights should come up. D| || Costumes: d| Ordinary everyday business clothes are e| appropriate. Seth starts out in a suit, vest G| and tie which he wears the entire time, but it A| becomes more disheveled as the play goes on. R| Secretary and wife are well dressed, board I| members also. Prostitutes and thieves are well S| dressed but flashy; prisoners in jail are in || old ragged work clothes, D| O| B| L| E|
SCENE I || A| L| (Before the action starts there is an L| musical introduction or overture in which the || audience hears most of the musical themes they R| will hear throughout the play. This I| introduction should take a couple of minutes G| and the stage should be darkened. H| The lights come up. T| S| SCENE: Seth's office at work. || TIME: 9 AM. R| PROPS: desk and chair on stage left. E| There is a wall down the middle of the S| stage (which could be a curtain or just mimed). E| On the other side of the wall is the R| secretaries desk and chair which could also be V| mimed. Seth is seated, slumped over his desk. E| The secretary is typing at her desk. Behind her D| office workers are conferring. They each carry || a clipboard. There is a loud buzzing sound. The || secretary stops typing and opens the door to C| Seth's office. MUSIC: somewhat light, nervous, O| conversational; Seth's theme and the taking- P| care-of-business theme, with the chorus theme Y| coming in later.) R| I| SEC: Sir, you buzzed. G| H| SETH: Yes, Molly, cancel my appointments, T| the next hour or two. || I couldn't sleep last night. 1| 9| SEC: Not again sir, I'm sorry. 9| 7| SETH: I've an important meeting at three, || got to be my best for that. B| Y| SEC: I'll make sure that you're not || disturbed. R| I| SETH: Tell no one Molly. C| You've worked for me all these years. H| Tell no one. A| R| SEC: Yes, sir, I've been with you D| a long time, || followed you d| through your climb to VP e| in charge of sales. G| No one. A| No one. R| I| (Exits through the office door to the other S| side of the stage where office workers are || waiting anxiously. The light dims on Seth's D| side and brightens on the worker's side.) O| B| WORKERS:Again? L| E| SEC: He wants to be alone || for a while that's all. A| L| WORKERS:That's twice this week. L| What can it be? || Disease, cancer, stress? R| Our careers linked to his. I| If he weakens,falters, G| how will we feed the kids, H| make payments on the house? T| (The light dims on the worker's side and S| brightens on Seth's side of the stage. Seth is || reclined in a chair. Seth's speech is coherent R| but shows signs of becoming disjointed. Later E| in the play his speech will be quite S| incoherent, but with an added poetic lilt to E| it.) R| V| SETH: Alone, I'm alone. E| This darkened room... D| But I'm afraid. || I need to sleep || but I'm afraid of sleep. C| It's my dreams O| they won't leave me alone, P| they won't let me rest -- Y| something in the darkness R| again and again I| under leaves, G| bright spot lights H| sudden sounds. T| Oh, I wish I could sleep || I'll try- 1| pull these shades, 9| lie here. 9| (Seth pulls the shades and the room darkens. He 7| puts his feet up on his desk and leans back in || his chair. The workers peek though the B| door.) Y| || WORKERS:Maybe now he can rest. R| Revive, I| renew, C| be ready for the managerial meeting H| this afternoon A| when our department is at stake. R| --Please, let's hope. D| (The workers close the door and walk to the || back of their side of the stage where they d| confer.) e| G| SETH: (Jumping up from his chair, pacing.) A| Oh,no! R| It comes again: I| this shadow, S| these heavy shadows || banging up against me D| like a sack of sand. O| What are they? B| Why won't they let me be? L| Two weeks, and only cat naps. E| I've got to sleep... || (His voice trails off. He falls to the floor, A| the rug, exhausted, and curls up in a ball like L| a dog trying to sleep in the cold). L| || SEC: (looking in, surprised to see him on R| the floor.) I| Well, at least he's sleeping; G| that's good. H| T| WORKERS:(Behind her, peering in, surprised but S| relieved.) || Now, we'll be okay. R| He'll get the rest he needs. E| No one's sharper in the board room S| when he's up to it. E| He'll do his best. R| V| E|
