Auditioning a Ghost - Big Cast

All of Scene 1 & 2, plus Excerpts of the rest of the script.

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This show has 4 optional songs.
Length: About 80 minutes.

Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, “Selecting a Ghost”.
Story revised, expanded and adapted for theater by Jeannette Jaquish. © Jeannette Jaquish 2000, 2003, 2006 updated 2011 & 9/2019

This script may only be performed by prior arrangement with Jeannette Jaquish.

CAST: 30 Actors, 3 of the 30 will also play a “small role”: Scared Poet, Dark Invisible, Constable
Montague Hobbes (father, one of the newly rich, trying to slide into respectable society. An American.)
Gwendolyn Hobbes (wife, yearning for a ghost. Born in England, moved to the U.S. and back)
Natalie Hobbes (daughter, 7-14, trying to act English, but slips out when with her father) Watkins (butler)

*Scared Poet (“small role” Scene 1, can also play another part) Cook, Sally McDivot (scene 3. Female. Can play Tarantella.)
Gardener, Mr. Gatehill (Male or female.) (scene 3)
Charlie, hired boy (scene 3 & 10)
Jackie Brockett (talent scout, male or female, scene 4)
Lily Stewart (lady friend of Gwendolyn and mother of Chelsea) (scene 7)
Rosemary Finster (lady friend of Gwendolyn and mother of Jamie) (scene7)
Jamie (boy or girl, about Natalie’s age) (scene 7) (Jamie & Chelsea can play Terrible Twin Ghosts)
Chelsea (girl, about Natalie’s age) (scene 7)
Tarantella (scene 8, 9, can also play Cook scene 3)
Ghosts (scene 8, 9):
-- *Dark Invisible (“small role”)
-- Old Crone
-- Terrible Twin A
-- Terrible Twin B
-- Cavalier
-- mDecaying Corpse
-- Furious Child
-- Weeping Woman

Detective (scene 8)
*Constable (“small role” scene 8)

Neighbors (scene 1 & 2):
Mr. Jorrocks (scene 1, 2 & 10)
Mrs. Cornelia Jorrocks
Felicity/Felix, child or adult
Cecilia/Cecil, teen
Victoria/Victor, child or adult
Talent Applicants (scene 4):
-- Seymour
-- Alice
-- Trudy
-- Pierre

Scene 1: Chance of a Ghost, evening of the 1st day, Parlor
Scene 2: Community Theatre, Closed Curtain Scene
Scene 3: Kitchen Plots and Plans, morning of the 2nd day, Kitchen, begins & ends with closed curtain.
Scene 4: Talent Agency, later that morning,
Scene 5: The Evening Wait, that evening, Closed Curtain Scene
Scene 6: While You Were Out, later that evening, ends with a closed curtain
Scene 7: Tea Party, morning of the 3rd day, Parlor, begins with a closed curtain
Scene 8: Ghost Who’s Coming to Dinner? late that evening, Parlor
Scene 9: Dark and Stormy Night, same night, outside, Closed Curtain Scene
Scene 10: Police Report, a few days later

CLOSED CURTAIN scenes are for changing the set behind the curtain, for non-fly stages. Blackouts and using a spotlight for the “closed curtain scene” may work instead, if you can change set in the dark.

SET: The parlor, Olde English aristocratic furniture, lots of valuables & hung artwork mixed with family photos, awards, etc., a side table for setting tea tray, a fireplace with a mantle and a coat of arms.


(House lights dim. Spot appears against closed curtain. SCARED POET steps into light.)

As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today. Oh, how I wish he’d go away. (“Antagonish”, by Hughes Mearns - please give credit in your program)
(Fade to black. EXIT.)


English sitting room, father’s armchair, fireplace, table. Father MONTY HOBBES sits. Wife GWENDOLYN has just spoken to WATKINS. Daughter NATALIE sits to the side quietly playing with dolls. Without being too obvious she can act out the described relationship between her parents with those dolls. They might wear evening clothes, maybe NATALIE in pajamas and a housecoat.)

WATKINS: (irked) I am most complimented, Mrs. Hobbes, that you should care to extend my employment through all eternity, but I must beg to decline. The paperwork would be horrendous. Master Hobbes, your newspaper. (Lays the newspaper on the table, EXITS.)

HOBBES: Thank you, Watkins. (after WATKINS leaves ) Gwendolyn, that was a tad rude.

GWENDOLYN: Oh, Monty, don’t scold. Watkins knows when I’m teasing.

HOBBES: Of course he knows you’re teasing, Gwen. He’d be out the door in an instant if he thought you were serious. The poor man has enough stiff-upper-lipping to do without having to politely fend off the Mistress of the House asking if he wouldn’t mind committing a fiendish murder, followed by a remorse stricken suicide, just so you could have a few ghosts to haunt the place.

GWENDOLYN: (pouty) A real castle should have a ghost. And ghosts become ghosts from having died unnaturally, and tragically.

HOBBES: Well the tragedy is, that all you’ve accomplished so far, is to insure that we’ll be haunted by a living, sulky butler.


HOBBES: (amusing himself) Maybe Watkins would conduct his duties draped in a sheet and dragging a chain. And moaning painfully... but he already does that. Still, if he asks for an increase in wages for the extra services, it’s coming out of your entertainment allowance.

GWENDOLYN: ( jealously) Might as well. I’m ashamed to host even a tea party with no story to tell. You should hear how Cornelia Jorrocks deprecates their ghost! Cornelia deplores her nocturnal wailing –

(GHOSTS instantly complete sentence.)

CORNELIA: -- through all hours of the night, moaning and sobbing. You have no idea how chilling it is to turn the corner of a hall walk right into the frigid silvery translucent blood wisps she trails behind her. And though I know she is ephemeral and cannot harm me, I still feel my heart stop when her cold breath slides up my spine, and I turn to see her misty features inches from my face and then poof! -- she vanishes like a puff of smoke. Oh, how I wish she would continue on to the ever after and leave us alone!

GWENDOLYN: She’s like a broken record! Well, I think it’s like my mother used to ask, “Are you complaining or bragging?”

HOBBES: I remember. She did say that.

GWENDOLYN: Cornelia always has to remind every social gathering that their ghost dates back to the reign of the Second George which, #1, isn’t very long ago and, #2, shows a lot of investigation for something she has no appreciation of.

NATALIE: How did her drippy ghost die?

GWENDOLYN: (revealing her romantic enthusiasm): Upon hearing of the death of her lover at the Battle of Dettingen, she cut her throat.

(HOBBES looks nervously between NATALIE and GWENDOLYN concerned about the effect of this coarse information on the young girl, but NATALIE seems unaffected.)

NATALIE (matter of factly): I would never do that.

HOBBES: Perhaps Cornelia Jorren..?

GWENDOLYN: Jorrocks. (looks to HOBBES, he does not recognize it.)
Of Havistock Farms.

HOBBES: Havistock?

NATALIE: Daddy! The manor next door.

HOBBES: Oh, yes, Jorrocks. I’ve met the husband -- a coarse fellow. Nearly accused me of

JORROCKS: -- knocking the stones off the wall that divides our properties. “Good fences make good neighbors!” Robert Frost said that. He’s one of yours, you know, an American, though lived in NEW England, so maybe he’s got a sense of how we do things here. Just lettin’ you know, eh? About the wall. Been here a long time. Does its job. Got it, eh?

HOBBES: It seems the upper crust, at least in this area of England, includes a lot of crumbs.