SCENE II D| || || C| (SCENE: a corporate meeting room. O| TIME: 3 PM. P| PROPS: six chairs, a chart, and a pointer. Y| The board members (or chorus) is seated in R| the chairs facing the chart. The chairman I| speaks first. MUSIC: Silence until noted.) G| H| CHAIR: Seth, we anxiously await T| your report. || 1| SETH: Yes, I've prepared the figures 9| you require 9| to make the necessary 7| decisions about || who to fire and B| who to keep on. Y| || CHAIR: Good, let's get on with it. R| Lights, please. I| C| SETH: (Charts, spot light.) H| Here you see the sales A| figures for the last five years; R| notice the decided trending down D| from year to year. || (The sound of Seth's presentation fades. d| MUSIC: ghost's theme begins quietly but becomes e| much louder. A ghost figure, head covered in G| leaves and blood (but is unrecognizable, A| neither man nor woman), walks into the room, R| sits down at Seth's empty chair. The music I| recedes for the moment.) S| || SETH: Now the sales per person D| in each division... O| (He looks at his chair and drops his pointer. B| He walks away from the group who freeze while L| lights dim on their area. Seth is spot lighted. E| MUSIC: anxiety theme.) || (Aside.) A| My dream, L| that was in my dream -- L| this walking mangled head -- || neither man or woman -- R| only leaves and hair and blood. I| Please not now; G| leave me alone. H| (The figure gets up and slowly walks out. T| Seth returns to his position in front of the S| chart. MUSIC: silence, then a pause before the || chairman speaks.) R| E| CHAIR: Seth, what is it. S| We're waiting. E| R| SETH: (Aside.) V| I don't know what it is -- E| such a cruel joke -- D| I wish I knew. || (Then addressing the board) || Oh, yes, sorry I was trying C| to remember a point or two. O| P| CHAIR: Well, let's get on with it Y| (Seth points and talks in the background R| while the chorus of board members get out of I| their chairs, go to the front of the stage and G| deliver the following speech. The chairman, H| however, stays in his seat listening to Seth's T| presentation. MUSIC: chorus theme.) || 1| MEMBERS:He doesn't seem right. 9| No one's sharper than he is 9| in the board room. 7| It must be these awful decisions; || we all feel the strain B| but it shows more on his face today Y| like a wrestler || trying to pin his opponent; R| let's hope he'll be okay. I| He's slated to be executive VP next. C| We're counting on him H| to pull us through. A| R| D|
SCENE III || d| e| G| (SCENE: Seth's home. A| TIME: 6 PM. R| PROPS: couch, chair and coffee table. I| As the scene opens Seth's wife is sitting S| on the couch drinking a cocktail. Seth walks in || -- he is moving slowly, dragging. He puts a D| load of papers and then his attache case on the O| table. MUSIC: silence until noted.) B| L| WIFE: (Looking up.) E| Did it go okay at work today? || A| SETH: (He speaks in a monotone; he is in his L| work mode.) L| Yes, not bad. || I convinced the board R| to do a study I| before they trimmed G| my department back. H| T| WIFE: That's what you wanted. S| || SETH: Yes, the best I could hope for. R| (Walks to the front of the stage while his wife E| freezes her pose on the couch.) S| (Aside.) E| But these dreams R| that invade my body, V| that cling to me E| night after night D| like shadows of something || I don't remember || --like a life I once had C| and forgot... O| (He returns to where he had been standing.) P| Y| WIFE: Did you say something? R| I| SETH: No, no - nothing... G| it's nothing. H| T| WIFE: (She get up, runs her hands through his || hair and straightens his clothes. She looks at 1| him with concern.) 