GWENDOLYN: It certainly does! Things are taking a pretty turn, when such a respectable specter annuls every social distinction by taking refuge in such an ill-fitting abode.

HOBBES: That mischievous ghost does seem to be skewing the normal criteria for social distinction. Explains a lot actually.

NATALIE: Explains what, Daddy?

HOBBES: How a knucklehead like Jorrocks rates his own stool at the Thirsty Dragon. What if... What if Jorrock's wife is making it up?

GWENDOLYN: Well, since you don’t believe in ghosts, you’d have to say that.

HOBBES: Just because I don’t believe in ghosts, doesn’t mean the woman isn’t making it up, all the same.

NATALIE: Gotcha there, Mum.

GWENDOLYN: The Jorrocks are not the only family claiming a ghost! Felicity Morgan’s downstairs maid saw a woman in a bonnet –

FELICITY: -- picking flowers in our garden. Just as normal as anything but her dress was a brocaded silk gown straight out of the 1700’s, and her hair was piled on top in a huge puff and powdered, and THEN the shadow of a tree grew as if the tree was growing but there was NO TREE to cast the shadow and when it reached her she swirled away with the shadow, leaving just sunlight and the smell of camphor.

NATALIE: And Cecilia Cannon’s little brother won’t set foot in the upper story since –

(CECILIA slides into the SPOTLIGHT bumping FELICITY out, already speaking.)

CECILIA: -- he saw a severed head hovering behind him in a mirror. He screamed and turned around, but nothing was there! When he looked back in the mirror it was there again, but EVEN CLOSER and now it was smiling. He screamed and ran out of the room and down the stairs, tripping and rolling all the way to the bottom, then jumping up to run thru the parlor and the kitchen until he found me to dive into my arms to tell me his terrifying story. Please do not ask him about it. I do not want him to relive the horror.

NATALIE: Victoria Von Chandler’s family—

(VICTORIA slides into SPOTLIGHT, but CECILIA sees her coming and jumps out in time.)

VICTORIA: -- can’t keep a scullery maid employed for two weeks such are the whispers and cackling from our wine cellar! We are now advertising for a DEAF scullery maid!

NATALIE: We must have the only manor in the province without a ghost!

HOBBES: Or without superstitious, in-bred, imaginative occupants.

(NATALIE snorts in stifled laughter. Again, HOBBES looks concerned for her hearing coarse words.)

GWENDOLYN: Well I’ve tried to imagine. I’ve listened for weeping and voices in the wind or in the scraping of tree branches against the windows. I’ve looked deeply into dark corners to make out forlorn wispy figures. But no cold gust of wind seems unnatural. Every scrape, rustle and creak, I know instantly was made by a mouse or owl or a servant sneaking rum. When I was little, I feared the dark and cried for a lantern next to my bed. Now the dark is peaceful and comforting.
Oh, Monty, I’m so miserable! (sits on floor next to his chair, laying head on his knees.)

HOBBES: (chuckling, comforting her ) Oh, Gwendolyn.

GWENDOLYN: I want a ghost. Like the other castles.

NATALIE: It is all that Goresthorpe Grange wants for, you know, Daddy.

HOBBES: I must agree with you there, Natalie. The advertisement describing this as a feudal mansion was straight on. It is soothing to know that if needed, there are slits in the staircase through which to discharge arrows, and a complicated apparatus by means of which to pour molten lead upon the head of the casual visitor or encyclopedia salesman.

NATALIE: I love the portcullis, the dungeon and the keep. And I love saying them. Portcullis. Portcullis. But the moat stinks.

HOBBES: That is why it was called a “moat” instead of an “encircling uncovered sewer” which is what it is.

GWENDOLYN: Oh, you are so base and vulgar! Why did I marry an American?

HOBBES: Because you happened to be on sabbatical in America when you came across the most handsome dashing man with good teeth that you’d ever met and fell hopelessly in love.

GWENDOLYN: So why didn’t I marry him?

HOBBES: (after a chuckle): He wouldn’t put up with you like I do, so you married me instead.

GWENDOLYN: And that has made all the difference!

NATALIE: Mother!

GWENDOLYN: I’m teasing, Natalie. I’ve never been sorry I married your father. But he can be a bit of a boor at times.

HOBBES: (stands, gives her a big hug from behind that she tolerates) Oh, darling. I know how important it is to you to carry on your family’s legacy. And I do not deny it – I am just a boorish American with an ancestry as clear as mud. I’m happy enough to be able to ride the coattails of yours, especially (revealing a little sarcasm with his expression as he speaks with his chin on her shoulder or head, gesturing with his arms as if they were hers) as it obviously dates back to a pre-historic era as evidenced from the fact that its advent into British history is not commented on by any trustworthy historian.

GWENDOLYN (not catching the sarcasm, separating herself from the hug): Of course. I’ve said that many times. You needn’t quote me to myself. But Goresthorpe Grange, though wonderful, is just material, just representational. A true legacy is based on family honor, and ....

NATALIE: Having a ghost.

(GWENDOLYN is at a loss for words to deny this.)

HOBBES: Oh, Gwennie, and I thought we were plunking your inheritance into this ancient, pile of rock and timber for the prestige of owning a castle and having a wall size fireplace over which to hang our mail order coat of arms. You should have told me. We could have bought an RV and parked it over a few plots in the cemetery.

GWENDOLYN: You don’t understand. You don’t believe in ghosts. You think I want the impossible. (plops into his chair, arms folded, mad)

HOBBES: (more to himself, as he figures out a solution) But you do believe in ghosts. With all your heart. And this castle has sufficient creaks, groans and chilly gusts.....

NATALIE: Poppsy, why don’t you call Mummy’s cousin to get us a ghost?

HOBBES: Who?... Jacky Brockett?

NATALIE: He is a talent and services scout with ledgers full of resources.

HOBBES: And I see you have memorized his brochure.

NATALIE: He is open 9 to 5:30, excepting Sundays and holidays. Appointments are recommended.

GWENDOLYN: Natalie, cousin Jackie deals with living, breathing clients. Ghosts are not for hire.

HOBBES: No, Natalie has a good idea. Cousin Jackie might be just the ticket. He has gypsy seancers and mystics as clients, along with his retinue of banjo players, tapestry appraisers and folks who retrieve ferrets from drainpipes. Think of all the (selecting the right words; he is making this up as he goes) unnatural, tragic deaths history holds. Certainly, some of those... tortured wandering souls could be ...umm.... invited to live here, by a ... gifted communicator with the dead.

GWENDOLYN (getting excited): And he did locate all our ancestral portraits that were scattered about the country! That took some digging! Oh, Monty, could he? Would you? Please pen him a letter this evening!

HOBBES: Better than that, cream puff. I was going into town tomorrow anyway. I’ll visit him and put him onto the job.

NATALIE: But you don’t believe in ghosts, Poppa!

HOBBES: ..... I could be wrong. This might be one way to find out.

GWENDOLYN (taking both his hands in hers): Oh, Monty-kins!

HOBBES: Oh, Gwenny-Wenny!

NATALIE (inserting herself in between them): A ghost! Oh, Poppy-loppy!

HOBBES & GWEN: Oh, Nattie-noodle!

HOBBES: I would be such a dreary person without you two always provoking me into spectacular feats of daring! Put on the music, Natty!

NATALIE: Irving Berlin? (runs to record player)

HOBBES: Of, course!

(Fortunately, the record is all ready to go. NATALIE starts it and runs back to what obviously is a familiar song and dance.)