9| You don't look right these days. 9| It must be the awful 7| responsibility you carry. || The work you have to do -- B| make decisions about who to keep Y| and who to let off -- || bloody work, R| almost like deciding who will live I| and who will die. C| (She freezes, hands still caressing him. He H| walks two paces toward the front of the stage.) A| R| SETH: (Aside.) D| Bloody, bloody -- || in my dreams blood everywhere d| but not mine, e| some one else's veins had opened G| and spilled out into the leaves. A| (He returns to stand directly in front of her R| as he had before.) I| S| WIFE: What did you say? || D| SETH: Nothing, O| just talking to myself. B| L| WIFE: It not like you. E| You look tired, || why don't you get some rest. A| L| SETH: REST! L| (Part agreement, part anguish.) || R| WIFE: Yes, rest; I| lie down on the couch. G| H| SETH: The couch... T| And sleep... S| || WIFE: And sleep. R| E| (He lies down while she gets a blanket. She S| tucks him in, covers him with the blanket, and E| pulls the shade, then she exits. MUSIC: R| resolution theme plays softly like a lullaby. V| He sleeps for a moment, then tosses and turns E| on the couch. All at once offstage there is a D| blood curdling scream. Seth sits bolt upright. || MUSIC: rises and is a strong undercurrent to || the duet that follows. His wife comes rushing C| in. Their speeches overlap; they are talking O| past each other, neither is really listening. P| Seth's speech is disjointed.) Y| R| SETH: Now I remember, I| I remember now. G| H| WIFE: It was just a dream. T| || SETH: That's good I guess 1| at least it's out. 9| 9| WIFE: Only a dream. 7| || SETH: (Disjointed, breathing hard.) B| I'd forgotten Y| years ago || an accident R| alone I| no one there C| except the body I hit H| A| WIFE: You know it was a dream. R| D| SETH: and dragged || under the car d| across the road e| couldn't tell G| old or young A| man or woman R| a figure of arms and legs I| S| WIFE: You had a bad dream. || D| SETH: I buried in a ditch O| and went my way B| forgot till now L| --but never any news E| of wrong doing on that road || like it never happened A| until lately L| when I couldn't remember L| or forget-- || R| WIFE: (Their speeches no longer overlap, but I| they still are not listening to each other.) G| You were dreaming. H| It must not have happened T| if it was never on the news. S| || SETH: (Like in a trance, not hearing her.) R| They couldn't have been important, E| probably a vagrant, a bum, S| someone no one cared about E| or missed. R| Is that why I never heard? V| Why I could forget so easily? E| D| WIFE: There was no news. || || SETH: That's why I should forget- C| because at least now I remember. O| Maybe I can sleep. P| I'm sure there's nothing more to it. Y| I've got to go on, R| lead my life; I| too many people G| count on me. H| T| WIFE: (She is soothing, nodding, agreeing, || comforting. The following lines are like a 1| lullaby.) 9| Yes, just a dream 9| there was no news, 7| something you should forget || now you can sleep. B| Y| SETH: Yes, now I can sleep. || R| (She tucks him in the couch again, gives him a I| hug, he lies there with the spot on his face. C| His face goes through many expression such as H| anger and frustration. MUSIC: reflects Seth's A| changes in emotion. Then all at once he is R| smiling, relieved, and laughing. He covers D| himself up with the blanket and lies on his || side, facing the audience. He looks at peace; d| he shuts his eyes. MUSIC: resolution theme e| starts but shifts to the ghost's theme. Then G| the bloodied figure walks into the room, stands A| in front on him on the couch, and stares. He R| opens his eyes, sees it, and muffles his I| scream.) S| || SETH: (Sitting up, tense, in charge, D| commanding, like ordering on of his O| subordinates.) B| Go away! L| Leave! E| I've remembered you now- || That's enough. A| L| (The figure walks away; Seth's body relaxes. L| But it does not leave, instead it circles the || couch and comes back to stare at Seth.) R| I| SETH: (Softer tone, like asking a friend for G| a favor.) H| Please... T| I've remembered you now. S| Nothing I can do today || will change anything R| that happened then. E| S| (The figure walks away and circles as before.) E| R| SETH: Is there more I have to do? V| Still more? E| My life will be destroyed D| if I confess. || You see that don't you? || All these people who depend on me... C| O| (This time the figure walks toward the exit and P| does leave. Seth tries to sleep. MUSIC: anxiety Y| theme. A spot light is on his face. He is wide R| awake. He gets up paces up and down the room I| with the blanket wrapped around him. His G| walking becomes more agitated. Finally he bangs H| his fists on the wall.) T| || SETH: (Screaming.) 1| Okay! 9| Okay! 9| 7| ||