# MUSIC – “Simple Melody/Musical Demon”, by Irving Berlin, 1921

(They end the dance with a pose!
WATKINS appears in doorway with cocoa on a tray, and clears his throat.)

(HOBBES, NATALIE & GWENDOLYN freeze, then separate embarrassed, assume more dignified poses.)

WATKINS: Madam, Sir, Miss Natalie, your bedtime hot chocolates.
(Sets down tray. Will pour cocoa from teapot, add brandy to HOBBES’s cup, and is about to shake jar of “cinnamon” at end of HOBBES’s line.)

HOBBES: Thank you, Watkins. You’ll be pleased to know that Mrs. Hobbes will be acquiring her ghost ... from an outside source.

WATKINS: Oh! Very good, sir. (Puts down cinnamon, hands each their cup and again picks up “cinnamon”) (GWENDOLYN will start to sip, NATALIE blows on hers.) Then I won’t be needing to sprinkle this umm... “cinnamon” into your chocolates, and I won’t need to fling myself off the tower afterwards. (GWENDOLYN freezes (or sprays her cocoa out), already sipping, HOBBES & NATALIE freeze about to sip.)
Good night, Ladies, Sir. (EXITS)

(pause as HOBBES, NATALIE & GWENDOLYN look at their cups, GWEN with a big chocolate milk moustache)

HOBBES (bursts into laughter): Well, darling. You didn’t tell him who to murder.



(CORNELIA & CECILIA ENTER from opposite sides)

CORNELIA (ENTERING wearing a costume, calling back) – Goodbye, Dearest! Pick me up at 9! – Cecilia! Hello! Have you been measured for your costume?

CECILIA (not wearing a costume) - I’m scheduled for after rehearsal. Oh! Yours looks divine! Did you see the new scenery? Sergio, the new set designer, did an amazing job. Those gargoyles are spectacular! And the perspective! Breathtaking!

VICTORIA – Oh, I love the gargoyles. Do you know they were actually rainspouts?


CECILIA: Of course, we know that!

CORNELIA: Felicity! You are early to rehearsal for once!

FELICITY: Full of surprises, that’s me, and it is a full-time job! But I still can’t keep up with you Cecilia. What inspired you to invite the Hobbes to the Friday Evening Social?

CECILIA – I bumped into Mrs. Hobbes at the village market. Her name is Gwendolyn, and she was dropping hints about wanting to join the social scene. I thought it would do no harm.

CORNELIA: Of course not. It was kind of you.

FELICITY: But then she and the little girl --

VICTORIA: Natalie!

FELICITY: Gwendolyn and Natalie sat down in our corner during “Ghost Story Improv” and I think they believed us.

CORNELIA: Hmm, I didn’t notice.

CECILIA: You were too much in character. I loved your details, by the way, “Translucent silvery wisps.” Very organic.

VICTORIA: Did they hear MY story? I’m working on my suspenseful pauses. “We are now advertising for a – DEAF (pause) scullery maid!”

MR JORROCKS (ENTERING, hands keys to CORNELIA): You can have ours. She never listens to anythin’ I tell her to do. Here’s the house key, Cornelia. Can you catch a ride with one of your friends? That blasted stone wall of ours has tumbled down again by the pond and our wildlife is escapin’. I’d ask our neighbor Hobbes to help but he pitched such a whining last time, I don’t think I can bear it. Rather do it meself.

CECILIA: Hobbes? The new family? We were just talking about the wife and daughter. What’s his name?

MR JORROCKS: I dunno. I just call him Hobbes.

VICTORIA: Marty? Mikey? Monroe?

MR JORROCKS: I dunno. Good night, ladies. I’ll be home late, Cornelia.

CECILIA, FELICITY, VICTORIA: Good bye/Good night, Mr. Jorrocks.

OFFSTAGE VOICE: Actors! Onstage! No scripts!

CECILIA: Here we go!

SCENE 3: KITCHEN PLOTS AND PLANS -- (The kitchen upstage behind curtain, the yard downstage in front of curtain.
The next morning)
(Beginning in front of CLOSED CURTAIN)

( In the yard, outside the Kitchen.
A waste bin and any outdoor things, such as flowers, tree, or rake, are downstage at the sides and not blocking view of kitchen once curtain opens.
Little CHARLIE, the hired boy enters to chop or gather firewood, or some other chore, singing a song.)

# MUSIC: “Molly Malone”
Irish folk song

(WATKINS and HOBBES ENTER from opposite sides.)
HOBBES: Hello, Charlie! You are a fine singer!
CHARLIE: Thank you, Master Hobbes.

WATKINS: Good morning, Charlie!
CHARLIE: Good morning, Master Watkins.

HOBBES: Hello there, Watkins. Excellent breakfast. Please pass my compliments on to Mrs. McDivot.


HOBBES: Why thank you, Watkins, but that’s not why I’m seeing a talent scout. I want him to scout me up an actor to put on a mock séance.

WATKINS: (taken aback) Séance?

HOBBES: Yes. For Gwendolyn’s ghost. I told you about it last night.


WATKINS (waves at Charlie to be quiet): Pardon me, sir. You did.
That is enough wood, Charlie. Take it into the kitchen.

CHARLIE: Yes, sir. (looks back as EXITS.)

HOBBES: Gwendolyn will only be happy when she thinks our castle is haunted just like her lady friends,


WATKINS (EXITING) Now I'm a mechanic.

- side table with tea things
-kitchen table with chairs
Cook is mopping or sweeping leisurely,
Charlie is stacking firewood or something.
Gardener gets cup of tea and pastry.)

COOK: … Well, they chased her out of the linen closet and closed all the drawers so do you know where that feisty cat finally did have her kittens?

GARDENER: Hmmm… Where?

COOK: Right on top of the mending pile, where Joan had just laid the daughter’s wedding dress to sew on the same button the cat had chewed off!


COOK: Nothin’. Joan wouldn’t let ‘em. Put her foot down, she did. Wish I’d been there to see that. (chuckle)

CHARLIE: She must be very brave.

COOK: You are right about that, Charlie. Joan said she couldn’t put a lid on every bed and cushion or petticoat the children dropped on the floor so’s the cat couldn’t birth kittens on it.


GARDENER: Oh, those triplets!

CHARLIE: Do you know any more?

WATKINS: Excuse me, something has come up. (pause) Master Hobbes, it seems, has decided to indulge his wife’s wish to believe that the house is haunted.

COOK: Haunted?

GARDENER: But.. how?

WATKINS (choosing his words carefully): I believe he is… hiring… an actor to play the part of a fortune teller or medium. This actor will pretend to perform a séance and, theoretically, the mother will then believe we have a ghost. He is visiting a talent scout this morning. As house staff, we must approach this delicately –

COOK (leaves mop in bucket): Bloody grand, this is! Oh, the things we can get away with! By blamin’ it on the ghost! Yes, yes. Grand. Bloody grand….. The trick ya see, is to get them wonderin’ about the nature of the ghost: why the ghost is takin’ and doin’ this an’ that, not if it is the ghost


CHARLIE: I read a book one time, about some kids who were orphans and went to live with their uncle but he was mean and old and they decided to play tricks on him by making ghosty things happen --

WATKINS: Charlie, if you are done with that, please go out front and sweep the walk, and then take the rest of the day off.

CHARLIE: With pay?


GARDENER: (thinks) Oh! That would be scary.... You’d hide the can.

COOK: Yes. You would. So, you do the normal ghost stuff and get ‘em convinced of it, an’ then you add in stuff to suit yourself, and they blame it on the ghost!

GARDENER: Eh? But what’s the point?

COOK: So’s ya can nick stuff. See?

GARDENER (getting it): Huh.

COOK: Just small things a ghost could carry


COOK: You’d never in a century believe what Randall and Betsy Dalton get away with by spookin’ their employers.

GARDENER: Like what?

COOK: Oh, just a few little things. To supplement their income, you might say. A silver spoon, military memorabilia, a violin, mixed in, of course, with ordinary stuff like an ash tray, pin cushion, handkerchief – stuff no one would steal.


COOK: And it really comes in handy when you accidentally breaks stuff. Just say you heard the sound from the other room and found it like that and look real spooked--

(WATKINS ENTERS carrying Cook’s and Gardener’s coats, suitcases and an envelope each.)

WATKINS: I am sorry but your employment is no longer needed. Here are your possessions and paychecks up through the weekend. I wish you well. You must leave now.

COOK: What! You can’t fire us! You don’t have the authority!


Do you think I can’t spin a convincing yarn?

WATKINS: I’m sure you can. I’m sure you can tell quite a tale. Another thing I am sure of now is that you have a criminal record – anyone so familiar with theft must -- and I’m sure the constable will make good use of the time you linger here to look it up, before coming to arrest you.

(COOK is shocked and furious and unsure. He has called her bluff. As WATKINS talks with Gardener, Cook will pocket salt and pepper shakers from the table.)


WATKINS: I am not going to argue. Mrs. McDivot, Mr. Gatehill, please exit out the door, this moment. I will follow you.

(COOK & GARDENER pause, not willing to cooperate.)

WATKINS: Or I will ring up the Constable immediately and have you both charged with trespass and have your possessions searched for evidence.


GARDENER: I don’t need your charity. (pause, snatches money) But I’ll take your money because you are a snoop and a stooge for that American git and his spoiled wife and daughter.
(EXITS with his stuff)

(COOK pauses, glancing at WATKINS’ wallet, just in case he offers her severance pay. She puts on a contrite face until WATKINS puts away his wallet and then she sours again.)

COOK: (as she leisurely picks up her things, hanging straps on shoulder, pocketing gloves, etc.)
You just remember me, Watkins, because no one else will. I make it a habit to be quite invisible


WATKINS: Silver salt and pepper shakers gone. And... how does one steal a butter dish, with the butter yet in it??
(Looks at doorway. Sighs. Resumes mopping.)


NATALIE: Mr. Watkins! Mr. Watkins! I’ve decided what to tell Poppy to get for my birthday. A monkey! But I know he’ll only get it for me if I promise to take care of it and give it a nice cage. So I want you to find out what they eat, and build a big cage with a swinging trapeze and a hammock and a little castle for him to play on…. mmm and a slide.


SCENE 4: THE TALENT AGENCY –(later that morning)
(JACKIE BROCKET is watching the final pose of SEYMOUR, ALICE, TRUDY and PIERRE.)
TRUDY (breaking from the pose): Pierre! You fumbled your solo!
PIERRE: Well, your Allegro Promenade was 3 beats late. I nearly tripped over your big foot.
JACKIE: I’m sorry. I do not need more song and dance numbers.
SEYMOUR: Let us try just once more!
JACKIE: You’ve already tried it 3 times!
ALICE: Here we go! 1, 2, 3, 4 –
Who Threw the Overalls in Mistress Murphy’s Chowder?
Songwriter George L. Giefer in 1898
Oh the Murphy's gave a party just about a week ago Everything was plentiful, the Murphy's they're not slow They treated us like gentlemen, we tried to act the same But only for what happened, well it was an awful shame

When Mrs. Murphy dished the chowder out She fainted on the spot She found a pair of overalls In the bottom of the pot Tim Nolan he got rippin' mad His eyes were bulgin' out He jumped up on the PI-A-NO And loudly he did shout

Oh, who threw the overalls in Mrs Murphy's chowder? Nobody answered, so he shouted all the louder! It's an Irish trick that's true, I can lick the mick that threw, The overalls in Mrs Murphy's chowder!

So we dragged the pants from out the soup and laid them on the floor, Each man swore upon his breast he'd ne'er seen them before, They were plastered up with mortar and were worn out at the knee, They'd had their many ups and downs as we could plainly see,

When Mrs Murphy she came to she began to cry and pout, She'd had them in the wash that day and forgot to take them out, Tim Nolan he excused himself for what he'd said that night, So we put music to the words and sang with all our might:

Oh, who threw the overalls in Mrs Murphy's chowder? Nobody answered so we shouted all the louder: It's an Irish trick that's true, I can lick the mick that threw, The overalls in Mrs Murphy's chowder!

(Big pose. BROCKET clutches head.)
BROCKET: That song is over 100 years old!

SEYMOUR - But our choreography is modern.

ALICE - Unique, one of a kind!

PIERRE - And intensely personal!

BROCKET- It was intensely awful! Your dances are a mishmash of a dozen genres. And you can’t say “Mick” for an Irish person. It is not politically correct.

PIERRE - Why? Every Irish person I know brags about being Irish.

TRUDY - And some are named Mick.

SEYMOUR - - But not all! Not all are named Mick. If you call them all by one name, it is like saying they are all alike.

ALICE – Oh! Now I understand. Because they are NOT all alike.


SEYMOUR - We do?

BROCKET: Right now! Don’t be late! See you later!
(Hustles them out the door.)

BROCKET: Monty! What brings you down from the wuthering heights?

HOBBES: Oh, I’ve got my excuses, banking, business, but frankly it’s good to get out of those cold echoing halls and into the bustle of humanity.

BROCKET: I can imagine!

HOBBES: Imagine! That’s right. I’ve got a job for you! Gwendolyn is pining for, of all things, a ghost.

BROCKET: A ghost! Oh, that sounds like cousin Gwendolyn. She did love the romantic adventure. She used to make up the best bedtime stories when she babysat for us. Couldn’t sleep for hours after.

HOBBES: She does tell a doozie of a bedtime story.

BROCKET: Tell me about this ghost that Gwendolyn wants.

HOBBES: Yes, Gwendolyn’s ghost. She just won’t be content at Goresthorpe Grange until she believes it is haunted. So, I want you to find her a convincing seancer, or mystic, who can put on a little show, glowing crystal ball, talking in a trance, that sort of stuff, and convince her they are contacting the dead. Invite some wandering spook to come and live with us. I think her imagination will carry the haunting from there.

BROCKET: Cousin! I am insulted. You assume that I cannot find a bona fide ghost conjurer for you!




GWENDOLYN: Monty! You gave me such a fright. I was expecting you from the east.


HOBBES: Have you changed your mind, sweet-ums? I can call it off. Maybe this isn’t a good idea...

GWENDOLYN: No. No. I still want a ghost. As long as you are here. I realize now, that you are what makes this place seem so peaceful and safe. It would be dreadful to be haunted without my big strong husband nearby.

HOBBES: (laughs) Oh, Gwen. If something happens to me, my ghost will come back and chase away all the others.


HOBBES: Um, well, I’m sure he did! He is a professional with a reputation at stake. We made an appointment with Madam Tarantella for tomorrow night at 10pm. I don’t think Natalie should stay up.