SCENE IV B| Y| || R| (SCENE: psychiatrist's office. I| TIME: 9 PM. C| PROPS: two chairs and a coffee table. H| Both Seth and the psychiatrist are seated A| as the lights come up.) R| D| SETH: Thank you for seeing me so late. || d| DOCTOR: Seth I know it's important e| so tell me what it is. G| A| (Seth paces the room attempting to speak R| several times. The psychiatrist expects him to I| speak but he doesn't and continues to pace the S| room. Finally he collapses on the couch and || stares at the ceiling. MUSIC: the anxiety D| theme begins soft and low and then rises in O| pitch and volume to end in the resolution theme B| at the end of his speech. In this speech he L| tells for the first time exactly what happened, E| up to now it's been only hints and fragments.) || A| SETH: (Soliloquy. Very disjointed at first but L| it is also a clear memory for the first time. L| He paces sending emotions with his body, || emotions of regret, of not being responsible, R| of anger, or sorrow.) I| I cannot sleep G| these shadows H| in my dreams T| keep waking me S| hit and run || on a country road R| late at night E| a shadow S| that was a body E| nobody really R| a vagrant, a passerby V| walked into my headlight E| like a deer, stunned- D| the sudden body || banging against my car || my first new car C| (Now more coherent.) O| I stopped. P| He or she, I couldn't tell. Y| It was dead, R| dragged under the car, I| mangled, unrecognizable - G| my car dented, bloodied. H| T| I had had a bit to drink; || didn't want to answer questions. 1| It was an accident; 9| that's all - an accident. 9| Telling the police 7| would not undo what had been done. || B| I dragged the corpse Y| to a ditch || covered it with leaves. R| No one saw me. I| I drove to an all night car wash C| and cleansed the blood H| on my chrome grill. A| Then I slept for hours, days R| because it was the weekend. D| || And after reading the papers each day d| with no news of me, my accident - e| no one missing, lost or found, G| I forgot and resumed my life A| my career, my first job, R| my fiance, my engagement. I| (After he is done, he sits back in his chair. S| He slumps, but it is a look of relief, almost || relaxation more than exhaustion. MUSIC: fades D| to silence, then there is a pause at which O| point the psychiatrist speaks.) B| L| DOCTOR: (Looking up from his notes.) E| Clearly ... || A| SETH: Yes, please tell me. L| L| What I think and feel || is so murky, so muddy. R| I| DOCTOR: You've been working too hard. G| Your wife told me. H| What you remember is nothing, T| just a dream. S| You said yourself || you couldn't identify the body, R| this is typical of a dream -- E| disturbing and real to you S| but in the final analysis nothing. E| I think you need some rest, R| that's the best medicine for you. V| E| SETH: (Loud, almost to himself or to the D| audience; he gets up abruptly from his chair || and paces impatiently.) || REST! C| Of course I need rest, O| I haven't been able to sleep P| for weeks Y| (He sits back down.) R| DOCTOR: (Calmly reassuring.) I| I'm prescribing some sleeping pills. G| You won't dream very much with these H| and when you've been able to rest T| things will look different, || you'll see. 1| (Seth slumps back into his chair. He cannot 9| believe what he is hearing.) 