GWEN: Tomorrow! A mystic is bringing spirits to our home tomorrow! What will I wear? (EXITS)
HOBBES: Don’t worry, darling. They’ll be coming dressed as they are... (EXIT)
WATKINS, wearing an apron, is ironing.)

GWENDOLYN: Watkins? Did Mrs. McDivot wash and iron my lavender dress with the white collar? (Note: she should describe the dress she wears in the séance scene.)

WATKINS: No, I did. It is hanging in your closet.


WATKINS: Should I prepare a bedroom?

HOBBES: Oh, no, this isn’t an overnight guest. She’ll be…. putting on a little …magic show and then leaving. No, she won’t be staying. And you don’t need to stay up after she arrives. Just ready the percolator and I’ll plug it in if it’s needed. And tell Mrs. McDivot we’ll be having a late breakfast the next morning.

WATKINS: Sir, Mrs. McDivot is no longer here. I had to fire her and Mr. Gatehill this morning.

HOBBES: What???

WATKINS: I overheard them discussing theft. I fired them on the spot and insisted they leave immediately.

HOBBES: But I wasn’t even here! You fired them without my say so!


HOBBES: Ah,.. I… Well, I guess not.

WATKINS: Perhaps I should submit a notice to the dailies, to fill their jobs? Would you like to approve the wording?

HOBBES: So, I’m back in charge, I see. (Begins to exit.)


WATKINS: You might be interested in details of their discussion, Sir... Mrs. McDivot was proposing committing thefts in such a way that they would be blamed on the ghost.

HOBBES: (gasp of ridicule) See, that would never have worked


HOBBES: Spit it out, Watkins!

WATKINS: I don’t believe that giving Mrs. Hobbes a séance and a ghost is a good idea.

HOBBES: (angry) Watkins, you do your butlering well and I don’t wish to offend you, but I don’t need advice in the conducting of my family.

WATKINS: Pardon, sir, it was not the conducting of your family I was referring to. ‘Twas the conducting of the dead. (gathers up the ironing board)
Please excuse me. I have laundry to do. I must start the pre-soak. (EXITS)

HOBBES: (Gasp! Speaks to audience.)
Six months this man has worked for me and now I find out he’s a superstitious loon!


Life is easier since the inheritance came, but I’m still poor as a churchmouse in knowing how to handle a wife and raise a daughter. Ever since Gwendolyn’s mother died…
(sudden unnerving realization: Is Gwendolyn trying to communicate with her dead mother?)


SCENE 7: THE TEA PARTY –(the next morning) (in front of Closed Curtain)


JAMIE: Natalie, now, she’s a good sport and a fine playmate. She tries to put on airs, but she’s not stuck up, really.

CHELSEA: No, I have to say she’s not. I find her rather amusing.

JAMIE: Yes, most amusing. The way she hides her Yankee accent.

CHELSEA: That is funny. And the way she holds her teacup with her little finger sticking out, and then holds her fork in her fist.

JAMIE: She does? I’ll have to look for that.

LILY: We must be gracious and make allowances. The Hobbes are making great progress, even though, as my husband says, they haven’t had their money long enough to count it.

ROSEMARY: My husband calls them catalogue aristocrats.

(They laugh.)

LILY: Well, let’s not be rude. Shall we go in?

ROSEMARY: Yes, we should. I don’t want them to imagine we are gossiping.

JAMIE: It would be more fun if she had ponies.

CHELSEA: Tell her. She’ll make her daddy pop for some.

JAMIE: “Natalie! Tell your daddy to buy me a pony. A white one with gray spots.”

(They laugh and EXIT.)


GWENDOLYN: How nice of you to come, Lily, Chelsea, Rosemary, Jamie.

ROSEMARY AND LILY: Hello, Gwendolyn, hello Natalie.

(Kids and adults cluster separately.)
CHELSEA: Cool Halloween costume, Natalie.

NATALIE: (humiliated, tries to hide it with a smile): Thank you.

JAMIE (recognizing NATALIE’s embarrassment):
It’s not a costume, Chelsea. It’s a period dress. Is that Renaissance?

NATALIE: Um, I think so.

CHELSEA: It’s very beautiful.

NATALIE: Thanks. (correcting herself) Thank you. I was just trying it on for fun.


JAMIE: I think white horses with gray spots look the most elegant.

CHELSEA: (scolding)Jamie! (idea!) Oh! I have an idea. Let’s go pick a good spot for your Daddy to put the stables.


LILY: No. I thought I’d look at wallpaper and draperies first.

GWENDOLYN: Are you leaning toward warm or cool colors?

LILY: I like light green. Is that warm?

ROSEMARY: (stifling a yawn)

GWENDOLYN: There are psychological studies that show that pink walls in prisons calm down the inmates.

LILY: What are you implying?

(GWEN gives WATKINS "the look" and he EXITS.)
GWENDOLYN: Oh, nothing. (suddenly intense) So, have you …. heard any spooky footsteps lately?

LILY: What? Where?

GWENDOLYN: In your house. From your ghost.


GWENDOLYN: Oh, I’m so sorry to have mixed you up. We had just moved here then and I ..

LILY: It’s quite alright. That was Jessica’s eldest daughter’s graduation party. I told about seeing the cat that turned into smoke.

(CHILDREN ENTER excited, but pause to catch the LADIES’ conversation.)

GWENDOLYN: Oh, tell that one again.

LILY: You want to tell ghost stories? Now?

ROSEMARY: It’s 11:00 in the morning.

LILY: I rather need to be in the mood.

GWENDOLYN: Oh, of course.

JAMIE (running over): I know one! The Dalton’s son, Norman, he’s 10, was late for junior symphony rehearsal. He said their ghost had moved his violin again and his parents had to rent one until it turned up.

NATALIE: Where did they find it?


JAMIE: Have you heard him play? He’s terrible. I bet his teacher broke in and took it.
(they laugh) Probably buried it. In a shallow grave!

HOBBES: A party! And I wasn’t invited!

NATALIE (runs to hug him): You can play with us! We want horsey rides!

HOBBES: Oh, no, I think my back wouldn’t survive that.

NATALIE: Then you’d better get us a stable full of horses!
(THE GUESTS stifle a laugh)
We already picked out a spot!


LILY: What are you waiting for? A drum roll?

GWENDOLYN & NATALIE: We’re getting a ghost!


GWENDOLYN: We’re getting a ghost. Monty is hiring a… um… a woman who is a direct link to the spirit world to put on a seance . And invite a ghost into our home.

LILY: A real -

ROSEMARY: - ghost?

NATALIE: What other kind is there?

(GUESTS glance at each other. They know their ghosts are imaginary.)

LILY (bursting into laughter): You can’t just buy a ghost, Gwendolyn.

GWENDOLYN (humiliated but brave): I’m not buying a ghost, Lily.
(recalling Monty’s words)
Think of all the unnatural, tragic deaths.. um that history holds. We’re just hiring a medium, a gifted communicator with the dead, to invite one of them to live here, instead of wandering around…. tortured.

ROSEMARY: Get them off the streets. Very socially responsible.


HOBBES: Oh, did you? I was just wondering, darlings. You aren’t hoping Grandma will come back as a ghost, are you?

GWENDOLYN (incredulous): Grandma’s not a ghost! She died in a car accident. You don’t become a ghost from a car accident! You become a ghost from being murdered, and the murderer still walks free, and he’s going to marry your daughter


SCENE 8: GHOST WHO’S COMING TO DINNER – (late that night)
CURTAIN OPENS (Same room. Two fancy chairs. At walls: tables, expensive candlesticks, clocks, paintings, etc. GWENDOLYN and NATALIE should have time to change clothes, so take your time with the beginning of this scene. They can enter earlier than scripted.)

HOBBES: (voice offstage)
I've shown you the banquet hall, the bedrooms, the dining room, the dungeon, the kitchen, and the laundry room!
(ENTERING exasperated) This is the parlor, it is the last room in the house. If this one doesn’t meet your requirements....

TARANTELLA: (striding past him) Possibilities. I see po$$ibilities.

HOBBES: (deadpan) Oh, joy.

TARANTELLA: (setting her large but nearly empty soft bag on table)
Have a seat if you are tired. I can focus my energies better if you are silent.

HOBBES: (who was about to sit, stands up angry, mouth closed tight) Grunt/snort!

(TARANTELLA boldly inspects the room, surreptitiously appraising the valuables.
She will stride around with no regard for him, he will step out of her way.
TARANTELLA’s tactic is to gain respect by treating others disdainfully; she is never nice or comforting, just commanding and impatient.
HOBBES never believes any of this mystic stuff and rolls his eyes when no one is looking, for he does want Gwendolyn to believe and be happy with her imaginary ghost.)

TARANTELLA (a bit slowly, telling the story as she “senses” it, takes her time with it, touching objects to get the "reading", and determine their value): Many lives, many stirrings of the soul still whisper in this room, over many, many years.
I sense an incident of great violence and long regret by the hearth…. (she pauses as if seeing the event) So terrible. ……
And, this window, upon another time, a child looked from this window, night after night, waiting. But whatever, or whoever, the waiting was for never came.
And another time, something lost, searched for, something cold and small… maybe a coin or a ring,…… no, a key. I feel the urgency, the seeker was desperate. It, it ….. was found. But… too late.
The moments have faded, overlapped, but each still has stirrings.
Yes. This room. This room is the best for conducting spirits from the other side.
The architecture forms a natural pathway and the residual spirit relics have kept the gateway open.

HOBBES (rolling eyes): Oh, brother.

(GWENDOLYN ENTERS with NATALIE who wears a nightgown and robe and carries goblets.)

NATALIE: Here are the glasses. When will the ghosts come?


(NATALIE stares open eyed.)

TARENTELLA (kneeling before the child in an artificially sweet voice):
I will make a circle on the floor and the ghosts have to stay inside, Sweetie.
(stands and turns away from them with a look of disgust)

HOBBES: Maybe getting a ghost is a bad idea.


HOBBES: OK! Ok. Please Madam Tarantella, just give us a short introduction so Natalie can get along to bed.

TARANTELLA: Very well. (deep breath) The portal I will open is deep and wide and without restrictions. I do not pick and choose the spirits that enter. I just open the door. But you, as the mortal residents, have authority to choose which one stays, and the spirits understand that. Having not died here, the spirits know that they have no natural claim to haunt this home.
But choose well, for once chosen, a spirit is not easily dislodged.

GWENDOLYN: (more and more terrified) I see. Choose well.

HOBBES (in a jolly voice): Now off to beddy-bye, Natalie!

NATALIE: Come with me, Poppa!

GWENDOLYN: Stay here, Monty!

HOBBES: Natalie, dearest. Why don’t you ask Mr. Watkins to read you a nice bedtime story like “The Forgetful Pony”?

NATALIE: He’s already gone to bed.

HOBBES (shoving her out the doorway): Wake him up!


HOBBES: That’s a big bag for a lava lamp and a shot bottle.

TARANTELLA: Not all tools are physical. (snapping bag closed) Please, dim the lights and sit.

HOBBES: Oh, I hate shopping. I’ll be in the study and Gwendolyn can select the right ghost.
(he starts to walk off)

GWENDOLYN: (running after him and grabbing his arm)
No, Monty! Stay with me!

HOBBES: (patting her hand) Of course, Gwendolyn. I’d be glad to.
(prying his hand from her grip)
Darling... I have to go switch off the lights.


TARANTELLA: (walking around the candle/lava lamp at the center of the imaginary circle which will be the ghost spotlight)
The spirits will present themselves to you one at a time. They come out of desire to stay with you. Purgatory is a dreary place. Still they cannot deny or disguise their true nature. You will see them as they are.
Move and speak not, or you will break the spell, except to say, “I accept,” to any spirit of your choosing.
Do not fear any of the apparitions, for though they are real, and not illusions, they have no power over you.


TARANTELLA: Drink this.
(GWENDOLYN lifts her goblet but HOBBES puts a warning hand on her arm to stop her.)

HOBBES: What is it?

TARANTELLA: Essence of Lucoptolycus. It will relax your eyes and mind, releasing the veil that hides the world of spirits.


TARANTELLA: It will not harm you. It is but a relaxant to dispel your obstructing prejudices. And fears.

HOBBES (insulted): Fears! I’m not afraid. But I suppose you wouldn’t be in business, dosing out poison. I’ll drink it.
(Sniffs it, drinks.) (GWENDOLYN drinks.
They glance at each other in sudden realization at the effect, then both slump, heads back, glassy-eyed. Their hand with glass drops. We wonder if they are dead.

TARANTELLA: (twirling slowly around the lava lamp or candle) Spirits of the dark and cold, Deeds of horror, times of old; Breach the gates of purgatory, Find the path, sing your story; Favor thee this humble dwelling? CLAIM it specter, with thy telling!!!!...

(TARANTELLA howls and spins – BLACKOUT!)


DARK INVISIBLE VOICE: I am the Invisible Presence. I am here, there, and nowhere. I shiver across your flesh and enter with your breath and swell within your lungs.


OLD CRONE (ENTER): Hee hee hee! I am the fiendish old woman who lived miserably. And lived too long. They thought I would never die, so old I was. My fingernails scrape down windows.
(she scrapes the air -- FX scraping sound)


My clothes are filthy; rags that flutter around me. See how they reveal my shriveled body.
Look! Look at me. I was once young and beautiful like you, but now, now I am old, old forever! I curse your youth, for mine is gone! Let me live again through you. Let me stay?


(ENTER, smiling evilly. Their clothes are scorched, their hair blackened and blasted up. They speak to the audience):

A & B: "We are the Terrible Twins.

A: Why "Terrible", you ask?
B: Because of the naughty tricks we played?,
A: The lurid accusations we made?,
B: Or the secret horrors we inflicted?


A: Mother said we were sadistic.
B: Father didn’t say anything after he saw what we did to Mother.

A: We like to play games.
B: Games like dungeon, torture chamber, dunking chair,
A: -- That’s my favorite!


B (to A): I wish we had read the warning on that can of flammable liquid.

(They both scream and flail acting out their burning deaths.)


A: Not again! You killed him!

B: Did not! YOU killed him with your ugly face!

A: YOU killed him with your bad breath! (shoves B in the face.)


CAVALIER: (ENTER) I am the cavalier, valiant and brave. The wound in my heart bleeds unstopping, pulsing, pumping, but I must fight on. I cannot pause! It is my duty.
My sword pierces you; you feel it slicing, see and smell your own blood, but find yourself intact when I leave.


I don’t work Sundays. Shall I remain, mortal?

GWENDOLYN: (struggling to speak) Monty, make them leave.

HOBBES: (struggling to speak) I’m trying.