9| 7| SETH: Pills?! || B| DOCTOR: Yes, they'll do the trick. Y| || SETH: (Still stunned by the doctor's lack of R| comprehension.) I| You don't understand C| do you? H| A| DOCTOR: (Still reassuring, but also annoyed and R| commanding.) D| I understand completely || which is why I am prescribing these d| and why you came to me for advice. e| G| SETH: (Holding his head in his hands.) A| PILLS! R| I| (The doctor writes the prescription and holds S| it out to him.) || D| DOCTOR: (MUSIC: taking-care-of-business theme O| to the end of doctor's speech.) B| Seth, here, believe me. L| Take this, E| get it filled, || lie down, A| take a couple. L| They'll knock you out till morning; L| make you forget everything, || so you get the rest you need, R| but it's late and I've got to go. I| I left guests at my house. G| I need to return to my life. H| T| (Seth gets up. MUSIC: ghost's theme. Seth is S| hunched over, bent. He takes the piece of || paper with glazed eyes. He looks at it like it R| is a strange object then suddenly rage comes E| over his face; he crumples the piece of paper S| and throws it at the doctor.) E| R| SETH: PILLS! V| (Before the surprised doctor can respond Seth E| runs out the door and stage lights fade to D| black.) || ||
SCENE V C| O| P| Y| R| (SCENE: police station. I| TIME: midnight. G| PROPS: desk and chair for sergeant. H| Thieves and prostitutes are waiting to be T| booked. There is a general noise as they talk || among themselves. 1| This scene (and the next scene to a lesser 9| extent) is clownish, comic relief, humorous to 9| everyone except Seth and later his wife. Seth 7| is the straight man for the jokes. || As the lights come up, Seth runs in and B| rushes to the sergeants desk, breathing loudly. Y| His clothes are half unbuttoned and askew; his || hair is flying off to one side. Everyone in the R| room stops talking and listens to what he says I| to the sergeant. MUSIC: silence for the entire C| scene.) H| A| SETH: I've come to confess R| D| SERG: Confess, good! || We always like confessions; d| clean and neat -- e| no skullduggery -- G| no poking around. A| You can come clean. R| I| SETH: Clean, yes, clean. S| I knew this was the right thing to do. || So okay, here goes. D| (Takes a deep breath - Sargent is O| poised to write it down.) B| L| CHORUS: (Mumbling to themselves.) E| Here goes. || (They point at Seth and joke as if to say A| sarcastically, "Man, I bet this is really going L| to be good.") L| || SETH: I killed "it" years ago R| I| SERG: It? G| H| CHORUS: It!? T| (Some of them laugh softly.) S| || SETH: Yes, I don't know whether it was R| a man or woman, E| S| young or old. E| I couldn't tell -- R| it was a hit and run V| on Turner's road. E| D| SERG: Hit and run - okay. || Now we're getting somewhere. || And when, when was this. C| O| SETH: Fifteen, twenty years ago. P| (From this point on the thieves and prostitutes Y| make faces and jokingly mime what Seth is R| saying. One thief makes the universal sign of I| "he's crazy" by taking his index finger and G| making it go round in circles as his finger H| points at his head. A prostitute acts like she T| has a noose around her neck and is about to be || hung.) 1| 9| SERG: (Looking up.) 9| Can you be more precise? 7| || SETH: No, I'm not sure; B| I've only just remembered Y| because it kept coming back to me || in my dreams. R| Like I said, it was on Turner's Road I| where the road curves, C| past the grove of trees H| right on the pond, A| after you've left the town limits. R| Some people call it Turner's Point. D| || SERG: (Not writing, humoring him.) d| 20 years ago, e| and you've only just remembered G| because of a dream? A| R| SETH: Yes, that's right, I| a nightmare again and again. S| || SERG: (Winking at his comrade.) D| I see. O| B| SETH: You've got to believe me L| It was I. E| || SERG: (Making fun of him.) A| You were it? L| L| SETH: No, I did it. || I killed someone R| and now I can't sleep I| but if I can confess then G| maybe I'll get some rest. H| T| SERG: (His comrade brings a large book to the S| Sargent desk.) || There is no record of such a thing, R| nothing like that, E| out there in the last twenty years. S| E| SETH: But it was me R| I tell you. V| E| SERG: You did nothing D| except had a bad dream || and now can't tell what is real. || But I know it was nothing. C| O| SETH: Please, you've got to believe me P| I can't sleep otherwise. Y| R| SERG: (Now tired of this.) I| We'll look into it, G| go out to where you said H| and poke around. T| In a week or so || we'll call you. 1| 9| SETH: (Holding up his hands to be 9| handcuffed.) 