FURIOUS CHILD : (ENTERS sullenly carrying ratty doll or stuffed toy) My death took a long, long time. I thought someone would come’n help me, but nobody came. Nobody cared. They forgot me.
But I don’t forget.
I throw tantrums like you


I need a nap bad, but I WON'T TAKE ONE. (stands still, staring, speaks with long pauses)
I watch you, for hours, with eyes, that are empty, holes, through my head.
(sweetly) Could your love touch my little heart? Will you take me in? Pretty please?

GWENDOLYN: I.. I... I...

FURIOUS CHILD: With sugar?


ROTTING CORPSE: (dragging leg, stumbles across) Why can I not die?
( Clutches chest and falls flat at their feet. Moment of stillness, then grabs one of their knees to stand up.)
My flesh rots, yet clings to my bones.
My bones break, yet carry me on.


I drown in your bathtub.
You find me smashed under your couch cushions.
My hand pops up with your toast.


Whose tongue lies in the soap dish?
(sitting at their feet)
I don’t feel well. I need a place to rest.
(leans head on GWENDOLYN'S knees.)
I like it here.


FORLORN LADY (ENTERS gracefully): I was beautiful and ill-used, deceived, forsaken and betrayed.
I died of a broken heart, false accusations and a slippery staircase.


I appear in windows silhouetted by the full moon, yearning for the life and love that was corrupted.
I sing haunting melodies and I am rarely off key.
I need draperies with dappled lighting to be effective. I am so sad. Will you not choose me?

GWENDOLYN (ripping herself from the chair, points):
She is the one! I choose her. I accept!


GWENDOLYN: (eyes closed, waving arms defensively)
Don’t touch me!! (HOBBES looks accusingly at WATKINS.)
Enough! Too many of you! Don’t touch me! Go away!! I chose her -- the rest of you leave!!! I command you, leave this house!!

( HOBBES, still on his knees, grabs her flailing arms to still her and gets whacked in the face. WATKINS gets to his feet and stands nervously behind them unsure of how to respectfully help them.)

HOBBES: Gwendolyn! Gwendolyn! What is wrong? Who are you talking to?


GWENDOLYN (still looking around far-off, but gripping him tighter): The ghosts! You saw them! They were bloody and vicious. One wants to sleep in our cupboards. One chokes animals.

( GWENDOLYN is wide-eyed and traumatized, vividly remembering ghosts, but HOBBES doesn’t notice. She does not look at her husband but stares off, deranged, standing in one spot, swaying.)

HOBBES: Ow, Gwendolyn! Let go, darling. (peels her grip off him) Ghosts!? I saw no ghosts. But why was I asleep???
(wanders a few steps, trying to think clearly)..... That woman!

GWENDOLYN: The spirit I chose?

HOBBES (confused): The spirit you chose???

GWENDOLYN: The sad one. I was afraid of what the next one might be.

HOBBES: Who? No! No! Not sad. (kneeding his brow as he figures it out) Tyra…Teela… Rentalla… Tarentella! That gypsy actress. Where is she?

WATKINS: Gone, sir. She..

HOBBES (bangs self on forehead): Stupid! I paid her in advance


GWENDOLYN: Breathing on us… I couldn’t move….and the rotting one put his head on my knee….

HOBBES: Something… What?…something she wanted to give us? It came out of her bag….

WATKINS (noticing GWENDOLYN’s condition): Sir, Mrs. Hobbes seems upset.

GWENDOLYN: The little one, they forgot her, and she died … poor thing…

HOBBES: That potion! I didn’t want to drink it, but she teased me, said I was afraid, and so I did -- Me Big Brave Man! I’m so stupid stupid stupid!


GWENDOLYN: …. stared with their eyes, and waited for our answer….

HOBBES: Oh, my head is throbbing. Watkins, I need coffee and aspirin. A double dose. Of both.

WATKINS: Sir, you must give me your attention!

GWENDOLYN (coming to reality with a fury, standing suddenly): You didn’t see the ghosts????!!!!!

HOBBES: (distractedly) No, darling. And make that real aspirin, Watkins …

WATKINS: Sir, please!

GWENDOLYN: You didn’t see any of them???? (drops to her knees, rocks, breathing faster, going insane)

WATKINS (taking HOBBES firmly by the shoulders, as if talking to a child):
Sir, we have been robbed!
(hand sweep to show empty room )
And circumstances point to Miss Tarentella as the thief.
(points to rope ladder hanging out window)


GWENDOLYN: (grabs him as he passes, her hands pulling/ climbing up his clothes to his collar forcing him to bend over, she shrieks in his face)
The crying woman? The decaying corpse? The furious child??? You didn’t see them?? ..... (melts to the floor)
She was so mad, she stomped her feet and screamed that she hated us. Poor pitiful, little thing....
(starts to sob uncontrollably)
I should have picked her, she needed a home….

(NATALIE ENTERS running in her nightgown.)

NATALIE: Mommy what’s wrong? Did you pick the wrong ghost?
(NATALIE throws her arms around GWEN giving her the comfort she needed.)


WATKINS: (deadpan) I’ll start coffee. And call the constabulary. (as he EXITS, to himself)
And I presume I’ve heard the last of (whining), “We don’t have a ghost.”


(POLICE DETECTIVE in foreground, FAMILY in background. WATKINS serves coffee.. An hour has passed.
NATALIE sleepily leans against her father. )

DETECTIVE: Yes, your Chartreuse Tarantella certainly fits the description of Molly McDivot.

(WATKINS eyes widen, jaw drops – he recognizes the name.)-

WATKINS: McDivot. Sally McDivot.

DETECTIVE (continuing): Infamous con artist. She must have overheard your cousin in the cafe and concocted that yarn on the spot about contacting the spirit world.
Judging by the footprints at the bottom of the ladder and the size of the stolen objects, she had an accomplice as well.
Well, we’ll do our best, but to be frank, the lady is already wanted for a slew of creative crimes, and we have no clues to her whereabouts, or even what scam she’ll pull next.
( goes to window, opens it,
And this bloody rain obliterates all tracks. Damn. I’ve never been this close to catching Miss Molly before. But she always slips away.

CONSTABLE (ENTERING carrying missing candelabra): Detective! I just found this. Hidden under butler there’s bed.

DETECTIVE: Ha! It WAS the butler! Clap him in irons, Constable!

(Everyone looks at WATKINS, who gives one of his typical deadpan not-again I-live-in-a-world-of-idiots looks of exasperation. He’s been framed, as promised.
DETECTIVE holds him as COP cuffs him.)

JEFFERS (remembering the Cook’s final words): “Whatever your new ghost takes will be blamed on you.”

DETECTIVE Ha! Listen to ‘im. Already startin’ off on his insanity defense.

SCENE 9: DARK AND STORMY NIGHT -- (outside, that night)

(TARENTELLA ENTERS with bag of loot over shoulder.)

TARENTELLA: Blasted rain! Where is Sally? Where is my automobile? I can’t see a meter in front of me…. Are those trees? Where is the road? Bloody blithering weather! How did I get all turned around? (stumbles) Curse this mud, can hardly take a step. Which way did I come from?

CAVALIER: From here.
TARENTELLA: What?! You’re not real.

FURIOUS CHILD: Now we are. Wanna play?

ROTTING CORPSE: They refused us. Sent us away.

INVISIBLE PRESENCE: But you brought us. Invited us in.

OLD CRONE: So you can’t send us away. It wouldn’t be polite. Not respectful!

TERRIBLE TWINS (unison): So let the party begin.


TERRIBLE TWINS (unison, hand movement):
We spin you around! (SHE spins)

ROTTING CORPSE: I corrupt your air. (TARENTELLA chokes.)