7| Now, now, please, now. || B| SERG: Not now, Y| But soon, || so go home now R| get some rest. I| C| SETH: (Getting angry.) H| Rest, home! A| I cannot rest R| and home feels like a prison. D| || SERG: Well, anyway, move on. d| I've other business to attend to. e| G| SETH: (Flailing his arms, at the policeman A| near by.) R| No, now, now, it must be now. I| S| SERG: (Angered.) || If you insist, we'll book you D| for disorderly. O| B| SETH: Yes, thank you L| Anything, please E| || (The police take him offstage while the chorus A| delivers the closing speech, spoken by L| individuals in sequence.) L| || CHORUS: It's getting hard R| to get arrested these days. I| What with prison overcrowding, G| government cutbacks-- H| even a good confession T| won't guarantee S| a warm bed in a cell anymore. || R| E|
SCENE VI S| E| R| V| (SCENE: jail cell. E| PROPS: four cots. D| TIME: 3 AM. || Four cell mates are already in the jail. || They are sitting on their cots staring at the C| ceiling as the lights come up. Seth is led into O| the cell by a policewoman. P| This scene continues with the comic flavor Y| of the last scene but it takes a while to R| build. Throughout the scene the cell bars are I| mimed. The actors are looking out through the G| bars at the audience.MUSIC: until noted the H| anxiety theme plays softly in the background.) T| || POLICEWOMAN: (As though she were taking a child 1| to school.) 9| Here's what you wanted. 9| I hope your happy. 7| || SETH: Yes, thank you. B| (Enters the jail and a couple of cell mates Y| look up from their cots.) || R| POLICEWOMAN: (To herself.) I| They get weirder every day. C| H| MATE #1:Why are you in? A| R| SETH: Hit and run. D| || MATE #2:Bad break, d| someone saw you, I guess, e| couldn't get away with it. G| A| SETH: No, no one saw. R| I only just remembered -- I| fifteen years ago maybe -- S| but the sergeant didn't believe me. || D| MATE #3:So why are you here? O| B| SETH: I want to be here; L| this is where I belong. E| || MATE #4:You want in A| and all of us wants out. L| That's kinda strange. L| || SETH: It's all strange to me now. R| Nothing makes sense anymore. I| G| MATE #1:Mr. Upright Citizen here H| doing his civic duty, T| confessing to something long gone S| under the rug, forgotten. || R| SETH: I couldn't help myself; E| my dreams wouldn't let me sleep. S| E| MATE #2:A dreamer, eh? R| Jail is no place for dreamers. V| E| SETH: (Almost begging for understanding. D| MUSIC: gets a bit louder.) || I had no choice but to admit. || My dreams would not let me rest; C| they grabbed hold of me, O| clung to me, P| shook me until I could see Y| that I had killed some one, R| someone I had forgotten, I| but the police they won't believe me. G| H| MATE #3:(Angry, no sympathy.) T| God save us from do-gooders || like you; 1| if everyone confessed, 9| the jails would be full. 9| 7| SETH: (Seth walks forward to cell bars and || says more to himself than to others.) B| I had no choice. Y| I had no choice. || R| PRISONERS:(As a chorus. MUSIC: fades into the I| background again.) C| He chooses us H| instead of his plush home, A| his Mercedes, R| his vacation condo at the beach. D| He prefers this cell || and our company. d| With lunatics like this e| jail just isn't safe anymore G| for regular criminals like us. A| R| (They taunt him, push him, muss up his hair, I| then push him back and forth between them S| during the chorus. He does nothing. All || resistance is gone. He is like a sack of D| potatoes being thrown around.) O| B| POLICEWOMAN: (Off stage.) L| Quiet in there, E| its time to sleep. || A| SETH: (In a daze.) L| Yes, sleep. L| || (The prisoners rush to take the beds; Seth is R| left with the floor. He curls up like a dog. I| Soon we can hear him snoring. Lights fade to a G| half light. H| MUSIC: ghost's theme begins and gets louder and T| slowly changes to resolution theme. When the S| ghost spreads the blanket over Seth the || resolution theme plays full force then slowly R| fades to silence. E| The ghost appears outside the cell. It then S| walks through the bars, as though the bars did E| not exist, to where Seth is lying. It takes a R| blanket it is carrying and spreads it gently, V| lovingly over the sleeping Seth. Lights fade to E| black to indicate passage of time; all we can D| hear is the loud sound of Seth snoring. || Lights come up. Laura, his wife appears at the || jail cell door. Seth is deep asleep, snoring C| loudly.) O| P| WIFE: (Pointing to Seth.) Y| I've come to bail him out. R| I| MATE #1:You can have him, G| good riddance. H| T| WIFE: Can you wake him for me; || he seems fast asleep. 1| 9| MATE #2: (Poking at Seth who does not wake but 9| 7| continues to snore.) || Come on you, Mr. fancy pants. B| Your wife is here to take you home Y| to your house in the hills. || (He finally gets down and shakes Seth; Seth R| slowly wakens.) I| C| SETH: (MUSIC: resolution theme plays in the H| background. Seth does not recognize or care A| where he is. He is still absorbed by the dream R| he just had. He speaks slowly, groggy with D| sleep, but exhilarated.) || I finally slept d| and dreamt e| that I was flying, G| light as air, A| gliding over a forest R| like a hawk I| catching the wind. S| || WIFE: (Annoyed, exasperated, tired, angry.) D| I've come to bail you out. O| B| SETH: No, no, L| please it's okay E| I want to be in here. || A| POLICEWOMAN: (Off stage.) L| Out with you do you hear L| this isn't a hotel. || R| SETH: (Still half asleep.) I| I want to stay... G| only just relaxed... H| light as air... T| flying... S| free... || R| WIFE: (As though speaking to a child. MUSIC: E| changes to anxiety theme. ) S| This has gone far enough E| -- lets go. R| We'll talk about it V| in the car on the way home. E| D| POLICEWOMAN: (Off stage.) || Come on, hurry up. || C| PRISONERS: (As a chorus.) O| Out with you! P| Be gone! Y| You snore too loud! R| (They all pull the covers over themselves, roll I| over and go back to sleep. Reluctantly Seth G| gets up and walks out of the jail to his wife H| who leads him offstage.) T| ||
SCENE VII 1| 9| 9| 7| || (SCENE: on a country road, near a deep ditch. B| PROPS: a small tree, its roots wrapped in Y| burlap. || TIME: dawn, 6AM. R| The light is at a very low angle casting I| long deep golden shadows. The chorus (now in C| the form of office workers with clipboards) are H| almost completely hidden in deep black shadows, A| almost offstage. They remain there until the R| last part of the scene. D| Seth and his wife come on stage lugging a || trees whose roots are wrapped in burlap. They d| are struggling under the load. Seth speaks with e| more assurance and clear headedness than he has G| had before. MUSIC: ghost's theme lush and full A| and almost optimistic but in the background.) R| I| SETH: Over to the ditch S| just a bit more. || D| WIFE: It's so heavy, O| I need to take a breather. B| L| (They put the tree down. They are breathing E| hard.) || A| WIFE: I'll help you L| with this tree L| but you need to know || I don't understand. R| I| SETH: Thank you, Laura. G| I know its odd H| but if I plant this tree T| here in the ditch S| where I dragged the body, || I think I'll find some peace, R| and I might be able to start again. E| S| (Wife puts her face in her hands and weeps. E| Seth tries to hug her.) R| V| SETH: It's almost over E| this part at least. D| Lets plant the tree || as the sun is coming up: || somehow this feels right to me. C| O| (She gets up and they move the tree a few more P| feet, then he digs a hole and they lower the Y| tree into the hole, then fill the hole with R| dirt and leaves. MUSIC: appropriate theme for I| the character.) G| H| SETH: Laura, you need to know T| I'm not going back. || I can't go back. 1| This tree and what it means... 