INVISIBLE PRESENCE: I fill your throat. (TARENTELLA can’t breathe.)

OLD CRONE: (ripping up with fingernails):
I slice your flesh.
(TARENTELLA gasps in pain.)

FURIOUS CHILD ( from behind, acts out):
I pull your hair. Hard!
(TARANTELLA’S head jerks back.)

CAVALIER ( jabbing): I pierce your heart.

(TARANTELLA slumps and dies. Ghosts look down at her relaxed face, and together lift their arms without touching her and she rises. FURIOUS CHILD hands bag to her.)

TARENTELLA: (to audience) I was evil and hurt others. For my small pleasures I caused great suffering. I died from stuffing a bag too heavy with stolen objects, and wearing the wrong shoes for mud


FORLORN LADY (ENTERING from side): And I will cry for you.

(Smiles dreamily and then weeps walking from one side of stage to other, and EXITS)



(Original parlor room without valuables.
The empty spots are obvious.
The wall shows faded squares where portraits once hung.
“Worthless” things like family photos and bowling trophies remain.
Two to five days later.
FX: Rain outside.)


HOBBES sits in chair holding an open book. NATALIE holds dolls. They are in the same places as Scene 1.
GWENDOLYN faces out the window.
ALL stare off, still shell-shocked. Their whole reality has been upset.
HOBBES can no longer trust his own judgement and Watkins has been proved smarter.
GWENDOLYN experienced something that she still cannot accept was a hallucination. NATALIE’s parents are humiliated and traumatized and she feels lost.

They are confused, embarrassed, deceived and in emotional pain which they try not to feel. They try not to feel anything.

All speak without emotion.)

GWENDOLYN: The sunset is lovely.

HOBBES: Is it?

HOBBES: Natalie.

HOBBES Did you finish your book?

HOBBES How was it?
NATALIE I don’t know. . . . .
Something happened.

(Each person, with a deep intake of breath and a pained expression, is suddenly gripped with rising despair, regret, and sorrow which they try to control, but the bottled-up emotions burst out!
Each stands.)

HOBBES: I am the father! The husband!
My duty is to protect my family, but instead I stupidly invited a criminal into my home! I let her drug us and leave a sleeping child unprotected.
I let this villain run rampant while I was helpless to stop her!
I am arrogant! I am pompous!
I jump to Grand Decisions without thinking!
I am quick to judge others, yet blind to my own faults!
I took risks that could have destroyed my family. I am so sorry! So sorry!

GWEN & NATALIE: No, Monty!/ No Poppa!

GWEN: You are a good husband and father!
You were only trying to please me.
Me and my selfish, silly desire to impress the neighbors.
I am conceited! I crave popularity!
I was so wrapped up in myself I forgot the real values my mother taught me: love, honesty, compassion, knowledge and effort.
I have not been a good example to my daughter. I apologize to both of you.

NATALIE (wide eyed realization):
I am conceited. And selfish.
I want desperately to be popular.
I tell lies to impress my friends!
And now, I realize, that the truth is . . . . that I . . . I . . . I got it from my parents!!!


WATKINS is very perky and smug, obviously in charge now.
CHARLIE is his proud assistant, carrying the tray of cocoa cups.)

WATKINS: Your bedtime chocolates!
(CHARLIE offers one to each, but they all decline, and he sets the tray down.)
And they are delicious! I had three cupfuls myself.
Margaret, the new cook has an excellent recipe, and you saw the magic she worked on dinner.


Charlie is excelling in his new role as my assistant. Do you like butlering, my boy?

CHARLIE: Yes, Sir! I love it!

WATKINS: And I have more ideas I can’t wait to try.
Oh, silly goose, I am. This report was just hand delivered from Scotland Yard.

(WATKINS pulls it out of his pocket. The FAMILY all turn suddenly to look at him.)

WATKINS: Shall I read it?

HOBBES: If you please.

WATKINS: Let’s see... Laboratory chemical analysis... “The sample submitted contained a strong solution of chloral-hydrate. The quantity which Mr. and Mrs. Hobbes are reported to have swallowed must have been at least 80 grains of the pure hydrate. This would have reduced an adult to a partial state of insensibility, gradually progressing to near coma.
In this semi-unconscious hypnotic state of chloralism it is not unusual for circumstantial and bizarre visions to present


GWENDOLYN: Our cook Sallie was Tarentella's sister?!
HOBBES: (continuing) Neither person has been found but our canine location patrol will be searching the area on the morrow.
Mr. Watkins’ information was invaluable in this investigation, and he is invited to receive a
Distinguished Citizen
Service to Law Enforcement Award
at the Department’s end-of-year Christmas Gala.


WATKINS: Excellent! (turns to go) Tomorrow is another busy – gasp!

walking toward WATKINS while looking distantly through him.
WATKINS stumbles to the side, weak-kneed falling. The LADY walks straight through where he was standing.)

FORLORN LADY: Refinement in speech, elegance in dress and manner,
a simplicity of emotion and attentiveness to the needs of the family,
(turns to glare at Watkins)
these are the characteristics of a good house servant. (continues...)

(Initially shocked, GWENDOLYN & NATALIE’s faces melt to beatific joy, while HOBBES’s face turns to fear then irritation.)

My own chambermaid was surly and scorched my gowns when pressing them.
I was so distraught.
I was to be presented that day to the new vicar and I had nothing suitable to wear.
I was desperate, ruined, so I hid myself away and wept... (sobs, wailing)

HOBBES (speaking on top of her last line): This whiny ghost is the one you picked?

FORLORN LADY: It is rude - - -
(SHE flings her arm angrily in the direction of HOBBES who is across the room, flinging him violently off his feet. He crashes into furniture or the wall, far from the “front door” exit. GWENDOLYN rushes to him.)


(sobbing, EXITS walking directly at WATKINS who clambers to his feet and runs out terrified, ahead of her,
crashing into CHARLIE who was ENTERING. CHARLIE falls and then freezes when he sees the ghost. He watches her as she passes him, then jumps up and runs into the room, shaking and wide-eyed.

ALL stay in place, NATALIE in shocked delight, HOBBES in shocked horror, still on the floor. GWEN frozen reaching down to him.)

FX: Banging on the door.

HOBBES: What now?

NATALIE: I’ll get it. (EXITS)

HOBBES (struggling to stand from where he fell): No, Natalie! Wait for me!

GWENDOLYN (helping HOBBES stand): Natalie! Don’t open the door!

(CHARLIE runs offstage after Natalie.)

CHARLIE: Natalie! Stop!


NATALIE (offstage voice): Oh, don’t be silly, Charlie. That would be rude. Look at him – He’s all wet! Come in, Sir!

FX Sound of Door Closing and
Rain Sound Down


NATALIE (dramatically): Visiting our house for the first time! It’s Mr. Jorrocks!

MR. JORROCKS (aggressive): See, here, Hobbes! Your blasted American bunglingism has gone too far!
You poked your nose into dark crevices and stirred up horrors that shoulda stayed asleep!
Before you meddled in murky mysteries, we had peace and quiet around here!

MONTY (bold): What the Sam Hill are you talking about?!

MR. JORROCKS: I’ll tell you!
I’ll tell you what I’m talking about:
There’s a ghost carrying a bag on MY moor, and it is YOUR fault.

(CHARLIE clutches his face in horror.
OTHERS look shocked or other reactions.)

HOBBES: Will this never end?!