9| I can't go back. 9| You see that don't you? 7| || WIFE: The job, our life - B| is that what you mean? Y| We can't go back to these? || R| SETH: Yes, I'm not myself anymore I| C| WIFE: (Assertive, but understanding.) H| Seth I've come with you this far A| to a place you're not sure you remember R| to a ditch where nothing happened, D| and I've helped you plant a tree. || Now you'll have to go back to d| your workers and their families, e| they're all depending on you. G| And Frederick not even A| through high school R| and Mary-Lou still in college. I| Seth, how could you, how could you? S| How could you even suggest || such a thing? D| O| SETH: Laura, what can I say? B| I know they all count on me L| but I've decided to take a job E| at the nursery. || You know how I like to garden. A| I'll manage the greenhouse L| and we'll get by somehow. L| || WIFE: (Angry and hurt.) R| No, Seth, we won't. I| You can't desert us all. G| Your workers who are your best friends H| will lose their jobs without you. T| There's no turning back. S| I understand you feel pain || but we'll cope somehow. R| There may be new drugs that can help E| but don't give up. S| We've both worked so hard. E| (She takes a deep breath and pauses. She is R| debating whether she should say what she is V| about to say. She turns and looks at him E| directly.) D| I have something to say || which I promised not to tell. || You will be named C| executive vice-president soon. O| This is what you've wanted, P| what we've both built Y| our lives around. R| So now do you see? I| G| SETH: (Soliloquy. His wife freezes in H| position. He walks to the front of the stage T| and speaks to the audience. He takes the || audience into his confidence.) 1| (Aside.) 9| Now that I've achieved 9| what I've chased all these years 7| it's worthless and worse; || it's like a weight B| that will keep me from running free. Y| But I will have to work || under this shadow. R| How can I desert I| all those who depend on me? C| I will be vice president H| with all the trappings A| of my status... R| A month ago I'd have been delighted; D| now I feel I'm being buried. || Perhaps this is my punishment. d| (He lets out a wail (or a moan) and gestures to e| the sky. He walks back to where his wife is G| standing and looks at her directly. MUSIC: A| Seth's and wife's theme go back and forth.) R| I understand now. I| I've been selfish. S| I thought I could bring you along || but you don't see what I dreamed. D| Maybe I can go on. O| B| WIFE: Yes, we can. L| We'll take a vacation. E| You need the rest. || We'll change our life A| but not throw it away. L| You see that don't you? L| || SETH: I see what you see. R| My lot is cast. I| I'll do my best. G| I'll make you proud of me. H| T| WIFE: I knew you'd come around. S| That's why I married you. || You're sensible R| when it comes down to it. E| We'll get by, you'll see. S| E| SETH: Yes, I'll try. R| I'm sure everything V| will be all right. E| D| (They walk to the edge of stage right and look || at the sun rise. Seth puts his arm around || Laura. C| MUSIC: the resolution theme rises. O| The ghost walks onto the stage on the opposite P| side from Seth and his wife. They cannot see Y| the ghost because their backs are turned. The R| ghost walks up to the tree they planted and I| slowly removes the white robe to reveal a G| skeleton suite. It then carefully spreads the H| white robe down around the base of the tree and T| curls up under the tree branches. || MUSIC: the music fades a bit as the office 1| workers come out of the shadows and walk to the 9| front of the stage. 9| They address the audience and also reassure 7| each other.) || B| CHORUS: Seth is his old self again. Y| He's a man you can depend on. || We were counting on him R| to pull us through. I| He's just that kind of guy. C| H| (All characters freeze on the stage. MUSIC: A| resolution theme becomes louder.) R| D| LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK || || THE END
Non-profit, educational and non-commercial organizations may produce this play for no fee. However, they must obtain written permission from the author or they are in violation of the law. All parties should contact me via e-mail. Just click on the e-mail address below to send me a message.